Thursday 20 February
ISLE OF WIGHT AUSTINS
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291688
We have a monthly meeting, on the 4th Monday of the month. These meetings are held at the Arreton Community Hall, Main Road, Arreton, 7.30 for 8.00 p.m. The usual format of the evening is that we listen to a speaker on some relevant topic, view videos, or have some form of quiz, as well as having a general 'noggin and natter'. Visitors to the Island are welcome to come along.
January 2020 Meeting
There were 25 of us present to hear another of Mark Earp's talks about Island history and characters. Mark is an amateur historian and is the driving force behind an Island charity, ‘Dare to Care’ which helps children with autism. One of the things he does is to get these children involved in his history searches.
Recently, he was commissioned to look at aspects of the life of both Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. The evening’s talk was about Prince Albert. What stood out, in my opinion, were some of the projects that he was involved with on the Island. The most important one was Osborne House. It was Prince Albert who designed the house himself in the style of an Italian Renaissance palazzo. He proved himself to be a very competent architect. Under his stewardship, the size of the estate grew from 245 to 2080 acres, and included a race course. Also on the estate were 3 brickworks and a lime kiln. He designed a number of cottages that still exist today, as well as a farm. He also had a hand in the building, on the Island, of the first all concrete houses in the country. These are still occupied. Albert also put forward the idea of using straw as an insulating material.
To help his children to swim, he designed a large floating bath which was located just off the beach and filled with sea water. He was also responsible for laying 92 miles of drains on the estate, which soon got clogged up, as well as a sewage farm. He also introduced the first automated milking machine into the country. Over the years here, he proved to be a very capable individual but did have his ups and downs, particularly health wise. He sadly died at the age of 42.
Yet again, it was a most interesting talk. We must invite Mark back to see what he has to say about Queen Victoria.
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