The following was published as "Duke Street and Market Place Douglas Past and Reminiscent" by W. Gell (author of Mannin Veg Veen and other similar verse offerings) in 1918 - the early days of his childhood were thus the 1860's and 70's.
He starts at the North end of Duke Street where it runs into Strand Street (today where the new Marks and Spencer's store is) and finishes at North Quay - the old market place being demolished in 1896/7 and the two corporation Market Halls built to replace the open air market.
Within the text were a number of photographs - unfortuneately not of the street or its shops but of aldermen of Douglas.
DEAR READER, since I finished with the "Strand,",
Indeed before the pen had left my hand,
The thought occurred to me (as thoughts will come,
Thoughts, words and deeds comprise our whole lifes sum)
To keep along in straight continuation
Would fitly serve the present situation.
But firstly, in discoursing of the old,
Twill interest when I the " tale unfold,"
How well-known figures, ere I reached my prime,
" Had left their footprints on the sands of time."
And later, in discoursing of the new,
To clearly hold the mirror up to view."
Yet, on reflecting, I began to think
It well to spare the paper and the ink,
To run the old and new concurrently
Would suit the printer just as well as me;
Then to the pleasant task without delay,
To execute my work as best I may.
First on my list the business-like Miss Slate,
Who shifted here a " London House." of late,
That in two streets the wondering world might see
The wondrous garb of femininity.
A London House, just fifty years ago,
The finest lines in all footwear to show,
Stood on this corner, as it stands to-day,
A London man named Payne here held his sway.
Next door a canny Scot, my old friend Reay,
His mechanisms denote the time of day
A maze of wheels, bewildering rotators,
From microscopic gems to regulators.
Twas here one. Finlay in the long ago,
With blazing gutta-percha made a show.
A prominent townsman, Philips, oer the way,
Awaits our visitors to make things pay;
With varied wares, all of the highest grade,
Good seasons give the fillip to his trade.
Just by this corner in the days of yore,
A rugged slip gave access to the shore,
And here old Cain, with slaughterhouse and shop,
Provided meat that no one else could whop.
Another well-known citizen next door
Now runs the worlds colossal kipper store;
A self-made manwhom it is very plain
His fellow-townsmen trusted not in vain;
But gave the highest honour in their power,
And yet again ; he proved a very tower;
A man of substance and responsive ever
To sorrow and sweet charitys endeavour;
Ye who would seek mens confidence to win,
Take as a fair exemplarDaniel Flinn.
My old friend Quine, when I was in my prime,
Supplied provisions here to suit the time;
His purpose changednow in an upper street
He, with his son, purveys the best of meat.
Friend Plant across the way with fragrant weed,
Supplies the smokers wants. with every need
The choicest from the famed tobacco " plant,"
Though cheaper soon we hope Lloyd George will grant.
He also here supplies the daily news,
With papers to inform, instruct, amuse.
Here Witherspoon, an old-established name
Namesake of Witherspoon of old Scotch fame
With toothsome high-class goods, a varied stock,
Noted "Hi-Kelly !" and the famous " Rock."
Some fifty years ago old Madam Quirk
For boys and girls just here provided work;
How smokers sigh. for good old days now lost,
With " bacca" just one-third the present cost!
Across the way, with many a sweet confection,
Miss Walsh still lingers in my recollection.
Friend Clucas next with everything in reason,
Of garden stuffs, both in and out of season.;
Twas here old Kewley, better ends to suit,
Eschewed the needle for the flower and fruit;
Perpetuated in a double stand
By his descendants in the " dear old Strand."
Friend Collinson oer the way, still going strong,
Provides the " cup that cheers" for our Bon Ton,
With dainty maids, and all in daintiest fashion,
Nothing more dainty could they spend their cash on.
Twas here the Powers had built a Market Hall,
The egg and butter women to instal;
What pity, when they had so much enthused,
It never was for such a purpose used;
The women, just a little fee to save,
Resolved the fiercest elements to brave.
To Clucass again, across the way
Established when, is more than I can say
With poultry and the sweets for many a dish,
Now supplemented with all kinds of fish.
Here old Will Winder of horsebreaking fame,
Did Frances Jolly wed, extinct the name.
Friend Spence next door, with jewels quite unique,
And curios both modern and antique;
Here in the latter years the name was Heath,
But he like many more now gone beneath;
And in the olden time old Norrie Cowin
With bread supplied the " boats" of old renown.
Another Cowin, T. H., across the way,
Shows what keen enterprise achieves to-day;
With all the garments for the sex so sweet,
the shop extends half up th adjoining street.
Entrenched here on this parting of the ways,
A well-known figure in my boyhoods days
Was Bluff George Sherwood, with the very pith
Of everything pertaining to the smith ;
And how one calls to mind the honest " Dick,"
Who in the legal game oft took the trick,
Though for our first elected House of Keys
Old Dumbell had the strongest art to please.
With D.C.F.C.S. across the way,
Our old friend Cain now holds potential sway,
In fivefold numbers enterprise doth hold
Such feminine treasures, half could not be told;
Of corsets and the rest in such a mart,
Of " course its," quite beyond descriptive art.
Here might I make so bold as to suggest
( Although, of course, he knows his business best)
The D.C.F.C.S. outlined on top,
A legendary letter for each shop.
Just here, our old folks memories will retain,
Right facing what was known an Factory Lane.;
Stood prominently Cassidys Arcade,
A great emporium of the linen trade.
And later, Frederick Faulkners huge Bazaar,
With draperies of the best from near and far.
Here, too, was Joseph Kaye, well-groomed and smart,
Exponent of the gotod tonsorial art;,
For long our old towns premier hairdresser,
Affectionately known. as the " Professor."
