Two of the houses in Alexandra Gardens, number 3 Bermuda House and number 5 The Windsor Carlton, will be open to the public with no admission fee, as part of the English Heritage Open Days on the afternoons of 13th and 14th September 2014.

Alexandra Gardens, named after HRH Alexandra, Princess of Wales, is a private road of eight grand villas close to the Winter Gardens overlooking the beach and harbour in Ventnor on the south coast of the Isle of Wight.

The villas were build in 1883-4 and many still have wonderful gothic style carved staircases from the ground up to the second floor with ornate plaster cornicing and magnificent ceiling roses. The ground and first floor front rooms are large with high ceilings, bay windows and magnificent views. Unusually high skirting go round all of the rooms. The main reception rooms had large marble and slate fireplaces. When built they would have been among the finest houses in Ventnor - homes for gentlemen.

  Heritage Open Days celebrates England's fantastic architecture and culture by offering free access to properties that are usually closed to the public or normally charge for admission. Every year on four days in September, buildings of every age, style and function throw open their doors, ranging from castles to factories, town halls to tithe barns, parish churches to Buddhist temples. It is a once-a-year chance to discover hidden architectural treasures and enjoy a wide range of tours, events and activities which bring to life local history and culture.

The houses stand on the site of Ventnor Mill and mill pond which had certainly been there from the 1300's.

As well as being able to go around two of the houses, number 3 Bermuda House which is currently self catering holiday accommodation, and number 5 which as the Windsor Carlton continues the street's tradition of providing guest accommodation, you will be able to find out about:

  • Sir Edward Elgar's honeymoon in number 3
  • The DH Lawrence movie starring Alan Bates that was filmed in number 7
  • How both the owner and builder got into financial difficulties during the building of the houses which was to have a profound effect on their future
  • Where exactly the mill stood and about the disastrous fire of 7th March 1848
  • The minister who found his manse in the street to be too large and draughty
  • The unusual role of number 4 running up to World War II
  • How generations of holidaymakers have fond memories of the street
  • The neo-gothic style of the interiors

Both houses will be open for guided tours from 1-5pm on Saturday 13th and Sunday 14th September. Assemble at number 3, Bermuda House, and refreshments will be available in the Windsor Carlton, number 5.

How to find us

The street runs between Pier Street and Dudley Road above the Winter Gardens in Ventnor. For satnav the postcode is PO38 1EE. Car Parking is available nearby in Dudley Road and on the seafront. Southern Vectis routes 3 and 6 stop nearby.

More information

For more information about this event you can call the Windsor Carlton on 01983 852543 or e-mail us.

Acknowledgements

This event is staged by the Ventnor and Undercliff Heritage Partnership would not be possible without the co-operation of the other residents of Alexandra Gardens, English Heritage and the Ventnor Heritage Museum.

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Organised by Ann & Paul Hutchins and John Allen.