Isle of Wight Nostalgia Site: Booklist and bibliography

This page contains a list of books I have collected over a number of years - some from antiquarian bookshops, some published more recently. I have scanned each cover to aid recognition in case you ever wish to delve through piles of books in a second-hand bookshop! Many of the books are still available in local (IW) shops & museum bookshops - try Amberley Museum, Sussex or Havenstreet Railway centre IW. I have added a few with interesting titles which I do not own - yet! I have included as many details as possible and a brief description / review of each book.

I have also collated a list of books in print which are available from Amazon UK. If you have read any of the books, Amazon are keen to receive reviews from guest reviewers. Simply click on the book title (in the books in print section) and type in your review - it's completely free!

There are a number of antiquarian book sellers on the Island. Click here for details of those known to me. Good hunting!


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Book reviews

Book cover
Position cursor over cover for availability
Details Description or brief review
buy direct from author or Ottakers bookshop, Newport or Niton Books, Niton.
  • A Particularly Happy School
  • Dorothy Wright
  • Fernlea Publications
  • ISBN 0-9519122-6-7
  • Buy this book
This book has everything you could ever wish to know about Chale School from Headteachers to pupils. There's even a description of the original building specification from 1843. An invaluable addition to your bookshelf for both ex-pupils and everyone else with an interest in Chale and the Isle of Wight.
Click to buy from Amazon Wight Air Wrecks seeks to chronicle the military aircraft that, from the early pioneering flights of local manufacturers such as J S White and Samuel Saunders of Cowes through the wartime conflicts and up to the present day, have crashed either onto the Island or into its coastal waters.
buy direct from author or from English Heritage
  • The Donkeys and Wells of Carisbrooke Castle
  • Dorothy Wright
  • Fernlea Publications
  • ISBN 0 951912 1 6
  • Buy this book
A charming 26 page booklet, well researched complete with many photograph and diagrams. It describes the work of the Donkeys at this famous castle.
Click to buy from Amazon (U.S.)
  • The Grass Beyond the Door
  • Cicely Veighey
  • Frontenac House
  • ISBN 0-9684903 0 1
  • Buy this book
The book is based on a true Island story. Born early in the 19th century, Lucy Lightfoot has an obsession with the 14th Century crusader, Sir Edward Estur, whose carved effigy lay in St. Olave's Church, Gatcombe. On 13th June 1831, during the severest storm to hit the Island, lightning struck the Church after Lucy was seen to have gone inside. Sir Edward's dagger was shattered, the jewel from the hilt gone and Lucy had vanished. Her disappearance became a local legend until a newly discovered 14th Century manuscript revealed an incredible story. Publisher, Frontenac House
Wight Knight - from local bookshops
  • Wight Knight
  • Maureen Collins
  • ISBN 0 9539508 0 8
  • Buy this book
Maureen Collins has lived on the Isle of Wight for almost thirty years. Her love of books was enhanced and encouraged by her English teacher, Doris Danby, who was Charles Dickens’ great granddaughter and Monica Dickens’ sister. As well as writing short stories and novels she is also an accomplished artist working in oils and watercolours.
She suffers from Multiple Sclerosis, and in an effort to keep her typing ability and brain active, started to write short stories. The stories became popular with the female members of her family and their friends, and they encouraged her to write more. Eventually Maureen decided to submit books to Literary Agents and publishers but discovered, as she had no previous work published, it was impossible to generate any interest. Maureen has therefore taken the brave step of publishing a book herself.
