From the Western Isles to Baltic, from Shetlands round the
From Pentlands down to Wearside, our vessels often ran
Around the Clyde and Mersey, or Bristol Channel way
Our Purt le Moirrey schooners went trading in their day.
We boasted some fine vessels and they numbered quite a few,
But their names are now forgotten like many of their crew.
'Twas grand to see them sailing, yards square and running free,
P'raps making for the harbour, their folks once more to see.
Sometimes, between the "deadmans," they'd tie up tier on tier,
Their canvas set and drying, if the weather should be clear.
You might see on discharging, another loading grain,
While the clank of pawl and windlass meant "under weigh" again.
Arriving or departing, or lying snug in tiers,
We miss them from the harbour, and think of former years,
When round the watch-house daily, their skippers would parade,
Discussing freights and Railings, or passages they'd made.
The lore about the schooners we learned in early days,
Old mates recalled the, passing of the "Vixen" and the 'Wave";
We knew the "Jilt" and "Emu," of the "Meta" we'd heard tell,
Then last of all, "Enigma", a ship we all knew well.
From Glasgow fully laden, bound south with precious freight,
The "Jilt" raced down the Channel, the year one, nine-o-eight.
A heavy gale of wind she met, close by the Cornish lands,
Mylchreest had made his last trip, along with all his hands.
But our harbour now is empty, for the days of sail are gone,
And should you meet a schooner-man, perchance you may find one,
He' ll tell the story proudly, though his eyes be full of tears
Of the Purt le Moirrey schooners, and the glory of past years.
by Ambrose Maddrell
AMBROSE MADDRELL was born at Glenchass in 1889, like many of his generation he left school soon after his twelfth birthday to go as cook on a fishing "nickey" yet, in spite of his meagre schooling, he was a "fair scholar",and remarkably well informed and well read. He sailed with the herring fleet and on the schooners in his youth and all his poems ring true, for they are based on fact and actual personal experience.
Crew lists and incident logs for every voyage were required by the Board of Trade Regulations and were sent to the Registry of Shipping and Seamen at Cardiff where they accumulated from the 1850's. A national outcry against the proposal in the mid 1960's to destroy the archive in its entirety resulted eventually in the distribution of the records to the Record Offices of the maritime countries and the National Record Offices of Britain including the Isle of Man.
Altogether almost half a ton of Manx records were selected from the Public Record Office Repository at Hayes, by the Librarian - Archivist Miss Ann Harrison. These records are deposited in the Manx Museum library where they yield valuable information on the commercial operations of sea-born trade as well as the composition of crews and their biographical details.
CREW LISTS - These should tell you a man's name, age, place of birth, rank,the ship in which he last sailed, the date and place of his joining and when he left the ship.
The lists are indexed first under the town the ship was registered with i.e. Ramsey, Castletown, Peel or Douglas, then the name of the ship and finally the year.
CASTLETOWN ENIGMA 1883
After you have given the librarian this information, she can then obtain the crew list which will give you the following details.
Owner John Maddrell of Port St. Mary
Master Daniel Doran of Port St. Mary aged 30 years. Sailed on the coasting and foreign trade.
John Doran b 1852 Port St. Mary wages 3.10.00 a month
Robert Clarke b 1859 Port St. Mary wages 3.00.00 a month
Arthur Doran Port St. Mary wages 1.05.00 a month
Wilhelm McEnger b 1865 John Hawkins b 1854
Wilhelm was discharged at Runcorn 22nd December 1883. Voyage ended in Runcorn on the 2nd Jan. 1883. Ship sailed to Hamburg arrived 3rd Oct. 1883 leaving there only 9 days later and finally arrived in Port St. Mary on the 17th December 1883. Provisions included bread, beef, pork, tinned meats, soup,preserved, potatoes, flour, peas, rice, tea, coffee, sugar and molasses.
WESTERN MAID 1880 Tonnage 147
Owner Henry Graves
For the years 1879/80 the ship sailed from London on the 11th March 1879 and went to France, Spain, Portugal, Belgium and Holland before returning to Yoole on the 3rd January 1880. On board were 6 crew plus the Master- Thomas Corkill aged 35 years and was born in Peel. The names, ages and birthplaces are given of the rest of the crew which consisted of the Mate, Cook, 2 Able bodied Seamen and two boys aged 16 and 17 years. The Mate was paid £5 a month, the Cook £3.5.0 and this sum was paid at the end of the journey. Daily provisions consisted of lemon and lime juice, 2 oz sugar, tea, coffee and bread, beef or pork were served on alternate days,plus 1½ lbs of flour a week, peas and 1/3 yd of a pound of rice. No spirits were allowed.
CASTLETOWN KATE 1878 Tonnage 59
Owner George Bradshaw of Compton House, Castletown
Master John R. Mylchreest of The Water Mill, Castletown
Crew on first voyage
William Francis Raisbeck 35 years Port St. Mary Master
Joseph Raisbeck 40 years Port St. Mary Mate
Edward Collister 29 years Port St. Mary Seaman
Richard Wilkinson Woods 19 years Port St. Mary "
Crew second voyage
James Mylchreest 28 years Castletown Master
Last sailed on the Harkaway of Douglas
Robert Kelly 22 years Castletown Mate
Last sailed on the Venus of Castletown
Charles Crellin 21 years Castletown seaman
Crew third voyage
John R. Mylchreest 35 years Castletown Master Last sailed on the
Kate of Castletown
George Mylchreest 26 years as above
William Kinrade 18 years Douglas Seaman Last sailed on the Crest of Castletown
Richard Corlett 15 years Castletown Seaman Last sailed on the Kate
On the first voyage the Kate sailed from Troon to Carlingford with a cargo of coals, then from Carlingford to Liverpool with a cargo of broken stones and finally from Garston (Liverpool) to Castletown with a cargo of coals.
As you can see by the above examples the ships sailled from various ports and each crew list gives slightly different information depending on whether the voyage was only a short one or whether the schooner would be on foreign trade.
Unfortunately, to use these records you do need to know what ship your ancestor sailed on, this can be obtained in A variety of ways ranging from census records, family legend, obituary, in the local newspaper or burial records. IF your ancestor worked for the Isle of Man Steam packet - crew lists are available, again listed under the name of the ship.
Hopefully in time the Family History Society may be able to compile a list for some years of the crews, IF your ancestor's occupation was given as a Mariner and you live off the Island, I believe a few records are kept at the National Maritime Museum In London for the years 1861, 1862, 1865,1875, 1885, 1895 and 1905. The crew lists cover the years from the 1860's until early this century.
