The Virtual Bookshelf

Picture of bookshelf

This page summerises all the books that are available on our website and the currently available formats.

The Diary of Mary Ann Denham

The Diary of Mary Ann Denham Mary Denham was born on Saturday, 30th July 1836. She lived all of her life either in Wootton Common or Newport, in the Isle of Wight. Time, developers and the County Council have swept away all the physical traces of her life. Indeed, we might never have remembered her but for one piece of her life that has survived, her diary.

Mary describes her life, as a young woman, in the then small village of Wootton. No famous people are featured or events, but it's the remarkable insight it gives to Victorian life that makes it so unique.

Available Formats

Just For The Record: by John Ackroyd

Thrust 2 "Wanted - 650 mph Car Designer" said the advertisement in the September 1977 issue of "Cars and Car Conversions". Richard Noble was the man behind it. His dream was to bring the World Land Speed Record back to Britain and he needed the machine with which to do it. The author was lucky enough to read the advertisement and take on the job of producing the car with which Richard finally did bring back the record for Britain.

This is the story of that vehicle, known as "Thrust 2".

The brief was simple: to design and build a car capable of breaking the Land Speed Record and reaching 650 mph. To achieve the goal we had with one car to leapfrog American progress made since 1964 through a succession of 8 different jet or rocket powered record contenders.

Available Formats

Pacific Flyer: by John Ackroyd

Pacific Flyer This is a book about challenge, technology and adventure — the mid-winter crossing of the world's largest ocean, by the two of us suspended in a tiny capsule below a balloon full of hot air. The book describes the development of the amazing balloon behind the scenes, and brings back the hair raising moments of the actual flight, and our rescue from the Arctic wastes

John Ackroyd, design engineer extraordinaire, has been a key man in a mad mix of land speed and long distance balloon record attempts, including the first supersonic land speed record. Whenever a record was broken, behind the jubilation and celebration John was there, a vital member of the delighted but exhausted crew whose creative expertise helped to make it happen. Whenever the attempt failed or bailed out, he was there too, with the chase crew or the search and rescue operation. John's book gives a fantastic insight into the frustrations, tragedies and triumphs of record breaking. He describes battles against the odds, the whims of the weather, the constraints of time and money and the often strange intervention of fate.

Available Formats

Just 3½ Miles - The Memories of Percy Harwood

Just 3½ Miles The Memories of Percy Harwood Just 3½ Miles is an autobiography of Percy’s life growing up in East Cowes from around the time of the First World War, his involvement in the WW2 and the development of the large motor trade complex which can be found to the top of Lushington Hill, Wootton Bridge.

It is a fascinating insight into life in the early part of the 20th century in East Cowes. It also allows one to understand how Percy became involved in the motor trade.

The book is not only a personal autobiography but contains much information about the early history of East Cowes and Wootton and is recommended reading.

Available Formats

Fernhill House

Fernhill HouseInteresting details about Fernhill House, Wootton Bridge and the people who lived there by Doris G. Wilson.

As part of our aims to preserve old historical books, which are out of print and no longer, available we have been given access to this self produced book entitled "Fernhill".

We believe the book was produced sometime around 1976 as the author speaks of the possible construction of the Wootton by-pass. No details are known of Doris other than she was born in Greenwich, London in 1906 and lived in Fernhill Park in the village, for many years.

Available Formats

The Decca Legacy

The Decca Legacy The driving force and primary author of this book, Ron Burr, has entered his tenth decade. He worked in radar during the Second World War, subsequently joining Decca Radar, where he was Chief Engineer at the time Decca set up the radar design and manufacturing facility on the Isle of Wight. Having seen at first hand the enormous achievements attained and the advances in technology made during his lifetime, he strongly believes that an historical account should exist of the systems designed and manufactured by the company. The record would include the impact of advances in technology and would trace the changes in corporate structures and locations.

It is also a landmark time for publishing this book. Some seventy years since the concept of radar was established, sixty years since Decca Radar was registered as a company to design and manufacture radar systems (1949-2009) and fifty years since the factory at Cowes, Isle of Wight, was established.

As a step towards gathering the support needed to prepare such a history, a reunion was arranged for as many of the company's original design engineers and operations staff that could be traced, this included those that transferred from Surrey to the Isle of Wight and those that were recruited on the Island at that time. There were two reunions during 2008 at which the photographs in this chapter were taken. Since then a considerable amount of data and pictures have been received and specific text prepared, thereby turning this book into a reality.

NEW! Book Supplement

An up-date to the published book. Available in pdf format, published by Wootton Bridge Historical.

Available Formats

Jacob Faithful, by Captain Frederick Marrat

Captain Maryat Jacob Faithful is a book written by Captain Frederick Marryat which was published in 1834, the fifth book to flow from Marryat's pen.

This is the book that Mary Ann Denham reads to her friends in her diary. The story tells the life and adventures of a boy who was born and brought up on a lighter (small river-barge) on the River Thames as it flows through London. It gives an extremely interesting contemporary picture of life in London and on the river in the early part of the nineteenth century.

