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Prince's Green

Introduction

Prince's Green is a piece of land adjacent to the shore at West Cowes. It was presented to the town in 1863 by George Stephenson for use as a public open space.

Location, Area, Boundaries, Landform and Setting

Prince's Green - formerly known as Beach Piece - is now a public open space. Lying within the Cowes Conservation Area, it is situated adjacent to the shore at West Cowes. Beach Villa (The Boathouse) lies to the south, Grantham House to the east, and Marine Villas to the south.

The area features a drinking fountain (Listed Grade II) dating to about 1890. This is a cast iron structure supported on four pillars, with a domed and fretted canopy. The fountain appears to have been cast by the Saracen Foundry of Glasgow. Similar fountains from this foundry survive elsewhere on the mainland (Conserving Lakeland: No.18, Winter 1991 & No.19, Summer 1992). The fountain was restored in the 1980s. The inscription on the canopy reads:

"Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again but whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst".

Prince's Green also features the 'Umbrella Tree' - a weeping ash said to have been planted by William Bilk in 1790 (Cowes Town Trail, IW Education Centre 1993), though the existing tree may be a replacement.

Visitor Access, Directions & Contacts

Access contact details

Prince's Green is a public open space.

History

19th Century

The land now known as Prince's Green formerly belonged to George Stephenson, who lived at Grantham House. George Stephenson was the nephew of "Rocket Stephenson". The Green was presented to Cowes by Stephenson in 1863 to mark the occasion of the wedding of the Prince of Wales (the future Edward VII) to Princess Alexandra of Denmark.

The open area is shown on the Ordnance Survey (OS) 6" map of 1866. Shelters, a fountain, a bandstand and a weeping ash are shown on the OS 25" map of 1939. The bandstand no longer survives.

An engraving by the firm of Rock, dated May 1870, shows Prince's Green with a drinking fountain, bandstand and a 'Statue of Liberty'. The attribution of this statue is confirmed by a County Press article dated 5 August 1939 which states that 'this imposing Statue of Liberty ... was erected in 1863 by a Mr Stephenson'. The statue now occupies a niche outside Northwood House and is known as 'Flora'.

20th Century

A painting by George Gregory 1903 (reproduced in 'the Garden Isle', R. McInnes, 1990) shows Prince's Green with a bandstand, statue and fountain.

The photographic collection in the isle of Wight County Record Office (IWCRO) has many views of Prince's Green.

Period

Victorian (1837-1901)

Features & Designations

Features

  • Drinking Fountain
Key Information

Type

Public Park

Purpose

Ornamental

Principal Building

Recreational

Period

Victorian (1837-1901)

Survival

Extant

Open to the public

Yes

Civil Parish

Cowes