[From Merchantile Manxland, 1900]
In a favourite residential resort like Ramsey, where there is a constant coming and going of visitors, a great amount of wear and tear of household furniture is unavoidable, and the renewals must consequently be a matter of importance to hotel and boarding house proprietors. Ramsey has, besides, a large and refined residential community, whose wants have also to be catered for in the best possible manner.
A very useful and obliging firm, who are well spoken of all round Ramsey and district, is that of Mr. William Storey, the energetic and up-to-date cabinet maker and upholsterer, of Parliament Street, Ramsey. Here, in large, well-lighted showrooms, is displayed a fine collection of useful and ornamental household furniture, all well made and finished, and sufficiently varied in style to suit the most fastidious tastes. Bedding of superior quality, made of selected materials beyond suspicion, and of guaranteed sanitary purity, forms a large element in the production, his clients including the New Infectious Hospital, hotels, and hosts of other residents. Another very prominent feature is the display of cosy bedroom suites in a variety of styles ; and good, substantial dining-room furniture. Although everything partaking of the nature of shoddy is carefully excluded from the stock, prices in general rule below the average, and are noted for their extreme moderation. Visitors to the handsome Mooragh Hydro, which is noted for the perfection of its interior arrangements, unanimously admire the stately and luxurious furniture of the building, and, when we mention that the whole of the equipment, which bears eloquent testimony to the skill of the craftsman in the perfection of its finished workmanship, was produced by Mr. Storey, any further remark would be superfluous, so that our readers will do well to bear this firm in mind whenever any new article of furniture or any repairs are required.
As a grain producing' centre, the fertile land of Mona has become a valuable source of supply to the mainland, hence the exportation of cereals yearly increases in volume, Ramsey being by far the most important port of shipment. Manx wheat and oats are gaining. a high position in the markets of the U.K., whilst the demand for Manx barley has attained extraordinary dimensions, its value for malting purposes being widely recognised. On referring to statistics, we find that the principal exporter of barley and other grain in Ramsey, and, indeed, on this island, is Mr. R. S. Corlett, whose mill and stores on the West Quay, Ramsey, we recently visited. The barley, as it is brought in by the farmers, is stored on the upper floors of the spacious stores. Passing through ducts, it is led to the excellent screen by Roby & Co., a machine driven by steam, and capable of cleaning and separating all the small grains from the malting barley. After being duly screened, the barley falls into sacks placed underneath the screen. When filled, the sacks are loaded into vessels stationed at the wharf in front of the building, and cargo after cargo are thus promptly despatched to their different destinations; oats, wheat, etc. being handled with equal facility.
Besides the export trade, there is an immense output of feeding stuffs of all kinds, the place being fitted with an extensive plant for kibbling, grinding, crushing, and cleaning all kinds of grain, the motive power being supplied by a powerful steam engine. Seeds of all kinds, feeding cakes, manures, etc., are heavily handled ; whilst, as wool buyer, it may truly be said that fully three-fourths of the wool grown on the island passes through his hands. Liberal and straightforward in his business transactions, Mr. R. S. Corlett enjoys the support of a large clientėle in all parts of the island. The telegraphic address is, " Sayle Corlett, Ramsey."
The ancient village of Ballasalla, nestling amongst its verdant woods, with its picturesque old corn-mill fed by the brawling Silverburn, may justly be described as one of the most Arcadian spots on the island. The Silverdale Mill has furnished for generations the surrounding district for miles with grist and flour, its capacity having been largely augmented when it came into the possession, some thirty years ago, of William Quine & Son, by whom it has been fitted with a modern steam plant of effective character. Taking a foremost place amongst native millers, the various commodities supplied by this energetic firm are now widely known. Briefly stated, they consist of household flour, groats, oatmeal, barley meal, pearl barley, maize, and all manner of feeding stuffs. The manufacture of Rolled Oats-the firm's latest production represents an entirely new department in Manx milling, and the firm certainly deserve congratulation in introducing what is bound to become an important industry on the island, where every addition to its industrial resources is so essential to its future well-being. Although of comparatively recent introduction, Manx Flavour Rolled Oats-a wholesome and sustaining article of diet, whether for breakfast or supper have evidently "caught on" with the general public, and are rapidly being introduced into many of the principal towns of the United Kingdom. A striking success gained in so short a time proves conclusively that Manx oats are fully equal to the best Scotch, and superior to American oats. Probably, one of the principal factors to this success is that the distinctive flavour possessed by Manx oats is, owing to the exceeding care bestowed upon it during the process of preparation, retained in all its fulness.
