[From Manx Quarterly, #3 November 1907]
Died July 7th, 1907.
The announcement of the death of Sir Spencer Walpole, K.C.B., was made in the Isle of Man on July 8th, and it occasioned much regret throughout the Island. Sir Spencer passed away at his residence, Hartfield Grove, Coleman's Hatch, Sussex, on Sunday, July 7th, his death being sudden in character. He had attained the age of 68 years. A grandson of Spencer Perceval, the Prime Minister who was shot in the lobby of the House of Commons, and the son of Mr Spencer Walpole, three times Conservative Home Secretary, Sir Spencer had behind him a tradition of public service. He was educated at Eton, when Mr Swinburne was among his contemporaries, and became a clerk in the War Office at the age of nineteen. In 1867 he was appointed an inspector of fisheries, and in 1882 Lieutenant-Governor of the Isle of Man. From 1893 to 1899 he was secretary to the Post Office. During his time at the Post Office many innovations were introduced, including the free delivery of telegrams within three miles, and the permission to affix stamps on post cards oneself in place of the old printed post card. Sir Spencer was a member of the Tweedmouth Committee which inquired into the grievances of the men in the postal service, and he was also a member of Lord Rothschild's Committee on Old-age pensions. He attended, in 1897, the centennial Congress at Washington as the chief representative of the British Office. In January of 1899 he retired from the Post Office, having reached the of sixty, at which he was entitled to claim his pension. In the previous year he had been made a Knight Commander of the Bath. Sir Spencer gave much of his leisure to historical study and authorship. His published works include a "Life of the Right Hon. Spencer Perceval," " Foreign Relations," " The Electorate and the Legislature," "Life of Lord John Russell," and "A History of England from the Conclusion of the Great War in 1815." This undertaking occupied from 1878, when the first volume was published, until 1886, when the fifth and last appeared. In 1904 came out "The History of Twenty-five Years." Oxford University conferred upon Sir Spencer Walpole the hon. degree of D.Litt., and Edinburgh the degree of LL.D.
In regard to his Governorship of the Isle of Man, it may truthfully be said that Sir Spencer Walpole was one of the ablest rulers the Island has ever experienced. Particularly did he render the Manx community good service by re-organising the public debt, with the result that there was a large reduction in the annual charge for interest and sinking fund, and arrangements for the automatic extinction of the debt came into force. He, too, completed the negotiations under which a considerable portion of the Manx revenue is collected in England, upon terms very favourable to the Island. A firm believer in education, he brought about several improvements in the Manx educational system, and particularly is chief credit due to him for free education. He also initiated many improvements in regard to local government, and was ever unweary in stimulating local bodies to so act as to further the public health and convenience. During his pro-consulship, too, many important harbour works were commenced and completed, and generally the Island under his direction prospered considerably. He endeavoured to secure increased representation for Douglas in the House of Keys, but the bill he caused to be introduced with this object in view was rejected by the Keys, though a similar measure subsequently became law. While resident at Government House, he was aided socially by Lady Walpole. They had one daughter, Miss Maud Walpole, who married after Sir Spencer left to take up the sceretaryship to the Post Office. Sir Spencer Walpole's successor in the Governorship was Sir West Ridgeway.
Died August 24th, 1907.
