[From 1947 Official Handbook] - note only the introduction is given - the remaining sections differ little from those of the 1940 edition
By MAXWELL., FRASER
" You're welcome. . . into our Kingdom : Use us, and it." -SHAKESPEARE'S "HENRY VIII." II., ii.
THE end of the war, and the inevitable disillusions of peace, have created an unprecedented urge to a get away from home for a complete change. Passport difficulties, rates of exchange, limitation of money exported, and post-war conditions and restrictions on the Continent, make foreign travel less alluring than before the war, particularly to those countless thousands who are having "holidays with pay" for the first time in their work-filled lives.
The Isle of Man offers the complete change of sights, scenes, historical background and difference of outlook, which everyone instinctively craves to-day. Deprived of an outlet for its hospitable instincts during the war, the Island has returned 'with added zest to the congenial task of making its visitors welcome. Everyone has worked with a will to restore normal conditions, and 1947 sees Manx folk once again offering the traditional Island hospitality to happy holiday-makers.
Hospitality is inherent in the Manx character-the unquestioning welcome of the Scandinavian, and the warm, impulsive kindliness of the Celt, unite to make a perfect host, and a tradition has been created which has drawn countless holiday-makers year after year to the Island, which has proved a paradise for many a jaded city-dweller, who has found in the beauty and gaiety of Douglas a release from the dull round of existence.
The pure air, unpolluted by factory smoke, revives work-weary minds and bodies, but the Island is more than a tripper's paradise; it has a subtle charm, a rare beauty, and an immensely long and fascinating history to reward those who tear themselves away from Douglas and its delights, to roam the Island valleys and climb the mountain peaks.
When steamers are landing holiday-makers in their thousands at Douglas, in the height of the holiday season, the seeker after solitude can soon find lonely cliff paths, and glens whose natural loveliness is only equalled by their infinite peace. As T. E. Brown, the Island's great poet, once wrote : " It is delicious to pore over a country like this, and draw out the very soul of it." There are miles of moorlands covered with heather and blaeberries, a grand region of mountains, which include Snaefell, rising over two thousand feet ; richly wooded glens musical with the song of the birds and the plash of little hurrying streams and picturesque waterfalls ; and deserted cliff paths a thousand feet above the sea, where the emerald water, far below, sparkles in the sun, and dolphins play unmolested.
It is one of the joys of the Island that it can catch and hold the affections of every type of visitor. Although little more than thirty miles in length, and about twelve miles in width, the total resident population is less than 50,000, of which nearly half lives in Douglas and Ramsey. Castletown, Port St. Mary, Port Erin and Peel, the picturesque towns of the south and west coast, are scarcely larger than a big English village, with all the friendly charm of country ways, and all the delightful Manx villages are smaller still.
Tourists are happy in their man-made paradise of Douglas, with its vast marine parade, its sports and amusements ; yet even here, there is a dignified background of quiet squares and pleasant by-ways, befitting the Island's capital. The countryside is left to the lover of solitude and the student of nature. The bird-watcher finds the nest of birds seldom, if ever, seen on the mainland ; there are rare shells on the beaches, exquisite flowers in the fields, and amazing riches of Prehistoric relics.
Douglas is modern and progressive, but there are quaint old beliefs still lingering in the remoter districts, time-honoured traditions are observed everywhere, and the dignity of independence as an Island Kingdom is displayed in the meetings of the House of Keys, and culminates in the age-old ceremony held annually on Tynwald Hill.
The Manx people are intensely loyal to the British Crown, but they cherish their status as an independent Kingdom with its own Parliament and laws. The Manx will fight valiantly in Britain's wars by sea, land and air, and vote money and goods for the hour of need, but they are tenacious of their ancient rights and liberties. The Island history differs in all essentials from that of England. It was probably untouched by the Roman, Saxon and Norman Conquests of England, and even when it eventually came under the English Kings in the thirteenth century, still had a separate Government.