The book is out of copyright, worldwide, so we are able to present this book as a free download for you to read.

Available Formats

An Evacuee's Story: by George Osborn

George Osborn's experiences of being evacuated to Wootton Bridge during the Second World War.

On 1 September 1939, the first evacuees were moved out of towns and cities across Britain. When war was declared two days later on 3 September, nearly one and half million people had been placed in reception areas around the country. These were mostly schoolchildren and mothers with young children and actual numbers varied from area to area. By early 1940, with none of the expected bombing or gas attacks from Germany, over three quarters of the evacuees had returned to their homes. Further evacuations were made when the Blitz of major cities commenced at the end of 1940 and again in 1944 when the 'doodle-bug' pilot-less planes rained down on Britain, but none of these evacuations were on the scale of the 1939 scheme.

Under the terms of the Government Evacuation Scheme, the City of Portsmouth employed an Evacuation Officer, Mr E J W Davison, to deal with the implementation of evacuation plans. His job was to liaise with teachers at local schools through the Education Committee in order to ensure that the Scheme was carried out effectively. Each School Party was divided into groups of fifty schoolchildren under a Group Leader, then sub-divided into units of ten with an assistant teacher or voluntary helper in charge. Volunteers from the WVS also participated in the evacuation procedures. All teachers and helpers were instructed to wear armbands showing the name 'PORTSMOUTH' and the school number. The children themselves were issued with labels to tie onto their coats and luggage and 'with the obligatory gas mask in a box around their necks.

Available Formats

Wootton Bridge and Whippingham: by Victoria Snow

Wootton Bridge and Whippingham: by Victoria Snow This small paperback, 7 by 5 inches, was first published in 1986 and was sold locally in the Isle of Wight. Written by Victoria Snow, who was born in Wootton in 1910, it describes her life and experiences in the Wootton and Whippingham parishes.

The book is no longer in print, although copies are available in the East Cowes and Newport Libraries. The contents of the book including the original illustrations are published in full on this website as a tribute to Victoria.

Available Formats

Whippingham: by Victoria Snow

Whippingham: by Victoria Snow Queen Victoria's Osborne Estate Royal and Rural 1845-1987. Written by Victoria Snow.

Available Formats

The History of the Wootton Station Road Methodist Church Society

Station Road Methodist Church Station Road Methodist 1898 - until present day

This book was written by members of the church as a permanent record of passed events. The church in Station Road, which use to be known as Beech Lane church was built as a result of the original church at Littletown suffering serious damage during a gale in 1897. Methodist churches across the island contributed towards the building costs of the new church.

The church has had many ups and down in its 100 plus years of life but today is a vibrant organisation and is looking toward building an extension. Many functions are held on a regular basis at the church and it has become an essential part of village life.

Available Formats

Carisbrooke in Times Past: by Peter Ednay

Carisbrooke in Times Past Carisbrooke is indeed a tranquil place. At one time it was the chief town of the island - the centre of all activity. It is now more of a suburb of Newport, the capital. The castle dominates the scene. However, there are lots of other delights - the fords, the mill, the Priory Pond, the pottery ...

The climb up the church tower gives one a chance to reflect - to look down on the interesting pattern of buildings leading up to the stately castle. A view in the other direction reminds us that Carisbrooke has changed with the times - new housing estates, new schools, new industry. And yet Carisbrooke has not lost its charm. Where else have you seen a road sign for 'Ducks in Road' There are always new places to explore, walks to accomplish, tales to hear.

This book is not intended as a guide but merely to give an insight into 'Carisbrooke in Times Past'. There will be many readers for whom the pictures will evoke memories and tales. It would be nice to hear them. If nothing else, the publication has given a chance for others to share in some of the old photographs of Carisbrooke that exist.

Available Formats

NEW! Reptiles On The Rocks by William T. Blows

Reptiles on the Rocks Reptiles on the Rocks is the story of finding dinosaurs on the Isle of Wight.

This enchanted island just off the Hampshire coast is the home of the Summer holiday-maker and retired city dweller. So often I am asked 'Why the Isle of Wight for dinosaurs?' This question and others are answered in chapter one of 'Reptiles on the Rocks'.

The Island will be the subject of years of palaeontological observations and many new and interesting finds will be made. Many of these finds will be made by amateurs who frequent these cliffs and who contribute much to our knowledge of the reptiles on the rocks.

Available Formats

This page was last edited on: 26th January, 2022 17:50:22

This Site is Sponsored by:


Help To Support Us

Wootton Bridge Historical is run as a not for profit organisation, if you have found this site useful please help to keep it running by donating a small amount.

Donate »

Another Way To Support Us

If you are looking for fast reliable web hosting you can do no better than Vidahost. We receive a small commission for each sale which helps us to keep Wootton Bridge Historical running.

Sign up »

Wootton Bridge Walks

Wootton Walk leaflet

If you are visiting the Isle of Wight you may be interested in our Wootton Walks leaflets which include a large scale route map.

These leaflets enable you, in a series of five walks, to explore some of our village’s history and beautiful surroundings. Enjoy your walk.

Continue Reading »