And here recurs to memory Tommy Tate,
Who aimed to render service to the State;
His shop with draperies was all alive,
With gorgeous crinolines a perfect hive;
How often I admired his stalwart figure,
As fine a man as ever pulled a trigger;
He quickly rose a step above the ranks,
A corporal in our premier " Royal. Manx"!
When knowing wiseaccre would sniff the air
And bid less favoured ones for war prepare,
With apprehension quick to action grown
( The sleek " objector" then was quite unknown),
In countless thousands Britains loyal sons
Came forth with eagerness to man the guns.
Here old Dick Harrison (the Dicks not mine)
Wood fickle Fortune in the drapery line,
But that uncertain jade wont always smile
On everyone who strives to make his " pile";
Hence Dick eschewed the mantle and the rug,
And turned his efforts to the jug and mug.
Was he successful ? History sheweth not;
The boarding industry thenceforth his lot.
Now on this corner must we make a stop,
The site of William Waids once famous shop;
Here was the thrifty housewifes favourite mart,
Where blending tea was rendered a fine art;
The very best of goods of every kind,
Digits all to the front leave nought behind,
What marvellous dexterity of fingers,
The memory of Joe Coupe still with me lingers;
With twine and paper seeming intertwined,
His manual prowess still recurs to mind.
(A worthy son of his hard by, quite fit,
In this great war for right had done " his bit";
For shirking slackers quite a good example,
Of whom our streets still show a sorry sample).
A veteran townsman eke was William Waid,
To whom due honour should be duly paid,
A quarter century past th alloted span
By Providence vouchsafed to erring man.
His mantle afterwards on Thomas Coupe
Descended here (and what a family gronp
Remains among us permanently fixed
Thus families get strongly intermixed),
And worthily he proved the mantle fitted,
Yet in the course of time had elsewhere flitted;
When business had grown quite out of hand,
Found more commodious premises in the Strand.
And later here one Pointon came to stay
With mechanisms to point the time of day,
Rare jewels and most variegated dial,
Besought his friends to give his goods a trial.
Back must we hie now to the other side,
Where Wellington Street brings down the living tide;
Originally Factory Lane its name,
But when the General died, who won his fame
Upon the historic field of Waterloo,
Some changed their minds and christened it " anoo."
Here on the corner, with a bid for fame,
The Cabin Cafe (I don't know the name).
I know not if its menu is expensive,
But for a cabin really its extensive.
Twas here old Cubbon, sixty years ago,
Cut up the leather for the heel and toe
A branch of business flow well-nigh deported,
Since boots and shoes are for the most imported.
And later here came Cannel, Clucas, Moore,
Co-partners in a famous drapery store,
But when the good combine somehow got shattered
The various units oer the field were scattered;
Though for a time Clucas alone persisted,
In double single-blessedness existed;
Yet he in double harness gained renown,
Well meet again a little farther down.
Exit quite lately from the shop next door,
The famous " Home and Colonial" Store;
In present times, with competition keen,
They deemed it policy to quit the scene.
Here from the triple combine, for a while
Good William Cannell wood kind Fortunes smile;
Like many more he did his very best,
And then like many more passed to hie rest.
Breakfast and dinner ware and lordly dish,
And everything the good housewife could wish;
To purchase here is nought akin to lotteries,
But everything substantial from the potteries.
Evn glasses and decanters for carouse,
Might I suggest a title"Stafford House."
Here in the olden days now long gone by,
Pat Walsh a thriving business did ply
With endless toysnow on my memory rushes
The very "best house in the town for brushes."
Next door George Morrison had gained renown
In dressing the elite of our old town;
Each morning as they doffed their robe de nuit
They robed themselves with an immaculate suit.
Joe Cannell here became his bland successor,
In after years a musical professor.
To wield the baton was his worthy aim,
And thus acquired a meed of local fame.
Next Bannistersa double entry here
Their books are meant to square, thats very clear;
Here next to this, a dear old friend of mine,
A pioneer in the sun-picture line,
Was G. A. Deana man of sterling worth,
A tower of strength among the Sons of earth.
Friend Witherspoonyour pardon ; I forgot
To set you down before this ancient lot,
Though really with such long-established fame,
Among the ancients you have quite a claim.
Now to the shop adjoining must we hark,
Though for the nonce completely in the dark,
Twas here Mark Parkinson to fame had grown,
Now passed, like others, to the Great Unknown.
A stately figure, one I loved to meet,
His memory to me is ever sweet;
A genial soul, always ripe for a lark,
In journalistic lines he made his mark.
Now to the next must we ourselve.s betake;
Here Tyler takes, or rather gives, the cake
A creditable show among our shops,
Though stringent law allows no sugared tops.
Here Spence and Mundell, in the good old days,
Wood every class with drapery displays.
When they, for reasons I know not, dissolved,
The genial Dick Mundell had resolved
To woo Dame Fortune in the dear old Strand,
Where stands the towering Cinema so grand.
And Spence betook himself to other ways
To gain the meed for his declining days;
His worthy nephew, in an upper street,
Still woos the classes with elaborate suite,
The daintiest goods in velvet, damask, plush
A man of sterling energy and push!
Here on the corner was the Midland Branch,
Though far above the " middlin "goods as staunch
As staunch John Davidson, now gone to rest,
Of townsmen ever stood one of the best.
Oft would he point us to the Living Light
In temporal mattersglasses for our sight,
A stock of sterling watches did he hold,
And glittering gems in silver and in gold;
His living representatives here still
Keep on the business just to his will.
And on this corner in the former years
Was old friend Mundey, peer of his compeers,
With draperies in all the leading lines,
Where comfort and utility combines.
