Both Guide and Brownie Units at Carisbrooke have the honour of having the name of a royal princess in their official titles- 1st Carisbrooke (Princess Beatrice Own) Guide Unit and 1st Carisbrooke (Princess Beatrice Own) Brownie Unit. These titles were bestowed on the units back in the 1920s when the then Princess Beatrice lived at Carisbrooke Castle. At this time she would regularly visit the village church, meet and inspect the Guides and became Patron of the IW Guide Association attending the AGM most years.
As the Castle was her official residence as Governor of the Isle of Wight the princess gave permission, on several occasions, for the IW members of the Guide Association to hold a rally on the castle’s bowling green.
Before her interest in the Guiding members she had founded a museum at Carisbrooke Castle and as that museum celebrates its 125 years in 2023 it is fitting to mention the fact here and remember that it was in the museum that both the Carisbrooke units staged an exhibition in 2019 to celebrate their 100 years together with a very special event in the grounds of Carisbrooke Castle. CARISBROOKE GUIDES AND BROWNIES CELEBRATE 100 YEARS – Girlguiding Isle Of Wight
In August 2023 it was time to celebrate 125 years of the museum:
There was a celebration at the Carisbrooke Castle Museum on Friday (11th August) to mark the 125th anniversary of its founding by Princess Beatrice, who at the time was Governor of the Isle of Wight and lived at the Castle.
A new book entitled ‘100 Treasures and Curiosities’, published by Medina Publishing and written by the museum’s curator Dr Rachel Tait and Kate Tiley (assistant curator), features photographs of the chosen objects by David Whistance.
Guests gathered in the castle courtyard and were welcomed by Gill Kennett MBE Chair of Carisbrooke Castle Museum, and she invited the Vice Lord- Lieutenant Maurice Sheen CBE DL to speak.
As he was born and raised in Carisbrooke, Maurice explained he had chosen to wear an old Carisbrooke High School tie for the evening simply because it featured a crest showing the castle. He was one of the sponsors of the commemorative book and had chosen the Isle of Wight Rifles Sword originally owned by Prince Henry of Battenberg, the husband of Princess Beatrice, the youngest daughter of Queen Victoria. In 1945, the sword was donated to the Castle Museum by the Marquess of Carisbrooke, the eldest son of Princess Beatrice and Prince Henry.
Dr Rachel Tait thanked all those who had sponsored the objects chosen to be the 100 featured in the book.
In a room of the castle, which in Princess Beatrice’s day had been the kitchen, a brief history of the founding of the museum was given by Rosemary Cooper, former curator, and current trustee of the museum. Originally the artefacts, some transferred from the Isle of Wight Museum, previously held in the Isle of Wight Institute, were housed in the Castle Gatehouse, which had to be restored before the museum could be housed there. From its humble beginnings the museum now has 35,000+ artefacts.
Organist and organ builder/ repairer Andrew Cooper played Princess Beatrice’s chamber organ (built 1602) in the upper gallery to entertain guests. Andrew, who was the organist at All Saints Church Ryde for 25 years, explained the instrument featured 116 wooden pipes one of which he had replicated. This organ has crude bellows which are operated by the organist’s foot. On the front of the instrument, the ‘tell-tale’ tells the organist how much air is in the bellows.
Although the museum is 125 years old, it is still the only museum in this country that was founded by a member of the Royal Family.
100 Treasures and Curiosities is available from the Castle Museum, Medina Bookshop, Cowes and other outlets.