Visitors arriving in Cowes should not leave without making a visit to the Sir Max Aitken Museum in the famous pink building, The Prospect on Cowes High Street.
This magnificent 18th Century, Ratsey and Lapthorn sail makerís loft, was acquired and restored by Sir Max Aitken in 1947. Today, with its traditional splendour, the building boasts Sir Maxís personal collection of historic and nautical artefacts.
John William Maxwell Aitken was born in Canada in 1910, he was the eldest son of Lord Beaverbrook, the owner of the Daily Express newspaper group. Sir Max was educated at Pembrooke college, Cambridge, where he joined the Auxiliary Air Force, which consisted of sparetime flyers who gave up their weekends and holidays to learn the art of flying different aircraft.
In 1939, Sir Max was flying with the famous 601 County of London Squadron, he fought in the Battle of Britain and was among the lucky few pilots who survived the war. His first mission was over Germany in 1939 and his last was as group Captain of the Banff Strike Wing, flying over Norway, in 1945. He was credited as having 16 victories, 9 probables and having damaged 15 enemy aircraft.
He was awarded the Distinguished Service order and the Distinguished Flying Cross and he was Knighted in the 1940s.
Address: The Sir Max Aitken Museum, 83 High Street, Cowes Isle of Wight, PO317AJ