Isle of Wight Council

Specialist Library Services

Local Studies and Maritime Collections

Isle of Wight Local Studies and Martime Collections

Isle of Wight Local Studies

If you have an interest in local history then you might like to visit the Local Studies Collection. The Collection includes books, newspapers, journals, parish magazines, trade directories and electoral registers and is constantly growing as new items are published. Some of the collection is held at Library HQ, Lord Louis Library, Orchard St, Newport PO30 1LL while other material is in the County Record Office in Newport.

Tel: 01983 823824 or email:

Tel: 01983 823821 or e-mail:

An appointment is recommended so please telephone or e-mail before your visit. Opening hours - 10am to 4pm Monday-Friday 

Cowes Maritime Collection

Cowes Library, Beckford Road, Cowes, IW PO31 7SG
Tel: 01983 293341


Cowes Maritime Collection contains an extensive array of books and journals on all aspects of yachting and boating from the earliest days of yachting through the time of the gracious ‘J’ class to the present. The collection covers the many facets of marine activities, including boat maintenance, knots, meteorology, deep water cruising, dinghy sailing, windsurfing, power boats and offshore racing. The Collection is available during normal library opening hours.

Marine Industry

The Cowes area played an important role in the development of marine industries in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Apart from the world famous shipbuilders, J Samuel White & Co, companies in Cowes and East Cowes developed all types of craft from sea planes to hovercraft and at one time were involved in the British contribution to the Space Race.

Maritime Museum

There is a small maritime Museum in Cowes Library and extensive archives, including illustrations and ships’ drawings, are held elsewhere on the Island. To consult these, please contact the Isle of Wight Heritage Service – tel: 01983 823433 or e-mail