[From William Cooper's Castletown]

Arbory Street, south side, nos. 1-61

Arbory Street was originally West Street and went no further than The Bagnio and the Lord's Garden. Beyond lay the wetland and boggy areas of the Dumb river. These were gradually drained to allow a road to the south.

Cooper's Text Notes by Eva Wilson

No. 1 Union Hotel. Thomas Cosnahan [was the tenant]
who went to Peel. Capt. Shore [was the tenant] in whose
time the part above the front door was gutted by fire and the
rest damaged - that would be in 1885. The Douglas Fire
Brigade was there as well as the soldiers with their engine. I
remember seeing the men of the Douglas Brigade in the
morning, knocking down the burning woodwork off the
roof. It was said that some soldiers and civilians broke into
the bar and raided it and, when they got away and started to
drink, they found it was only coloured water put in bottles
for show.

Mr. Richard Shimmin was also tenant for a long time, also
John Bridson and the Caugherty family. At the time of the
fire it was owned by a Mr. Whiteside who lived at

Union Hotel. This fire, one of many mentioned in the manuscript, would
have highlighted the need for the improvement of the fire service in the
town - a matter which became one of the duties of the newly formed
Commissioners. Fire extinguishing apparatus was acquired for £50 in
1890 and housed in the Union Hotel premises.

The Union was always the second most important coaching inn in the
town after the George. The Arbory Street frontage is a three-storeyed
building of six bays with cellarage. The building on the yard frontage is
much older and may originally have had other uses.
FPC: The Wood's plan of 1833 shows part of the
yard being used as a brewery
No. 3 In my young days [this] was a public-house called
the Black Cock kept by a Mrs. Christian - a grandson is still
living here and must be one of the oldest men inhabitants.
Its name was afterwards changed to 'Mona Inn' and was
kept by Mr. W. McHarrie [and] Mr. L. Preston. It was later
converted into two shops and is now a fish shop and café
kept by Mr. Vanwell.
Kowloon, Chinese Takeaway. The manuscript was written in 1950
and when Cooper writes 'now' it can be assumed to mean 'post-war'.
Castletown people will remember Mr and Mrs Vanwell who kept the fish
shop and Ye Old Mona Café for many years. The present shop-fronts
date from the time of the conversion into shops and café.
No. 5 I have a slight recollection of it being a chemist shop
kept by a Mr. Stowell. There was an explosion of some sort
in the cellar, mixing chemicals I suppose, and a man named
Faragher was badly burnt on face and hands and afterwards
went by the name of Burnt Ned. It was converted into a
butcher's shop by Mr. Robert Clague, the slaughterhouse
being in the yard in view of the house windows. It is still a
butcher's shop, Messrs. Cubbon and Son, but the
slaughterhouse has been removed.
5 Arbory Street, Tony Brown Electrics. Cubbons' moved their
slaughterhouse to Chapel Lane, in the area round the Grammar School,
later demolished in the early 1950s. H. Cubbon and Son closed their
shop in 1995. The tiled shop front with the old name has been retained.
No. 7 I think this was Mr. McMeiken's shop, but my
earliest recollection of it was when Mr. Bob Clague was in
it. It was later a greengrocer's shop kept by Mr. W. Kneale
and after his death by his sister, Miss Christian Ann Kneale.
After her death it was kept by her nephew, Mr. R. P. Kneale
until his death. It is now a greengrocer's shop kept by Mr.
H. Ryland.
7 Arbory Street, Mann Link Travel.
No. 9 The first tenant I remember was Mr. Harry Cubbon,
Baker, Harry-cut-the-Cracker and, when he retired to Red
Gap, it was taken on by his brother Mr. R. Cubbon, and it
is now a greengrocer's shop kept by Mr. T. Bridson.
9 Arbory Street, Hospice Charity Shop.

No. 11 In my young days it was a warehouse with a cat-
head for hauling up bags. Also a chemist shop for a short
time, and Mr. James Kewish Jr. had a tailor's shop there
until he died. It was afterwards converted into a house by
Mr. R. Cubbon, the Baker, and connected to his shop with
doors broken through the walls. He later went bankrupt and
the house was bought by Mr. J. J. Clague, Plumber, who
broke doors through from his shop side and built up those
on Cubbon's side.

No. 13 This was a shop kept by Mr. J. Thomson, an old
Army Pensioner. He made home-made toffee which we
called Pensioners, and sold cakes, ginger-beer etc. After his
death the shop was kept by his widow and his niece, Mrs.
Chapman. After their deaths it was bought by Mr. J. J.
Clague, Plumber, who converted it into an Ironmongery and
Plumber's shop. It is still occupied by him and his son,
Messrs. J. J. Clague and Son.

