Cowes, West and East, Isle of Wight, in 1843
Cowes, West and East, are situated respectively on the west and east sides of the mouth of the Medina. East Cowes is a small place, but it contains the custom-house for the whole island. The communication with West Cowes is by a ferry.
West Cowes is built at the bottom and on the side of a steep hill. The lower streets are narrow and irregular, but the upper part of the town is picturesquely situated, and there are many elegant cottages and gentlemens seats near it. There is a town-hall and market-house, a very plain building, for the erection of which an act was obtained in 1816. The church was built in 1653, and enlarged in 1811 at an expense of £3,000 by a private gentleman. It is a chapel dependent on the parish church of Northwood. Another chapel, which was consecrated in 1832, was erected and partly endowed at the sole expense of a lady. There is also a Roman Catholic chapel, a Methodist chapel, and an Independent chapel. A national school was erected in 1821. West Cowes castle is a small fortress on the sea-shore. The population of the parish of Northwood, in which West Cowes is situated, by the returns of 1841, is males, 2,377 ; females, 2,770 : total, 5,147. There are baths contiguous to the Parade at the west end of the town. Owing to the steepness of the beach, the bathing-machines are managed by windlasses.