From personal experience, we may truly say that a daintier dish for delicate digestions does not exist, and that as a delicious, appetising, and sustaining article of food Manx Flavour Rolled Oats will require a lot of beating, as they please the popular palate.
As one of the prominent Manxmen of the day, Mr. William Quine, the principal, is highly respected, having been an active member of the House of Keys for eight years, representing Rushen Sheading ; a guardian of the poor, etc. For 24 years he has served on the School Board in the interests of religious equality. A staunch advocate of Temperance, he takes a deep and abiding interest in all social and philanthrophic movements all over the island. The junior partner, Mr. T. F. Quine, has had wide foreign experience, and is the only Manxman, so far, who has successfully passed a searching examination in the science of milling at the City of London Guild School, being also an Associate of the Society of British and Irish Millers. Scientific milling, as practised by Messrs. Quine & Son, of Silverdale, Ballasalla, and Bank Street, Castletown, is, indeed, one of the most beneficial industries which find a home in Mona.
Of the mineral wealth of Mona although Lead is by far the most extensively worked the carboniferous limestone, which crops up here and there, is perhaps one of the most valuable and, at the same time, one of the most useful resources of the island. The finest deposits are in the southern portion of the island, the largest and most important quarries being situate about a mile north of Castletown. The Billown Lime Works, as they are called, have been worked for many generations by the Moore family, the present proprietor being Mr. Thomas Moore, of Billown. These quarries are noted for producing lime of the greatest tenacity and of most admirable colour, rendering it specially valuable for building purposes and for plastering, for which they are in great demand all over the island. There is also a very large output of lime very suitable for agricultural uses.
In reviewing the mineral resources of the island, special mention must be made of the Billown lime quarries, which, under the energetic and enterprising proprietorship of Mr. Thomas Moore, are capable of turning out lime at the rate of 10,000 tons a year with the present kilns, an amount which can even be exceeded whenever the occasion demands it. Being adjacent to the railway, every facility exists for cheap and rapid transmission, hence a very thriving industry is in full swing at the Billown Lime Works, Castletown.
Castletown, the ancient Wholesale Provisions, &c., capital of the island, has never cultivated what may be termed mechanical industries within her borders. On the other hand, however, she has always taken a leading part in distributing the food supplies of the island in the form of groceries, provisions, wines, etc. A widely-known and old-established house, which has always taken a prominent position in the handling of these commodities, is that of Mylchreest & Co., of Malew Street and Market Place. Ever since its inception, in 1848, honest and straightforward methods of doing business so dear to a Manxman's heart-have prevailed here, with the result that year by year the most gratifying progress has been made, so that at the present day it is generally conceded in trade circles that the firm of Mylchreest & Co. hold a very high position in the trade. As one of the largest buyers on the island, they certainly hold a command of the market, which enables them to treat their customers with liberality, and to hold their own against any competitor whatever. Being the finest business establishment in Castletown, Mylchreest & Co.'s handsome retail department arrests the attention of all passers along quaint Malew Street. The contents of the ample show windows indicate the nature of the internal arrangements of the place, for here is always a tempting display of choice groceries, Italian goods, and the thousand and one appetising dainties which can only be obtained in a high-class establishment. As skilful blenders of tea (taking the water of each district supplied into consideration), Mylchreest & Co. have a very high reputation; and for fine coffees fear no rival on the island. As wine and spirit merchants, guaranteeing the purity and genuineness of all they supply, their trade is consequently very large. Passing through the great storage warehouse in the Market Place (formerly the Barracks), we find that the requirements of the agricultural community receive every attention, judging from the great piles of provender and feeding stuffs of all kinds that are held here. Dark would be the lot of farmers and villagers in places where gas is unknown without a few cheerful lamps, so Mylchreest & Co. again step in with their selection of safe burning oils, such as " White Rose," " Royal Daylight," and other noted brands. Passing the coffee-roasting and grinding, fruit cleaning, and bottling machinery, we come across the firm's electrical installation, the only one of the kind out of Douglas, we believe. The dynamo is of great power, being used for lighting not only the warehouse, but the whole of the Malew Street premises, and is driven by a Crossley's 6-h.p. gas engine.