No. 15 In my young days this was the Post Office until it
was removed to Castle Street. The Postmaster was Mr. T.
H. Kinvig. It was later occupied by Mr. R. P. Kneale who
sold pianos and tuned them, and also organs etc. It is now a
branch shop of Messrs. J. J. Clague and Son.

No. 17 This was Mr. John Kinvig's shoe-shop and was
carried on by his son, Mr. T. H. Kinvig, until he died, the
room above the old Post Office being used as storerooms
and workrooms. It is still a shoe shop kept by Mr. Corlett.

11-17 Arbory Street. In 1995 this row of houses was demolished and
rebuilt to accommodate Shoprite Supermarket. The elevations and
features approximate to those of the original buildings.


No. 19 This was Mr. J. S. Kegg's grocers shop. When he
died (I was about 21 years old then) it was taken over by
Mr. J. Taggart, Draper, who used the shop and storerooms
on the ground floor; his father and mother lived above (see
20 Arbory Street).
19 Arbory Street, Shampers & Co. Many will remember Taggart's
carpet warehouse here before the Second World War; post-war it was
the Manhattan Hair Salon for a long time.
No. 21 The first tenant I remember was a Jew named
Menton, a watchmaker. It was afterwards taken over by Mr.
J. S. Kegg who connected it to his shop and lived in it. After
his death it was occupied for some time by Mr. E. E.
Roberts, Tailor, and then by Mr. W. Lawson, Shoemaker,
whose daughters still live in it. I remember during a great
storm the kitchen chimney of this house was blown down
and crashed through the roof of Mr. Taggart's house and
then through the roof of the kitchen below. As it happens
there was no one sleeping in the room.
21 Arbory Street. At one time Casa Mimosa café and more recently
Castle Stationers which closed in 1998. It is now being converted to a
private house with shop premises below.
No. 23 This was a baker's shop kept by Mr. J. H. Kermode,
Kermode Klink, and later occupied by his son. When he
died it was occupied for a few years by his widow and
daughters until they removed to Douglas. During the last
war it was made a restaurant under the title C.K.R., the
initials of the three ladies who kept it [Corlett, Kennaugh
and Ryland]. It is now empty.
23 Arbory Street, Chree Brae Fancy goods shop, kept by Diane,
daughter of the late Keith Collister. The shop now has the same name
as a shop her grandmother kept on the opposite side of the street.
Nos. 19, 21 and 23 Arbory Street form a terrace with fine shop-fronts
with pilasters to nos. 19 and 20.
No. 25 The first tenant I remember was a Mrs. Corrin and
family who moved to Liverpool. It had several other
tenants including one of my brothers. Mr. Kermode also
used it as house for his bakery and a back room for a
bedroom for his apprentices who had access to it by ladder
from the outside. Mr. Kermode afterwards joined it to his
shop and made it into a restaurant on the ground floor and
storerooms etc. above. Mr. Kermode was one of those chaps
who could make fools of anybody but who would get raging
mad if anybody tried to make [a] fool out of him.
23-25 Arbory Street. In the Census 1891 both properties are recorded
together with John F. Kermode as head, Bread and Biscuit maker, with
wife and family, This included Eleanor Fairless, his daughter, a widow
with her three children born in England. Beatrice Anne, then only seven,
became a well-known Manx watercolour painter. Her'Junction of School
Lane and Chapel Lane' is on show in the Manx Museum Gallery. It is
one of the few surviving reminders of this, now demolished, part of
No. 25 is now converted as a private house.
No. 27 This was the shop of Mr. John Duke, Tailor, who
also sold crockery ware. It was later occupied by Mr. W.
Cain when he retired from being Inspector of Police, and
then by Mr. J. J. Clague, Plumber, who put in a new shop
Nos. 25 and 27 Arbory Street. Built as a pair, with three storeys and
two bays, they have lost their original shop fronts. No. 27 is now
converted as a private house, but has retained the cornice above the
former shop front.
The Old and New Methodist Chapels. The date of the Old Chapel is
not known, but tradition has it that it was established by 1777,when John
Wesley records in his journal that he preached in Castletown 'in our own
room'. When the New Chapel was built in 1833, the old chapel became
the Sunday School premises. The Chapel was extensively altered in
1891, the work undertaken by James Cooper for the sum of £1,200 1.
In a different context in the manuscript Cooper mentions: 'Mr.
Jefferson, Ballahott, and his coal yards in Arbory Street, one next to the
