Peter Lloyd the Major of East Cowes and Geoff Banks former mayor of Cowes
The official opening of the WW1 Isle of Innovation Exhibition- Then and Now last week at the East Cowes Gallery, to coincide with the important weekend of commemoration, was a fitting moment to reflect on the many people, and many ways the Isle of Wight supported the Great War and, of course, many conflicts before and after.
The exhibition is now open to the public and gives an interesting and detailed look at inventions that are well known but you would have never known they originated from the Island. The Classic Boat Museum received a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund to train staff and put on the exhibition.
Work commenced in February after the Hidden Heroes exhibition was opened and over seven and a half months volunteers have worked in collaboration with, East Cowes Heritage Society, the Studio School East Cowes, the Hammerhead Crane Trust, the Wight Military and Heritage Museum, and the IOW Councils Heritage department to put this exhibition on. It tells the story of innovation and development in the marine and aviation industries of Cowes and East Cowes, shipbuilding, fast motor torpedo boats, and seaplanes. It also looks into the role of women and their contribution to the war effort, with some remarkable stories of individuals. There are videos, photographs and models of ships, plans and the shipyards, for children there are interactive activities, sink a battleship being the most popular all of which have been built by the volunteers.
Mark McNeill, Chairman Classic Boat Museum said;
"I must first thank all the volunteers from the Museum and East Cowes Heritage Society, the Studio School East Cowes, the Hammerhead Crane Trust, the Wight Military and Heritage Museum, and the IOW Councils Heritage department who have worked so hard to bring together this amazing, and detailed exhibition of WW1 innovation. The quality of work and the dedication of all involved is truly exceptional. I am also thankful for the Heritage Lottery fund for providing the funding which has enabled us to have the resources to produce displays and equipment that will last many years. Special thanks go to Estelle Baker, Dominic Fontana and Lawrence Thomson.
Sam Sturdy, David Phenix, Gilliam Phenix (IOW Council), John Hobart (IOW Councillor for Heritage), David Hill