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Events in 1865

A look at what was happening on the Isle of Wight, in Britain and the wider world when William Orchard was opening his shop.

Victorian Life

In 1865 Queen Victoria had her 46th birthday and had been our queen for 28 years. She was already a widow as Prince Albert had died in 1861. Her residence on the Isle of Wight, Osborne House at East Cowes had been completed in 1851 so she was already a frequent visitor to the Island. However she didn't buy her groceries from Orchards as far as we know! She loved the Island and eventually died at Osborne House in 1901.
Queen Victoria herself had nine children. During the Victorian era the population of Britain increased dramatically. This has been put down to a number of reasons. More people got married and they married younger. Living standards were improving and there were no major epidemics affecting the entire country during the 19th century. It wasn't until 1880 that education became compulsory for children aged 5 to 10 years.


After an earlier sail crossing between Portsmouth and Ryde, the first steam-powered ferry came into service on the same route in 1817. A ferry service on the Portsmouth to Cowes route started in the 1820s. The first steam connection between Lymington and Yarmouth started in 1830. By the time Orchards opened there would have been lots of visitors to the Island.

The first railway on the Island opened in 1862 linking Newport to Cowes. The line from Newport to Freshwater via Yarmouth first opened to traffic in 1888. It closed in 1953. The site of the old Freshwater Station is the Honnor and Jeffrey Garden Centre on the Afton Road.

Events in Britain
  • In Britain Elizabeth Garrett-Anderson qualified to practise as a doctor in 1865 - the first female doctor. The Society of Apothecaries immediately changed the rules so that no more women could qualify!

  • Nokia was founded.

  • The Salvation Army was founded.

Events in The USA

        1865 was an eventful year in the USA

  • The American Civil War ended

  • President Abraham Lincoln was assassinated

  • Slavery was finally abolished

Born in 1865
  • Rudyard Kipling 1865-1936 (British author)

  • W B Yeates 1865-1939 (Irish writer)

  • Jean Sibelius 1865-1957 (Finnish composer)

  • Edith Cavell 1865-1915 (British nurse shot by a German firing squad)

Died in 1865
  • Mrs Beeton - the expert on household management

  • Elizabeth Gaskell - Novelist

  • Sir Samuel Cunard - founder of the Cunard Shipping Line


Orchards has served the community for over 150 years. It has survived a number of depressions in the economy, two world wars that included rationing, the end of resale price maintenance in groceries and the arrival of many of the big supermarkets on the Island. 

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