Cowes (/kaʊz/) is an English seaport town and civil parish on the Isle of Wight. Cowes is located on the west bank of the estuary of the River Medina, facing the smaller town of East Cowes on the east bank. The two towns are linked by the Cowes Floating Bridge, a chain ferry.
The population was 9,663 in the 2001 census, which doubles during the regatta in early August. The population at the 2011 census was 10,405.
Charles Godfrey Leland's 19th century verses describe the towns poetically as "The two great Cowes that in loud thunder roar/This on the eastern, that the western shore".
Cowes has been seen as a home for international yacht racing since the founding of the Royal Yacht Squadron in 1815. It gives its name to the world's oldest regular regatta, Cowes Week, which occurs annually in the first week of August. Later, powerboat races are held.
Much of the town's architecture is still heavily influenced by the style of ornate building that Prince Albert popularised.
|Area||2.8002 km2 (1.0812 sq mi) |
|Population||10,405 (Census 2011)|
|• Density||3,716/km2 (9,620/sq mi)|
|OS grid reference|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|Fire||Isle of Wight|
|Ambulance||Isle of Wight|
|EU Parliament||South East England|
The name Westcowe was attested in 1413 as the name of one of two sandbanks, on each side of the River Medina estuary, so-called after a supposed likeness to cows. The name was subsequently transferred to fortifications built during the reign of Henry VIII on the east and west banks of the river to dispel a French invasion, referred to as cowforts or cowes. They subsequently gave their names to the towns of Cowes and East Cowes, replacing the earlier name of Shamblord.
The town's name has been subject to dispute in the past, sometimes being called Cowes, and then West Cowes. For example, a milestone from the 17th century exists, calling the town Cowes, but up until the late 19th Century the Urban District Council bore the name West Cowes. In 1895 West Cowes Urban District Council applied for permission to change the name of the town to Cowes officially, and this was granted on 21 August 1895.
Whilst the name Cowes has become well established on infrastructure related to the town (including maps, road signage and postal addresses), the name West Cowes remained on Admiralty charts, used by sailors, until 2015, when it was corrected following a letter from a Cowes resident.
Red Funnel, the Southampton-based ferry company that provides routes from Southampton to both Cowes and East Cowes, has continued to use the name West Cowes for the town in information and publicity and as the name for the town's terminal.
In earlier centuries the two settlements were much smaller and known as East and West Shamblord or Shamelhorde, the East being the more significant settlement.
The Isle of Wight was a target of attempted French invasions, and there were notable incursions. Henrician Castles were built in both settlements in the sixteenth century. The west fort in Cowes still survives to this day, albeit without the original Tudor towers, as Cowes Castle. The fort built in East Cowes is believed to have been similar but was abandoned c. 1546 and since destroyed.
The seaport at Cowes, Isle of Wight was the first stop on English soil before crossing the Atlantic Ocean with many ships loaded with Germans and Swiss passengers leaving from Rotterdam going to the New World destination of the port City of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. These Germans and Swiss passengers where going to become British subjects in Colonial America, and the English Captain's made a written record of the stop in Cowes, England. 
It is believed that the building of an 80-ton, 60-man vessel called Rat o' Wight on the banks of the river Medina in 1589 for the use of Queen Elizabeth I sowed the seed for Cowes to grow into a world-renowned centre of boat-building. However, seafaring for recreation and sport remained the exception rather than the rule until much later. It was not until the reign of keen sailor George IV that the stage was set for the heyday of Cowes as 'The Yachting Capital of the World.' In 1826 the Royal Yacht Squadron organised a three-day regatta for the first time and the next year the king signified his approval of the event by presenting a cup to mark the occasion. This became known as Cowes Regatta and it soon grew into a four-day event that always ended with a fireworks display.
Northwood House was the home of the Ward family. It was donated under trust to the town in 1929, the grounds becoming Northwood Park. William George Ward was a close friend of the poet Tennyson and in whose memory the poet wrote six lines.
Cowes and East Cowes became a single urban district in 1933.
During an air raid of World War II on 4/5 May 1942, the local defences had been fortuitously augmented by the Polish destroyer Błyskawica (itself built by J. Samuel White in East Cowes), which put up such a determined defence that, in 2002, the crew's courage was honoured by a local commemoration lasting several days to mark the 60th anniversary of the event. In 2004 an area of Cowes was named Francki Place in honour of the ship's commander. The Friends of the ORP Błyskawica Society is active in Cowes. There is a Błyskawica Memorial. 