Her new book ‘Wight Knight’ is a tale of romance, deceit and divided loyalty set against a backdrop of a holiday with difference on the Isle of Wight. The book was launched on 19th March, at the Lord Louis Mountbatten Library in Newport and is available at selected bookshops and outlets on the Island.
Amazon or local bookshop
  • Behind the Small Wooden Door
  • Brian Manser
  • Coach House Publications
  • ISBN 1 899 392 181
  • Buy this book
Is it possible to reside on the Isle of Wight and wish you were elsewhere? No ... well perhaps yes if you are serving at Her Majesty's Pleasure at the infamous Parkhurst prison. The author is a serving prison officer and describes life at the prison from its opening in 1838 to the present day. The book received a good review by John Hannam in the County Press
Local bookshop
  • Keep it on the Island.
  • Mick Bull
  • Buy this book
A history of Island Football, 1898 to 1998.
buy direct from author when available or try the second-hand/antiquarian bookshops listed on this site
  • Michael Hoy - The Man and his Monument
  • Dorothy Wright
  • Fernlea Publications
  • ISBN 0 9519122 0 8
  • Buy this book
This booklet describes the famous monument on St Catherine's Down, so clearly visible from Brighstone to Arreton and beyond. Illustrated with maps, photographs and diagrams.
Try local shops or secondhand book shops
  • Wight - an island from the air
  • Brian Hinton & Brian Manby
  • Island books
  • ISBN 1 898198 03 9
  • Buy this book
This book contains thirty-six superb colour photos from the air. The photos cover the main places of interest and all the main towns. Descriptive text accompanies each photograph. Check before buying - my copy has one or two 'fuzzy' pictures.
More recent books
'from the air'
Isle of Wight from the Air Buy this book
Isle of Wight & Hampshire Coast from the Air Buy this book
Try local shops or secondhand book shops
  • The natural history of the Isle of Wight
  • Oliver Frazer
  • Dovecoat Press
  • ISBN 0 946159 83 1
  • Buy this book
Interesting book with black & white illustrations covering all areas of natural history - flora, fauna, animals, birds, insects, downland, farmland, cliffs, chines & lots more. This book could form the basis for a school project. The book ends with a small conservation section, useful addresses & a bibliography.
Try local shops or secondhand book shops
  • The Isle of Wight at War 1939 - 1945
  • Adrian Searle
  • The Dovecoat Press
  • ISBN 0 946159 58 0
  • Buy this book
The Island offers lots of surprises when its war history is revealed. Apart from details of the home guard, plane crashes & the usual war information, the book describes the great security surrounding the island. It was an invasion target and had a strategic oil pipeline from Shanklin Chine to France for the invasion - the mysteriously named PLUTO project! Find out the complete story for yourself!
Try Amazon books or try Havenstreet Railway Center
  • Once upon a line - Volume 1
  • Andrew Britton
  • Oxford Publishing Co
  • ISBN 0 86093 277 X
  • Buy this book
Apart from the good black & white railway photographs, the real value of this series of four volumes is the input from the actual railwaymen who ran the lines. Drivers, guards, porters, signalmen - in fact someone representing every railway job description is interviewed in this book. Read about the life & death episodes, pranks, hard work, devotion and sheer guts involved in running this railway. This book brings the railway alive - not just pictures of romantic engines but of a railway run by real people, often in difficult circumstances. But most of all, find out who 'Mad' Jack Sturgess was; delight in his adventures on board his cherished No. 22 'Brading'
Try Havenstreet Railway Center or secondhand bookshops
  • Once upon a line - Volume 2
  • Andrew Britton
  • Oxford Publishing Co
  • ISBN 0 86093 280 X
  • Buy this book
Try Havenstreet Railway Center or secondhand bookshops
  • Once upon a line - Volume 3
  • Andrew Britton
  • Oxford Publishing Co
