Isle of Wight

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The Isle of Wight seen from space
The Isle of Wight is an island county just off southern England, now part of the South East region. The county council is a unitary authority (in other words there are no longer any district councils). For police purposes the Isle of Wight is grouped with Hampshire.

The largest town is Ryde.

LGBT History

In the 16th century Nicholas Udall was for a time vicar of Calborne on the Isle of Wight. World War One poet Robert Malise Bowyer Nichols (1893-1944) was born on the island. His poem " The Burial In Flanders" is reproduced in The Penguin Book of Homosexual Verse [1].

There was an Isle of Wight CHE Group. In 1992 an Island Gay and Lesbian Switchboard was launched [2]. In 1997 the Island Switchboard published 'Speaking Out' (Delta Press) about lgbt lives on the island.

Break out Isle of Wight is a group for LGBT young people to meet other young people, make friends, talk about things important to them and have fun! In 2019 it was advertised as meeting alternate Tuesdays from – 6.30pm-8.30pm.

There is a local group of the Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement.[3]

The newsreader Kenneth Kendall lived in Cowes with his partner Mark Fear.

The Wishnet website had an article entitled "History of the gay community on the Island".[4]

Isle of Wight Pride has been held in Ryde from 2017, however the 2020 and 2021 Pride events were cancelled because of the coronavirus problem.
Ryde Pride 2018 (photo by Dr Clifford Williams)
'Outonanisland' was started in 2019 as an LGBT+ history and arts project[5] . In 2022 Out On An Island produced a book by that name published by Medina Publishing [6].

In 2021 Channel 4 broadcast a five part drama called It's a Sin written by Russell T Davies. The drama features Olly Alexander as a young gay man called Richie who arrives in London from the Isle Of Wight in September 1981. Later he returns to his parents house on the Island where he dies of AIDS.


  1. Rictor Norton provided this information
  2. Isle of Wight County Press 13 Nov 1992
  4. Wishnet - Isle of Wight Integrated Sexual Health Network missing on website 25 Nov 2019
  6. The Isle of Wight's hidden LGBTQ+ history: people, place and real-life stories. ISBN 978-1-911487-64-7