[From 1906 Examiner Annual]




The year 1905 was ushered in with cold and stormy weather, which caused several appalling disasters to shipping off the coasts of the British Isles. In the second week of January, the Isle of Man was visited by a terrific gale, accompanied by a heavy fall of snow, which resulted in the wreck of the tug Conqueror in Ramsey Bay, and the loss of six lives. The tug, having burst her boiler off Castletown, came to anchor in Ramsey Bay, but the fury of the gale was so great that her cables parted, and she was blown towards the North Shore, Ramsey, where she grounded. Some delay took place before attempts were made to save the lives of those on board, and five only out of eleven were rescued. Subsequently the vessel was floated.— Damages were claimed and awarded to the amount of £125 in respect of an accident which occurred to a carter, Gilmore, in the first week of the year at Mr. Beck’s warehouse, North Quay, Douglas.—-The annual tea and re-union in connection with the Liverpool Manx Society took place on January 23rd, and proved eminently successful. Lord Raglan presided.—-At a Tynwald Court held on January 31st, petitions for the extension of the boundaries of Port St. Mary and Port Erin were granted.


A committee appointed to inquire into the question of Harbour Works for Douglas, reported to the Tynwald Court on February 7th that financial difficulties prevented any improvements being effected at present. The report was adopted.—On his retirement from the position of Clerk to the Douglas Magistrates, which position he had creditably held for upwards of fifty years, Mr. Jas. Spittall was presented in February with a handsome illuminated address. Mr. R. D. Farrant was appointel to the vacant clerkship. Another public gentleman also retired from office in February, viz. , Mr. Gibbs, the Insular Post Master, who, upon relinquishing the position under the age limit rule, was presented with a valuable memento. Mr. Gibbs is succeeded by Mr. L. W. Irvine.—The collier Sarah Blanche sank at the mouth of the Ship Canal on Feb. 21st. She was subsequently raised, and has since conveyed many a cargo across the channel.— The crying of newspapers on Sunday having become a nuisance in the Douglas season, Mr. J. T. Cowell introduced a bill into the House of Keys on February 21st, to make such crying illegal. At the same meeting, a bill having for object the abolition of the Great Enquest was thrown out by the casting vote of he Speaker.


On March 8th, at the age of 61 years, Supt. Boyd of the Douglas Police died. Sir James Gell, Clerk of the Rolls, died peacefully while taking part in Divine Worship a St. Mary’s Church, Castletown, on Sunday, March 12th. His death occasioned widespread regret, for undoubtedly he was the foremost Manxman of his age. He had, during his career. filled the offices of High-Bailiff of Castletown, Attorney-General, First Deemster, and Clerk of the Rolls, and for two periods he had acted as Deputy-Governor of the Island His knowledge of Manx history and law was marvellously complete.

Sir James had attained to the age of 82 years. His funeral was a large and representative one.

The Education Bill, framed by the Attorney-General [G.A.Ring], which subsequently met with a storm of opposition from the country districts, came before the Legislative Council on March 21st, when the Attorney-General moved the first reading. On the same day the Motor Car Bill passed in the representative branch of the Legislature. £3500 was voted by the Tynwald Court the following week for the completion of improvements to Government House, bringing the total expenditure of purchasing and improving the Governor’s residence to nearly £20,000 — A grant of £3,114 12s. 6d. was authorised by the Tynwald Court to meet the difference between the estimated expenditure on Insular Harbours of £8,249, which estimate was approved.— The Guild Musical Festival was held on three days, March 21st, 22nd, and 23rd. Lady Raglan distributed the prizes on the final evening.— At the annual meeting of the Douglas Board of Guardians the welcome news was announced that a reduction in the poor rate of 1½d. in the £ had been effected, the rate thus being fixed at 6d.


The Legislative Council passed the Education Bill on April 18th.—Mr. John Callow, late Borough Overseer, joined the Great Majority in the spring of the year.—The Education Bill now having been referred to the Keys, members arranged public meetings in the various districts they represented to discuss the bill. So much opposition was raised in the rural districts, that when Mr. Cowley moved in the House of Keys, late in May, that the bill be referred to a committee for report to the House, his motion was carried by a small majority.