  • ISBN 0 86093 483 7
  • Buy this book
Try Havenstreet Railway Center or secondhand bookshops
  • Once upon a line - Volume 4
  • Andrew Britton
  • Oxford Publishing Co
  • ISBN 0 86093 513 2
  • Buy this book
Try Amazon Books or local shops
  • Isle of Wight Railways: A 'then & now' survey
  • Colin A Pomeroy
  • Silver Link Publishing Ltd
  • ISBN 0 947971 62 9
  • Buy this book
This book has 'then & now' pictures of railway locations. The author has collected old photos of the extensive railway network and re-visited the sites and taken photographs of the scene today. Very interesting; my only quibble is that some of the 'now' photos are taken with a different lens than the original - leading to a telephoto or wide angle shot that makes comparison more difficult. But otherwise one for the bookshelf.
Try local shops, Amberley Museum or Havenstreet Railway
  • South Coast Railways - Ryde to Ventnor
  • Vic Mitchell & Keith Smith
  • Middleton Press
  • ISBN 0 906520 19 3
  • Buy this book
Three from an extensive series of railway books by the Middleton Press. The format of these books is predictable - Photos with a short description beneath each - a bit like this site really!
Try local shops, Amberley Museum or Havenstreet Railway
  • Steaming through the Isle of Wight
  • Peter Hay
  • Middleton Press
  • ISBN 0 906520 56 8
  • Buy this book
Try local shops, Amberley Museum or Havenstreet Railway
  • Branch lines to Newport
  • Vic Mitchell & Keith Smith
  • Middleton Press
  • ISBN 0 906520 26 6
  • Buy this book
Amazon Books or try local secondhand shops or Havenstreet Railway
  • Steam on the Isle of Wight (1956-1966)
  • P Paye & K Paye
  • Oxford Publishing Co
  • ISBN 86093 039 4
  • Buy this book
Great black & white photographs of the Ryde to Ventnor & Ryde to Cowes section of the railway, which was all that was left by 1966. The book also contains track plans for each station and other key location. There are a selection of timetables and examples of tickets.
Try local secondhand shops or Havenstreet Railway
  • The Ventnor West Branch
  • Peter Paye
  • Wild swan Publications Ltd
  • ISBN 1 874103 02 X
  • Buy this book
My favourite section of the railway even though it closed before I was born! The view over the English Channel as the train emerged from the St. Lawrence tunnel was said to be breathtaking. This section of the railway was never really profitable - and a look at the geographic obstacles and the sparsely populated area covered explain why. Well worth trying to get hold of as books about this branch of the railway are few and far between.
Try local secondhand shops or Havenstreet Railway
  • Freshwater, Yarmouth & Newport Railway
  • Alan Blackburn & John Mackett
  • Forge books
  • ISBN 0 904662 17 9
  • Buy this book
This part of the Island's railway system was an early victim of efficiency cuts - an is therefore less photographed than the eastern part of the system where BR steam survived until 1966. As such, the books is especially interesting. It covers all aspects of the railway with maps, charts, tickets, track diagrams & gradients.
Amazon Book co or try Havenstreet Railway
  • Isle of Wight railways remembered
  • Peter Paye
  • Oxford Publishing Co
  • ISBN 0 86093 212 5
  • Buy this book
More pictures of the railway, its engines & rolling stock.
Try local secondhand bookshops
  • Southern Vectis - The first 60 years
  • Richard Newman
  • Ensign Publications
  • ISBN 1 85455 025 X
  • Buy this book
Everything you ever wanted to know about the Island's bus history. And what a history. Inter company bus wars and bus / railway wars - It's all here. There are also interesting chapters on the personalities involved. Many visitors still make extensive use of the frequent services provided by Southern Vectis (even though their modern buses have restricted views unlike the older 'boneshakers')! See also the more recent Southern Vectis 1929-2004: 75 Years Serving the Isle of Wight
Try Sandown Geological Museum or Amazon books
