Yarmouth Castle on the Isle of Wight retains some of its original Ministry signs including this information board close to the entrance. The blank section at the bottom would have indicated (using similar signs), ‘This monument is in the care of the Ministry of Public Buildings and Works [or Ministry of Works] / It is an offence to injure or deface it’.
The Ministry signs at Yarmouth Castle continue to provide warnings on the gun-deck, now adjacent to the ferry terminal.
Brading Roman Villa is displayed within a purpose-built structure that allows visitors to walk above the excavated remains. The walkways are suspended above the remains and the main load is taken by the roof. Objects found during the excavations are displayed in cases around the route.
This replaced a earlier roofed structure whose supports can be seen alongside the remains.
The villa is preserved under the main structure. To the left is a cafe with a link reception and shop.
There are some heritage tea-rooms that deserve a special mention, and this includes NT Mottistone on the Isle of Wight. First, there was a warm welcome that makes a big difference. Second, tea was served in a proper teapot and cups and saucers were provided. Third, the scone was well above the normal standard for NT fare. Fourth (and outside the control of the NT), the sun shone.
Tea with the National Trust has become a rather mixed affair with a move away from quality tea blenders, and with a very bland, and often disappointing, range of cakes on offer. At least there is a corner of an island that takes pride in what it has to offer.
The donkey-wheel is an unusual feature of Carisbrooke Castle. A donkey demonstrates for a limited time (c. 30 seconds) how water was drawn by this method. Each is named with a ‘J’: Jack and Jill feature here (see English Heritage).
A Pathé News clip shows the wheel in action. Notice that the Ministry sign has changed during the intervening period.
I was delighted to see that a range of guidebooks for Carsibrooke were displayed in an exhibition relating to the castle. They are an important record of how the castle was interpreted and presented to the visiting public.
The cap worn by the castle’s custodian is also included as part of the castle’s heritage.
Osborne House was opened to the public in 1954 and John Charlton, Inspector of Ancient Monuments, prepared the Ministry of Works ‘Official Guide’. There is a single narrative that effectively provides a tour of the house and grounds. There are numerous black and white illustrations.
Charlton’s Guide was revised and the text continued to be used by both the Ministry of Public Buildings and Works and the Department of the Environment. While the text remained largely the same, the new souvenir guide format include colour images. These are in the format of souvenir guides written for other sites in State Guardianship.
The 1989 guidebook was by Michael Turner and was published in nine editions (to 2014) and has been replaced by the English Heritage ‘red’ guide. Essentially this was divided into two main sections: the tour (including the exterior) and the history.
The present English Heritage guidebook is written by Turner. It contains a tour of the house, tour of the gardens, followed by a history . There are seven special features explaining aspects life at Osborne.