If your ancestor was a fisherman a copy of the Manx Fishing Fleet may be of help to you.
This was originally compiled for the Peel exhibition. The book contains a detailed copy of the 1871 and 1881 census returns. This information can provide you with the name of the boat, each member of the crew, their age,marital Status and where they were born and their role on the boat.
The main fishing boats were going to Kinsale for mackerel and the article by Miss Killip 'Going to Kinsale' is included, it also includes a photocopy of a photograph of the boats at Kinsale.
Captain Harry Watterson has also let us include his list of the Port St. Mary fishing fleet for 1879 and 1886, also there is a list prepared by the late Miss Blanche Watterson of boats in the Port St. Mary fleet, this list was given to us by Maureen Costain Richards.
The book is a useful guide if your ancestors were fishermen, there are always more details coming to light to be included, if any member has any information that could be added, we would be very pleased to have it.
This is a Family History Society publication and available from Mrs. Iris Lyle at a cost of £8.00. For postage charges see order form.
Enclosed list of men who were at the Gold Diggings near Adelaide, Australia account in the newspaper the Mona's Herald, December 1st 1852. Listed alongside is the parish on the Island the men came from.
John Joseph Fleetwood formerly of Douglas
James Cashin formerly of Ballasalla
Joseph Evans formerly of Castletown
Edward Topliss formerly of Lonan
William Kermode formerly of Rushen
William Waterson formerly of Rushen
Henry Quine formerly of Rushen
Thomas Sayle formerly of Douglas Daniel Cleator formerly of Sulby
Daniel Corteen formerly of Ramsey
Robert Kelly formerly of Lonan
John Sherlock formerly of Douglas
John Fargher formerly of Malew
William Bridson formerly of Malew
John Strattor formerly of Douglas
John Garrett formerly of Lonan
The above list could be of help to anyone researching these families here,but may be of help to descendants in Australia, to know which parish their ancestor formerly lived in. The men had been very generous and had given either an ounce of gold or £3 in money to a bereaved wife with children whose husband had died at the diggings.
[FPC an earlier list (and slightly different) appeared in Manx Sun 17 May 1851]
In the days before contract cleaning, city buildings were lovingly cared for by live-in caretakers. Joyce Hammond remembers visiting her grandparents in the tower of Winfield House, now part of the beautifully restored Menzies at the Rialto.
The National Trust of Australia (Victoria), with great foresight, has managed to save some of the unique Melbourne buildings erected during the building boom in the last decades of the nineteenth century. An amendment to an Act of Parliament in 1974 saved five adjoining architectural gems at the Western end of Collins Street - the Olderfleet, the Records Chamber, the South Australian Insurance Building, Winfield House and the Rialto.
It would seem that Australia's immigrants felt homesick. They yearned for the grandeur and style they had left behind in the great cities of Britain and Europe, and needed to recreate the same atmosphere in their adopted land.
Built in 1891, Winfield House contained Melbourne's first Wool Exchange and incorporated an Auction Hall for wool sales. Winfield House was acclaimed as one of the finest examples of the Queen Anne style made famous in England by architect R. Norman Shaw. The Melbourne architects who assisted were Charles D'Ebro and Richard Speight Jnr. T.P. Fallen and R. Speight financed the project on land owned by T.R. Murphy. James Cannell, my grandfather, gave up the sea in 1891 to become the caretaker of the newly built Winfield House. He loved the sea; had in fact sailed the seven seas in sailing ships. As a boy on the Isle of Man he had begun life as a fisherman/mariner, following a long family line of Manx mariners. But he took up his onshore job and became a landlubber without too much regret. He had married a Manx girl who did not share his love for the sea, with very good reason.
James's wife, Nettie Cubbin, was born in the Netherby shipwreck. The ship foundered on King Island in July 1866 on the voyage bringing her family to Australia from the Isle of Man. The Cubbin family were all rescued from the shipwreck and their daughter was born the next morning on the bleak and uninhabited King Island. Everyone on board had been saved - one of the few lucky wrecks of that era. Much was owed to the character and courage of Captain Owen Owens and his crew including Mr. Parry, First Mate, who rowed 56 miles to the mainland for help.
But being Manx people, and therefore very superstitious, the Cannells did not believe in tempting fate. James left the sea; it took a bit of doing, but he adjusted his sea legs to live plumb in the centre of the bustling,exciting city of Melbourne - and not even on ground level either but five storeys high. Cable trams trundled noisily up and down the Collins Street hill; it was quite a change from a sailing ship.
A fraternity developed between the caretaking families who lived on top of the city buildings they looked after. (They were replaced by contract cleaners many decades later.) James became well known in that part of Melbourne- streets named King, William, Queen, Elizabeth, Collins, Bourke, Little Collins, Little Bourke, Flinders, Flinders Lane, and Spencer Street became his regular 'beat'. A nightly stroll around the city blocks became a must before turning in, no matter how late, no matter how tired. To James it was just the same as 'walking the decks' to make sure everything was 'shipshape'.
This unusual breed of city caretakers adopted their buildings for life, becoming very proud and possessive of the property in their care. Caretakers' working days began before and after the office-workers' hours. As soon as the lessees and their staff finished work for the day, the caretakers invaded the premises armed with brooms, buckets and mops. The entire family joined in to help with office cleaning, taking great pride in the work.
Electric vacuum cleaners and floor polishers had yet to be invented and four large floors made a lot of office cleaning. All the desks were dusted very carefully and everything replaced exactly as found. Floors were swept and mopped, inkwells refilled. The iron-lace balustraded landing on each floor was hosed down and swept clean by bare-footed James Senior just as he had swabbed down the decks of his ships. At the same time he sang old sea shanties with great gusto and feeling. The echo of his favourite 'Blow the Man Down' often resounded through the Rialto Arcade. The Rialto Building was next door.
Meanwhile, on the top floor, Nellie, my grandmother, kept house for James and her family of three children - James Junior, Nellie Junior and William. Keeping house on the top floor was no easy feat. Caretakers were perhaps the earliest high-rise dwellers in Melbourne at the turn of the 20th century. Everything was taken up and down in an antiquated life, but as the lift only serviced the office floors, getting to the top meant climbing a stee ,narrow staircase.
Food, fuel and shopping had to be carried up those stairs; garbage and old newspapers were carried down. The old perambulator, which carried children as required, also served to carry food bought at the Victoria Market about one mile distant. The pram was left at the foot of the staircase, the contents carried the rest of the way in arching arms. It always intrigued me how the enormous wardrobes, beds, tables - all heavy Victorian furniture - were carried up those last narrow stairs. Most amazing of all, there was a piano.