  • Geologists' association guide No. 25 - The Isle of Wight
  • Brian Daley & Allan Insole
  • The geologists' association
  • ISBN 0 7073 0446 6
  • Buy this book
A more technical description of the Island's geology for the enthusiast.
Try local secondhand bookshops or Amazon
  • The shaping of the Isle of Wight
  • Eric Bird
  • Ex Libris press
  • ISBN 0 948578 83 1
  • Buy this book
A good introduction to the fascinating geology of the island. Find out why Blackgang Chine is disappearing into the sea. Mainly text with some black & white photographs accompanied by charts & tables.
Try local secondhand bookshops or Amazon
  • A geographer's look at the Isle of Wight
  • Roy Hollis
  • Cross Publishing
  • ISBN 1 873295 06 5
  • Buy this book
A super little book, packed with information on every possible aspect of the local geography. Equally suitable for adult reading or a secondary school project. A 'must have'.
Try local secondhand bookshops
  • The beauty of the Isle of Wight - camera pictures of the garden isle
  • Vectis Lithographers Ltd
  • ISBN (none)
  • Buy this book
1933 guide to the island, packed with original photographs. If you're here for the nostalgia you need this book! A reproduction version is also available.
Try local secondhand bookshops
  • Edwardian Island - The Isle of Wight photographs of Frederick Broderick
  • Roy Brinton
  • Dovecoat press
  • ISBN 1 874336 02 4
  • Buy this book
A wonderful record of island life at the turn of the century. Not the stuffy photos of many photographers of this era but interesting and expert photography.
Try local secondhand bookshops
  • The story of Victorian Shanklin
  • Alan Parker
  • Lockwoods (Shanklin)
  • ISBN (none)
A guide to the history of this seaside resort. Shanklin grew too fast for the infrastructure - there is a lesson here for recent UK governments who are determined to cover the countryside with houses regardless of the ability of the water companies to provide a sufficient supply - hence a series of Summers with 'hose pipe bans'. Shanklin's growth was far more modest and is still largely attractive. Find out the local history of this lovely town.
Try Blackgang Chine shop or secondhand bookshops
  • Dabell's handbook to the Isle of Wight
  • A Dabell
  • West Island Printers Ltd
  • ISBN (none)
  • Buy this book
Another reproduction, this time to celebrate Blackgang Chine's 150th anniversary. This booklet provides a faithful copy of a guide book originally published in 1844 by the Dabell family - who still own Blackgang. This is going to be difficult to get hold of but is a delightful little book of descriptions and engravings. Look out for it.
Try local secondhand bookshops
  • Hampshire and the Isle of Wight (Ordnance Survey historical guides)
  • David A Hinton & Dr A N Insole
  • Ordnance Survey
  • ISBN 0 540 01137 1
  • Buy this book
Old maps & descriptions of the area. This is probably no longer available but more recent examples by the Ordnance Survey probably are.
Try local secondhand/antiquarian bookshops
  • Isle of Wight
  • Aubrey de Selingcourt
  • ISBN (none)
This book was written by a Niton resident in 1948. The book is interesting in that the slant is slightly anti-visitor - although this is aimed at the more 'mindless' visitor. The very personal views make for a fascinating read.
Try local secondhand bookshops
  • Images of the Isle of Wight
  • Donald A Parr
  • Breedon Books Publishing Co
  • ISBN 1 85983 044 7
  • Buy this book
Images covering many aspects of the Island: places, people, entertainment, royalty, churches, weather, transport..... In fact just about everything can be found here.
Try local antiquarian bookshops
  • The Isle of Wight - Illustrated guide book
  • Ward Lock & Co's
  • ISBN (none)
  • Buy this book repro
  • Buy this book original
My all-time favourite. These guides from the 1920's 30's & 40's are wonderful. The style is in a world of its own and rekindles the atmosphere of the balmy days earlier this century. I have scanned some of my copy: Click to view