Wesleyan Chapel - now a builders' yard [the site of a new block of flats,
29 A and B Arbory Street], and one opposite the old Town Hall, now a
garage [new office building no. 41 Arbory Street]. When one was
empty he would order another cargo and use the coal in the other until
the new cargo arrived, as he could not depend on the arrival of the
cargo as then the old schooners might be delayed by contra winds. I can
remember the rows the tenants of the adjoining houses made about the
coal dust from the carts when the coal was being discharged. The carts
were Mr. Jefferson's own farm carts and the dust leaked out from the
tail-boards and there would be a trail of dust from the ship to the yards.
Mr. Jefferson's carters at that time were Gandy, foreman, McFlashin,
Hornett and Ince.'
No. 31 The old cottage here, which was occupied by Mrs
Corrin of No. 25 until my father gave her notice to quit as
he wanted to build the present shop - that would be about
1883. The shop at present is occupied by my nephew,
Arthur L. Cooper, as is also the yard adjoining which in my
young days was one of Mr W. B. Jefferson's coalyards.
The shop was built by John Cooper. It is a three storey, two bay
building, rendered white with elaborate Ruabon brick facings. When
James Cooper died in 1922, his twin sons, Thomas Richard and Daniel
Edwards, took over the firm. Daniel Edward's son Arthur continued to
run the business until it closed when he retired in 1989 at the age of 86.
In 2003 a block of two maisonettes, numbered 29 A and B were erected
in the yard.
No. 33 This house was occupied by a Miss Bell and maid.
When she died my father bought it and the cottage
adjoining from Mr. W. B. Jefferson, Ballahott, and after
doing some repairs to it we came in to live about 1881, and
I am still here.
31-33 Arbory Street. The large Cooper family is listed here in the
Census 1891. The head of the family is James Cooper, widower,
Builder and Contractor. One can assume that Margaret Elizabeth, his
thirty-two-year old daughter, acted as housekeeper. A son Thomas R.,
mason, is also a widower at the age of thirty-one. Eleanor, 6, listed as
James' grand daughter, was perhaps his daughter. In addition there are
a further three sons, John J., chemist's assistant, William Henry, joiner
(our author), and James, still at school, and three daughters, Eleanor,
dressmaker, Eva, confectioner, and Emma, milliner, living in the house.
The present owner has joined nos. 31 and 33 as a single private house
named Westbury house.
No. 35 This was empty for years when I was a lad and we
used to climb over the wall and make a playground of it.
The first tenant I remember was a Dr. Battio who had two
sons going to K.W.C. [King Williams College]. He raised
the garden wall, so they could not be seen over and put up a
winery and also put vases in the old conservatory. The next
tenant was another Dr., Dr. Edmonds from the West Indies,
who also had two sons going to the College. The next
tenants were the Misses Clague, Bakers, and their sister,
Mrs. Kirkpatrick who used the house as a boarding-house
and also let it furnished. After they were all dead it was
bought by Mr. J. Jackson who lived in it for some years
until he returned to England. It was afterwards bought by
Mrs. Stevenson, widow of Mr. W. A. Stevenson, until she
died, and it is now occupied by Mr. H. Ryland. My eldest
sister used to say that it was once a school kept by a Miss
On one of the photos of Mona's Isle ashore at Scarlett Dr.
Edmunds is seen standing with back to camera in top-hat
and overcoat, and Mr. H. Stowell, painter, is seen on the
rocks making a painting of her, and the S. S. Tynwald of
that time is tryng to pull her off. It was the Tynwald's first
No. 37 This was occupied by Mr. John Cubbon, Saddler,
his wife and daughter and grandson until they went to
Douglas, and it was afterwards occupied by one of the
Coastguards and is now occupied by a widow of my
No. 39 This is the house in which I was born in 1870. We
lived in it for about eleven years before we removed to 23
[33]. It has had a good many tenants since then, and is now
occupied by Mr. Lewin, a retired farmer.
37-41 Arbory Street. According to the 1891 Census, the Coastguard
Boatman in no. 37 was Charles Hornsby from England with his wife,
young son and father, a retired dyer. A Navy Coastguard from England
lived in no. 39 with his wife and nine children.
Next door was Jefferson's coal yard and later Cubbon's garage up to
1990. A modern three-storeyed office building, no. 41, Norton House
was recently erected on the site.
No. 43 This was occupied by my cousin, John Cooper,
Joiner, who worked with my father when I was a lad. Later