On every hand, in fact, we find evidence of enterprise on the part of the two present principals, Messrs. Richard Cain and William Duggan, by whom the business has been conducted since the retirement of its honoured founder (J. Mylchreest, M.H.K.) with conspicuous ability and energy. The telephone number of the firm is 5, Castletown, and of the branch establishment, No. 12, Port St. Mary.
Nestling under the giant sides of Slieau-wallian (the mountain of the whelp), in the historic vicinity of the Tynwald Hill, at St. John's, is one of the most active little grist mills in the island. This mill has lately come into the hands of an enterprising proprietor, Mr John E. Crellin, who seems determined to leave no stone unturned in order to secure his proper place amongst Manx millers. We question if a better equipped mill exists in the interior of the island, both as regards plant and power, the latter being derived from a constant stream from Foxdale, which drives a large overshot wheel, from which as much as 20-horse power is frequently derived. True, the old mill has been extended from time to time and partly re-built; so it is now in first-rate going order, and though it presents an unimposing exterior, its great capacity for work is proved by the variety and extensiveness of its productions. Indeed, for good, sound household flour and properly prepared oatmeal, the Mullin-e-Clie has gained a reputation unsurpassed by any grist mill on the island. The production of high-class and reliable feeding stuffs for horses, cattle, dogs, and poultry is made a special feature here, many improved modes of preparation having been introduced by Mr. Keig, the active manager, a practical miller possessed of a wide experience gained in some of the largest mills in England and America. Hence it will be easily understood that the supply of these valuable feeding stuffs is by no means confined to the immediate district, supplies being sent in daily increasing quantities to Peel, Castletown, Ramsey, Douglas, and other parts of the island. We may say that the business of the Mullin-e-Clie is carried on straightforwardly, with pluck, enterprise, and ability; hence we can only forecast for it a future of increasing usefulness and prosperity.
During the nineteenth century the financial world has seen many innovations, by far the most f a r reaching of all being the introduction of the Limited Liability system, to which we owe the great amalgamations, combinatidns, and flotations of vast industries and commercial enterprises which now benefit the world, owing to the favourable facilities they present for the profitable investment of capital. There are, indeed, no movements of modern times better calculated to secure the greatest good of the greatest number than the limited liability movement, by means of which so many thousands of large and small capitalists are enabled to participate in the prosperity of the period. Mercantile Manxland has not been slow to take advantage of the system, as is witnessed by the number of flourishing companies on the island, operating in shipping, banking, brewing, trading, gas, water, rails, mines, trams, ferries, hotels, and pleasure: resorts, etc.