Music was a necessity of life for the Cannell family. The circular tower room, a feature of Winfield House, proved to be perfect for music. Although small it had good acoustics. Piano and violin lessons had to be slotted in somehow between broom and mop pushing, choir practice at St Paul's and school. James Junior (my father) and his sister Nellie Junior progressed well with piano and violin studies. The circular tower room became the Mecca for musical evenings. Nettie played piano and violin professionally and gave lessons in the circular room.
I often think of the many famous musicians who travelled up in the ricketty old Winfield lift carrying violins, 'cellos, oboes and flutes - perhaps even a harp. Strains of Strauss, Chopin, Liszt - and I believe 'In a Persian Market' was a favourite - would waft down on the evening breeze to passers by in Collins Street.
My father enlisted in the army in World War 1. He returned home unharmed physically, after four years of living hell in the muddy trenches of France and Belgium but the war changed everything at Winfield House. Musical evenings were never held again in the circular music room. Wireless had come to provide entertainment. My father married and moved away from his birthplace to Ascot Vale.
The Cannell family were the first Winfield House caretakers. They remained there for over 40 years, from 1891 to the 1930's. As a child in the 1930's I found visits to Winfield House unforgettable. The old pulley lift slowly rose, inch by inch, floor by floor, ascending to Grandma's house in the roof. The lift was merely a plank of heavy timber - an open-sided platform- pulled by hand with a strong steel cable rope. Grandfather enjoyed operating the lift. His massive hands and brawny forearms, with tattoos harking back to his sailing days, would haul on the rope as if he were on board a clipper,hauling in canvas sails. He did it with much reverence and aplomb and at the top he skillfully matched up the landing with the swaying platform and we all stepped 'ashore' gingerly.
It was like visiting another planet. After climbing the final narrow staircase we were suddenly in the living room. Small and crowded in Victorian style there were knick-knacks and furniture everywhere. Bookshelves clung tenaciously to the walls, spilling over with books and papers. There was an ornate loud-ticking clock on the mantelpiece. Highly decorative vases were surrounded by fully-rigged sailing ships in bottles, made by grandfather; there were ornaments, photographs and crocheted doilies.
The large dining table was covered with a soft velvety red tablecloth that felt comforting, as did everything in the room. Bright red geraniums grew in pots outside the window. Grandmother kept her flowering plants in pots on her roof garden, stacked round the chimney-stacks and attic windows. Washing was dried on the roof, washing lines strung between chimney-stacks. The view was breathtaking from the Winfield House roof, seen between grandfather's flannel long-johns on washing day. Winfield House was then one of the tallest buildings in that area of Melbourne.
I never see the new $300 million Rialto project without imagining grandfather Cannell sitting on the top step of the Winfield Building at the entrance of the Rialto Arcade. He relaxed there with his pipe after the hard work of taking care of 'his' building was over for the day. How thrilled he would be to know that the Winfield was saved from demolition - but then I think he always knew it had a great future!
The Cannell's homely premises in the Winfield have been transformed. Now the Menzies Penthouse Suite costs $260 per day. The round tower music room is now a round tower bedroom, complete with round bed. The luxurious his and her bathrooms and kitchen are equipped with every luxury. Pastel tinted walls, thick carpet, sumptuous furniture, chandeliers, oil paintings and air-conditioning leave only the shape of the windows overlooking Collins Street to remind me that this was once grandma's home. Even the roof garden has new status. It is called a patio, with barbecue area, larger pots for the geraniums and no washing line.
The Menzies Commissionaire opens the front door for guests, and from the entrance foyer, where fast timber panelled elevators have mercifully replaced the old pulley lift, the eye takes in the scene. The 'recycled' Winfield and Rialto and the arcade in-between is now the charming world-class Menzies at Rialto Hotel. The immense area, which old-time caretakers had to 'care' for, stretches from Collins Street through to Flinders Lane.
A spectacular seven storey-high glassed-in Atrium, formerly the Rialto Arcade, fills the space between the two old buildings. In the cobble-stoned basement drinks are served at the bar, afternoon tea is a royal 'spread' complete with classical music and potted palms. Looking upwards from this spot, row upon row of original iron-lace balustraded landings on each side have a charm similar to New Orleans.
My thanks to Miss Doris Cannell of Nottingham for sending the above article- Editor
Leroy, Township Geauga, County Ohio, America
December 25, 1826
To Messrs. Thomas Tear, James Quine, and all those who intend to emigrate to America, also every person who is in any way concerned therein:- Dear Countrymen, it gives us a great deal of satisfaction, that you are so inquisitive concerning the means of livelihood in this western hemisphere. We received Thomas Kelly's letter about a week ago, and have returned answers to the questions therein, and also received Thomas Tear's lettter yesterday, and having previously sent a letter to Philip Quayle, and William Tear, where you will receive answers to all the questions proposed therein, and if anything is neglected in them, you may gain more information in the letter directed to Thomas Kelly. The prices of articles vary a little here as well as where you live, so you may gain information from them all. We whose names are hereunto subscribed, being assembled together upon Christmas day, in the house of William Tear, being all in good health, as are also our respective families, having taken into consideration the way of living among the lower class of people in the Isle of Man, compared with the same sort of people here, give it as our decided opinion, that a labourer can live as well here, as a man can that has from 20 to 30 acres of land in the Island, and mechanics and tradesmen equal to a great many of your farmers. Farmers can live as easy here as they may desire once they get their land cleared, they can raise all the necessaries of life here in abundance, having no tithes to pay here, only a tax of one dollar per 100 acres of land, except they live in a house valued at 500 dollars, road tax two days a year. Millers due is one-tenth for grinding. Corn-mills and Saw-mills, Founderies and Furnaces are here in every quarter, the country being so well watered, and abounds in all things necessary for the comfort and conveniences of life, and the inhabitants being for the most part a civil, enlightened, and religious society. A minister of one persuasion ascends the pulpit, when another of a different denomination descends it, - they all unite together, to make their supplications to God, and we have a meeting in each of our neighbours houses on both sides of our farm; we have not to buy coals, nor dig turff or fuel here as you are obliged to do; sugar maple is plentiful on our farm, and has produced some sugar this season already, but in the spring of the year, they make