There was considerable rejoicing in Douglas when news was received of the success of the Isle of Man mixed choir at the Morecambe Festival, on May 20th.—The spring of the year saw the trial visit of the new turbine steamer Manxman from Heysham to the Island. About the same time, the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company’s new turbine steamer Viking went to sea for the purpose of undergoing a builder’s steam and speed trial, which proved most successful. — Deemster Kneen (appointed Deputy Governor in the absence of Lord Raglan) presided over a meeting of the Tynwald Court on May 26th.— On May 30th were held on the Manx course, the British Eliminating Trials for the Gordon-Bennett Cup, Messrs. Clifford Earp, Hon. C. S. Rolls, and C. Bianchi being the chosen competitors. Great interest was taken in the event.—The last of the SS Snaefell was seen in this month. Having been put up at auction, she was sold after twenty-seven years’ service for the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company, for £2.705, to Messrs. John Hughes and Co.


The unimposing memorial erected at the foot of the Victoria Pier to commemorate the valiant deeds of the late David Kewley (" Dawsey ") was unveiled by Deemster Kneen (Deputy-Governor) on June 8th.——On June 9th, another man who had rendered the State great service died in the person of Mr. Samuel Harris, of Marathon. Mr. Harris, who was 90 years old, had in the course of his career been Tithe Agent, High-Bailiff of Douglas, Registrar of Deeds, Diocesan Registrar, and Vicar-General, and it was only failing health which induced him to throw harness aside a few months before death. Than him, Douglas never had a more respected citizen — In the early summer, the Douglas Town Council appointed Mr. Frank Cottle to the position of Acting Borough Surveyor and Sanitary Inspector, in succession to Mr. Prescott, who secured an appointment at Eastbourne.—The lamented death of Captain Roberts, of the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company, occurred in June.—

Captain Corhill

Great interest was taken in the first trip across the channel of the Viking (Captain Corkill), which was accomplished in 2 hours 53 minutes from the mouth of theMersey to Douglas Head, on June 26th.— To arrange for appointing a district nurse for Laxey, for the endowment of which institution the munificence of Noble’s Trustees had provided, a meeting was held in Laxey at the latter end of this month.


The outstanding feature of the Tynwald Ceremony on July 5th was the fact that the principal part in the function was borne by the Deputy-Governor (Deemster Kneen). His Excellency invited on to the historical mound the Earl of Lathom and party, who were present.— Messrs. A. W. Moore, Hall Caine, and W. Goldsmith, were appointed a deputation to lay before the Home Office the views of the House of Keys on the question of Constitutional Reform. The deputation waited on the Home Secretary on July 21st, but their representations did not avail, and the subsequent reply which was received by the Governor, by which no alterations were deemed advisable, was regarded as a snub to the House of Keys.— In July the stone-laying of the Lonan New Wesleyan Church took place.— In the same month Mrs Quayle, Crogga, died.


At a special meeting of the Douglas School Board on August 18th, the Fair Wage principle was adopted in respect of future contracts. — During the season, the numerous preachers on the shore at Douglas had become a nuisance, in that they caused a block to the traffic, and failed to comply with the bye-law which forbids preaching within twenty yards of the Promenade. At the instance of the Corporation, they were first proceeded against on Aug. 17th, and Messrs Norman Chivers, W. Steel, Fergusson, and S. McTaggart, were sentenced to small fines or imprisonment for a short term. They elected to take imprisonment. The following week several more were sentenced to imprisonment, with the option of a fine, which they refused to pay. The offence still continued, and the following week, Mr. W. Kneen, the Town Missionary, was fined 20s. and costs.——Anxiety was felt in Douglas towards the end of August, when news was received of an accident on the Groudle Glen miniature railway. None of the occupants of the carriages were, however, seriously injured.——The last Saturday in August was wet and very stormy, and the inadequate accommodation at the Victoria Pier for embarking and disembarking passengers, and the necessity for its improvement, were sadly emphasised.