Industry in both Cowes and East Cowes has always centred on the building and design of marine craft and materials associated with boat-making, including the early flying boats, and sail-making. It is the place where the first hovercraft was tested.
The population of the town increases dramatically during Cowes Week, the busiest time of the year for local businesses. The town was reported to be doing well in 2009, despite the economic downturn.
The high street is where most of the retail shops in the town are located. These include specialist sailing shops catering for yachting enthusiasts.
Cowes is a gateway town for the Isle of Wight. Travellers to Southampton are served by a high speed catamaran passenger ferry from Cowes known as the Red Jet. Southern Vectis' route 1 is the main bus service in Cowes. Single decker buses branded Red1 serve the Red Jet terminal, whilst route 1 double deckers serve the M&S Foodhall at Carvel Lane (the site of the former Cowes railway station). Both run to Newport to take travellers on to other island destinations. Wightbus also ran local services around Cowes and Gurnard until 2011. The Cowes Floating Bridge connects the two towns of West Cowes and East Cowes throughout the day. It is one of a few remaining chain ferries not replaced by a physical bridge.
Cowes was once served by a rail link to and from the island's capital Newport but as part of cutbacks made on the recommendation of Dr Beeching in the 1960s the line to Newport was cut in 1966. The trackbed south of Arctic Road is now maintained as a cycle path.
Cowes Park and Ride is a park and ride scheme on the Isle of Wight, featuring an 85-space car park and bus stop on the outskirts of Cowes in Somerton, on a former industrial site. It is currently served by Southern Vectis buses on route 1 every 10 minutes during the day. From the Park and Ride, a £2.50 return journey is available to Cowes Pontoon for the Red Jet boat to Southampton. This is one of the few return journeys Southern Vectis offer.
The park and ride scheme for Cowes was launched in 2004 as part of a joint venture between the Isle of Wight Council, Southern Vectis and Red Funnel. It was built on a former council depot on the Somerton Industrial Estate. The scheme went ahead largely due to losing a car park in Denmark Road for development, resulting in a lack of parking around Cowes. During the first few weeks of operation, before any Southern Vectis routes stopped at the park and ride, a temporary shuttle service was put in place, subsidised by Red Funnel, with a 15-minute frequency timed around morning and evening peaks.
To begin with, the scheme suffered with a huge lack in the number of people using the service, receiving no passengers in its first few days of operation.
Prior to the network revision by Southern Vectis in April 2006, the park and ride was served by routes 1, 2 and 3, with routes 2 and 3 running under the Route Rouge branding. All services to Cowes served the site, with buses using Three Gates Road to pass between the two current alternate routings, except route 1, which ran via the current park and ride branch but along Mill Hill road as opposed to Newport Road.
After the network revision, routes 2 and 3 no longer served Cowes leaving only route 1 at an increased frequency of every 15 minutes to serve the site, taking passengers right to the entrance of the Red Jet terminal. Due to the higher frequency, buses no longer serve Three Gates Road to cross over the routings, so buses on the Round House leg do not serve the site.
When the scheme was first launched, the price of a return ticket was £1, however, in April 2008, the price increased for the first time, doubling to £2 by Southern Vectis. This was due to a rise in costs and substantial cut in payments for free travel by the Isle of Wight Council. This later increased again on 2 February 2009 along with other £2 fares to £2.50 as part of Southern Vectis' annual fare review.
Later in 2008, there were some instances of vandalism at the site, with one woman's car having its windows smashed after she left it in the site overnight. Police are working with the Isle of Wight Council to try to improve security at the site. The council have been told that members of the public are leaving their valuables inside cars at the site, which could be targeted by thieves.
The site was remodelled over the turn of 2009 and 2010. A new entrance was built directly off the roundabout, with a new bus stop and shelter, and a raised kerb. The previous entrance and exit was widened as an exit, and buses are now able to use the site without doing the large turn or being affected and forced to reverse by badly parked vehicles. The rearrangement also provides more spaces. A new bus shelter was due to be installed at the site on 24 November 2009, leading to the closure of the site to buses from 11 am, with temporary bus stops on the main road outside, although this didn't happen as planned. The site was closed at a later date for a longer period, with buses using stops on the main road for around a month. The newly remodelled site was completed on 22 January 2010, at which point buses started to enter the site again.