up their yearly stock. There are also a great many shrubs and herbs, which serve as substitutes for tea. Tobacco and pepper etc. etc. grow here also, and onions and leeks grow spontaneously here. A yoke of oxen sells from 30 to 60 dollars, a horse from 25 to 100 dollars, sheep from 1 to 2½ dolloars, hens, from 6 to 12 cents, geese from 35 to 50 cents; turkies 50 cents, mechanics tools nearly the same price as in the Island, cloathing a little dearer, coopers, joiners, masons, tailors, smiths, shoe-makers, etc. all can make a good living here, and we are all very satisfied that we came,to this land of liberty, and often transported when we consider how easy it is for a man to and live here, enjoy the luxuries of life; but we often lament that so many of our countrymen have not the means of emigrating here, and it would give us the greatest pleasure to see our countrymen here, and if any of you will come here, and have any tools of household utensils, which you will not get value for at home, it is best to take them along with you, except they are too bulksome, it is easier to convey goods to this country than ever before. We just arrived the best time to these western states, it being the first season the New York Canal was opened. You may see from the accounts of our journals, how cheap we got our passage from New York. Take no heed, nor the advice of sailors or men at home, but take the same rout as we did. You may bring spinning wheels and guns if you have any, but guns are cheaper and better here. William Tear and family live upon the farm, and have a new house built, it was mostly built in one day, the logs being formerly drawn upon the spot, and 19 men, his neighbours assisted him, and cost him only a treat of whiskey. Men having property to the amount of 3 or 4,000 dollars, going riding by, would leave their horses and come and teach us how to split rails for fences. John Gowne works at his trade, and does very well; William Tear's son wrought in a Tanyard, but his father having work for him at home, he has quitted. Old John Tear says he never enjoyed better health, and says, it is the only place for old people to live in, having so good living and plenty of fuel in the winter season. Boys can get a trade here, and food and cloathing, by serving till they are 19 years of age, commencing at 10 or 16 years. The poorest man can purchase land here, landholders will take any kind of produce in payment, or work, And At the expiration of the credit, if he has not paid for It, he may just take away his crop and stock, and commence upon another lot; but if no person purchase his former farm, he may still reside upon it, do the best hand of it, and no rent or interest to pay for it. Pat. Tear and William Kelly Came to see us, and arrived at Christmas night, and were but just sat down, when we received your letter, dated September 11, And we had a joyful meeting together;they came 37 miles to see us, And talk of coming to be our neighhours. Now,we have given you all the Information we can, And we are thankful to God for his kindness shown to us, and sparing us all our health. We have not heard of Philip Tear, nor has he written to Willam Corkill, we would be very glad to hear of him. Write to us as soon As you conveniently can,and let Us know If any are for coming out this year, And how do they come on at the schoolhouse. Now, we hope these lines will find you In good health,and if we meet no more In this vale of tears, let us prepare to stand before the tribunal of God, to render An Account of the deeds done in the body. Remember us to all our relations and friends. We remain yours,
JOHN TEAR my + mark
PATRICK TEAR, my + mark
[FPC for discussion of this letter and other see Emigration Page]
A find old Manxman was laid to rest last Friday, when the remains of Mr. Thomas Henry Leece, of Dalby, were interred in Patrick Churchyard. Mr. Leece who was 83 years of age, was a sturdy old seaman. His father and uncle were lost at sea in a small Manx ship called "The Comet", And he himself went to sea when only eleven years of age. He became skipper of "The RIVAL",and in the early nineties was appointed manager of the Peel Fishing Company . Subsequently returning to Dalby, whereby ran a hill farm Mr. Leece who resided at Fuchsia Cottage, Cronk Moar, was a widower, his wife dying about five years ago.
George Crellin Was lost at sea on the SUSAN BAILEY In 1873, in March 1874 his two orphaned children were conveyed to Liverpool to a home in NewshamPark.
William Kneale A Mariner of Lezayre parish died About the 12th February In 1751, he left several legacies to his Uncles Patrick and Robert Kneale, and to his sisters Esther, Isabel And Catharine, his mother Marjery was executor of his goods. As you can see by the Inventory he left A rather colourful wardrobe of clothes behind. I wonder were all mariners this adventurous with their clothing?
Of the goods and effects of William Kneele of Lezayre, mariner.
A handkerchief of red silk striped with white and some black
Another silk handkerchief of an orange colour with white spots
Two checker handkerchiefs @ 5d each
A waistcoat of stamped linden
2 Flannen waistcoats @ 10d each
A pair of black shagg breeches
An old surtout Coat
An old scarlet waistcoat
An old waistcoat of blue cloath
An old blue Coat
A pair of blue worstead rib stockings
2 pairs of old stockings
2 old check shifts
A coarse linnen shirt
A coarse linnen wallow
An old hat and wigg
2 pairs of gloves
An old pair of single Channel Pumps
An old pair of boots
A common prayer book
A small hand trunck
An old whip; old spurr, glass pint bottle
6 ... of pictures
2 pairs of sliver buckles viz I pair of shoe bucklesand other pair of knee buckle. and 2 pairs of silver silevebutters, weighing all together about 5 ounces And prized at5R 10d per ounce
From Peel I went to the south of the Island, visiting the cascade in Glen Maye en route, and following the line of the coast, which increases in rugged grandeur. A walk of about ten miles brought me to Port Erin, a romantic fishing village set back in an extensive bay, and guarded by two magnificent promontories called the Cassels and Bradda Head. From the latter a fine view is obtained of the "Calf" a tiny islet separated from the mainland at the southern-most point by a narrow channel, through which the sea surges with tremendous force in the calmest weather. It is about five miles in circumference, and is girt by a belt of dislocated rocks tumbled togethe rin savage confusion. The cliffs on the southern side rise four hundred feet above the sea-level, and are surmounted by a double light-house which is usually sighted by the steamers sailing between Liverpool and America.
Descending from the headland I crossed the pebbly beach, and climbed the steep hill at the opposite side of the bay. For a short distance there were some shabby cottages near the footpath. But as I mounted higher I entered a desolate tract of bristling gorse only inhabited as far as I could see by an idiot girl and some mountain goats. During a shower I sought shelter in a deserted house situated in a field of stunted oats, which lived to shame the land. As soon as the blue came through the clouds again I continued to ascend until I reached the crest of the hill, and could glance down on the wondrous beauties of the pastoral valley and the rock-bound coast. I sat for a while with in a circle of white stones, supposed to have been formed by the Druids, and then I went down on the opposite slope to the village of Creg-y-neesh.