he started on his own account. He built the present
workshop, no.31. It was afterwards occupied by Mr. W.
Lawson, Shoemaker, and later occupied by Mr. E. Clague
who bought it and his son still lives in it.
Dolphin House. Edwin Clague's son, Eddie - gardener at Westhill and
Buchan School from 1919 and a popular Castletown character - lived
here to the mid-1990s. Before he died in 2001, he described how, in
the houses which backed on to the 'Flats', nightsoil had to be carried
through the house from the outside privies and ash-pits in the back yard
to carts in the road. The nightsoil was spread at Ballalough and sold by
auction in lots to the farmers.
It was not until 1921 that the Local Government Board ordered that all
privy middens in the Town be converted to water closets within 3 years.
No. 45 This was an old house occupied by Mrs Christian
after she left the Black Cock, but it was pulled down and the
present house built by the Stowell Brothers, Richard and
Edward. After being rebuilt it was occupied for some years
by a Mr. Goodwin whose wife took in boarders and it has
had several tenants since. The present tenant is a Mr.
No. 47 This house was owned by Mr. Charles Clague,
Mariner, and is now occupied by his grandson. Mr. Clague
traded to Whitehaven for coals; the first boat he had was the
Hope which went ashore on Langness. He afterwards
bought the J.C.R. which his son traded in until he died.
This two-storeyed cottage, probably originally dating from the
eighteenth-century, was disroofed in the 1960 and rebuilt.
No.49 This was occupied by Mr. W. Duke, tailor, son of
John Duke, tailor, and is now occupied by his daughter.
Mrs. Duke's maiden name was Barton, and she was called
Dollar Barton - you never heard her called Mrs Duke. A
few years ago I asked my oldest sister why she was called
this and she replied that she had been to America and came
back before she married and was always talking about
A two-storeyed cottage of two bays with dormers in the roof - another
eighteenth-century survival.
No. 51 This was occupied by a Mrs. Newton who was cook
at the old Soup Kitchen during the winter. She made good
soup, and some of the workmen from the country, who had
to bring their dinner with them, would go down and buy
some. They got a pint for a penny and it saved them
bringing some with them. The meat put in the soup was salt
- they called it buffalo beef. It was afterwards occupied by
Mr. H. Christian, car proprietor, who took over Mr. John
Gilbert's business. Now occupied by Mr. J. Wilkinson.
The Soup Kitchen was situated in Chapel Lane near the Grammar
No. 53 This was occupied by Mr. Tom Kinvig, who went
by the name of Tom Boy Dick, and who had been to
America and lived in the shop with his niece Miss Cooil. It
was later lived in by a family named Quayle, who were
from the Whallag and were related to Mr. Kinvig. Now
occupied by a Mrs. Cooil.
No.55 The first man I remember in this house was Tommy
Bell, a mason's labourer, who worked for some years for my
father. He went to Douglas after his wife died to live with his
wife's niece. Until he died the house was let to a man named
Cowin who was a ganger on the railway. When he died it
was sold. Ned Quine, a mason, who worked for my father,
bought it and lived in it for a good number of years until they
started a crockery-ware shop in Malew Street. Then he sold it
to a Mr. Maddrell, who was employed at the College, and I
think it is still owned by a member of his family.
No. 57 This was occupied by Miss[es] Mylchreests,
dressmakers, and their father who went by the name of Jack
the Hatter
. When the last Miss Mylchreest died, it was sold
and bought by Mr. Charles Cannell, coal merchant, who
lived in it until he died and his widow now lets it furnished.
No. 59 The earliest tenant I remember was a Mr. Small and
afterwards an old pensioner named Kelly. It was afterwards
occupied by Mr. Robert Boyd and then by Mr. Bert and
Willie Haines. Mr. Bert died and Mr. Willie, wife and son
moved to Douglas. Now occupied by Mr. Harry Kelly.
No. 61 This was occupied by the Miss[es] Woods, bakers,
Malew Street, and when they married and went to live
elsewhere, it was left for some years, but later on Mrs
Williams, a widow, came back and lived in it. Then bought
by Mr. Charles Corkill, who was Coroner here for some
years, and his widow still lives in it.
59 Arbory Street, Lyncroft, and 61 Arbory Street are a pair of
Victorian houses at the end of Arbory Street.


1 Trustees of the Castletown Methodist Church, Castletown Methodist church, 1972

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