Live updates

Osborne House in fire emergency exercise on IoW

Osborne House is to host a fire emergency training exercise Credit: English Heritage website

The emergency services will be simulating a fire at the English Heritage site of Osborne House on the Isle of Wight on Sunday 27th September.

The training exercise will be carried out in a joint operation involving the Isle of Wight Fire & Rescue Service, Hampshire Fire & Rescue Service, Hampshire Constabulary as well as English Heritage which manages the former royal residence in East Cowes.

"The scenario we are testing will look pretty realistic, so I’d like to advise local residents and the public that this is just an exercise!

"Exercises like this are a vital way of practising our skills and ensuring that we are ready, should there ever be a major incident on the Island.”

– Dave Curry, Chief Officer of Hampshire Fire & Rescue Service and the Isle of Wight Fire & Rescue Service

The exercise starts at 9.15am. The simulation will continue until 4 o'clock in the afternoon. The scenario includes imitation artefacts being removed safely from a first floor room which is not usually open to the public. However the landmark will still be open for business as usual. The site's managers say that there will be minimal restrictions to exterior routes around the house.

People on travel routes between Eastleigh and Cowes, may see a number of fire service vehicles on the roads and waterways. Red Funnel Ferries will also be assisting with the exercise.


Queen Victoria's private beach opening for first time

Queen Victoria with King George V and Queen Mary at Osborne House Credit: PA

Queen Victoria's private beach where she first took a swim in the sea is to be opened to the public for the first time this summer. The stretch of seafront at Osborne, the monarch's seaside home on the Isle of Wight, has never been accessible to the general public.

But now English Heritage has restored Victoria's original bathing machine to the site prior to its opening on July 27. Osborne House, near East Cowes, was a popular retreat for Victoria who enjoyedfamily holidays at the seaside mansion.

She wrote in 1845: "We have quite a charming beach to ourselves."As well as being the first place that she swam in the sea, it was where herchildren learned to swim.

Osborne House in East Cowes Credit: PA