Twas here a worthy citizen, well-known,
Had started ore he had to manhood grown,
And set his foot upon the bottom rung
Of that great ladder Fame has often sung,
And steadily mounted it, nor did he stop
Until he for his purpose reached the top,
And gained a highly coveted position,
Yet never overweening his ambition;
Now on his laurels restingI would fain
Refer our boys to Superintendent Cain.
Across, Miss Cannell reigns supreme to-day
Migrated here long since from oer the way;
How many other names I cannot say,
But there it was Miss Kewley held the sway;
How lively still within my recollection
How I enjoyed the dainty, sweet confection.
With due regard now to this modern shop,
Can I say more than this ? Its still tip-top!
Now I remember well, twas on this spot,
One named John Kneale had duly cast his lot,
With groceries the larder to supply,
But his brief, fleeting day has long gone by.
Another prominent townsman here to-day
Pursues the even tenor of his way;
A Councillorone whom his Ward thought fit
To represent and do his little bit!
Though hideous war has such an influence shed,
That business in his line is well-nigh dead,
While some went under through its withering blight,
He still remains on top and full of fight;
With all the best in outfityoull do well
When fitting out to fit with A. H. Fayle.
Here was it Crebbin Brothers had their day
When nought absorbed my youthful mind but play;
A very small, and yet a strong combine,
Good groceries their one particular line,
But not the wherewithal for mixing toddy;
Good members of the sturdy Wesleyan Body.
And if my memorys correct in telling,
Succeeding them came Daniel Edward Gelling,
A harvest from tobacco plant would reap
When that delightful, fragrant plant was cheap.
Here, alongside, where nothing stands to-day
Except the loafers who block up the way,
Stood William Kneale so cultured and refined,
A scholar and a gentleman combined;
Dispensing literature was his vocation,
A giant in the cause of education.
Here also in the good old days of yore
Stood old friend Broughtons famous pottery store;
With household requisites both plain and smart,
And gems of Palissys recovered art.
But subsequently for a better stand
Took up his quarters in the " dear old Strand."
A tiny shop, while I was yet at school,
Would woo the fairer sex with Berlin wool;
Snugly ensconced among its bigger neighbours,
Scene of a natural gentlewomans labours,
But lately passed to her eternal rest
Through generations three one of our best;
None held the cause of charity more dear
Than dear Miss Croughan ; many dropped the tear
To know that we had one sweet soul the loss
Among us in this earthly wilderness;
One fain would hear the sainted spirits say
"We wait theeSister Spirit come away."
Here, if we half-a-century hark back,
Across the way a narrow cul-de-sac,
A very noted purlien of our street,
The memory of which is very sweet;
Ere yet Victoria-street had been conceived,
A meed of public favour had received.
Twas here old Robert Fargher won renown,
A leading spirit of our good old town;
With trenchant pen, and ever in progression,
To fight the workers fight against oppression
The " Herald" of the better days to come,
Though how objectionable twas to some.
How in conjunction he with old Jem Brown
Against the powers had thrown the gauntlet down;
Misrule could not escape their keen detection,
Sturdy opponents both of "Self-Election."
And here old Norris Clague had won renown
As paramount Coal-Factor of the town;
Here, too, the Board School had its first inception,
Though of the outcome few had much conception;
Some favoured it, while others much derided,
Resulta School Committee much divided.
Old Parson Hobson prophesied the cost,
With scant support his theory was lost;
With the best grace succumbed he in the fight,
Yet were the Parsons keen perceptions right.
Here, where our famous streets project an angle,
The famous Chemists Boots present a tangle
Of wares well-nigh bewildering in nature,
A stock which quite defies our nomenclature.
And if I may presume to quote myself
Though memory is such a fickle elf
"Boots," sheltering here beneath the wing of Cash,
Escapes the smart of Credits stinging lash;
Old Ledgers Pendulum had moved so quick,
They deemed it would be best to stop the Tick.
Twas here a well-loved figure gained renown;
A prince among the merchants of our town
Was gentle Robert Archer, well refined
And ever to the cause of right inclined;
To write how earnestly his light would shine
Fore men, would need an abler pen than mine;
Yet ever unassuming, gentle, mild,
All things to all, whether adult or child
Quite irrespective of their rank or station.
Still foremost in the cause of education,
In the development of mental power
And physicala veritable tower;
Its strongest advocate, yet never strong
In physical power, a sufferer for long
Before the final of his earthly span,
A courteous gentlemanalso a man.
Much of his earnest, strenuous life was spent
In helping those of sweet natations bent;
Who would the evidence of his labours seek,
Go out and view the famous bathing creek!
'Tis there his self-made monument is found,
In famed Port Skillion standand look around.
Nor must we be forgetful of old Joe,
His faithful henchman fifty years ago;
An Orangeman full sixty years or more
Was old Joe Cowley, and still to the fore.
And later in succession, William Cowin,
A man of sterling credit to the town,
Had here a London House on similar lines,
A soul where honour with virtue combines,
Gave of his talents for the public weal,
In charitable work engaged with zeal
Good service rendered to both Church and State,
Though years and illness had deprived of late
The energy he had ever brought to bear
On public work good citizens hold dear.
Alas ! now as I write, just laid to rest
To wait the great Archangels stern behest.
Another good old firm across the way,
Established when I really could not say,
In lines so characteristic of our street,
The drapery goods so oft the eye will greet;
For furnishing the hometheres everything
For cottage or the palace of a king.
A good Manx name is here still prominent
(May the good Manx names still be dominant).
Cottier and Cubbon in the olden days,
But still the old name Cottier with us stays,
Since Cubbon had his earthly task laid down;
A townsman once " of credit and renown"
And public spirit which was well apprised,
Chosen as Mayor, a matter well advised.
