Isle of Wight Hidden Heroes

Discover Isle of Wight Hidden Heroes


Throughout the history of the Isle of Wight there have been fascinating and inspiring people who’ve had a remarkable impact on the Island – many of them unknown to those of us who live or visit here. 

Learn more about these Hidden Heroes as we delve into the past to bring them to life. Find out why we should be proud of them and the many more who will be nominated by experts over the coming months.

Reverend William Fox
Dinosaur fan

Rev William Fox

The Reverend William D Fox was an influential amateur fossil hunter and collector, who worked as a curate at Brighstone, Isle of Wight, in the late 19th Century.

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Caedwalla invades the IOW by Ernest Prager

King Arwald

King Arwald was the last Jutish pagan king who ruled the Isle of Wight in the 7th century and died defending it from a merciless Anglo-Saxon barbarian, making it the last place to be converted to Christianity in England.

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Isabella de Fortibus
IW Owner

Isabella de Fortibus

Isabella de Fortibus was the last ever independent Lord of the Isle of Wight, known as ‘The Lady of the Isle’, after inheriting it when she was in her mid twenties, and becoming the richest non-royal heiress in England.

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julia margaret cameron

Julia Margaret Cameron

Take a short walk north from the stunning Freshwater Bay and in no time at all you’ll arrive at the former home of pioneering female Victorian photographer, Julia Margaret Cameron.

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Joe Carstairs with Joe Harris
Speed freak

Joe Carstairs

‘Joe’ Carstairs was known as the ‘fastest woman on the water’ in the 1920s. She was an openly gay, female powerboat racer who spent several years on the Isle of Wight.

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John Ackroyd

John Ackroyd

One of the designers of the first electric car was also involved in designing and building Thrust 2, which held the land speed record from 1983 to 1997.

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Andy Stanford Clark

Andy Stanford-Clark

Master Inventor and Chief Technology Officer for IBM UK, Andy Stanford-Clark was one of the co-inventors of MQTT, the communication protocol that drives Facebook Messenger.

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Rev Charles Paterson
Curators' Choice

Rev. Charles Paterson

Charles Paterson was a keen photographer and a gifted amateur painter. Remarkably, he also kept a log of the work that might otherwise have gone largely unnoticed.

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anne preston
Islanders' Heroes

Anne Preston

Nominated by her daughter, Sharon Dearden, the founder of the Island Disabled Action Group –
Anne Preston – was never recognised for her work.

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Maria bell - Islanders Heroes
Islanders' Heroes

Maria Bell

Nominated by Patrick McConnell, Isle of Wight food stylist and photographer, Maria Bell, is hailed for being a great ambassador for the Island in London.

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paul armfield
Islanders' Heroes

Paul Armfield

Jon Thorne nominates Paul Armfield, musician, singer, songwriter, poet and master of programming and more at Quay Arts.

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