Naturally there is a very active business conducted in stocks, shares, debentures, and other securities, and in connection with these operations no name stood higher in the public esteem than that of the late George Atkins, of Athol Street, Douglas. As the leading stock and share broker of the island, he enjoyed the confidence and the valuable patronage of the most influential members of the community for over thirty years; and in Mr. J. T. Cowell, M.H.K., J.P., he has a worthy successor, who, armed with keenness, shrewdness, and a widespread knowledge of the business and an unimpeachable reputation for probity, is well calculated to sustain the high reputation of the firm for upright and straightforward methods of business. Mr. Cowell is in connection with the National Telephone, No. 109 ; the telegraphic address being, " Investment, Douglas."
Although, perhaps, most widely known as the premier health resort of the kingdom, Douglas, the modern capital of the Isle of Man, is also a very active business centre, wherein are focussed the principal industrial enterprises of the island.
Amongst these, the domestic art of cabinet-making is by no means neglected, as will be found on visiting the factory of Messrs. Spence Brothers, of Athol Street, Douglas, the largest manufacturers on the island. Viewing the fine equipment of the various workshops, and examining the quality and condition of all materials employed, we are not surprised that Spence Brothers should be regarded as facile princeps in the trade. At the time of our visit we found many fine pieces of work in hand, including some handsome bedroom and dining suites, and we were particularly struck with the stately massiveness of a lofty sideboard and other articles of furniture which, we were informed, were part of a contract for the furnishing of the new Town Hall and Free Library of Douglas. Upholsterers were busy on easy chairs and the most luxurious Chesterfields, some of them covered in very elegant fabrics. In a busy place like Douglas, where there is, during the season, a constant influx and eflux of visitors, the wear and tear is enormous, as would be apparent to anyone passing through the repairing, upholstering, and polishing rooms. Bedding, of course, forms a large portion of the output, the valuable reputation of the firm for using only the purest materials attracting a large amount of support from all who value sanitary bedding.
It will easily be seen from the foregoing, that here every requirement for furnishing will be not only available, but obtainable on the most moderate terms, owing to the facilities the firm enjoy on account of the extensiveness of their operations. All over the island Spence Brothers have the reputation of being the principal directors of funerals at moderate rates, and we have the highest testimony as to their reverent and careful methods, and their thoughtful regard for the feelings of all concerned.
We may not close this review without a brief notice of the department devoted to Antiques of all kinds, in which the senior member of the firm, Mr. J. J. Spence, is acknowledged as an expert and virtuoso. Visiting and resident connoisseurs should not fail to examine the superb collection Mr. Spence has on hand, and, being in touch with the best sources of supply, he can furnish all that is desired at short notice. The telephone number, we may add, is 119.
The marked improvements to he noted in recent years in every branch of decorative art are strikingly evidenced to the most casual observer by a comparison with the older styles yet in existence with which the artistic tastes of bygone generations were satis fied. The distinguished position which the firm of Nicholson Brothers have gained throughout Douglas and district may be attributed to the success with which they have, from time to time, introduced such innovations in interior decorative styles, and improvements in the treatment of exteriors, as place them in the front rank of modern decorators.
Owing to the extent of her import trade in coal, timber, etc., and her valuable export trade in cereals, lead ore, and other native produce, Ramsey is Justly regarded as the chief shipping port of the island. To all requiring the services of a thoroughly reliable ship or insurance broker in the port of Ramsey, we can suggest nothing better than to write or wire to " Kitto, Ramsey, Man."
Whilst crossing over from the mainland in the luxurious steamers of the I.O.M.S.P. Co., or in their hotels and lodginghouses, and at the various pleasure resorts of Mona, we question if there be even a tithe of the hundreds of thousands of visitors who annually flock to the Isle of the Sea who have not, at one time or another, become familiarised with certain receptacles of liquid refreshments -bottles, to wit-bearing the red triangle of Bass or the harp of Guinness, and the name " Heron and Brearley, Ld."