It is the valley of a foot-hill and is the most primitive settlement inthe Island. The population consists of about six pure-blooded Manx families,with longer pedigrees than many English nobles can boast. Their homes are in six rude huts standing with detached fences, and looking down upon the sea. The outer walls are covered with fish in process of Curring, which also fill several rows of barrels, and impart an unsavory pungency to the atmosphere. All the men were at sea when I arrived, and the women were washing and spinning. In one of the cottages I staid to tea with a brawny fisherman's wife over six feet high. There was only one room in the house.The fireplace was several feet high and wide, with a little mount of peat smouldering in the grate. The floor was the earth without any covering.A deal table was laid out in the simplest style for my entertainment; and as I sat by the fire, fondling one of the tailless Manx cats, and watching my hostess blowing the slow fuel into a blaze, it seemed as if I had got back into another age. The sunken window was so small that it kept the room in perpetual twilight. The tick of the old clock on the shelf, the pur of the cat, and the splutter of the fire as the bellows sighed upon it, were the only sounds that broke the silence.
The food consisted of bread without leaven, salt fish and tea. While I was eating, the woman brought out her spinning wheel and showed me a pair of trowsers of her own weaving. They could afford to buy few new clothes,she told me, and all the things her husband wore, cloth included, were of her own making.
Near Creg-y-neesh the grandeur of the coast culminates. The cliffs are torn into chaotic forms, and the sea breaks upon them in a white fury. At the "Chasms" they are separated by six wide vertical fissures, nearly three hundred feet deep, extending about one hundred feet inland. If you have a good head, you may clamber down to one of the ledges, and listen to the sea and the wind booming in the rock-groined caverns below you. Some of the smaller masses of rock appear suspended in the very act of falling, and even the larger ones are so nicely poised that a touch of the hand might be expected to upset them. Under the lee of the "Chasms" there is a pinnacle rising from the water, called the "Sugar-loaf" on which countless marine birds, rest and add their shrill cries to the general clamor, and beyond this there is a world of sea and sky without a boundary.
I must leave the reader here. My space will not allow me to ask him to follow me farther; but if what I have written induces him to spend a few days in the Isle of Man during his next vacation abroad, I can promise him that he will find more of the picturesque element than I have had the power to embody in this article. He will find in Castletown and Castle Rushen one of the quaintest towns and one of the noblest fortresses that have survived modern improvements. A drive through Sulby Glen and over Snaefell Mountain will lead him to Ramsey, a pleasant little watering-place; and a few miles from Ramsey he will pass over the Ballure Bridge to the Ballaglass Falls.The scenery, as I have said, is of the most varied kind. The rivers offerabundant sport, and from an antiquarian point of view there is not a richer spot in the United Kingdom than this fair little island in the Irish Sea.
Taken from HARPERS NEW MONTHLY MAGAZINE
Published in 1875
With kind permission of Miss I.M. Killip
For over ten years the Manx Museum Folk Life Survey has been collecting oral information throughout the Isle of Man. The venture has yielded a rich harvest of information previously unrecorded, which throws new and fuller light on the bygone, traditional ways of life in the Island. The Museum is deeply indebted to all those in all parts of the Island who have so willingly helped in giving information for the Survey. The records continue to grow, and in the article which follows, the Museum's present Folk-Life Collector, using information gathered recently in Peel and the West, vividly recalls the everyday life of Peel in the thriving days of the fishing industry.
Not every Manxman, to adapt the fine phrase of one writer, can claim descent from 'a son of the quarterland'. Indeed, a good many of us can find a not too remote ancestor with name like 'Jim Billy Neddy' or 'Thom Juan Beg'of whom it is sometimes recalled that he had 'a bit of a croft, and a few sheep on the mountain: he went to the herrings in the summer, and a time or two to Kinsale'.
Though fast disappearing, traces of the crofting life lie about us on every side. Ploughing and sowing and the keeping of livestock are still the stuff of everyday existence on the Island, and the life of the lonely hill farms and crofts will be readily understood when the stones of the last tholtan are scattered on the hillside from which they were quarried. The other activity of the crofter - fishing - is no longer practised as it once was, and the voyages of the Manx fishermen to the then distant ports of Southern Ireland and further afield to the Orkney and Shetland Islands, are known to us only by hearsay. To those of us with no immediate connection with the sea, the story of the mackerel fishing at Kinsale has even now become something of a legend. The exploits of individual men and their boats will be told and retold whereever fishermen meet and talk together in the Island,but the reality of those days is remembered only by the few
Still less is realised of what went on to prepare these men and their boats for the voyage; and of the work of the people who in times past, in large part and quite literally made the Manx herring fleet.
Some part of the story of this industrious preparation may be traced through the streets of Peel, from the upper part of the town, where tradition has it that boats were built in a flat then called The Close, and launched down over the broos: past the sites of the old shops in Market Street and Strand Street, where the black leather knee boots were sewn by hand by the cobblers, and the tailors made suits of oilskin to measure, or which the fishermen were 'prouder and took more care than they did of their Sunday suits'. Not forgetting Leece the hatter's shop, for the skippers in their heyday came down to the quay in 'Bellshiners' to engage their crews, and not one of them was obliged to give a berth on his ship to any man, but bargained every place on board for a piece of beef or a side of bacon! Then down on the quay itself the kipper and coal trades have taken possession of what were once the boatbuilding yards of Henry Graves.
There are two men alive in Peel today who are known to have worked in the shipyards, thought there may be others; and of these only one spent the greater part of his working life there. He began about seventy years ago as an apprentice in the block shops of Graves' yard, where the blocks for the rigging of schooners and fishing boats were built in sections out of imported elm wood, though Manx elm was occasionally used. The inner portions of the blocks, the sheaves, round which the ropes travel , were turned witha chisel, some say on foot powered lathes, though in more recent times it is probable that steam power was used. These sheaves were made out of lignum vitae, which was an inexpensive wood in those days. This old ship-builder remembers the timber brigs coming to Peel and the wood being hauled by horses out of the hold and along the quay to the river where it was left lying for a period. Danzig, and later Irish oak came as 'crooked' timber for those parts of the boat for which naturally grown curved wood was needed.Manx oak was never used for though the heart was sound, the outside 'sap'was too soft. When the seasoned wood had been cut into lengths at the sawpits, it was hewn into shape with axe and adze, or hollowed out with gouge and chisel. Even small things like the wooden pegs called 'trennels' used as additional fastenings in some of the larger boats were made by hand in the shipyards at that time. Masts, spars, deadwoods, stem and stern posts all were fashioned with these simple tools from a piece of timber specially selected for the purpose for which it was intended.
The story is told of the head of one of the Peel shipbuilding firms, who used to take a day to go up the country to look for timber, and when he found a piece he liked the look for he had it cut and brought down to the yard. Not everyone would vouch for the truth of this, since on the whole Manx timber was not considered sufficiently durable.
