[From The Manxman, #1 1911]
"I hope you will succeed in unearthing the old brigade."-Mr. JOHN SUGDEN.
Without the help of many loyal friends of the Press-who all, I am sure, know perfectly well that I am very grateful-I could no more have located the "oldest Manx passenger " than I could have started this three-legged magazine. In July last the " Daily News " said : " Now that Crippen is laid by the heels, some of our readers may care to hear of a man hunt of another and less lurid sort." his was for the O.M.P., and a really good man hunt it was, too. Letters soon began to pour in, and so extremely interesting are the reminiscences in many of them that I can spread their publication over the entire season. I first thought of getting out a booklet, but afterwards locked the missives up and waited for this opportunity. Most of them are unanswered, and I desire that this (which will be sent to each) may be taken as a reply. I hope they will all write again and give me further information, and will they also be good enough to lend me their photographs?
Mr. John Sugden, of " Laurel Bank," but not giving any town, said: " I hope you will succeed in unearthing the old brigade," Where is Laurel Bank? Mr. H. J. Allen, of London-he saw the request in the " Daily Chronicle " : " It would be interesting to publish a list of travellers of over fifty years ago." This would mean prior to 1861. Now I have twelve travellers in the " thirties " and twenty in the " forties," but we will accept the suggestion ultimately, and make a start in this very number. Not by any means the oldest, but typical of many a passenger who ultimately ought to find a way into this record, is Mr. James Woodhead, of Fleetwood and Bury -he saw the paragraph in the " Bury Times "- who spent his annual holiday in the Isle of Man for forty-five successive years. Will others please tackle this record, for I want it beating?
The first Isle of Man Steamer, " Mona's Isle."
This delightful letter came all the way from Miss C. G. Crellin, Redleaf, Guernsey:-" I read with much interest a paragraph in the 'Daily Chronicle' about the oldest Manx passenger. It was of special interest to me, as my grand-mother christened the first Isle of Mail steamer, and my brother has the slop basin, the only piece left belonging to the first tea service used on the steamer. It is decorated with the liver, crown, and three legs. I should much like to hear if you come across any old body who travelled by one of the early Manx boats." Miss Crellin, who bears an ancient and honoured Manx name, may be interested to hear that her letter highly pleased everyone connected with the company, and will she kindly send me a photograph of the slop basin? We can all seee it, then.
Mr. John Jackson, of Huddersfield, after mentioning that he saw the request in the " Huddersfield Examiner," says: "I first crossed to the Isle of Man when I was nineteen years of age, and now I am 79. I was born August 5th, 1831. I went with my mother and a young lady, who afterwards became my wife, and she lived till we celebrated our golden wedding. Four years after our first trip we crossed once, but have never been again. I remember when I was in Douglas I bought a pint of rum for 9d. and a quarter pound of tobacco for 4d. Going over, we danced and sang, and were very jolly, but, coming back, we parted with all we had over the ship's side. I wish the old company the same success during the next eighty years. They deserve it." There is still more romance about these wonderful steam-era, for Mr. H. H. Fenferton, Higher Chatham-street, Manchester, tells us that "he went in the old King Orry in 1874 with his wife on their honeymoon tour, and they have never missed their summer holiday in the Isle of Man since." He adds: "We have always enjoyed the best of health. We are both contract holders, and hope to continue to be so, and live to see the 100th year celebration." He then very kindly wishes us "continued success and prosperity," which, he thinks, " we thoroughly deserve by the splendid way we cater for our passengers." Thank you, sir!
Mr. William Tipping, of The Hollies, Cheadle Hulme, adds gaily to the chapter on romance " I claim for my wife and myself a fifty-year joint record. In 1858, when 1 was eight years old, we both sailed to Douglas (actually in the same year), but were not acquainted. We were married fifteen years afterwards. We wish the little island continued prosperity." Next comes Mr. Harold Stone, 29, Greek Street, Stockport, who says : "My grandparents, Mr. and Mrs. Taylor, who reside with me, first went to the island in 1860. They sailed in the steamer Douglas, and the passage took six and a half hours. We were not able to land at the pier- head, all the passengers being lowered into small boats and rowed to the landing stage. They have been many times since. Their ages are now 79 and 75, and they celebrated their golden wedding two years ago. If there are any other couples to heat this i should be very pleased to know either by post or through the columns of the 'Daily Dispatch.' " Having given the " wedding " portion in this and the preceding paragraph, I must leave the ladies and gentlemen concerned to adjudicate their proper positions, while I hope they may have some additional particulars for me later on.