A famous old firm is this, dating back over half a century, their name being always associated with reliability and genuineness in all the articles they supply. At the Castle Mona and Royal Stores, the firm's ale and stout bottling departments, we see how studiously they cater for the general public, in the strict cleanliness with which all bottling is conducted, and the care with which the ales of Bass and the extra stout of Guinness are brought to perfectly fine condition before being bottled, and how carefully they are stored until thoroughly matured. Throughout the year the lofty bottling rooms, sweet with the breezes that blow in from the sea, present a lively sight, as, seated on convenient benches, the corkers, with their patent machines, rapidly apply the conserving cork ; the bottling lads being kept quite busy, often wishing it were six o'clock before dinner-time comes round. The question of corks is rather important, as bottled ale drinkers all know the nuisance arising from the use of rotten, cheap corks ; hence Heron and Brearley, as behoves the premier bottlers on the island, always make a point of employing the most carefully-selected kinds.
We may mention, en Passant, that this firm are sole contractors for the catering on the I.O.M.S.P. Co.'s fleet of steamers, this department being under the personal supervision of one of the directors, Mr. J. Ritchie, jun., whose fame as a caterer is unsurpassed. The better to meet their growing requirements, a new department has during the last few months been added to the firm's extensive business in the shape of a mineral water factory with up-todate equipment.
As for wines and spirits, the firm, being one of the oldest houses in the trade, possess undoubtedly one of the finest selections of fullymatured Scotch Whiskys on the island, as connoisseurs who have tested their A. Usher's famous O.V.G., or Special Reserve, will freely admit. If a "drop of the crathur" be preferred, the stock includes some very fine "John Jameson " and other leading makes; so that here every palate has the chance of being suited. It is hardly necessary to say of an old firm like this, that they are holders of many fine old wines, vintage ports, and champagnes ; still they are alive to the advantages and requirements of the present time, and are in a position to supply the lower-priced light wines now so much in vogue, including a very fine range of selected Australian and Californian wines of all the leading brands. A full list of all the sole agencies held by this firm, and of their various specialities, will be found on the cover.
The high position in the trade held by Heron & Brearley is, doubtless, the result of many years' honourable trading, and of late years great extensions have become necessary, to facilitate which the firm has been converted into a flourishing limited company, with a powerful and experienced directorate, which consists of Mr. J. C. Brearley, Mr. W. J. Kelly, Mr. J. M. Cubbon, Mr. J. Ritchie, jun., with Mr. Henry Brearley, T.C., as managing director.
Dealing honourably and generously with their numerous clients throughout the island, and guaranteeing the genuineness of everything they supply, it is not surprising that the firm of Heron and Brearley, Limited, daily increases in popularity. Visitors and new residents who have not been supplied with the firm's latest price list will find it to their advantage both in health and pocket to make application at either of the offices of the firm at Castle Mona Stores, 28, Castle Street (T.N., 63) ; or the Royal Stores, as, Drumgold Street (T.N., 17). Telegrams, " Heron, Douglas."
One of the most prominent and enterprising business firms operating in the interior of the Island is that of Kissack Brothers, of Crosby. This business is, we believe, one of the oldest established on the Island. Steadily advancing year by year, opening new departments, and growing, as it were, with the district it serves, we find it one of the most comprehensive or all-round businesses with which we have come in contact during our survey of mercantile Manxland. Here we find in active operation an extensive building and joinering, sawmilling, wheelwrighting, blacksmithing, painting and decorating, farriering and corn crushing industry, all carefully calculated to meet the varied demands of the agricultural and residential community, not only in the immediate district, but in distant parts of the Island. The firm, we are pleased to note, received , a very favourable mention at the late Agricultural Exhibition held in the Nunnery Grounds, Douglas, for their fine display of practical and advanced wheelwrighting in the form of lurries, carts, and trucks, built to the order of the St. Helen's Colliery Co., for their new depõt in Douglas.