In the days when the industry was thriving it is said that 'boats were going over the quay every month or so'. It must have been at the time of its decline that a complaint was made against one firm, that 'they took such a pride in their work and were so particular you could hardly get a boat from them'. Be that as it may, Graves' yard and those of Watson and Neakle and Watterson have turned out within living memory such boats as the Flying Foam (the last lugger Graves made), the schooners Phoebe and Griqueland West, two steam drifters, the first of their kind, and numerous smaller pleasure boats.
In the old days of prosperity all the yards employed men as riggers. Today not one of that trade is left in Peel to speak of the work they did, but one or two are still remembered by name as 'so and so the rigger'. The sailmakers were skilled in this trade, and most of the old seamen could splice the wire rope, and worm, parcel, and serve it. This meant wrapping it round with yarn and canvas and again with yarn to prevent it from chafing,and to protect it against the action on it of sea air and salt water.
It was not only the ships' carpenters who were busy in those days. The blacksmith in the smithy on the quay can recall the time when all his business was with boats and fishermen. Even today he has many relics of these bygone days. There are old lanterns fitted with red and green glass that were the port and starboard lights on many voyages. Heavy wooden blocks lie on the shelves covered with the dust of years, the ships on which they were used long since broken up. The sheaves on his benches remind him of the rattling noise that filled the harbour when the fleet was in and the sails were being lowered, and he tells how the old men 'greased' their sheaves with blacklead to make them run more smoothly. He harks back nostalgically to the days when there were two fires going in the smithy, and they used to weld heavy storm anchors each weighing a hundredweight. Two men held the irons in the fire and called out to each other when they had them hot enough to make the weld. They made smaller kedge anchors for the nickies,and in a slack time light anchors for the long-line fishermen. Ready-made forgings came to the smithy to be heated and bent to make rudder irons for all kinds of boats, and they fastened the heavy metal shoes on the keels with nails and bolts moulded in the smithy in a variety of lengths and thicknesses.
He remembers the steam engine on board the nickies that worked the capstan,and the 'Iron Man' turned by two men which performed the same task on the nobbies where an engine could not be accommodated. He can name the first nickie to be equipped with an engine in 1907 or 8. She was the Vervain Blossom, specially built for an engine, not merely adapted as some boats were later. The engine itself was of Danish make. He, too, told the story of the old man in Peel who surely owed something to his Viking forbears both in occupation and personal appearance. He was 'an old man with long hair and a beaked nose' who designed and built fiddle bow boats in his garden near the schoolhouse. The Peel schoolchildren used to watch him at his work of decorating his boats with rope-carvings and ornamentation of all kinds. 'Even the tiller handle would have a fish carved on it'.
Further down the quay is the place that must have changed least since the days when the sailing boats went out in their scores from Peel harbour.In Teare's sail loft above the ships chandler's stores, heaps of canvas,old nets and coils of rope lie piled on the floor; the tray with lids, serving boards and the various needles and tools of the sailmaker's trade is still there; and standing idle now, the winding blades for winding the thread for making and mending fishing nets. Under the skylights are the long, low benches shiny with age on which the sailmakers sat, seaming or roping palm in hand, sewing their flat seams and round seams or roping a finished sail. Here the sails for many of the schooners were made, of a heavier canvas than those for the fishing boats, cut out perhaps from a bolt of sailcloth that had come from the Tromode mills, and stamped every yard or so with a Three Legs of Man. Here too, sails were measured and sewn for the nickies and nobbies, and as the sailmaker says 'Every sail had to be perfect: the sails were their engine in those days, and the men's lives depended on them'.
Until wire rope came into general use, the rope works at Peel supplied most of the rope that was required for the rigging of the boats. The old buildings with the long rope-walk beside the river may still be seen. The rope-spinners walked backwards, spinning as they went, with the long strands of heckled hemp, manilla and sisal grass wound round their waists. The ropes were spun by hand in this way, but the 'twist' was put on with steam power. Every thickness of rope was made, from the heavy kind used for moorings to the light ropes for the herring nets.
The nets themselves were made in the net lofts in the high narrow-gabled buildings in Castle Street and Factory Lane, and in other premises belonging to the boat owners. It is hard to arrive at a reliable figure, but it is said that well onto a hundred women were employed at the net looms in a busy season. The work of attending the looms was called 'jumping on the throttle' and it was done from a standing position. The 'jumping looms' are still remembered in Peel but they were transferred to Scotland about fifty years ago, some of the Manx women going away with the Scottish firm that bought them, to demonstrate their use.
When something has been told of the various trades that were represented in connection with the boat building in Peel in days gone by, there still remains the story of men who sailed in the boats that were made, and handled the nets and sails. That they were remarkable men and fine seamen cannot be denied. In the early days 'they could find their way into any creek' with a compass as their only navigational aid. They battled against wind and tide at all times of the year, and though one man will speak of the delights of sailing up to Shetland in the fine summer weather, another will tell of the return journey around Cape Wrath when the equinoctial gales came early one September, or of a crew having to tow their boat through the Caledonian Canal. The life was so strenuous in the days of sail that many men who engaged in it died before they were fifty years of age.
Even more incalculable than weather hazards were those other powers against which the fishermen waged indefatigable war. The blessing of God was invoked upon the fleet before It left for the fishing grounds, and prayers were said for its success and safety. Not a man, 'not even the hardest drinker on board' failed to raise his hat in thanksgiving when the Calf of Man came into view. All this was not enough. Many a time the luck of the boat would be lost and a week's fishing spoiled. Perhaps because a member of the crew had seen a certain woman before going on board. More often because of the heedless mention of a forbidden word, or the giving away of salt or matches by some fellow from the country tenured to the ways of the sea. There was always the other world to be reckoned with, And in opposing its influences the fishermen were ceaselessly vigilant.
The love of story-telling was always a characteristic of the old crafting fishermen, and many stories are told of experiences on the voyages. Some are of shipwreck, when boats like the Dart and Quickstep were lost in fog or swamped off the Irish Coast. There is the story of the man who, coming back from Lerwick, went ashore on Man to get provisions for his boat.He went into a field where some of the Islanders were cutting corn, and taking the scythe, cut a swathe or two to play his footing' in accordance with Manx custom on entering a harvest field. Finding the work 'coming with him', he stayed until the whold field was laid, and forgot all about his hungry crew.
Mention is made of encounters with the French sailors, the 'Johnny CrnpA'~ds'ns some of the Manxmen called them: of smuggling transactions with Dutch vessels, and of the good uses to which a bracket of tar could be put when the gold-braided customs officials came on board the nickies.