Cottier and Broadbent in these later days;
The junior now his Countrys call obeys,
Like many another junior of late,
Gone forth to render service to the State.
Yet many a fitter left among us still
Equipt with strength, but lacking in the will;
What groups of fit perambulate our streets,
While farcial Tribunal weekly meets
And orders many unfit souls along
" Conditional Exemption" to the strong.
Oh fie ! why are the strong among us left
While families are of their sires bereft?
Next door friend Aspell makes a goodly show,
His sire established fifty years ago
In Wellington-street, successful had it proved,
Then for a better show he hence had moved;
No need to appraise his wares, for they, tis plain,
Appraise themselves, to " paint the lily s " vain.
In old times, many will remember well,
Old Campbell chose this site for an hotel,
"The Alexandra"quite a queenly name,
Poor compliment to such a queenly dame;
Now vanishedsure of temperance the hub,
Our good old street has not a single pub!
Next door and next again at present closed,
Since hideous wars such burdens have imposed;
Here Davidson with Holden had begun
To mark the daily journey of the sun.
With gold repeaters and chronometers,
Sound English levers and barometers,
How Austrian regulators wealth had wooed!
(But mums the word, that subject is tabooed).
The earnest John, of serious incline,
With genial Joe made quite a strong combine.
Here just another little tribute must be paid
To excellent memory ; the veteran Waid
Migrated from the corner for a change,
With all his varied stock so vast in range.
On his retirement came a change of name,
The Barrens now perpetuate his fame;
Though for the nonce, thiough wars foul avalanche,
Business transferred to a suburban branch.
Just opposite where Boots runs so far down,
A well-known citizen of our old town,
One Samuel Webb, made his first business plunge
Before he had conceived his famous " Lounge."
A man of rectitude and probity
Of sterling business tact and industry,
A leader mongst the townsmen of his day,
While some must follow, he could lead the way;
His fellows knew itand on him conferred
The greatest honour, and they had not erred.
Succeeding in a somewhat similar sphere,
One Edwin Darke, a sometime auctioneer,
A preacher, though not " primitive in style,
A shihing light among us for a while.
His later history leaves me in the dark,
For foreign climes, I think, he did embark.
Adjoining here, Miss Kewley gained renown
As leading pastry-cook of our old town;
And still it lingers in my recollection
How I enjoyed the dainty, sweet confection;
But woe was me, how oft I " took the cake,"
And roused that slumbring fiend the stomach-ache!
Now her successors at the aforesaid corner
Could satisfy that epicureJack Homer.
Adjoining here, where Boots the million suits,
Most strange to say the business still is Boots;
Here Bostocks made of late a great extension,
With footwear too bewildering to mention;
The daintiest things in either boots or shoes,
The difficulty really which to choose.
In olden days the business name was Braid,
But he, like many more, to rest is laid;
Succeeding him came King from lower down
To make a bid for business renown.
Now back to where I was across the way,
Where Minton strove to make the paper pay,
But he succumbed, like others, to lifes crosses,
One really cannot live upon his losses.
Here William Kelly, old schoolmate of mine,
Had opened business in the good head line,
With hats and caps to suit our men and boys,
And still the public favour he enjoys.
When you get weary of that shabby tile,
Hell fit you in the very latest style.
In famed Victoria-street is now his stand,
With headware of the bestyours to command.
Next door Friend Norton, to his purpose staunch
Maintains here from the Strand a goodly branch;
With daintiest of dainty things in muslin,
( These drapery lines are always somewhat puzzlin);
Rich feminine garb in calico and linen
(Excuse the rhymeits hard to rhyme with women).
The famous velveteen his leading line,
To praise its excellence is hisnot mine.
In the old days a famous auctioneer,
One Jabez Doidge, unfurled his standard here,
To vend the standard writers of his time
In fiction, prose and poetry sublime;
A busy bee in gathering the honey,
Yet purpose quite apart from making money;
With nimble tongue and unctuous address,
Disseminating treasures from the press.
The humorous, the classic, grave and gay,
Vide Dickens, Collins, Reade and Thackeray;
That glorious nineteenth century held the sway,
Alas ! we have none such with us today.
A humorist himself, with oratorys flight,
Would bid you, if nought else, bid him good-night.
Next door, friend Nelson, with his flesh-meat frozen,
For the duration of the war had chosen
To abdicateunlike our Naval Hero,
His great namesake, who never dropped to zero.
Here in the golden days of auld lang syne
Dick Hampton stood in somewhat samilar line,
Yet quite dissimilar ; whom goods can please,
No need for shipments from across the seas;
When stock is of the best, home-bred, home-fed,
What need for such embalming of the dead?
Methinks, indeed, our folks care not a button
For doubtful Canterbury lamb or mutton.
Now just a word on holding to our own
Why should we be deprived of our " home-grown ?"
To you, ye profiteerscurtail your profit;
If ye persist, then good will not come of it.
And now a word to you, ye powers that be,
Tis time to stop these shipments oer the sea;
Oh shame on all the profiteering brood,
Thrice shame to rob our babies of their food!
No mincing matters now" the milks the thing
Wherein we catch the cruel, final sting"!
(Pardon my filching from th immortal Bard,
Will this plead my excuse ?the times are hard!)
Ye farmers, in the good time drawing nigh,
Home Produce be your Peace-times Battle Cry!
These few stray thoughts did much my pen embolden,
To bluff Dicks memory I am much beholden.
"Coming events their definite shadows cast,"
Yet well to note the shadows of the past.
And now to the palatial shop next door,
Established in the far-back-days of yore,
Successors to the older firm of Geiling,
Established when is far beyond my telling;
Their industry. now under war conditions,
Devoted to that Patriots workMunitions!
