Isle of Wight Council

Cowes Maritime Museum

J Samuel White & Co Ltd, Cowes

Aerial view of J.S. Whites West Cowes shipyard


In 1803 Thomas White began to take over shipyards on both sides of the River Medina at West and East Cowes. Over the following years, Thomas and his sons ran various shipyards, eventually combining under the name 'J Samuel White' in 1860.

During their history, White's built: 

  • Naval ships, 
  • floating bridges, 
  • lifeboats, 
  • paddle steamers 
  • and aircraft.

They even produced ice cream machines and in the 1950’s created an early form of jet-ski the "ski-ter".

White’s built their last ship in the mid-1960s and in 1981 the yard finally closed.

To find out more information about J.S White’s Aircraft production, please read our leaflet (PDF, 1.24MB, 6 pages).