Northwood House was built, owned and inhabited by five generations of the Ward family between 1797 and 1929, when it was gifted to Cowes Urban District Council along with the 26-acre ‘pleasure park’ surrounding it. The terms of the gift were that the House was to be used as municipal offices and the park ‘as pleasure gardens for the people of Cowes’.
A new Charitable Scheme was drawn up in 2002 which involved local people as ‘Management Trustees’, leaving the Isle of Wight Council as ‘Custodian Trustee’; however, in 2010 the Council withdrew altogether from both custodianship and involvement in the management of the estate. From that time until 31 October 2012 the Management Trustees were in sole charge of the House and Park; with the help of volunteers and professionals they worked hard to preserve and maintain the fabric of the House and to ensure that the Park was cared for. However, it became clear as time went on that the ‘2002 Scheme’ was not fit for purpose, and on 1 November 2012 a new Charitable Scheme replaced it and Northwood House Charitable Trust Company Ltd. was created as sole Trustee.