Henry IV granted it to the Stanleys, who then became Kings of Mann, holding their state, and promulgating their laws at Tynwald Hill, surrounded by the Deemsters, Keys, Coroners and other officers, in ceremonies dating back to the time of the Vikings. The Manx Tynwald is over a thousand years old, and has the longest unbroken existence of any open-air Parliament in the world.
There are fascinating relics of all four periods of the Island history. Cashtal yn Ard, one of the most important ancient monuments in the British Isles, built about 3,000 years ago by people whose ancestors came from the Mediterranean ; the Mull Circle, with its unique combination of the circle form with pairs of cists ; and the no less unique -Cronk yn How Stone, dating back to the late Stone or early Bronze Age, and other outstandingly interesting Prehistoric sites, survive from the Pre-Celtic period, which lasted from the most remote times to about 6oo B.C.
A hundred and fifty ruins of Celtic chapels, or keeills, and a series of wonderful stone crosses, survive from the Celtic period, which lasted from 600 B.C. to about A.D. 900. Irish missionaries were bringing Christianity to the Island even before the Celtic period proper, and the elaborately carved crosses date from the close of the fifth century to the time of the Norse conquest. The eighth century Calf of Man crucifix is said to be the finest engraved slab of the period in Europe, and there are others of scarcely less interest and importance, chiefly in the north of the Island.
Even more elaborately carved crosses showing the whole story of Scandinavian mythology, the nucleus of the two royal castles of Mann, Viking burial mounds and ship burials, weapons and other relics, legends, place-names and customs are found in all parts of the Island, testifying to the lasting influence of the Viking period, which covered over three and a half centuries, from A.D. 900 to 1266, and was followed by the Scottish and English influence which has lasted to the present day. .
Manx architecture is as distinctive as its history. There are no Roman remains, and the only mediaeval work is found in the splendid castles of Peel and Rushen, the latter of which is regarded as the most perfect example of mediaeval military architecture in the British Isles, and is still in use for ceremonial occasions. The grandeur of English parish churches and the rich beauty of the Tudor, Elizabethan and Jacobean periods, are not to be found there, but the older churches have an appealing simplicity more in keeping with the Island scene. Modernity in houses and hotels spells comfort for the holiday-maker and resident, without detracting from the Island beauty.
The rich folk-lore, and the old way of life of the Islanders, can be studied in the Manx Museum.; The Museum plays a living part in the life of the Island which comes as a revelation to those who only know the dry-as-dust old style of museum. Its reconstruction of a Manx cottage, complete to the last detail ; its memorials to the great men of the Island ; its wonderful display of drawings of the outstanding Celtic and Scandinavian crosses of the Island ; its care for Manx " by-gones " ; its ever-present interest in the preservation of Manx customs and the Manx language and traditions, make it a very real influence in Island life.
Cottages have been bought in the old village of Cregneish, and refurnished to show the typical dwellings of old-time Manx fishermen, weavers and cottagers, on the lines of Scandinavian open-air museums ; bird-watchers do notable work in observing and recording the rich and varied bird life of the Island ; Prehistoric sites are excavated, exhibitions of Manx art, lectures, and field excursions arranged ; and a magazine, and many excellent publications of Manx subjects, are compiled by its devoted workers.
With all its separate history, the Isle of Man has many links with the mainland, few of which are realised outside the Island. King William's College has a brilliant record of past, scholars, including Sir George White, V.C., the defender of Ladysmith, Sir William Bragg, the famous scientist, Dean Farrar, Capt. Robert Johnston, V.C., Major R. H. Cain who won the V.C. at Arnhem, and others scarcely less celebrated. T. E. Brown, the poet, Sir Hall Caine, the novelist, and Professor Edward Forbes, the scientist, are chief among a host of Manx men and women whose fame has spread far beyond the confines of the Island, and it was on the Island that the Derby Race and the Royal Lifeboat Institution originated.