Then, whether true or false, the epic tale of the fifty men fighting in a field behind a public house in Baltimore and all the drink sold out.
Written records and statistics are always available, but these old tales are passed on only by word of mouth. It Is to be hoped that many of them will be preserved, and that the telling of them will never become entirely a lost art.
There is a house on the Market Square known as Balcony House, at present in the occupation of Miss Corrin. Capt. Quilliam, of 'Victory' fame, resided there until he removed to Ballakaighen, where he died, his remains being buried in Arbory Parish Churchyard. A short religious service and laying of wreaths on his grave on Trafalgar Day in each year is still continued.
The Processions of the various Friendly Societies were great days for us children. Sometimes, if we had done an errand for an adult, we would be promised a penny for the Club Day, and you can rest assured we took good care that the promise was redeemed. The majority of the members of these Clubs wore silk hats and dress coats, known in those days as long-sleeved hats and claw-hammered coats. Each member wore a sash and a rosette, and carried a stick surmounted with a shepherd's crook, a javelin, or other design. They were regular swells for the day.
The Artificers held their Procession on Holy Thursday, assembling one year at the Flat Gate in Queen Street, and the next year opposite Beach House,where the late Cal. Carey (the owner of the Calf of Man) resided. This Club would be headed by a Brass Band, and would march through the town, thence to a Service in St. Mary's after that to a dinner in the George Hotel. This Friendly Society has ceased to exist.
The Hope and Anchor Lodge of Oddfellows, and the Mona Daniel Tent of the Rechabites would have their respective processions on dates selected by themselves. Each of the Tents would have two Brass Bands. Each Tent, on the date selected, would assemble at the Town Hall, Arbory Street (now known as the Oddfellows' Hall), and march through the town, sometimes going to King William's College and other times to Lorne House, where General Dixon resided; then to a Service in St. Mary's and afterwards to a Dinner in the Town Hall. Both these Clubs are in existence at the moment, but I am afraid their days are numbered, as young men wishing to join will think twice about paying their contributions in addition to the compulsory payments under the Social Services Act.
Castletown Regatta was another grand day for us children. Sailing and rowing boats came from Ramsey and Douglas to compete. A smack or schooner dressed with bunting, would be anchored outside the Pier Head as a Commodore ship,with plenty of liquid and other refreshment about. I can well remember the firing of a cannon to commence the proceedings, and to give the yachtsmen the time so as to correct their watches. The powder was poured in out of a bag, and a sod well pounded in after it. After a great deal of preparation, it was eventually fired by the Town Bellman Davie McGill. The sport in the harbour that most held my interest was the greasy pole projected over the quayside, with a young pig in a basket. The basket had to be opened,and the pig released and captured in the water. This sport was stopped, as it was considered cruel. The following year, a pair of ducks were placed in the basket instead of the pig and these likewise had to be released and captured in the water. The promoters of the event forgot to clip the wings of the ducks, and I don't think they were ever captured! This sport was likewise considered as cruelty and had to stop.
The Athletic Sports were held on the Racecourse, now part of the Golf Links. For one of the events a pole was erected, and coated with soft soap. Attached to the top was a ham to be climbed for as a prize. This was great fun for the spectators but not for the unsuccessful competitors.
Flaxney Stowell, a builder and great temperance advocate, started a Band of Hope, which met in the Wesleyan School-room monthly. This organisation would also have its annual picnic, the members generally being brought by boat to Langness and back. On one occasion a strong wind sprang up, preventing the return journey by boat, and the company had eventually to walk back. After that, they joined the Sunday Schools for their picnic, and it indeed looked odd to see 'John Taggart, Wine and Spirit Merchant', on front of the cart, and above it a banner 'Wine is a Mocker, strong drink is raging'. Mr. Stowell, by his will, left a sum of money to carry on the work he had commenced.
Both Flaxney Stowell, and his brother Quayley Stowell (a painter) were interested in temperance work, and went annually to Peel on a specific date to hold a Temperance Meeting, which was advertised in Peel 'The Stowells are coming'. A tale is told that when Flaxney was carrying out some alterations to Arbory Church, the Vicar complained about the amount of sap in the timber being used, and the answer he received was: 'My brother Quayley will make it all the one colour.' Flaxney Stowell lived to 96 years, and I hear him say, not many years before he died, that he would not like to live to be an old man.
He was a very far-seeing man, could see a future for Port Erin, and was one of the first to build boarding-houses there as a speculation.
There was no Board of Guardians of the Poor, and the poor people of the town were cared for by a committee composed of the leisured wealthy residents and others. There were many beggars at that time travelling the Island, which of course ceased when the Board of Guardians of the Poor were appointed.
There was also a Dorcas Society, which functioned until recently, and performed very good work. Whatever sum of money that they had in hand has, I understand, been handed to the Board of Guardians of the Poor.
These Societies had an Annual Tea and Concert, the ladies providing the tea gratis, and competing with each other as to who would have the best display. After the tea was over, the tables were removed and a Concert by local artistes would follow.
There were thirteen cow-keepers in Castletown - no farmers' milkcarts in those days. The milk was 2'd a quart in the summer period, and 3d a quart in the winter. Some of the cow-keepers had their cow-sheds at the rear of their houses, with no back entrances, and you could see the cows walking in a procession down the street. Suddenly the leader would turn right or left, as the case may be, and go through the front door of a house, and along the passage (which would be of stone flags), and then to the shed at the rear.
The cow-keepers would be renting fields in the immediate neighbourhood of the town for grazing during the summer, and all the food for the cattle during the winter had to be brought through the house either in baskets or wheelbarrows.
The Castletown Water Company was in existence even before I can remember, but few of the working-class people obtained their supply from the mains for a long time afterwards. They were supplied with washing water from the river when their reserve of rain-water was exhausted, and their drinking water from wells. The residents along the Quay obtained their drinking water from a well at the Little Bank, and their washing water from the river. During the excavations for a warehouse on the Bank the spring supplying the well was cut, with the result that a supply had to be obtained from the mains, for which I personally was not sorry, as it saved me getting the water in buckets, and gave me more time for play.
As the time went on, supply pipes were placed on the walls in some of the streets, and the wells closed, the householders paying a small fee for the right to get their supply from the taps. Today, every household has its own supply from the mains.
I can well remember a well at the west end of Queen Street, almost at the gable of the End House in a grass plot which is still in existence. Some of the inhabitants had pig-styes near the shore on this spot.
There were a number of rather remarkable characters in the town in the old days, largely attributable to drink and lack of education.