Cowes is the main township on Phillip Island in the Gippsland region of Victoria, Australia. It is about two hours' drive from Melbourne and can also be reached by coach, or passenger ferry from Stony Point on the Mornington Peninsula. Cowes is located on the northern side of Phillip Island and faces towards French Island and the Mornington Peninsula. At the 2016 census, Cowes had a population of 4,839.Cowes Enterprise College
Cowes Enterprise College, previously known as Cowes High School, is a coeducational secondary school and sixth form with academy status located on the outskirts of Cowes at Crossfield Avenue on the Isle of Wight, England.Cowes Sports F.C.
Cowes Sports Football Club is a football club based in Cowes, Isle of Wight, England. They play in the Wessex League Premier Division. The club is affiliated to the Isle of Wight Football Association, which is a division of the Hampshire Football Association.Cowes Week
Cowes Week ( KOWZ) is one of the longest-running regular regattas in the world. With 40 daily sailing races, up to 1,000 boats, and 8,000 competitors ranging from Olympic and world-class professionals to weekend sailors, it is the largest sailing regatta of its kind in the world. Having started in 1826, the event is held in August each year on the Solent (the area of water between southern England and the Isle of Wight made tricky by strong double tides), and is run by Cowes Week Limited in the small town of Cowes on the Isle of Wight.East Cowes
East Cowes is a town and civil parish to the north of the Isle of Wight, on the east bank of the River Medina next to its neighbour on the west bank, Cowes.
The two towns are connected by the Cowes Floating Bridge, a chain ferry operated by the Isle of Wight Council.
East Cowes is the site of Norris Castle, and Osborne House, the former summer residence of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. The Prince had a major influence on the architecture of the area, for example on the building of St Mildred's Church in nearby Whippingham, which features distinctive turrets imitating those found on a German castle.East Cowes Victoria Athletic A.F.C.
East Cowes Victoria Athletic Association Football Club is a football club based in East Cowes, Isle of Wight, England They are currently members of the Wessex League Division One and play at Beatrice Avenue.Egypt Point
Egypt Point is the northernmost point of the island county of the Isle of Wight off the south coast of England, and was one of Queen Victoria's favourite places during her time on the island. According to the Post Office at the 2011 Census the point population was included in the civil parish of Northwood, Isle of Wight.
Egypt Point lies in between the town of Cowes and the village of Gurnard. Between 1897 and 1989 a lighthouse was maintained there by Trinity House. Initially lit by paraffin, in 1925 it was converted to run automatically on acetylene; then in 1969 it was converted to run on electricity. Though the light no longer functions, the structure remains a landmark for yachtsmen.
Egypt Point derives its name from a nearby gypsy encampment from the 16th century. It is now a popular vantage point for the annual Round the Island Race which starts and ends at Cowes.Hampshire Senior Cup
The Hampshire Senior Cup is a cup competition open to football teams affiliated with the Hampshire Football Association. The competition was founded in 1887 and has been contested every year since, with the exception of 1914 to 1919 when it was postponed due to the First World War.Despite the name, teams from Wiltshire, Dorset, the Isle of Wight and the Channel Islands have also competed in this competition, as well as teams representing the Police and any armed forces based within the county. The competition is open to teams from all levels of competition from the Premier League down to Level 10 of the English football league system, and a number of league teams have won this competition in the past. However, it is mostly non-league clubs who compete for this trophy instead of their league counterparts as all teams associated with the Hampshire FA are required to compete, with the exception of Premier League and English Football League teams who may opt out of the competition for a nominal fee.The record attendance came in the 1932 Final, when an incredible 20,544 watched Newport play Cowes at The Dell, Southampton. The biggest score in the final came more recently in 2000 when Aldershot Town defeated Andover 9-1. There has also twice been 8-0 final scores.
The current champions are Havant & Waterlooville, who defeated Basingstoke Town 2-1, in the 2019 final held at Eastleigh.