During the war, the Island poured out men and money with unstinting generosity. Manx homes were turned into a detention camp for internees, and great areas were given over to military, naval and air force camps. The islanders suffered many restrictions in their liberties ; and although there was little damage from bombs, there were many wartime troubles, and even when the war was over, the wholesale requisitioning remained in force for a very long time.
Hard work, good will, and enterprise, have combined to restore all the old-time amenities, and the discovery of the Manx Trophy in Vienna, in January, 1946, was justifiably hailed as a happy omen.
The International T.T. Bicycle Race was held the following summer, and the Manx Grand Prix motor cycle races in the autumn, with all the old thrills-and spills !-and with the revival of the world-famous T.T. Races as an additional attraction, it is hoped there will be even bigger entries and crowds of spectators in 1947
It is difficult to say which is the best time to visit the Isle of Man, for there is plenty to amuse and interest everyone all through the season, and plenty of opportunity for getting away from the crowds during the season. It enjoys mild winters; in spring the glens are decked with primroses and bluebells; in June the curraghs of the northern plain are fragrant with bog-bean, and the hedges are decked with wild roses ; from July to September the hills grow ever brighter with heather and ling, and the great gorse hedges, which have gleams of gold all through the year, are ablaze with colour and fill the air with fragrance in the summer. During the whole summer there are facilities unsurpassed by other resorts, including the largest ballroom in the kingdom, and cinemas where pre-release films are shown..
In spite of its northerly situation, the Island has a record of sunshine and warmth rivalling that of the south-west of England. The Gulf Stream encircles the coast, maintaining an equable climate throughout the year, and constant sea breezes ensure that the air never becomes enervating.
So many misconceptions exist about the food situation in the Isle of Man that it may be as well to make it clear that the same rationing is in force there as in England. It is neither " flowing with milk and honey," nor is there any shortage. Its great advantage lies in the freshness and excellent quality of the food served-milk unbelievably rich and fresh from the dairy ; locally produced meat, including the tender and delicately flavoured Manx lamb ; fish fresh from the sea and ,vegetables direct from grower to consumer ; quantities of the famous Manx kippers, and local-grown fruit, and to some extent a more liberal allowance of really fresh eggs, make the rations seem more abundant, and far more tempting.
It is easy to get about in the Island. Whichever centre is chosen, there are charming walks to be had ; quiet bays can be reached by boat ; and motor coach tours and excursions supplement the
regular rail and road services. The Isle of Man Railway Company serves all the principal places on the Island, and owns a fleet of buses which also run to all parts. There are Corporation buses in Douglas, and the famous " toast-racks "-the horse-drawn trams along the promenade beloved of every visitor-were restored last summer. The Marine Drive Electric Tramway was closed and dismantled during the war and has not been restored, but the Electric Railway from Douglas to Ramsey and its branch line to the summit of Snaefell-one of the only two mountain railways in Great Britain, are still working. The trip to the summit is very popular for the unique view it commands of five kingdoms.
The motorist finds it well worth while to bring his car across, for there are 400 miles of excellent roads, including the worldfamous T.T. course, and there are miles of country lanes, and field and cliff paths, for those who go on foot. There are no blood sports, for there are no foxes, deer, nor otters, and birds are only " shot " with a camera, but there is sea and river fishing, and every other form of sport. There are splendid sands for sun and sea bathing, several fine swimming pools, boating and yachting on the sea, golf, tennis, and bowls. The Tourist Trophy Motor Cycle Races are run in June, and the Amateur Manx Grand Prix Motor Cycle Races in September. There is also an open Bowling Tournament in June and other sporting events.
There are cinemas, dances, and concerts in all the towns, but Douglas leads the way with theatres and dance-halls, variety shows and every form of indoor amusement, and late trains and buses enable visitors staying in other parts of the Island to share in these gaieties. There is also a permanent fair ground on Onchan Head.
