[From Yn Lioar Manninagh Vol 3 pp434/5]


A course of four popular scientific lectures was delivered in Douglas between November and March last, with a view mainly to arouse public opinion in favour of having an Insular Museum. The first was given by Dr. Herdman, on the 27th November, his subject being " The Cultivation of the Sea." The Lieut.-Governor, Honorary President of this Society, took the chair, and, referring to the object of the lectures, said he felt very strongly the need of a good Museum in the Island, for which he hoped we should not have long to wait.

Prof. Herdman urged that, as in the past the fishermen had been hunters, now they should be farmers of the sea. French mussel and oyster culture, Norwegian and American cod and lobster hatcheries, and the work being done at Dunbar were ably illustrated and explained. Finally, he urged that the Irish Sea was one vast natural fish area—a self-contained district, in which the fish, not migratory, remained all their lives, and found all that was necessary to carry them through the different stages of their growth. Therefore, he thought the whole of the processes should be under control, and the Isle of Man should assimilate their regulations to those adopted by the Lancashire Sea Fisheries Committee, which had joined the Cumberland Committee on the North, and the Welsh Committee on the South, and so between them had control of the whole coast waters from the Solway Firth to the Bristol Channel. Port Erin was the most suitable place in the Irish Sea for fish-rearing operations, both because of the purity of the sea water and the natural features of the ground. Lobster hatching might be made a profitable industry, and cod, plaice, and other fish could be cultivated in the same hatcheries at a different season.

On the 18th December, Prof. Boyd Dawkins lectured on " The Isle of Man in Prehistoric Times. " Views were shown of the British Isles connected with the Continent, and, later, surrounded by dense forests as in the Neolithic age. Speaking of the Irish Elk, he described the recent discovery of one at Close-y-Garry. Some horse bones fonnd with it, he thought, belonged to the wild horse, and the red deer appeared to have another denizen of the Island in prehistoric times. Examples of the implements ãnd pottery, dwellings and burial places or Neolithic and of Bronze man were then thrown on the screen, and finally types of these ancient peoples still represented in the Island. In conclusion, the Professor insisted on the educational value of a Museum in which not only should Manx prehistoric times be fully illustrated, but there should also be objects illustrative of the whole of the natural History and physical geography of the Island.

The Rev. S. A. P. Kermode, on the 24th February, lectured on " The Fertilization of Flowers," and, by aid of a fine collection of lantern slides, was able to give a clear description of the various methods of conveying the pollen of the stamen (the male organ in plants) to the ovaries of the pistil (the female organ) chiefly by means of various insects ; and to show how this affected the colour, shape, and whole growth of the plant.

Finally, on the 31st March, the series closed with a lecture, by the Secretary, on the Manx Crosses.

We believe that some good has been done in arousing an interest in Natural History and Antiquarian subjects, and strengthening the growing feeling in favour of a Manx Museum ; but, we regret greatly than the lectures were not a financial success, and that instead of having a balance to hand over to the Museum funds, they have resulted in a small deficit.

These lectures were fully reported at the time in The Isle of Man Times " and other local papers.


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