John Smith, the Town Bellman prior to Davie McGill had an exceptional thirst, and a temperance advocate persuaded him to sign the total abstinence pledge, which document Smith was showing to all and sundry. Some of the wags decided they would have some fun out of this and got Smith to give a call in front of the public-houses and grocers' shops, and a last call - in front of the Temperance advocates - as follows: 'To all whom it may concern. Take notice that I, John Smith, Bellman for the Town of Castletown, have this day signed the Total Abstinence Pledge. Any person serving me with intoxicating liquor does so at their own risk and peril'. The first call made was in front of a grocer's shop in Arbory Street, the proprietor coming to the door to hear what the Bellman had to say. When he had finished, the grocer remarked: 'Very nice, John, very nice and well done. Come in and have a drop on the strength of it.' This was repeated at all the calls, until when he arrived before the Temperance advocate's house he had to lean against the wall before he could ring the bell. His wife was the only person in Castletown to my knowledge, who wore hoops in her frock, and continued to do so as long as she was able to get about.
Memoirs written circa 1930
[FPC see elsewhere links to other pages on Castletown]
John Quilliam, Thomas Gorrey of Peel, Henry Clucas 22 years of Port St.Mary and Peter Wordsworth also of Port St. Mary aged 26 years.
Amongst the persons lost on the HUNGARIAN, Montreal Steamship wrecked on the 27th February 1860 at Sable Island were 3 young men of the Isle of Man.William Cain, Fourth officer aged 32 years son of Philip Cain, late of the Saddle Inn, William Quine aged 27 years and William Nelson aged 20 years seaman.
Amongst the list of the names of the crew of the missing ship MAYPOCHO,we observe that of JOHN KEGG able seaman aged 34 years of the Isle of Man.
In the old register of the parish church of Kirk Christ Lezayre, Is this curious memorandum - "That one Robert Cottlett's wife was delivered of a child, which was baptized upon the Monday, and she Came to the church to be churched 'upon the Wednesday next after' And after returning home she fell In labour, and was delivered of another child, And came to be churched upon the Saturday next after, In the same week churched twice In one week.This I testify to be the truth.
Edward Crow, Minister
The winter of 1878 and 79 was singularly severe. There was a continuation of frost and snow for above 8 weeks more or less with cold biting winds.The Governor of the Island used a sledge to ride in durlng this time. In the memory of one of the oldest parishioners we have not had such a continuance of frost and snow for sixty years past. He remembers 60 years ago that the old people told of a very severe winter when there was a continuation of frost for ten weeks without a thaw. Which year was called the "year of the big frost".
Thomas, Patrick and Robert Cubbon, Infant sons of Thomas. These sons died of a thunderbolt April 23rd at CUSTAL BELL's, Surby and burled 25th April 1811. [Custal is a form of Christopher]
On the afternoon of June 21st 1876 there was a severe thunderstorm with heavy rain, A thunderbolt fell between three people as they were shearing sheep on the mountain and also set fire to the ling on the mountain. The names of these people were CUSTAL BELL, Thomas Keig and Ann Nelson
Remarkable case of longevity in one family in Castletown. Castletown has always been noted for a healthy place, and we come to this conclusion by frequently recording the ages of very old men and women born in this place.There is now living in the town, and born in it, perhaps one of the oldest families in the place. The ages of five, brothers and sisters, amount altogetherto 422 years. Three of the sisters Are married. The following are their names with their ages - Mrs. Clague, aged 94 years Mrs. Archlbald, 90 years;Mrs. Morrison 84 years; John Cannell, 78 years: And Robert Cannell 76 years.John and Robert Cannell we might almost pronounce young men, as they appear quite as active as many young fellows even at the age of twenty. Both of them are early risers, and may be seen early in the morning taking their walks, whilst many sixty years younger are "slumbering and sleeping", proving that the fresh morning air is not only beneficial but is the very cream of the day.
The journeyman tailors of Castletown have struck for on advance in wages,their present wages being only 10 shillings A week. They are now demanding15 shillings. The Masters are inclined to comply. If not it is recommended that each buy a spade, [f]or labourers get 12 shillings a week and work shorter hour than are alloted to the Castletown tailors!
We have just obtained a copy of MERCANTILE MANXLAND, this was published in 1900 giving details of most of the COMMERCIAL and INDUSTRIAL concerns of the year 1899, if anyone would like details of any of them please send 2 reply coupons.
- W.F. Moore and Son, Tromode
- Corrin Brothers, Peel
- E. Qualtrough, Port St. Mary
- Thomas Watson, Peel
- Henry Qualtrough, Douglas
- Joseph Cubbon and Son, Douglas
- Todhunter and Elliot, Douglas
- William Knox, Douglas
- Gellings Foundry, Douglas
- J. Sharp and Co. Douglas
- Alex. H. Brown, Ramsey
- E. Cannell and Son, Castletown
- Richard Keig, Port St. Mary
- Edward Christian, Ramsey
- Thomas Corlett, Laxey
This is a small sample of 62 business concerns.
Example Thomas Watson, Boat Builder, Peel
Thomas Watson, Although the coasting trade of Peel Boat Builder, is not what it once was when several Peel. vessels of large build, owned in the Sort, were employed far and near still, the fishing industry-the sheet-anchor of Peel-happily shows signs of renewed vitality and consequent prosperity, the present year being one of the most favourable scissors the fishermen have had for along period.
The more fishing the more wear and tear, and new boats must take the place of old ones from time to time. Only the other day we paid a flying visit to Watson's boat-building yard, just by the station at Peel. The oldest boat builder in the place, Mr. Homes Watson, has turned out hundreds of fishing smacks, schooners, and small boats in his time, and on the occasion of our visit we found him busy superintending the erection of a pair of stout nickies and a taut little nobby for local customers. Smartly yet stoutly built, they looked as if they would last a lifetime, for, like a good builder, Mr. Watson uses only specially-selected timber, which enables him to givethe greatest lightness as well as strength, for every ounce of unnecessary timber is cut away. Nearing completion in another shop was a smart punt and a comfortable looking Pleasure boat - big-bellied for safety - built on graceful lines in a style that few firms know how to produce. A handsome yacht was just being laid down for an English owner, Mr.Watson supplying similar vessels frequently for foreign owners, one recommending another, and so on. The different workshops are all conveniently arranged and well equipped with labour-saving, steam-sawing, betiding, and other apparatus, aridare well and substantially built, and, with Mr. Watson's long experience and a well-trained and skilled staff, we should say are capable of turning out anything in the way of boats, smacks, or anything that floats, against any competitor off the island.