Mr John Gilbert, who for many years was proprietor of the George Hotel, passed away on August 24th. About fifteen years ago there was no better known man in the Isle of Man than John Gilbert. He kept the George in those palmy days when hotel companies were almost unknown, and when the tied house system and the other abominations which are gradually effecting the ruin of the licensed victualling business, had not obtained much of a footing. Then, it might be truly said that a traveller found his warmest welcome in an inn, for the very good reason that the host of those days was not a mere manager he was the benevolent autocrat of his own premises, and was not the bond-slave of brewer or spirit merchant. The George was one of four Manx inns which had an almost world-wide celebrity, the other three being the Royal at Douglas, the Mitre at Ramsey, and the Peel Castle at Peel. Alas, that the glory should have departed from them all! Mr Gilbert was an old-fashioned host, and he conducted the George upon old-fashioned lines, making the comfort of his guests his personal care. In his day Castletown was a much more important place than it is now. The Chancery Courts were held there, as were the Courts of General Gaol Delivery, and a military garrison occupied barracks close by the hotel. Public erents wee frequent, and Mr Gilbert was invariably the caterer for these. When he disposed of the business, the hotel was almost completely altered so far as the interior arrangements were concerned, and although some people may regard the alterations in the light of improvements, there are many who fondly remember the old bar to which only the personal friends of the host were admitted, the old dining and coffee rooms, and the old smoke room. On retiring from the hotel business, Mr Gilbert became a car proprietor and agricultural produce broker, but he was never the same man after giving up the George. For several years he was a member of the Castletown Board of Commissioners, and for more than one term was chairman of the board. He took a great interest in, public affairs, and especially was he a keen supporter of the Castletown regattas of twenty years ago. Then the "Metropolitan regatta " was an event eagerly looked forward to throughout the Island, and not the least enjoyable feature of the function was the regatta dinner at night. This was always held at the George, and the post-prandial proceedings were remarkable for the flow of soul which prevailed. Mr Gilbert delighted in making after-dinner speeches, and his friends took good care that he had abundant opportunity for gratification of this amiable little weakness. He was a good sort, and his death removes another of the few links which remained to connect Castletown of to-day with the much brighter Castletown of twenty to thirty years ago. The funeral took place at Malew on the 26th August, and was largely attended.
TO THE EDITOR.? Sir, Between you and me, at any rate as far as I am concerned, there is no dissent; and so I say unto you " Pax Vobiscum."
I would be glad, however, if you would kindly grant me a little space wherein I may thank your Castletown correspondent who has so fittingly referred to the death of my old friend John Gilbert.
I saw him at Easter and was startled by his changed appearance, but I had several characteristically cheerful letters from him after that time. Then, in the early part of last week, a letter reached me from a Castletown correspondent, whose personality I am not acquainted with, informing me that Death had ended the troubles of my dear old friend. Few people really knew John Gilbert ; his first great sorrow was the death of his only daughter, then his wife died, and then financial worries came to harass the closing years of an active life, for he was never a moment idle.
I can well remember the good old days of the "George," so feelingly and aptly described by your correspondent. I first used the George in 1881 a long time ago. And as long as John Gilbert directed its destinies that house was my abode when on the Island. When staying there during the summer, he always sat at one end of the dining table for the mid-day meal, and I at the other. He would take the soup, I the fish; then he would carve the joint, I the poultry; and " Old Taylor," the most perfect waiter I ever knew, and I have travelled far, at home and abroad, since those days, would come up to me and say, in a stage whisper
" A little bit of the breast, Mr Dook ; it is for a lady I think"; or perhaps he would say "Just as it comes, Mr Dook. I don't think the gentleman is a judge."
I never missed a train or a boat while quartered under John Gilbert's roof; in the dark and stormy winter mornings John would knock at my bedroom door saying softly "Six o'clock, Henry " we always called each other by our Christian names. He was not a Manxman by birth, but belonged to a good Warwickshire family; though I never knew a "sthranger " who acquired the Manx character as did my old friend.
Castletown never seemed the same to me after the Gilberts left the "George," and now another link is riven, and one cannot help a feeling of sadness as we see the old landmarks disappearing. Somehow we do not seem to replace such men when they are removed, perhaps in obedience to Nature's law that she never recreates; but I know this, that if I ever visit Castletown again, it will seem to me the poorer and less homely because my friend of nearly 30 years yes, quite that, for he called upon the firm, as a traveller, where I began my business career has departed for ever from human vision.
There is a lonely old woman who will miss him; those who knew John Gilbert will know to whom I refer. Human sympathy, perhaps, cannot do much to heal the bruised heart, but still when our souls are stricken with grief, surely there must be some solace in the arid waste of sorrow to know that we are not.suffering alone!