Rev Bamford Burrows
Rev Bamford Burrows

In the following month an event which the whole civilized world had long hoped for took place—the Peace Treaty between Russia and Japan being signed on September 24th ——The opening of the new Baldwin Reservoir on September 6th by the Mayor of Douglas, Mr Alderman Jos. Kaye, was the occasion of a general inspection of the water works and an inaugural demonstration.— Mr Percy Nevill, late Engineer to the Isle of Man Harbour Commissioners, on September 10th.— Round the eliminating trials course in this month, a most interesting contest for touring motor cars—The Tourist Trophy Race—was held, and forty cars competed. The winner was Mr. J. S. Napier, in his Arrol Johnson Car ; Mr. P Northey, on a Rolls - Royce, coming second, being only a couple of minutes longer in covering the 208 miles course.— On the same day an accident occurred on the Snaefell Mountain Electric Railway, resuiting in serious injury to two or three passengers and telescoping three cars.— Several changes of ministers of the Wesleyan Methodist Church took place in Manx circuits, the Rev. S. Pitt (who moved to Warrington) being succeeded in the Chairmanship of the District by the Rev. Bamford Burrows.


Mention should be made in this brief chronicle of events of the fact that the Season of 1905 was a record one. So far as Douglas was concerned, 39,l,361½ passengers were disembarked, while there were landed at Ramsey 17,421½., gratifying success was achieved at the Blackpool Musical Festival on Oct 7th, when the Isle of Man Choir, conducted by Mr J. D. Looney, received second honours.Mr Thomas Kneen was appointed Clerk of the Rolls, in succession to the late Sir James Gell ; Mr S. Stevenson Moore became First Deemster; Mr. C. T. C. Callow, late Vicar-General was appointed Second Deemster.— The lamented death of Mr. J. J. Goldsmith, M.H.K., occurred in October.


Owing to the death of Mr. Goldsmith, a vacancy was caused in the representation of South Douglas in the House of Keys, and to fill this position a contest took place between Messrs. W. M. Kerruish and Alex. Gill The election took place on the 18th November, when the voting was—Kerruish 763 ; Gill, 485 ; majority,. 278. This election was only one of many which resulted in an upheaval of politics in the Isle of Man about this time. The election of six members to serve in the place of those who retired by rotation from the Town Council of Douglas, resulted in a contest in five of the wards. Murray’s Ward returned Mr. R. Corlett unopposed. The elections were keenly fought, and resulted in the return of Messrs D. Flinn, for Victoria Ward ; W. Knox, for St. George’s Ward ; W. J. Corlett, for Derby Ward ; H. D. Cowin, for Hills Ward ; and R. J. Kelly, for Athol Ward. This election took place on November 1st, and it, with the election of the House of Keys, a week or so later, kept the town in a state of fermentation, which had barely subsided when the electors were called upon to appoint a School Board in place of the retiring one. Douglas people showed their good sense by re-electing all of the eleven members of the old Board who offered themselves as candidates, and chose as the remaining four— Messrs Quirk, Qualtrough, Cain, and Rylance.— The serious condition of the unemployed and the unpromising outlook for the Winter as regarded the provision of employment brought together a special meeting of the Douglas Town Council on November 20th, which decided to endeavour to provide work and appointed a committee to call a public meeting to urge.harbour improvements.

M Carine
Mr M Carine
who headed the Poll at the School Board Election, with 1,135 votes


A Local Board Election at Port Erin resulted in the return of members Opposed to purchasing the Brows.— A statement of disbursements by the H. B. Noble Trust was issued (see p. 87). In accepting the Trust’s offer of Public Baths, the Douglas Town Council appointed as the Baths Committee :—Alderman Kaye, Councillors Gill, Corlett, Moore, Marsden, Flinn, Craine, and Radciiffe.— Mr Balfour’s Government resigned, and Sir H. Campbell-Bannerman undertook the formation of a Liberal Administration on the 16th of the month, publication of the "Examiner" Annual for 1906.



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