Accommodation ranges from luxury hotels and comfortable family hotels and boarding houses, to lodgings and farm-house accommodation, and famous holiday camps, and prices are reasonable even in the height of the season. Manx legislature has a special care for the comfort of visitors, realising that the prosperity of the Island depends upon their goodwill, and everything combines to make it an ideal centre for healthy, happy, and memorable holidays.
REGULAR steamer services operate all the year round, daily between Liverpool and Douglas. During the summer double daily services are run between Liverpool and Douglas and Fleetwood and Douglas, also bi-weekly sailings between Ardrossan and Douglas. Many of the ships of the Isle of Man Stean: Packet Company are back from war service and these together with two fast, comfortable passenger boats launched last year, enable many thousands of visitors to be transported without difficulty.
In addition there is a regular daily air service between Liverpool and Ronaldsway supplemented in summer by direct services from Blackpool, Carlisle, Belfast and Glasgow.
Particulars of Liverpool sailings may be obtained from Messrs. Thos. Orford & Son, to Water Street, Liverpool, or the Isle of Man Steam Packet Co. Ltd., Douglas ; and of air services from Railway Air Services, Ltd., Ronaldsway, Isle of Man ; or inquiries may be directed to the Isle of Man Publicity Board.
FOR PASSENGERS.At Liverpool trams pass the railway stations (Lime Street, Central and Exchange), en route to the Pier Head for the Prince's Landing Stage, where steamers depart for the Isle of Man. At Fleetwood and Ardrossan trains run practically alongside the steamers. Booking offices will be found near steamer berths.
FOR MOTOR CARS AND MOTOR CYCLES.-For shipping cars from Liverpool to Douglas prior arrangements should be made with Messrs. Thos. Orford & Son, to Water Street, Liverpool ; from Fleetwood with Mr. John Wood, Dock Superintendent, L.M.S. Railway, Fleetwood ; and from Douglas to Liverpool or Fleetwood, with the Isle of Man Steam Packet Co., Imperial Buildings, Douglas. The charges vary according to weight and are approximately as follows
For conveyance by passenger steamer between Liverpool or Fleetwood and Douglas for the single journey- to cwts. and under, 37/6; over to cwts. but not exceeding 12 cwts., 52/6 ; over 12 cwts., but not exceeding 15 cwts., 75/-. Rates for conveyance by cargo steamer are, e.g., 45/-, 75/-, 82/6 and go/-for cars of similar weights. A 25 per cent. one-way reduction is allowed in the case of privately owned cars going and returning by cargo within 3 months.
The charge for motor-cycles and motor-cycle combinations is 6/9 per cwt. single. Tickets must be obtained at the booking office alongside the steamers. In addition, small charges are made at Liverpool and Douglas for loading and unloading.
Full information regarding rates and conditions is given on special handbills issued by the shipping company.
For licensing, see " Answers to Correspondents."
HOW TO SEND LUGGAGE IN ADVANCE TO RAMSEY, PORT ERIN, PEEL, AND OTHER OUT-TOWNS
Visitors to out-towns in the Isle of Man wishing to send luggage in advance, should have it consigned by the " C.L.," i.e., collected luggage arrangement. The cost is 2/- a package. For this sum it is collected from the home address and conveyed to the destination station. For an extra nominal charge, a package will be delivered in any of the out-towns by instructing the Isle of Man station-master concerned. On the return journey,'the " D.L.," or delivered luggage, arrangement is best. The charge is the same, and covers conveyance and delivery. For an extra nominal charge, collection will be undertaken. This applies to any Isle of Man Railway or Manx Electric Railway Station.
Passengers from the Liverpool or Wirral districts are charged 3/4 a package to or from the Isle of Man which includes delivery or collection in the Douglas area, but not in the out-towns.
Any comments, errors or omissions
gratefully received The
HTML Transcription © F.Coakley , 2011