B240 Commerce - Public Companies

These pages deal only with companies pre 1900 (to be extended to pre 1914) - for current status etc please contact General Registry, Douglas.


The first act of Tynwald specifically relating to the registration and control of companies was probably the Act to prevent the Negociation of Promissory Notes and Inland Bills of Exchange within the said Isle, under a limited Sum of 1817 which require Bankers to be registered. The next key act was that of 1865 which admitted the principle of limited liability. This, and later acts, are summed up in the Companies (Consolidated) Act, 1 George V.1910.

Limited Liability meant that in the event of a company failure the maximum sum to which share-holders were liable was the extent of their subscribed shares - previously all such shareholders would be responsible for a share of the total debts of the company (i.e. effectively unlimited). The Westminster Parliament passed the Companies Act of 1862, which introduced Limited Liability. The major bankers of the Island pressed for its extension to the Island and the recently appointed Governor Loch, gave notice to introduce into the Insular Legislature in 1864 a bill "to provide for incorporation, regulation, and winding-up of trading companies with limited liability" which became law in 1867 .The first company to register under this act was the Isle of Man Banking Co., Ltd Subsequent to this came many mining companies during the boom years of the Manx Mining industry (many of which were speculative ventures and most of the rest soon failed). The next string of companies were those formed to exploit the tourist industry boom of 1880 onwards.


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© F.Coakley , 2001