Of course, nobody wanted a dreary mean hunt, and so the fun came along in the most unexpected manner. Next to Mr. Heatherington, the really oldest O.M.P. is Mr. Alderman Leonard Wild, an influential gentleman of Bolton. There died in Bolton last summer Mr. Leonard Wild (70), also an influential gentleman, but no relation. The "Daily Dispatch" added to an otherwise admirable paragraph " as a matter of fact, Alderman Wild died recently,"- the little error being after wards courteously explained on a certain Saturday morning. But on the Sunday out comes the famous line again, sand this drew on the Monday a quaintly humorous letter frown Mr. Wild, who remarked that "it is not a fact that I died recently," and that "the ` Dispatch' has dispatched me before the King of Terrors has done his business by dispatching me." We have reason to believe that many a merry laugh occurred over this in the good-humoured Alderman's family, and we hasten to congratulate him on the very rare honour of reading such a notice of himself in print. I give photos. of both Mr. Heatheerington and Mr. Wild in this number.
From Rathmore, Winchcombe, July 30, 1910:- "I hardly think I aim the earliest traveller by the Isle of Mean Packet who is still living, but, in 1838, as a boy of ten I went to school at K.W.C. in the, days of Mr. Phillips, head master before Dr. Dixon, and who afterwards became Vicar of Peel. It was, I think, in the month of August, and the vessel was, if I am not mistaken the "Mona's Isle." (Signed) R. Noble Jackson, Rector of Sudeley Manor." Mr. Jackson may feel assured that all present-day boys of King William's College will revel in reading this note.
Mr. Alexander Collins, -a well-known Liverpool solicitor, wrote :-" Referring to your letter in the 'Evening Express ' as to any of the early passengers by the boats of the I.O.M.S.P. Company being alive, I may mention that when a schoolboy going to the college at Castletown I was a passenger on the steamers from Liverpool to Douglas as far back as 1853, but I see by the College Register that Sir George White (now Field Marshal), who also went to the college, would most likely be a passenger from Liverpool to Douglas, in 1847 onwards." I hope that all the three gentlemen here mentioned will respond to the invitation previously given, if only for the fact -that the famous old college is equally beloved by Manxmen at home gas it is by thousands of "old boys " dispersed all over the world. Happy thought! Who can lend us-we will take great care of it-a photo of himself at the age when he actually crossed in the steamer?
Sir Charles Santley wrote a most genial note. He says that he crossed in the original steamer, " Mona's Isle "-a picture of which naturally appears in this issue--in 1841. He was finely sick during the trip, but the instant he landed in Douglas he felt so hungry that the then mere little village would never be able to satisfy his hunger. However, he did pretty well, thank you, and enjoyed a grand holiday.
Kindly remember that the point was to find the O.M.P. by the Steampacket Company's boat, but here we have a gentleman who smashes the record, and goes back to days actually before the I.O.M.S.P. Co. began. He is really wonderful. Mr. H. O. Jones, Strand Cottage, Bootle, Writes:-" I learn through the Press that you are seeking to find the oldest living passenger by the steam- packets. I would like to put forward a claim on behalf of my father-in-law, Mr. John Woolcock, Claremont House, Marsh Lane, Bootle. He was born at a village called Cilcin, near Mold, 85 years ago. At the age of two years the family left Wales for Foxdale, Isle of Man. He must have crossed from Liverpool in 1827. His father was Mr. Nicholas Woolcock, who held an appointment at the Foxdale mines for many years, as my father-in-law did afterwards." This is extremely interesting, and, as Mr. Woolcock's journey as far back as 1827 deserves a place all to itself, we hope Mr. Jones will let us hear from him again.
Mr. Edward Skillicorn,
The oldest living servant of the Steam Packet Co.
Mr. Arthur Bunting, The Cliff, Seaton Carew, West Hartlepool, writes:-"Reading your letter in the " Times," though I have no expectation of being the oldest living passenger by the I.O.M.S.P. boats; by a long way, I may recall an incident of a trip some 60 years ago. There were two day steamers, the Tynwald, new, I think, the "Ben-My-Chree," and a night luggage boat, the name of which, I think, I confuse with one I knew later, but "King Orry" comes to mind. A gun was fired on arrival from the Fort Ann Hotel ground's, the hotel at which we stayed, my father, two elder brothers, and a Manchester lawyer cousin, all since dead. " On our return one of the foreign bandsmen, perhaps under the influence of cheap liquor, put his wife up to auction, making her stand on the narrow rail, or bulwark, of the steamer. No one bid, until. my cousin, in fun, said 'Five shillings,' at which price the woman was knocked down to him, to his dismay. The foreigner was very insistent that the buyer should take delivery, so much so that the lawyer took refuge on the very slender bridge of those days, and where the vendor essayed to follow. Not being a. first-class passenger, he was, however, told to keep down, but he got to the top, when the captain pushed him backwards. He fell on his head, and became momentarily unconscious or dazed, whereupon a sailor dragged him by his feet and put his head under a deck pump, whilst another pumped salt water on him until he recovered both senses and sobriety. The man continued troublesome all the way to Liverpool, where we arrived near the church, off a tidal basin. Our aim was to clear out quickly to rid ourselves of a very undesirable follower. The tide was low. We had to walk on planks upon which a thick coating of mud had been left, until we reached stone steps let into the tidal basin wall. There was no protection, and a slip involved a mud bath of portentous depth. Fortunately, we managed the difficult passage safely, getting into a four-wheeler and leaving the purchase behind. The impression made on my youthful imagination of that muddy walking the plank, and followed, I supposed, by an irate foreigner, with possible scenes ashore is ineffacable. I feel in danger of 'delivery' yet as I think of the incident. "What a change to the Landing Stage from St. George's Basin, was it? It was my first sea-trip, and, as near as I can fix it, about 1850. I kept the card of the Fort Ann Hotel, which might give you the date, for long, and I daresay it remains amongst a mass of ancient papers here still, but I have no time to disinter it.