Mr Robert Garside, ex-secretary of the Council of Education, Isle of Man, died at his residence, Craigmore, Ballasalla, on the 24th August. It was only a few weeks before death that he resigned the secretaryship of the Council of Education, in consequence of ill-health, but he had been laid up for some time, and had not been at the Education Office for nearly twelve months. Mr Garside, who was originally a certificated teacher in elementary schools, was appointed by the late Dr Hughes-Games to a mastership in King William's College some thirty years ago. This position he resigned on being appointed, in April, 1905, as secretary to the Council of Education. During his tenure of the office, he proved himself a capable and devoted public servant. He displayed great interest in educational matters, and though always working for the advance of popular education, preserved cordial relations with the various School Board officials throughout the Island. The Evening Schools Act of 1903 was practically his work, and more recently the Secondary Education Act, which two or three, years ago was rejected by the House of Keys, was formulated by him. Subsequently, when giving evidence before the House of Keys' Committee, he propounded a scheme very largely on the lines of that embodied in the recent Statute. His efforts on behalf of secondary education did not cease here. He rendered valuable assistance to Mr Cyril Jackson during his investigations in the Isle of Man, and obtained much information and prepared statistics to enable Mr Jackson to frame his report. Mr Garside was twice married, his first wife, by whom he leaves two daughters, being a Miss Jefferson, sister of Mr T. E. Jefferson, Ballahott, Malew. He married again four or five years ago, his second wife being Miss Quayle, of Holmcroft, with whom he had one son. His widow and three children survive. Mr Garside was a most capable musician, and for some he was organist and choirmaster at William's College,
We regret to record the death, which took place, suddenly, at her residence, 41 Northen Grove, West Didsbury, near Manchester, on Thursday, September 5th, of Elizabeth, wife of the late Mr John Kneen, of Grest, Lezayre. Mrs Kneen was a woman of strong and original intelligence and notable force of character, yet with a humane tolerance for all weaknesses that were not actually vicious. Hers was an unstrained, natural piety of the kind not obvious to the observer of outward forms, but of the sort that makes the health of a nation a piety not yet extinct in Manxland, even in this day of the motor and the tripper. She was born in Orrisdale, of a sound Manx stock, from which, to the end of an active life, of which 36 years were spent in Manchester, she derived her inspiration and consolation. Left a widow at the age of 41, with a family of four boys and three girls, and an infinitesimal provision, she, unaided devoted her life to making a way for her family, and did for them what is rarely accomplished by a father for his children. She placed her aim clearly before her, and reached her goal (so far as is possible in life) through difficulties inconceivable to those more happily placed; and, dying suddenly at the ripe age of 83, did not know what it was not to live, preserving all her faculties and being keenly interested in life to the end, and conscious of the gratitude, love, and profound admiration and respect of her children, grown to manhood and woman-hood. She remains a memory of a Manxwoman at whose hands the honour of her country suffered no diminution. To her Lancashire friends and acquaintances she was a woman of note, and by them she was highly esteemed. The funeral took place on Saturday, at the Crematorium.
The death is announced of Mr John Cowley, perhaps the best-known villager of Onchan. Mr Cowley, who passed away on September 3rd, was a joiner and builder by trade, and worked in his younger days with the late Mr Robert Craine, and with Mr Richard Cowle, great-uncle of Mr Harry Cowle, the Government architect. In Douglas and Onchan Mr Cowley was very highly respected for his integrity in business and his courteous bearing. During his long business career he built several houses; but his main business was that of a master joiner a business which he turned over to his only son, Mr John Cowley, some years ago. His other children have predeceased him. Mr Cowley was for many years a director of the Douglas Steam Saw Mills Company, and always took the keenest interest in the company's concerns, the success of which has been largely attributable to his personal efforts. In Onchan he was known to every resident as an upright and kindly Manxman. In his prime, Mr Cowley was a man of fine physique, and was renowned for personal strength. He and the late Parson Howard, a great athlete, frequently pitted themselves against each other in manly exercise, and the militant cleric did not always come off best.
The funeral took place in Smithdown-road Cemetery, last week, of the late Mr Robt. Kerruish. The deceased gentleman, who died at the age of forty-seven, was the principal of the firm of Messrs R. Kerru'sh and Sons, bakers and confectioners, of Liverpool, and was widely known and highly respected. He was a member of the committee of the Liverpool Manx Society, and also an officer of the Ramer Masonic Lodge, No. 1393, and but for the breakdown in his health some time ago his installation as Worshipful Master would have taken place this year. The large number of relatives and friends who attended the funeral bore testimony to the esteem in which be was held. The Rev T. H. W. Copner, of St. Philemon's (which church the deceased attended), and the Rev B. C. Jackson, of St. Bride's, officiated. The chief mourners were Mrs Kerruish (widow), Mr W. T. Kerruish and Mr T. Kerruish (sons), Miss Annie Kerruish (daughter), Mr W. Kerruish (brother), Mrs Hosker (sister), Mr John Hosker and Mr R. Corlett (brothers-in-law), Mrs Corlett and Miss Corlett (sisters-in-law), Mrs Radcliffe (aunt), Mr J. Radcliffe (cousin), Mr P. Lloyd, Mr H. Cummings, Mr A. S. Watts, and Mrs W.Thompson. There was a large attendance of friends. " Liverpool Courier," July 6th, 1907.