Books in print

The following books are thought to be in print. I have not reviewed these but have linked to the Amazon book site where a review may be available. These books can also be purchased from Amazon Booksellers. Please let me know if Amazon are unable to obtain a particular book and I will remove it from this list.

Click on book title for ISBN, price, availability & review (if available)

Wight Air WrecksAndy Gilliam
Fried spuds at ten: An Isle of Wight childhoodPeter G New
Behind the Small Wooden DoorBrian Manser
Newport PubsKevin Mitchell
Ryde PubsKevin Mitchell
Ghosts of the Isle of WightGay Baldwin
Isle of WightP.A. Titchmarsh
Chapter and VerseMarilyn Lambert
Cycle tours: Dorset, Hampshire & the Isle of WightOrdnance Survey
100 Walks in Hampshire & the Isle of WightRichard Sale
Family Walks on the Isle of WightLaurence Main
Favourite Isle of Wight Recipes
Isle of Wight - Around RydeD. Parr
Isle of Wight - CowesD. Parr
Isle of Wight - NewportD. Parr
The Isle of Wight: a Portrait in ColourDon French & Jack Jones
Local Red Book: Isle of Wight Towns
Portrait of the Isle of Wight RailwaysHandel Kardas
Rails in the Isle of WightRobert Hendry
WightPaul Hyland
Around Yarmouth, Totland and FreshwaterAnthony Mitchell & Olive Martin
Bibliography of Place Names in Hampshire & the Isle of Wight: with a section on Hampshire DialectRichard Coates
Breeding Birds of the Isle of WightJ.M. Cheverton
Brief History of Winkle Street, Calbourne, Isle of WightCelia Cauldwell
British Railways Past & Present: Isle of WightColin Pomeroy
Butterflies & Moths of Hampshire & the Isle of WightBarry Goater
East Cowes & Whippingham: Isle of WightRosetta Brading
Farmhouses & Cottages of the Isle of WightMarion Brinton
Flora of the Isle of WightJ.H. Bevis
Classic sails - The Ratsey & Lapthorne storyWilliam Collier
Footlights & Silver Screen: Illustrated History of the Theatres & Cinemas of the Isle of WightPeter John Norris
Geographer's Look at the Isle of WightRoy Hollis
Geologists' Association Guides: No 25: The Isle of WightB Daley & Allan Insole
Geologists' Association Guides: No 60: The Isle of WightAllan Insole & J.T. Greensmith
A Guide to the Industrial Archaeology of Hampshire & the Isle of WightPamela Moore
Guide to the Monumental Brasses & Incised Slabs on the Isle of WightNoel Staines
The Hampshire & Isle of Wight Weather BookMark Davidson
Historic Parks & Gardens of the Isle of WightVicky Basford
Inns & Ale, Bonchurch to Chale: History of Drinking Houses and Coaching Inns in and around Ventnor, Isle of WightVincent Chambers
Island from Within: Composite Portrait of the Isle of WightRoger Sawyer
Isle of Wight Here We Come, the Story of the SR's IOW Ships 1939-1945H.J. Compton
The Isle of Wight LandscapeCountryside Commission
Isle of Wight Rare Breeds & Waterfowl Park
Isle of Wight Steam Passenger Rolling StockR.J. Maycock & M.J.E. Reed
Isle of Wight Bedside AnthologyHugh Noyes
The Isle of Wight Coast Path - 80 milesJohn Merrill
Isle of Wight FolkloreAdrian Searle
Isle of Wight in old PhotographsBrian Hinton
Isle of Wight LinesVic Mitchell & Keith Smith
Isle of Wight RailwaysColin Pomeroy
Old Men Remember - Life on Victoria's Smaller Island: Memories of the Isle of WightVincent Chambers
Pastoral Pilgrimage: Sketch Book of Walks & Churches on the Isle of WightVictor Vivian
Red Squirrels: The story of Red Squirrels on the Isle of WightHelen Butler & John Norledge
Sea Fishing in Hampshire and the Isle of WightHugh Stoker
Shaping the Isle of Wight: With an excursion GuideEric Bird
A short account of the Geology of the Isle of WightH.J. Osborne White & R.A. Edwards
Signalling of the Isle of Wight RailwaysJohn Wagstaff
Smugglers of the Isle of WightRichard Hutchings
Village Churches of the Isle of WightRon & Pat Winter
West Cowes & NorthwoodRosetta Brading
Wild Orchids of Hampshire and the Isle of WightMartin Jenkinson
Young Algernon Swinburne: The Poet's association with the Isle of WightRichard Hutchings & Raymond Turley


Maps available from Amazon books. Click on map name for more information.

Outdoor Leisure Map 029: Isle of Wight - 4cm to 1km - 1:25,000Ordnance Survey
Landranger map 0196: Solent & the Isle of Wight - 2cm to 1km - 1:50,000Ordnance Survey
Isle of Wight street mapAtlas (UK)
Official tourist map - England: Isle of WightEstate publications
Visitors' Isle of Wight mapGeographers A - Z company
Ryde 1907Alan Godfrey maps
Holiday Geology Map: Isle of WightR.W. Gallois
Aqua3 Landranger 196: Solent & the Isle of WightChartech / Ordnance Survey
Aqua3 Outdoor Leisure 29: Isle of WightChartech / Ordnance Survey
Isle of Wight: Chart
Isle of Wight to Beach Head: ChartImray, Laurie, Norie & Wilson

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