Now here our very best attention claims
A gentleman of philanthropic aims,
For years untold a man of business zest,
With work well done, gone to his final rest.
A man of parts, yet one harmonious who lo
His charity was not the meagre dole;
Not merely one of the pedantic sort,
Philoprogenitiveness was his forte;
Unostentatiousfor the children cared,
"A better man might have been better spared."
William Todhunterthough I never knew him,
Knowing his work, tis easy to construe him;
Who to the memory of the just are kind,
A little walkyou easily may find
Glencrutcherythe master bids you come
And view his monumentThe Childrens Home!
The other partner in this good combine,
Enthusiastic in the music line,
The love of music in his soul was shed,
He too, alas, is numbered with the dead;
Keenly devoted to the gentle art,
Electing thus to play a double part;
But junior was he in this good connection,
His worthy sire is past my recollection.
To this same shop, nigh sixty years ago,
Came Kneale and Teare, with quite a splendid show
Of draperiesmoving from farther down,
A credit and convenience to the town.
Acrossa very hive of industry,
Who runs and reado may in the windows see
The zeal and enterprise of Emmets sons,
With garrisons of workers, our great guns;
Holding well-nigh illimitable stocks
Of varying outfits, collars, gloves and socks,
Home-madethat wondrous scheme of knitting,
Could anyone conceive of aught more fitting;
"Support home industries"tho popular cry,
Your opportunity is here_then try.
Support these advertisers of our town
Gainst foreign imports throw the gauntlet down.
Here in the olden days the name was Cowin,
The trade was simply headwear, handed down
First to Legge Brothers, then to Emmets sire,
Now enterprise leaves nothing to desire;
Here, with an influence well-nigh all-pervading,
Behold the acme of keen business trading.
A little shop stood here in days of yore,
But new absorbed in Emetts mighty store;
Kept by George Beveephysically small,
But large in soul, a man for all in all;
His temporal vocation " Tunbridge Ware"
The children his supreme delight and care.
My latest teacher, now long laid to rest,
To know him was to know one of the best;
His memory lives until lifes sun shall set,
Unneeded that behest" Lest we forget."
Acrossthe leading business of the town
Throughout three generations of renown;
The needs of the artistic here combine
With all things in the literary line,
Yet nothing of the turgid or the low
A fact which all our wiser folks well know.
Friend Sissons well maintatins the reputation
His shop had gained among our little nation
When John Mylrea of excellent memory
Established it in strict integrity;
His mantle in the after years had fallen
On one well fit to wear it-Robert Allen.
To none more fit could it have been consigned,
Since he in partnership had long combined;
But he likewise had long since passed away,
The common lot of all the sons of clay.
Now back where old King-street comes leading down,
The leading outlet from the upper town
Ere the "New Street" was yet in incubation,
Chef duvre of our Douglas Corporation;
The corner here, where Emetts all pervading
Display the acumen of colossal trading,
Was once the home of horologic art,
Old William Muncaster here played his part;
Taught many tyros how to deal with time
And sent them forth while I was in my prime;
One of my teachers in old Thomas Street,
His memory to me is ever sweet;
Good, genial soul, his efforts would succeed,
Restraining us from many a naughty deed.
Just opposite we find a thrifty Stoker,
Though not connected with the spade or poker;
I ask his pardon for this role of joker,
And hope his laugh at this wont prove a choker;
His windows are attractive to the fair,
Especially those who have an hour to spare,
Though nothing of a judge, Ill say this much
Tis well with the fair sex to keep in touch.
Now for a slight digression I would crave
Your kind indulgenceto extol the brave;
Our women-folk had realised this fact,
"The time was out of joint"then swift to act,
With one accord they kicked aside the traces;
The boys were gone" then we must take their plac~";
" While those we love must risk their lives 'out there,
We at the back must take our needed share."
Are women brave ? Now swept away all mystery
The womans action will he theme for history!
"The weaker vessel" ? After such endeavour,
An epithet now swept away for ever!
Twas here old Roger Roney made his "siller";
Of the old Catholic Church a mighty pillar,
One to be counted in religious life
Mutual recrimination then was rife,
The roughest element of language was intense,
Now haply hushed by sound and common-sense.
Across we find the shop of solid leather,
Good boots to suit our variable weather,
Well-made and guaranteed by our friend Shimmin,
Strong footwear for our men, all sorts for women
Most variegated knicknacks for the flapper,
Her ankles to revealso neat and dapper;
( I really hope the sweet ones wont abuse me,
The licence of the poet must excuse me.)
Twas here old King had drivn a modest trade
Ere moving to succeed the bootman Braid.
Next door again the Emetts, all-pervading,
The head and front of enterprise and trading,
With myriads of hands below, above,
Whirring machines producing sock and glove,
The indispensable adjuncts for war,
Ere long to let the Germans know "what for"!
And next again Eastmans, at present closed,
Our housewives found they had been overdosed
With foodstuffs in the shape of frozen meat,
And reckoned our homefed was best to eat.
Twas here old Kneale and Teare had had their day,
Their drapery business had come to stay,
Then duly moved(how they had made it pay)
To that palatial building oer the way.
Now asking pardon for a slight digress,
I really felt that I could do no less;
A worthy son of Kneale of this combine
Now stands establishod in the legal line
In the Manx Doctors Commons, Athol-street,
Where Law ard Medicine of old did meet;
A citizen his fellowmen could trust,
In equity ; his word his bond, and just,
To various honorary posts elected
Indeed rio better could have been selected;
When aught disturbs or thieves break through and steal,
Be confident and trustLlewellyn Kneale.