In April 2012, FIFA announced that the Hawk-Eye sensor system would be used in an experimental capacity at that year's final between A.F.C. Totton and Eastleigh as part of a series of ongoing reliability and accuracy tests of goal-line technology systems.On the 9 October 2013, a tie was played between Brockenhurst and Andover Town. After the match finished 0-0 after extra time, the subsequent penalty shootout resulted in 29 consecutive goals being scored, with Brockenhurst winning 15-14. This was later confirmed by the Football Association as an English record (and possibly a world record) for the highest number of consecutive goals scored in a penalty shootout.Isle of Wight
The Isle of Wight (; also referred to informally as The Island or abbreviated to IoW) is a county and the largest and second-most populous island in England. It is in the English Channel, between 2 and 5 miles off the coast of Hampshire, separated by the Solent. The island has resorts that have been holiday destinations since Victorian times, and is known for its mild climate, coastal scenery, and verdant landscape of fields, downland and chines. The island is designated a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve.
The island has been home to the poets Swinburne and Tennyson and to Queen Victoria, who built her much-loved summer residence and final home Osborne House at East Cowes. It has a maritime and industrial tradition including boat-building, sail-making, the manufacture of flying boats, the hovercraft, and Britain's space rockets. The island hosts annual music festivals including the Isle of Wight Festival, which in 1970 was the largest rock music event ever held. It has well-conserved wildlife and some of the richest cliffs and quarries for dinosaur fossils in Europe.
The isle was owned by a Norman family until 1293 and was earlier a kingdom in its own right. In common with the Crown dependencies, the British Crown was then represented on the island by the Governor of the Isle of Wight until 1995. The island has played an important part in the defence of the ports of Southampton and Portsmouth, and been near the front-line of conflicts through the ages, including the Spanish Armada and the Battle of Britain. Rural for most of its history, its Victorian fashionability and the growing affordability of holidays led to significant urban development during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Historically part of Hampshire, the island became a separate administrative county in 1890. It continued to share the Lord Lieutenant of Hampshire until 1974, when it was made its own ceremonial county. Apart from a shared police force, there is now no administrative link with Hampshire, although a combined local authority with Portsmouth and Southampton was considered, this is now unlikely to proceed.The quickest public transport link to the mainland is the hovercraft from Ryde to Southsea; three vehicle ferry and two catamaran services cross the Solent to Southampton, Lymington and Portsmouth.List of places on the Isle of Wight
This is a list of towns and villages in the county of Isle of Wight, England.List of schools on the Isle of Wight
This is a list of schools on the Isle of Wight, England.Liverpool-class lifeboat
The Liverpool-class lifeboat was a non self-righting boat operated by the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) from its stations around the coast of the United Kingdom and Ireland. The boats were designed for carriage launching and there were two types built, single and twin engined.Northwood, Isle of Wight
Northwood is a village and civil parish on the Isle of Wight. It lies south of the town of Cowes and has been occupied for about 1000 years. The Church of St. John the Baptist in Northwood, was first built between the 11th and 13th centuries.
There is a primary school in Northwood which was first begun in 1855. Until 1990 it still featured an outside toilet.
The main form of transport is Southern Vectis bus route 1, which runs every 7–8 minutes in the daytime to Cowes and Newport, along the main road. Local bus service route 32 is provided by the setting up of a Joint Scheme involving Southern Vectis and the Parish Council mid-2011. Several changes to this route have occurred after Southern Vectis withdrew their 27 to Cowes and 28 to Newport.Offshore powerboat racing
Offshore powerboat racing is a type of racing by ocean-going powerboats, typically point-to-point racing.
In most of the world, offshore powerboat racing is led by the Union Internationale Motonautique (UIM) regulated Class 1 and Powerboat GPS (formerly known as Powerboat P1). In the USA, offshore powerboat racing is led by the APBA/UIM and consists of races hosted by Powerboat P1 and OPA.
The sport is financed by a mixture of private funding and commercial sponsors.Osborne House
Osborne House is a former royal residence in East Cowes, Isle of Wight, United Kingdom. The house was built between 1845 and 1851 for Queen Victoria and Prince Albert as a summer home and rural retreat. Prince Albert designed the house himself in the style of an Italian Renaissance palazzo. The builder was Thomas Cubitt, the London architect and builder whose company built the main facade of Buckingham Palace for the royal couple in 1847. An earlier smaller house on the site was demolished to make way for a new and far larger house, though the original entrance portico survives as the main gateway to the walled garden.
