Welcome to Cowes
John Nicholson was born and has lived on the Island all his life, Gurnard, Cowes and now Northwood, and is old enough to remember when Cowes Urban District Council still used steam road rollers and when Gurnard beach had a raft, diving board and floats to hire.
John started his own construction business in 1979, employing all local people, operating mainly in the skilled specialist sector and has taken a leading role, over many years, in representing the industry on local and national levels. In recent years, John played a leading role in getting scaffolding standards better regulated on the Public Highway, and was one of the first to start talking about Mental Health in the Construction Industry, locally and nationally. John is an instigator and campaigner for professional standards in Construction and is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Builders and Fellow of the Institute of Roofers himself and was one of the first small companies in the South to achieve Quality Assurance (ISO 9001) as far back as 1993 and still maintains the Standard today.
First elected to the Isle of Wight Council in 1993 as Ward member for Cowes South and Northwood, John has served as Chairman of the Policy and Scrutiny Committee for Health and Adult Social Care for an unprecedented 6 years, consistently across different Administrations, and still maintains an influential role as Vice-Chairman. John has also served on Northwood Parish Council and Cowes Town Council for the same period, being Chairman of Cowes Town Council’s Projects Committee for two terms.
Amongst outside interests John has been Chairman of the local branch of the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) for 25 years and was one of the organisers of the much loved Beer & Buses Festival of recent years, prior to the Pandemic. He has also had a lead roll in developing a series of Historic Walks between pubs around the Island and a special Blitz Walk to commemorate the action of the Polish Navy’s Błyskawica in defending Cowes from a Nazi bomb-raid in May 1942. John is passionate about Island history and culture and says that you can barely take ten steps in Cowes before you are on something unique and interesting.
Being Mayor, John says, is an honour, but more than that it is a responsibility that comes with a duty and opportunity. The opportunity now presenting, and the reason why he is so excited about taking the position, is to drive the Cowes and Northwood Place Plan forward. John was lead instigator in starting the Place Plan and, now with the lock-downs behind us, wants to bring it to life setting objectives and actions against its findings and evidenced local needs to deliver a coordinated alignment across the local area to address the needs of our people, promote our strengths and safeguard our character, valuable assets and environment.
Councillor John Nicholson
Cowes Town Council Mayor
The image left shows two icons of Cowes’ industrial past; the Hammerhead Crane (100 years old in 2012) which serves as a reminder of the great days of J Samuel White’s shipbuilders on the Medina until the 1960s; and the 5th mechanical Floating Bridge, connecting Cowes with East Cowes, a service which celebrated its 150th anniversary in 2009.
Cowes Heritage is an organisation focused on recording the history of Cowes, capturing for future generations its industrial past.
Every year Cowes Heritage put on an exhibition; subjects covered in the last few years include: Made in Cowes; Cowes At War; Schools in Cowes; Businesses in Cowes; Northwood House; Churches in Cowes; Cowes in the 1950s; and J Samuel White’s.
Cowes Heritage has merged with the Cowes Voluntary Community Group and formed a new charity: Cowes Heritage and Community Group.
Please contact Cowes Heritage and Community Group for more information: https://chcg.org.uk/
There will be a guided Cowes Blitz Walk starting at 2.30pm on 7 May 2022 to commemorate the 80th Anniversary of the Defence of Cowes. Meet at the War Memorial in Northwood Park, Cowes. The guide is available at: https://www.cowestowncouncil.org.uk/wp/wp-content/uploads/2022/03/Cowes-Blitz-Walk-2022.pdf
There are many historic points of interest throughout Cowes. Details of historic walks, which are unescorted, are available at: https://iwbeerandbuses.co.uk/walks-historic.php.
Cowes Town Council works with local organisations for the benefit of the residents of Cowes, including:
Cowes Harbour Commission (CHC) is the statutory harbour authority for Cowes Harbour on the Isle of Wight. Further details can be found on their website: www.cowesharbourcommission.co.uk/
Isle of Wight Council. Detail of the services the IW Council are responsible for are available on their website: https://www.iow.gov.uk/