Here Dickinson and Corrin had succeeded
With everything in drapery thats needed;
Stout-hearted Corrin yet is to the fore,
Although methinks approaching his four-score.
The shop adjoining, now absorbed in Lays,
Was tenanted in those far-bygone days
By Lemon Brothers, enterprising Jews,
With jewellery and all that accrues,
Which vanished in a most destructive blaze,
Then vanished they as well and went their ways;
Memry recalls their youthful brother Sam,
Though but a Lemon, just as sweet as jam,
Well known among the Douglas youth as " Punch,"
Though destitute of that street-heros hunch.
Across we find a Sixpenny Bazaar,
With goods and ornaments from near and far,
But chiefly useful to the good housewife
With scanty pittance in these days of strife.
Here Richards for a while had played his part,
Well known in our old towna famous mart;
His flavoured teas had caught the public favour,
The name had a distinctly Cornish flavour.
Adjoining next, the far-famed Marks and Spencers,
Of little goods the biggest known dispensers;
Originators of the cheap bazaar,
Well-nigh ubiquitous, known near and far;
For modest pennies endless range of toys,
To humble housewives just a home of joys.
Here Henry Laurence had his grocery store
When our old street had grocers half-a-score.
The ceaseless whirring of the coffee~mill_
Thank God the whirring note is with us still
Though quite unmusical, no note more sweet
Was ever yet produced the sense to greet.
Across, Were Hart and Dale in similar line,
In every sense a good and strong combine;
Two stately figures, men of sterling worth,
From here they had removed to farther north.
Friend Thomson here supplies the gardeners needs
With everything desired in bulbs and seeds;
The wonderful provisions of Dame Nature,
Bewildering in their very nomenclature;
Son of our old-time famous auctioneer,
Th embodiment of merriment said cheer,
Our local modern Yorick, "well we knew him,"
And knowing him, how easy to construe him.
His flashing; wit and bolts of harmless chaff
Unfailingly provoked the wholesome laugh.
Compendium rare of wit and common~sense,
Yet nought annuls the fiat "passing hence,"
When Time, inexorable turns the glass,
" Back tio the land" the sons of earth must pass.
Here Id forgot, with memory so fickle,
One who succumbed to times relentless sickle;
Across, where Eastman failed to make it pay,
Old Thomas Clague stood in the bygone day;
The very beau-ideal of a butcher,
At least (to make the rhyme) "near as a toucher";
Here would the good housewife repair each morn,
Where all the goods were good and British-born.
Right well she knew that all was sound and fresh
Flir those who would enjoy joys of the flesh;
But now, alas ! The hard-wrought soul is fain
To pray the good old days may come again;
Though needed for the inner mans munition,
The price well-nigh amounts to prohibition.
His worthy son holds credit and renown
With sterling business in the upper town;
How easily business is estimated
When business tact with rectitude is mated.
Another mammoth business firm is Lays,
Established firmly since my own schooldays;
Well I remember senior. George come over
With Ellis Jones, who thought to be in clover
In the Old Market, "The Neptune Outfitting"
But soon that worthy had resolved on flitting.
Then George came here and started on his own,
How wonderful to what that start has grown;
Though this was nigh on sixty years ago,
There is but one opinion" not so slow."
Now his descendants lack not in renown,
One of the leading families of our town.
In similar line, and just across the way,
Friend Callister, tis hoped, has come to stay
A partner in the whilom firm "Two C s"
With strong-made suits our men and youths to please;
Next door, well-nigh ubiquitous Montrose
Will garb fastidious folks from head to toes
Brave shows for suiting both the brave and fair,
The popular blouse and best of underwear;
When wares are good and cheap, well-made and stout,
The keen housewife will quickly find it out.
Twas here old Quayle held all the leading styles
In caps of every grade and lordly tiles;
A portly figure when I saw him last,
But now a dim remembrance of the past.
And here, presiding genius of the scene,
A valued old acquaintance reigned as queen;
Still in the flesh, her earthly span runs on,
With nearly all contemporaries gone;
A dainty little matron since her marriage,
Presiding genius of the babys carriage.
Here ends our level street, but not my will
My next shall be th historic Market Hill.
The dear old Market Hill so steep and cobbled,
How painfully infirmity had hobbled,
Paved with Manx pebbles of the rougher sort
With which upon the shore we had such sport
As the old game of duck-stone we would play,
Like other healthy games nigh passed away.
Those were the days we never ean forget,
Before the advent of the gramite sett;
Even this now superseded by asphalt,
That boon so priceless to the old and halt;
Now with our Corporation such a treasure,
Though oft they set to work much at their leisure,
We gladly hail each Corporative measure
And traverse our old streets with ease and pleasure.
Here on the right-hanil corner, looking down,
For long the premier saddlers of the town,
Cubbon and Sons, obliged perforce to yield
And leave the Corporation a clear field
Had from the Market moved ; the power supreme
Was vested in the Corporation for that scheme
Which should provide the people with a shelter,
And obviate the running helter-skelter
When rain prevailed ; a scheme though long belated,
By all concerned now well appreciated.
But now methinks your pardon I must beg,
Ive run ahead with rather loose a leg;
Now backward must I hie me to the top
And finish with that noted, closed-up shop.
In thie old shop, when paraffin was " young,"
The candle business was going strong,
Before the coming of the snuffless dip,
With snuffers used the straggling wick to snip.
How disagreeable it was to handle.
When nights were warm, the greasy tallow candle.
Equipt now with petroleum and gas,
So deftly mirrored and enforced with glass,
How vastly more "enlightened" we have grown,
The snuffers are (or is) a thing unknown.