Queen Victoria died at Osborne House in January 1901. Following her death, the house became surplus to royal requirements and was given to the state, with a few rooms being retained as a private museum to Queen Victoria. From 1903 until 1921 it was used as a junior officer training college for the Royal Navy, known as the Royal Naval College, Osborne. In 1998 training programmes consolidated at the Britannia Royal Naval College, now at Dartmouth, thus vacating Osborne House. The House is now open to the public for tours.PO postcode area
The PO postcode area, also known as the Portsmouth postcode area, is a group of 34 postcode districts in southern England, which are subdivisions of 24 post towns. These postcode districts cover southeast Hampshire (including Portsmouth, Southsea, Havant, Waterlooville, Lee-on-the-Solent, Gosport, Fareham, Rowland's Castle, Emsworth and Hayling Island) southwestern West Sussex (including Chichester and Bognor Regis) and the Isle of Wight (including Newport, Cowes, East Cowes, Ryde, Yarmouth, Shanklin, Ventnor, Seaview, Bembridge, Totland Bay, Sandown and Freshwater).Regatta
A regatta is a series of boat races. The term comes from the Venetian-Italian language regata meaning "contest" and typically describes racing events of rowed or sailed water craft, although some powerboat race series are also called regattas. A regatta often includes social and promotional activities which surround the racing event, and except in the case of boat type (or "class") championships, is usually named for the town or venue where the event takes place.
Although regattas are typically amateur competitions, they are usually formally structured events, with comprehensive rules describing the schedule and procedures of the event. Regattas may be organized as championships for a particular area or type of boat, but are often held just for the joy of competition, camaraderie, and general promotion of the sport.
Sailing race events are typically held for a single class (a single model of boat, such as the Islander 36) and usually last more than one day. Regattas may be hosted by a yacht club, sailing association, town or school as in the case of the UK's National School Sailing Association and Interscholastic Sailing Association (high school) regattas or Intercollegiate Sailing Association (college) regattas. Currently, The Three Bridge Fiasco, conducted by the Singlehanded Sailing Society of San Francisco Bay with more than 350 competitors is the largest sailboat race in the United States.
One of the largest and most popular rowing regattas is the Henley Royal Regatta held on the River Thames, England. One of the largest and oldest yachting regattas in the world is Cowes Week, which is held annually by the Royal Yacht Squadron in Cowes, England, and usually attracts over 900 sailing boats. Cowes Week is predated by the Cumberland Cup (1775), Port of Dartmouth Royal Regatta (1822) and Port of Plymouth Regatta (1823). North America's oldest regatta is the Royal St. John's Regatta held on Quidi Vidi Lake in St. John's, Newfoundland every year since 1818.
The term "regatta" is from Venetian regata ("contention for mastery"), from regatare ("compete, haggle, sell at retail"), possibly from recatare.River Medina
The River Medina is the main river of the Isle of Wight, England, rising at St Catherine's Down near Blackgang and Chale, and flowing generally northwards through the capital Newport, towards the Solent at Cowes. The river is a navigable tidal estuary from Newport northwards, where it takes the form of a ria (a drowned valley).
Its current state has occurred because the Medina used to be a tributary of what was once the "River Solent" and had a much larger catchment area. As the Solent valley flooded and the island eroded, the river received less water flow and more sediment, causing it to become more tidal.
The river is bridged at Newport. Cowes is connected to East Cowes by a chain ferry known as the Cowes Floating Bridge.The name Medina comes from the Old English Meðune meaning "the middle one", and the current pronunciation was first recorded as 'Medine' in 1196.The river is used by yachtsmen as a very safe harbour. Along the banks of the Medina there are many old warehouses and wharves where in the past flying boats, hovercraft and steam ships were developed and built. The Classic Boat Museum displays much of the river's history alongside the history of yachting. The Island Harbour Marina, at the site of an old tidal mill, is also on the river, about two miles from Newport.
As well as the chain ferry, the River Medina has several small ferries which cater mainly for sailors.
Medina, Western Australia is a suburb in Perth named after it.Royal Yacht Squadron
The Royal Yacht Squadron is one of the most prestigious yacht clubs in the world. Its clubhouse is Cowes Castle on the Isle of Wight in the United Kingdom. Member yachts are given the Suffix RYS to their names, and permitted to fly the White Ensign of the Royal Navy rather than the merchant Red Ensign flown by the majority of other UK registered vessels. The club's patron is Queen Elizabeth II and the club's admiral is Prince Philip who is also a former club commodore.
Isle of Wight Portal
Settlements on the Isle of Wight