The death is announced of Mr Thos. Kneen, for many years a resident in Montreal. Mr Kneen was born and bred on the Bishop's demesne in the Isle of Man, where his father was head gardener to the Bishop. A Montreal newspaper has the following: " Mr Thomas Kneen passed away suddenly last night, at his residence, No. 3 Concord-street, from a stroke of paralysis. He was in his 77th year, and had been resident in Montreal for fifty years, coming to this city from the Isle of Man, his native place. He crossed the Atlantic on a sailing vessel, the St. Patrick, which arrived at Grosse Isle after a fair voyage of thirty days. From Point Lewis, the train was taken to St. Lambert, and the St. Lawrence was crossed on July 7, 1857, on the Iron Duke, which was employed in the steam ferry, before the Victoria Bridge was completed in 1860. Mr Kneen was an expert joiner, especially in staircase work, the most difficult part of that trade, and he planned and constructed many of the staircases in the older mansions of the city. For many years he has been independently in business, however, as a builder, and the greatest confidence was reposed in his skill and judgment. A year or two ago he retired from business on account of impaired health, and since then has been noticeably failing. He was a member and a regular attendant of St. James' Methodist Church, and upright in all his relations with his fellow-man. His word was his bond; he was charitable to others, and those who knew him best esteemed him the most. Mrs Kneen and three sons, George, Harry, and Percy, survive him." Montreal Paper, July, 1907.
DEATH OF MRS McIVER. Douglas has sustained a great loss in the death of Mrs H. T. McIver, which sad event occurred early on Monday morning, July 8th, 1907. Mrs McIver, who was 76 years old, attended Divine service in Rosemount Wesleyan Church on Sunday, and in the course of the day dined with her relatives, Mr T. P. Ellison (manager of the Isle of Man Steam Packet Co.) and the Misses Ellison at their residence in Buck's-road. She left there in order to spend the night with Mrs Quine, of No. 132 Buck's-road, and retired to bed at her usual hour. In the morning, when a cup of tea was taken by a member of Mrs Quine's household to the bedroom, it was found that during the hours of sleep Mrs McIver had passed quietly and peacefully away. Mrs McIver was the widow of the late Mr Henry Thomas McIver, who in his day was a tower of strength to the cause of temperance in the Isle of Man, , and who was also one of the most earnest and respected of Manx Wesleyan Methodists. Mrs McIver shared all her husband's enthusiasm for and devotion to temperance work and Methodism, and to the very last she strove quietly but zealously to advance the interests of both causes. She was a regular attendant at Victoria-street Wesleyan Church, and was the senior member of the sewing society in connection with that place of worship. Mrs McIver leaves but one child her surviving Miss Edith McIver, bookseller, Strand-street, Douglas. The funeral took place on Wednesday morning, there being a large attendance of sorrowing friends. The interment was in Braddan Cemetery.
A highly-respected resident of Douglas passed away on Thursday, July 25th, in, the person of Mr John Brown Kelly, who has for some time resided at Laureston View, and whose last illness was but short. Up to about twenty years ago, Mr Kelly carried on a successful boot and shoe business in Strand-street, retiring on a competency. He lived for some years at Crosby, where he took an active part in the affairs of the Wesleyan Church; subsequently, however, he again took up residence in town. Mrs Kelly survives him, as do two sons and one daughter; also two brothers (Mr David Kelly and Mr W. Kelly, hatter), and a sister (Mrs W. Crellin, Buck's-road). Mr Kelly's age is 82. The funeral will be at Braddan on Sunday morning, leaving Laureston View at nine o'clock.