Here in old times the elder Kaye had stood
With candles hardened from the melting mood,
Brought hither from the factory on the hill,
The memory of which is with me still,
When cooling tallow dips were, stack by stack,
Hung out in serried rows upon the rack,
Though with the needful melting of the fat
The tender stomach oft went pit-a-pat;
Though with consideration for the neighbour,
The night was chosen for that branch of labour.
Alas! like others which have known decay,
A branch of industry now passed away.
His worthy son, a townsman well respected,
In Lord-street for a time the trade projected;
But when the industry was doomed to pass
Turned his attention to the modern gas.
Here Warburton reaped a more fragrant meed,
Supplying smokers with the fragrent weed,
So far tobacco and cigars alone,
The popular cigarette was then unknown.
Here to my memory recurs John Gibbons,
Who vended anything from cloth to ribbons ;
So brief his tenure of the situation.,
I never knew what was his strict vocation
Whether as an itinerant cheap-Jack,
Or was he just an auctioneering quack.
Now must we hie across the way to greet
The first and premier grocer of our street,
With sterling business still in upward growth,
A valued namesake and a kinsman both.
What strange vagaries Fortune here had chosen
This side once numbered grocers half~a~dozen;
Our street of grocers once had had its fill,
Not one now till we reach the Market Hill;
Suffice it now to sayno more, no less,
Nothing eer yet succeeded like success.
In this same shop in the far bygone time,
Old Henry Davis sold his cuts so prime
From mighty sirloin down to lambkin chops
Almost a feast to view these butchers shops.
The shop next door bids us "halt on" our way,
Here Halton is the name, the same to-day
As in the misty far-back days of yore,
And still the same reliable drug store.
Just here, I might remarkhow passing strange
That here the name has undergone no change,
While countless other names have come and gone
Unchanging yet remains the present one!
Across here to inform, instruct, amuse,
A vast emporium of the worlds news;
The home of paper for the one who writes,
Though prices nw have reached abnormal heights,
Which, when this war is ended, must come down,
A boon for all the Pressmen of the town;
Bookbinding, too, in each and every branch,
Inaugurated by a townsman staunch.
Tis well that I should use my pen in praise
Of one who was my friend in boyhoods days;
Wise counsel oft had laid me in his debt,
Though passed away, I never can forget
A man of sternest rectitude and just,
In whom his fellow-citizens could trust,
As Alderman for our infantile Borough;
Such Alexander Lewthwaite, who was-thorough.
Here Henry Fargher, fifty years ago,
As butcher for a time had made his show;
Of business he had a goodly share,
Ever providing sound and goodly fare;
Later removed, whether for good or ill,
To try his fortune on another hill.
Next door, again, we find in Conibeares
The very best of apples and sweet penrs,
With every other kind of wholesome fruit
The most fastidious epicures to suit;
Earths richest gems in every size and shape,
From giant pumpkin down to. luscious grape
Just facing Pegrams, doubly oer the way,
A branch from our great port here come to stay;
May long-lost trippers follow in their train
When glorious Peace has been restored again.
Twas here good Thomns Fleming had his show,
A butcher, too (this might be "Butchers Row"),
With soundest business tact and common sense,
Grained far beyond a moderate competence.
Here for a time Charles Dibb had his combine,
A pioneer of cheapness in his line,
So multifarious, too, tis hard to tell
What were the wares he would not buy and sell;
Whiatever might be said, this was a lift
To the poor folks whose motto must be thrift,
With branches here and there and everywhere,
A boon for those with little cash to spare;
Though not a Manaman, even in the rough,
His maxim might have been "rough and enough";
Although at Natures call returned to clay,
Hi-s representatives are here to stay
Here was old Matthew Wilsons famed Cookshop,
Where many would adjourn for steak or chop;
His. first appearance I remember well,
Cook for the new Imperial Hotel;
A master of the culinary art,
He soon elected here to play his part,
A close acquaintance with him would unfold
A bluff exterior with a heart of gold;
True knowledge thus experience will lend,
Twas happiness to count him as my friend;
in later years he gathered much renown
As prime restaurateur of our good town ;
His worthy son, but lately passed away,
Maintained his prestige to the present day;
The living representatives, astute,
Still keep the old prestige in good repute.
In the old shop next door, a famous stand,
A thriving branch of business from the Strand;
Here Quine and Shimmin furnish good footwear
Een to the welting of the famed Goodyear;
Twere vain to search for aught their goods surpassin,
From satin shoes to Indian mocassin.
Here had the senior Kissack gained renown,
One of the leading grocers of the town,
Thie son keeps up the reputation still
With high-class goods upon the other hill.
In later years, leaving the old combine,
Stood Robert Clucas in the drapery line;
Misfortune dogged his footsteps, yet intent,
Reverses did not foil him of his bent
With resolution much to be admired
He fought reverses, conquered, and retired;
Now he who gains a business renown
Must needs be one to represent his town;
Hence would South Douglas fitting tribute pay,
And duly honoured him with M.H.K.
Now for the last time must we cross the way
A tribute to antiquity to pay.
Here good John Young, a leal and canny Scot,
Elected with the Manx to cast his lot;
An expert in the art of pharmacy,
A syinpathetic soul well-known to me,
With kindly heart, oft stricken to the core,
As time deals out to all bereavements sore
Wars fortune now for many wills it. so
"To wear the trappings and the suits of woe";
Yet Hamlets plaint perchance was nigh unknown
In Douglas scarce yet to a hamlet grown,
When this, the oldest business in the town
Was started ; here had many gained renown
A century of years and thirty-eeven
Successively dispensing healing leaven;
First in my memory, sixty years ago,
Mylchreestas Manx as any name we know.