" In my young Lancashire days I think wife-selling was not unknown, and I am under the impression that advertisements appeared of such sales.
" I still remember across all these (about) sixty years the impression made on us by the more forward state of vegetation in the Isle of Man than that on the mainland. Then, again , my cousin, against my father's advice, put a pound of Cavendish tobacco in his carpet bag, leather was not the wear then and when we got on board, homeward bound, the Customs officer asked my cousin for his keys. He found the tobacco, weighed it, and as it was not under a pound, it was confiscated. My father had also given his three sons each some cakes of Cavendish to put in their alpaca coat pockets, where no Customs officer fished, so he got his through. It was a standing joke against the lawyer, as long as my father lived over his long churchwarden pipe, at his loss of tobacco and the transparent trepidation as to the consequences of his five shilling bid!
"Old men are prosy, so you will forgive me this effusion should it contain nothing useful." My dear sir! It is probably the most thoroughly descriptive letter out of the hundreds I have received. Kindly add your photo to the loan of the Fort Ann bill.
Here I think we can leave matters for the present, that is along with is promise of more interesting extracts next month. I hope, also, before the end of the season, to thank more definitely the many newspaper? who joined in the O.M.P. hunt, for it was not me, but they, who really did it. In the meantime I return them my gratitude and thanks. I fancy I could put my hand on photos. of every captain in the Steam Packet Company since it began in 1830, all except Captain Milligan 1832-36-and Captain Higginson, left July, 1860. The former, of Irish descent, joined the firm from Glasgow, where his people resided and he had been sailing from. He was well known to the heads of Wood and Napier, the then great shipbuilders. I wonder if the Scottish newspapers could find any relatives of to-day? Friendly warning? Oh! take my advice, and keep your "Manxman." Don't trust to luck "to get a copy later on." Valuable publication, this. T. E. E.
Mr. William Heatherington, aged 89, who crossed on the original "Mona's Isle," August, 1830, and on the "Ben-my-Chree," August 17th, 1910.
Alderman Leonard Wild, of Bolton, next to the oldest living passenger. Crossed in 1832.
1827-(before the Steampacket Co. started) Mr. John Woolcock,
Claremont House, Marsh-lane, Bootle.
1830-Mr. William Heatherington, 218, North Hill-street, Liverpool.
1832-Mr. Leonard Wild, 1, Bradford-terrace, Haulgh, Bolton.
1834-Mr. J. H. Tattersall, 35, Henrietta-street, Old Trafford.
1835-Mrs. F. Burton, Broad Elms, Alexandra-grove, North Finchley, London, N.
1835-Mr. A. Lewthwaite, Market Hill, Douglas, Isle of Man.
1836-Miss Shimmin, Douglas-street, Peel, I.O.M.
1838-Mrs. Sarah J. Shakspeare, Ashurst, Twyford, Winchester.
1838-Mrs. Annie Z. Kerrie, Grewbon, 23, Cornwall-avenue, Finchley, London, N.
1838-Mr. 1. L. Lobley, 36, Palace-street, Buckingham-gate, London, S.W.
1838-Rev. R. Noble Jackson, Rector of Sudeley Manor, Rathmore, Winchcombe.
1839-Dr. R. J. Banning, Helidon house, Shoeburyness, Essex.
1839-Mr. John Hutchinson, Dullatur House, Hereford.
1840-Mr. Joseph Manger, 35, Gorsehill-road, New Brighton, Cheshire.
1840-Mr. John Young, 16, Hawthorne-grove, Seaforth, Liverpool.
1841-Sir Charles Santley, Liverpool and London.
1841-Mr. John Allen, 5, Beaconsfield-terrace, Garston, Lancashire.
1842-Mr. F. Boardman, 75, Church-street, Little Lever, Bolton.
1844-Mr. T. Evans, c/o 110, Thornton-road, Stoke-on-Trent.