Many of our readers will no doubt have in remembrance various statements which were made at the recent meeting of the Industrial Commission in Douglas. Great stress was laid on the growing necessity for more poultry raising and egg producing on the Island. Truer words were never spoken, these paying businesses being shamefully neglected here ; for in most cases there is not the slightest provision made for the dry and warm housing of fowls, without which it is impossible to breed successfully and profitably. This is a matter which can very soon be remedied, for Kissack Brothers, who are nothing if not enterprising, are now arranging for the production of safe, warm, dry poultry houses, built on the latest scientific lines, and of varying capacity to suit individual requirements. Particulars, plans, and estimates of these will be sent on application, the number of fowls requiring accommodation being stated in each case.
We may add that, when the hand of death is heavy, Kissack Brothers step in, supplying every requirement without that fuss and bother which is so distressing in times of bereavement, making themselves useful in this as in every other branch of their business, which is conducted on straightforward and honourable lines, and is a credit to the two active principals, Messrs. William Louis Kissack and John Wilfred Kissack.
The comprehensive character of the business and the immense stock of up-to-date goods, which is always displayed, can only be realised by a visit to Archer and Evans' fine establishment, which always presents a busy, lively aspect, particularly in the season, when Victoria Street becomes the most crowded and fashionable shopping resort in the island. The dress and mantle departments are great features here, whilst in the millinery and ladies' outfitting departments there is always a smart and wondrous display of stylish goods, so graded as to suit all pockets, so that visitors of all ranks may be sure of finding all their wants most studiously catered for at the old establishment of Archer, Evans, & Co.
The wonderful strides which have been made in every branch of domestic industry during the last half century are noticeable on every hand, and in no industry is this improvement more manifested than in that of the making of baby-carriages. Reflecting on the crudeness of the ancient go-cart and such like, we wonder what our forefathers would have thought of the luxurious and elegant little vehicles in which our babies are so cosily transported now-a-days. The greatest credit is, indeed, due to the principal makers of these useful little domestic accessories. In the whole of the Island we could not find a more charming or a more thoughtful assortment than is to be seen daily at Collister's Bassinette Bazaar, at No. 30, Finch Road, Douglas. It is a place well known to hundreds of mothers resident on the island, for has it not supplied them with the best of baby-carriages for nearly thirty years ?
So long as the human race continues bassinettes of some sort or another will be required; but, judging from a glance round Collister's show-room, it will be indeed difficult to improve on the models at present, in vogue, for here may be found bassinettes in all the most fashionable colours and materials, all rubber-tyred and built on scientific lines, and as they are produced at prices to suit all pockets, the workingman's baby has as good a chance of having a straight, welldeveloped spine as the son of the merchant prince. Now-a-days, when mailcarts are used for the daily "airing " of our babies, Collister's show of well-appointed vehicles-ranging in price from half-a-guinea up to six guineas-has only to be seen to be appreciated, and the same remark applies to the display of toy-bassinettes, mailcarts, and bicycles, which are calculated to give such wholesome exercise to their happy recipients. Rich uncles, and fathers, and godmothers, please take note, and let the lisped words, " Tank Oo," be an overflowing reward. Needless to add, the ease and comfort of invalids are ever first considerations with Mr. Collister, who regularly supplies, at lowest rates, any desired form of Merlin, Bath, or Invalid Chairs or other appliances. An active and most useful department is carried on at 27 and 29, Finch Road-opposite the show-room-and here all kinds of repairs are efficiently and promptly executed, and a well-patronised hiring department conducted, mainly for the convenience of visitors.
are the useful ornamental souvenirs of the Island exposed for sale at that popular resort known as Webb's Public Lounge,. (vhich is undoubtedly the finest establishment in Strand Street, Douglas. In the season, and all the year round, the place attracts all who desire to make presentations of all kinds, for where, indeed, could they find greater choice or lower price ? Hence, Webb's Public Lounge has become one of the most active business institutions of Douglas, whilst its worthy proprietor- twice elected Mayor of Douglas-has, on account of his noble philanthropy and eminent public services, gained the highest esteem of all classes of the community.