A gentleman highly respected by all who knew him has passed away, in the person of Captain Caesar Bacon Quane. In his youth and early manhood Captain Quane followed the sea, but some thirty-five years ago he was appointed as one of the harbour masters at Douglas. He in course of time became chief harbour-master, and only retired from service a few months ago. He bore patiently a long and painful illness, and death, which came on August 28th, must have been a relief. Captain Quane was a scion of a very old Manx family. His forbears were possessed of considerable property in the Island, and among other estates they owned what were known as the Queen Yards now the site of the Douglas Hippodrome and Conister Islet. Quiet and unassuming in manner, Captain Quane discharged his duties with old-fashioned and unfailing courtesy, and his retirement was much regretted by all persons having any connection with Douglas Harbour. He had attained to the age of 73 years. Twice married, he leaves surviving him a widow. The funeral took place on August 31st.
The news of the rather unexpected death of Mrs Crellin, widow of the late Mr John Crellin, merchant, of Victoria-street, Douglas, which took place in London, where she lived, on September 10th, was received by Douglas people with profound sorrow. Deceased had been on the Island in the early summer, and seemed in good health. On receiving the news, her sons (Mr Tom Dodd and Mr Douglas Crellin), her sister (Mrs Andrew Craine), and her brother (Mr T. Leece) proceeded to London by the afternoon steamer, and arrangements were made for the remains of the deceased to be brought to the Island on Thursday by the 10-30 a.m. boat from Liverpool. A number of sorrowing friends were present on the Victoria Pier, and drove in conveyances to Kirk Braddan Cemetery, where the interment, which was feelingly conducted by the Rev Bamford Burrows, the chairman of the Isle of Man Wesleyan District, took place. The mourners were: Mr Tom Dodd and Mr Douglas Crellin (sons) : Mr H. Crellin, solicitor, Blackburn, and Mr Percy Crellin, Douglas (step-sons) ; Mr T. Leece, Dalby (brother) ; Miss Annie Crellin, London; Mr and Mrs R. Crellin and son; Mr A. Craine; Mr R. G. Fargher and son (Mr B. Fargher) Mr W. J. Kermode, H.K. ; and Miss Ellison, Dalby. Of the general public we noticed: Messrs Moses Hampton, James Kewley, J. D. Kellett, A. Caley, T.C., Wm. Kelly, H. Callister, Ramsey B. Moore, S. K. Broadbent, Arthur Kaye, Stanley Kay, N. E. Nash, Wm. Patterson, Charles Kaye, John Cain, Josiah Goldsmith, and others. The deceased leaves two daughters and two sons, who will miss an affectionate mother. The funeral arrangements in Douglas were carried out by Mr Walter Shimmin, undertaker.
Mr Wm. A. Quilliam, of Johannesburg, Transvaal, South Africa, died on the 5th September. The deceased was the eldest son of Mr William Quilliam, formerly of Glenmaye. Of a genial disposition, "Alfred," as he was familiarly called, had endeared himself by many unostentatious acts to a large circle of friends, many of whom gathered at Braamfontein Cemetery to pay their last respects to one whose sterling worth and uprightness was fully appreciated. Among the large gathering, in addition to the bereaved father, were: Mrs R. W. Kelly, Mrs Greggor, Messrs R. W. Kelly, Jos. Fern, W. Bridson, E. Cowley, J. Moore, Paul Bridson, A. Cowle, J. Perridge, E. J. Fargher, F. W. Radcliffe, R. H. Darling, D. F. Corlett, Nelson Fern, W. E. Kelly, R. Kennaugh, E. Cowin, F. R. Coole, D. Kelly, H. Cooil, J. Banks, H. Kenuaugh, and many others. The remains were interred on Sept. 6th, in the Wesleyan portion of the cemetery. The deepest sympathy is expressed for the bereaved parents and family.
Miss Amy Joughin, of Waterloo road, Ramsey, youngest daughter of the late Captain Joughin, of Derby-road, Douglas (master of the one-time famous clipper ship Candahar), and sister of Mr Victor Joughin, of Ramsey, died on Sept. 2nd, after a long illness. Miss Joughin had been an invalid for some time. When in health, she was an earnest worker at Waterloo-road Chapel, and an enthusiastic Sunday-school teacher for a long period. The funeral took place at Lezayre on Thursday morning.