The Friends of Carisbrooke Castle Museum is a small charity, which has worked for over 60 years to support the aims and activities of the Trustees of the Museum. Most of our 250 members live locally.



What do we do?

We hold regular talks, meeting in the Museum ten times a year. These are varied in content but generally reflect the members’ interests in local history, social and art history. Fifty people usually come along each month.

We run raffles, draws, book sales, attend fetes, put on occasional events such as special daytime lectures, wine tasting, coffee mornings and an annual draw. We also aim to promote the public awareness of the Museum.

How does this help the Museum?

We are a separate charity to the Museum, allowing us to raise funds for special projects in a variety of ways. In recent years our fundraising has become increasingly important to maintain the Museum.

What have we provided for the Museum?

  • computer equipment and software to update the Museum’s systems
  • funding for projects such as the collecting boxes and games in the Museum, raising vital revenue
  • items for the collection, including the Princess Elizabeth Stuart Papers, an 1863 Island child’s diary and funding towards a full set of prints of Isle of Wight scenes by Thomas Walmesley from the early 1800s
  • help when required with funds towards setting up new exhibitions

The Friends do not organise any work at the museum.  We do not help
directly in the museum but many Friends belong to the team of
volunteers, organised and supervised by the museum staff,  who help with
a variety of hands on tasks behind the scenes and front of house at the
museum, photographing items for the Historic Images website and many other tasks as required.

King Charles I portrait by Rita Greer

New King Charles I portrait by artist Rita Greer, presented to the Museum at a Friends event


There are a number of benefits in joining the Friends. Membership includes:

  • interesting talks at the Museum throughout the year
  • a pass to allow access to the Museum gives you access to the Castle without entry fee at all times when the Castle is open to the public
  • the option of using the Museum’s library, where we have an extensive collection of books relating to the Island and its history

How can I join the Friends?

There are three available options to join the Friends:

  • download the Membership form (PDF) – please print and return by post
  • come along to a meeting and join as you sign in – the regular meetings are normally on the third Wednesday of the month (except January and August)
  • download the Standing Order form (PDF) – a small number of Friends pay by Standing Order or Direct Credit

For further advice, please contact Lin Watterson (Friends Secretary):

Can I use Gift Aid?

The repayment of income tax via Gift Aid has provided a substantial increase to the funds that we can use for improvements the Museum. Please do sign up for Gift Aid if you are able to:

  • download the Gift Aid form (PDF) – please print and return by post


All events listed below take place in the Great Hall at the Museum (unless otherwise stated).

Programme of talks for 2017 – 2018

All meetings start at 7.30, gate opens at 7.15pm

June 20th OUTING. Meet at 6pm at St Mildreds Church (£5) A visit to the church at Whippingham which was part-designed by Prince Albert and built in 1854-5.  We will have a guided tour and finish with tea and cakes prepared by Church Members.

Please note this is now fully booked

June 21st Wicked Wighters by Jan Toms.

Wicked men and women of the Wight and their hidden histories.  Local historian and author Jan explores her latest research project with us.

July 19th The Separate Principal:  Ventnor Hospital by Jonyth Hill.

The historical background to the Royal National Hospital for Consumption and Diseases of the Chest, which closed in 1964 and became the site of Ventnor Botanical Gardens

(August 2016  NO MEETING)

September 20th Three Isle of  Wight First Sea Lords By Paul Bingham.

Prince Louis of Battenberg, the brother-in-law of Princess Beatrice, became First Sea Lord, the Professional Head of the Royal Navy and the only officer allowed to write in green ink!

He was followed by three other First Sea Lords with Isle of Wight connections including his son-our Governor.

Paul will put this all into context in his talk.

October 18th The Wonderful World of Bees By Mary Case.

Mary, a working farmer brought up at Compton Farm, traces a year in the busy life of a bee hive.

November 15th

Unseen Views of the Museum by John Sole and Graham Petrie.  Find out about the quirky parts of the Museum, which the public never sees.

December 13th Christmas Social with “The Two of Us” .

After the success of Katherine and Lin’s evening last year  with contributions for many Friends, we present  another  friendly evening with songs from Alan and David, readings and refreshments.

We will ask for offers of “Party Pieces” nearer the time. Please bring £3 per head for food.  (Non members brought as guests will be £6

January 2018 – NO MEETING. Membership payment due from 1st Jan 2018.

Please pay at the latest by 1st March 2018 to get your new programme during late March.

February 21st – 2018 AGM – followed by  Gardening on the Isle of Wight  by Richard Smout.

A history of gardening on the Island through the ages using archived materials,

March 21st The History and Natural History of the Freshwater Marshes by Dr Colin Pope.

Since Victorian times the Marshes have been a Mecca for visiting naturalists, but they also have a fascinating history which led to the start of our local nature conservation movement.


We welcome new members at all times of the year.

All events are free to paid up members of the Friends of Carisbrooke Castle Museum.

As we have costs to meet for insurance and speaker sessions we ask for a minimum donation of £3 for visitors.

Friends wishing to bring a guest to our special events are asked for a donation of £8 for our summer outing and £6 for the Christmas Party