Fair Scotia, land of leal, neer yet forgot
By her true sons, wherever cast their lot,
Though sundered far, to. each true heart returns
Th immortal memory of Scott and Burns;
By all true hearts what pleasure must be felt
In the near kinship of the Gael and Celt.
But now methinks, both pen and time to spare,
Time to debouch upon the Market Square.
Here for my verse methought a slight reversal
Would aid me somewhat in this quaint rehearsal;
Indeed twould look more like a strict review
To note the olden time before the new.
The dear old Church, contiguous to the fish,
How often have I heard expressed the wish
It had been left to moulder in decay,
A rich memorial of the bygone day;
Twas here the Saintly Wilson had his throne
When Mona to the world was little known;
Two centuries had the simple fabric stood,
Yet strongly built to brave vicissitude,
Of which the Church had had an ample share;
Here would the youth of Douglas still repair
On Sunday nights, where many a time and oft
They played the barrel-organ on the loft,
So simply done, merely to turn the handle;
Twas then the Church was lighted by the candle
The bright petroleum and brighter gas
Had not as yet vouchsafed to come to pass.
A little notice here, I feel I must,
Of one who grovelled in the undercrust,
Whom dissipation sank beneath the tide,
Shorn of his self-respect and all beside;
The words are histhe language is not mine,
And yet obliged a little to refine
" The man of God invited me within,
His verger swept me out again to sin" ;
Alas ! poor Jimmy, sadly oft the case,
The ragged and unkempt have there no place;
To illustrate the matter I would quote
A single verse from one of highest note,~
Anent a certain fashionable fans
One humble soul would enter, but in vain :
"The few free seats were crowded,
Where she could rest and pray;
With her worn garb contrasted
Each side in Lair array,
Gods House holds no poor sinners,
She Sighed, and crept away!"
Here must I pay a tribute to the worth
Of one who was my dearest friend on earth;
Such Thomas Arthur Taggart, now no more,
At whose departure many hearts were sore;
The counsellor, the guide, the poor mans friend,
Now in that bourne whence all our footsteps tend;
He, eer returning to his native dust,
Would with the very humblest share his crust;
E.er strenuous, this parish was the town,
Now waits he wrapt in sleep th immortal crown;
How easily his monument is found,
Go to the Parish Church and look around!
How meet and fitting that his worthy son
Took up the task he had so well begun,
To hold upthat it should not suffer loss
The symbol of redeeming loveThe Cross.
The Market Square, how past all recognition,
Still more and more with every new addition;
So ably did the Councillors devise it
Our bygone sires would fail to recognise it;
And yet what an inestimable boon
For trading in the Saturday forenoon,
What time the stalwart keeper of the roll
Comes on his rounds to lift the trifling toll;
How cheerful, knowing of the good intent,
The short-time tenants pay their pigmy rent;
Adjoining there, yet wisely kept apart,
A joyance for the home that goodly mart
Where Mary Curphey holds her stocks of fish
In all varieties that one could wish;
Here oft outside laid out in serried rows
That tempting fare which everybody knows;
Exceptionally early catch this season,
Although the price is somewhat out of reason,
While auctioneers await the wink or nod,
One fain would think and ask" Can this be Cod?"
Here the well-ventilated Market Hall,
Tm order neat each butcher has his stall,
Good-bye that shivering in the wintry blast,
Our caterers are snugly housed at last.
And here likewise a Government supply
Of good foodstuff for all who may apply
Good wholesome oatmeal for the wholesome meal,
The hungry stomachs aching pangs to heal;
Perhaps ere longthough yet we cannot tell
The needed milk may be supplied as well.
How admirably is the scheme arranged,
No one would wish the present order changed
To that of olden days, when all were fain
To seek a shelter from torrential rain
In Gellings Court until the storm abated,
A cul-de-sac long since obliterated.
Yet pleasant are these memories of the past,
To hold with us as long as life shall last,
How stout dame Curtis reared her big fish stall
Approximating to the Old Church wall;
Here, through the reign of Britains Empress Queen,
"The British" overlooked the busy scene;
Where farmers met and oft agreed to differ
Over their pints of ale or something stiffer,
Sagely discussing as they licked their chops
The topics of the weather and the crops.
Below, with harness, saddle, bit and bridle,
Old Cubbon and his staff were never idle,
Until, succumbing to the Councils will,
They had to move their trappings up the bill.
Adjoining, after ~ Ellis Jones departed,
In grocery business Jacob Kelly started,
Still hale and hearty in an upper street,
A pleasure oft to me with him to meet;
Another grocer on the corner here,
If I remember right his name was Creer,
Through many years his business was thriving,
I know not whether he is still surviving.
Across the way still stands a stately pile,
Where many had resolved on "striking ile!"
Just now a stately business hotel;
Nigh sixty years since, I remember well,
The leading vogue, instead of beer, was bread,
With oysters down belownow long since dead.
In close proximity theres many a pub,
Multiplication vain, "aye there s the rub !"
Now just a word or two before I end,
Of one who. ever was the poor mans friend
Brave Samuel Harris, ever keen to judge,
Whom nothing could from tender mercy budge;
Full forty years our leading citizen,
To do him justice is beyond my pen;
Methinks his well-known figure still is near,
" Though lost to sight, to memory ever dear."
Another word about that Company
Who gained and hold renown upon the sea,
Which with our foremost Manxman at its head
Had well-nigh come to mean our daily bread.
No notice of our town would he complete
Without some mention of our famous fleet;
May old prosperity soon come again,
With glorious Peace restored across the main!
And now, dear readers all, my task is finished,
I hope your interest has not diminished;
If these poor lines have somewhat entertained,
I feel that at the least theres something gained.
Alderman J.T. Faragher (Mayor)
Alderman [Daniel] Flinn
Samuel Webb (ex Mayor)