William Spindler

Theodore William Spindler was an industrial chemist from Berlin who retired to the Isle of Wight following a deterioration in his health. He eventually settled in Ventnor because of its climate and reputation as a health resort, purchasing Old Park from the daughters of the previous owner Sir John Cheape in 1881.

Although his time at Old Park was short, the impact of William Spindler upon the locality was enormous, for in the space of some seven years he was the inspiration and driving force behind various projects such as the laying out of Ventnor Park, Park Avenue and the Whitwell Road, and the collection and piping of water to Whitwell and other areas.

At Old Park Spindler pursued his vision of creating a fashionable marine resort and proceeded to build the sea wall and esplanade in Binnel Bay. He also substantially modernised the main house, constructed a better drainage scheme, laid out the grounds, and imported from the Mediterranean over a million trees, shrubs and subtropical plants. During the ownership of William Spindler the kitchen gardens were extended with the building of two massive greenhouses. A photograph from the Spindler archive gives an indication of the labour intensiveness of the gardens, it shows some eleven gardeners posed beside one of the new greenhouses, each with the tools of his craft.

The prolific planting undertaken by William Spindler totally changed the character of the estate, giving it a much more wooded appearance, and also indirectly contributed to the stability of the ground from the binding action of the roots within the soil matrix.

William Spindler died in 1889 but his wife remained at the property until she died in 1906. The estate however lost some of its former glory during this period, lack of maintenance taking its toll on the gardens and grounds.