1844-Mr. Edward Mills, 6, Buccleuch-terrace, Edinburgh.
1844-Mr. F. W. Marshall, 57, Bradford-road, Shipley, Yorkshire.
1844-Mr. M. Walsh, 26, Cubbin-street, Liverpool.
1845-Mr. P. Parkinson, 110, Bank Top, Blackburn.
1846-Mr. J. Roberts, 979, Ecclesall-road, Sheffield.
1847-Mrs. Clayton, 243, Duke-street Park, Sheffield.
1847-Mr. T. W. Roome, Public Library, Rawmarsh.
1848-Mrs. Emily C. Russell, 124, Unthank-road, Norwich.
1848-Mr. J. W. Hincks, 46, Watergate-street, Chester.
1848-Mr. A. Fenton, sen., 74, Leicester-road, Higher Broughton, Manchester.
1848-Field-Marshal Sir George White.
1848-Mr. S. E. Wilson, The Trees, North Park-road, Bradford.
1849 Mr. J. Dunnatt, 2, Harold's-terrace, Scarborough-street, Hull.
1849-Mr. John Taylor, 186, Greenacres-road, Oldham.
1849-Mr. Henry Elliott, c/o Thornhurst, Oughtibridge, near Sheffield.
1849-Mrs. Crook (of Brighton), c/o 1, Kemble-street, Kingsway, London, W.C.
1850-Mr. James Laycock, 20, Trinity-road, Scarborough.
1850-Mr. R. Turner, senior, 6, Reedley-terrace, near Burnley.
1850-Mr. Watson, senior, P.O., Spring Vale, Darwen:
1850-Mr. John Jackson, 112, Moorbottom-road, Thornton Lodge, Huddersfield.
1850-Mr. J. Emery, 174, Ashley-road, Altrincham.
1850-Mr. S. H. Abson, 156, Russell, avenue, Noel Park, Wood Green, London, N.
1850-Mr. Richard Williams, 20, Art-street, Wolverhampton.
1850-Mr. Arthur Bunting, The Cliff, Seaton Carew, West Hartlepool.
1851-Mr. I. R. Wood, 82, George-st., Manchester.
1852-Mr. L. Bullock, 22, Villiers-street, Dresden, Longhon, Staffordshire.
1853-Mr. T. E. Dickman, 50, Westbourne-road, Birkenhead.
1853-Mrs. Harriet Young, 54, Enville-street, Stourbridge.
1853-Mr. James Barras, Harcourt -Hill, West--street, Yorkshire (town not stated).
1853-Mr. Alex. Collins, solicitor, Harrington street, Liverpool.
1853-Mrs. Hopkins, 91, Wade-street, Burslem, Stoke-on-Trent.
1854-Mrs. Atkinson, 253, Birchfield-road, Perry Barr, Birmingham.
1854-Mr. T. Coupe, Collin House, Norden, Rochdale.
1854-Mr. T. Carter, Market-street, Paddock, Huddersfield.
1855-Mr. Wm. Vaughan, Wave Crest, Selsey Beach, Sussex.
1855-Mr. R. Palmer, 130, Droop-street, Queen's Park Estate, London, W.
1856-Mr. W. Lawson, 2, King-street, South Bank, Yorkshire (town not stated).
1856-Mr. Whittaker, 908, Hollins-road, Hollin-wood, Oldham.
1856-Mr. Thomas Clegg, 110, Smedley P.O., Cheetham, Manchester.
1857-Mr. I. Nelson, 35, Cranmer-street, Long Eaton, Derbyshire.
1858-Mr. William Tipping, The Hollies, Cheadle Hulme, Cheshire.
1858-Mr. Herbert Ward, 34, Crescent-road, Birley Carr, near Sheffield.
1859-Mr. J. White, 67, Broughton-lane, Carbrook, Sheffield.
1859-Mr. R. A. Matthews, 9, Oldgate, Nottingham.
1859-Mr. J. Paget, 10, Spring Gardens, Bradford.
1860-Mr. W. Nuttall, Rose Cottage, Welshampton, near Ellesmere, Salop.
1860-Mr. J. Sugden, Laurel Bank,
1860-Mr. and Mrs. Taylor, 29, Greek-street, Stockport.
1860-Mr. F. King, 11, Russell-gardens, Kensington, London.
1860-Mr. C. H. Jones, 55, Newton-street, Manchester.
1860-Mr. S. Ash, 28, Gasgil-street, Newton Heath, Manchester.
1860-Mr. H. J. Allen, 85, Ashburnham-road, Kensal Rise, London, N.W.
1861-Mr. Houlden, senior, 28, Church Hill-street, Burton-on-Trent.
1861-Mr. I. W. Thompson, 105, Cavendish-street, Ashton-under-Lyne.
All the above hold at least a 50 years' record.