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History

New beginnings… 

In 1823, a 15 year old Alexander Dabell and his family relocated from Nottingham to the Isle of Wight, with the intention of starting a lace making factory in the central town of Newport.

After learning all he could from his father, Alexander moved to London to perfect the art of lace making and didn’t return to the Island until 1830, when he opened his first business. 

Alexander was very driven with a determination to make his fortune! His business involved many odd jobs in a bid to generate money and was very resourceful, from hair cutting to opening gift shops across the island. 

His trials and experiments lead him to one fortuitous day in 1839 when he met a man who had recently built a hotel at Blackgang, and he immediately recognised the area’s potential. 

By 1842 he acquired the land with his ability to throw a stone, and it was agreed the point it landed was the furthest reach of the lease.

This unconventional way of thinking became the founding stone of Blackgang Chine’s success…

The birth of Blackgang Chine…

1830 – Alexander studied the gaunt and awe-inspiring chine gorge, and knew immediately that he could create gardens, which would appeal to the romantic Victorians!

1842 – Alexander acquired the contract of the land with his ability to throw a stone, and it was agreed the point it landed was the furthest reach of the lease. He immediately set to work on taming the rough terrain to build pathways down the ravine, landscaping gardens on top of the cliffs, and constructing steps to the beach.

1842 – Later that year, Alexander, like many Islanders heard of the giant whale that had been stranded ashore by the Needles. Not too long after this he won the whale in an auction, sold off the blubber, had the bones bleached, and transported it across the Island to its current home, Blackgang Chine. 

1843 – Blackgang Chine was established and the giant whale skeleton became a popular point of morbid curiosity to the Victorians, as well as the park’s first attraction!

Today the park is still owned and run by the descendants of Alexander Dabell, and the magic of the park has only grown over the years. Blackgang Chine is now home to life-sized Pirate Ships, Fairy Villages and Castles, Dodo Valleys, restricted area 5 and of course the original Cowboy Town as well as a whole host of magical surprises around every corner. The park continues to expand and develop every year in order to accommodate new generations of curiosity and fun seekers.

So take a visit to the land that never grows old and see where your imagination can take you.

For information on tickets and how to book your trip, click here. We can’t wait to welcome you to the park!

1823

This was the year that one of the unsuspecting lead pioneers of UK tourism moved to the Isle of Wight at the ripe age of 15 years old, Alexander Dabell

1830

Alexander was a very driven individual with a determination to make his fortune! His business involved many odd jobs in a bid to generate money and was very resourceful, from hair cutting to opening gift shops across the island.

1839

His trials and experiments lead him to one fortuitous day when he met a man who had recently built a hotel at Blackgang, and he immediately recognised the area’s potential. Alexander studied the awe-inspiring chine gorge, and knew immediately that he could create gardens, which would appeal to the romantic Victorians!

1842

Alexander acquired the contract of the land, and with his ability to throw a stone it was agreed that the distance of his throw would account for the boundaries of the lease. He immediately set to work on taming the rough terrain to build pathways down the ravine, landscaping gardens on top of the cliffs, and constructing steps to the beach.

1842

Later that year, Alexander, like many Islanders heard of the giant whale that had been stranded ashore by the Needles. Not too long after this he won the whale in an auction, sold off the blubber, had the bones bleached, and transported it across the Island to its current home, Blackgang Chine.

1843

Blackgang Chine was established and the giant whale skeleton became a popular point of morbid curiosity to the Victorians, as well as the park’s first attraction!

1853

Blackgang Chine received the royal seal of approval after a visit from Queen Victoria.

1920

Queen Mary visited the park and bumped her head on the whale’s jawbone, and it knocked her hat off! Within minutes, a man appeared and sawed of the offering piece of bone and applied a plaque that is still there to this day.

2005

The arrival of the Cliffhanger!

2006

Pirate Barrels made their debut nestled close to the Cliffhanger, and fast became Blackgang Chine’s most popular ride for toddlers.

2011

Fairly Land moved to its current home behind the Rumpus Mansion

2012

The birth of Pirate Cove! Prior to this, the park had various lands themed with smugglers and pirates

2013

A clutch of mysterious eggs hatched and the curious birds took up residence in their own Land of Imagination, Dodo Valley!

2014

‘Restricted Area 5’ emerged from the undergrowth, overtaking it’s predecessor, Dinosaur Land, the area is now homed to some of the UK’s largest animatronic dinosaurs.

2017

Sea creatures pulled themselves ashore and made their home in the Underwater Kingdom.

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