[From William Cooper's Castletown]

Arbory Street, north side, no. 2 to the Crofts

Cooper's Text Notes by Eva Wilson
No. 2 This was Mr. Karran, the Saddler's, shop in my
young days but it was afterwards a butcher's shop kept by
Mr. W. Crebbin and also by a Mr. Costain. It was then
turned into a fruiterer's and fish shop by Mr. Aldrett, who
later went to Port Erin. It was again a fruiterer's shop kept
by Mr. Nash. After his death it was empty for some time
and was bought by Mrs. Riggall, Great Meadow, who
repaired it and it is now a Ladies Hairdressing Saloon.
Capital Styles
No. 4 This was a chemist shop kept by Mr. W. Corrin and
is still a Chemist but is now kept by J. Eaton.
Danica, Florist. There have been a succession of chemists on this site.
In the late 1990s it was redeveloped and a private dwelling, the Physic
Garden created from a small building on part of the garden at the back
with access through the side door. Nos. 2 and 4 Arbory Street are
three-storeyed, three- bay buildings of one build. The shop front of no. 4,
which may be original, and some of the fittings from the chemist shop,
are preserved in the present shop.
No. 6 This was rebuilt when I was about 7 years old for
Mr, W. J. Kneale, grocer. The way I remember it is
because my youngest sister and myself were coming home
from school when some cattle broke away when being
driven to Mr. Gell's slaughter house in Queen Street and
rushed up Arbory Street as we were passing this shop and
the workmen took hold of us and put us in out of the way.
After, it was a long time empty but some years later was
taken by Mr. Joe Collister, upholsterer etc. It was then taken
by Mr. A. Lawton as a hairdresser's shop. Later he also
started in the bicycle line and made the loft into the
hairdressing and the shop into cycles. The shop is still a
cycle shop kept by Mr. Eaton and the hairdressing by Mr.
Quayle who lives in Douglas and has a man in the shop.
6 Arbory Street. Castletown Cycles closed down 1999. After standing
empty, it is now occupied by Castle Furnishers. The building is on only
two floors and the entire three-bay front is a shop window with a very
elaborate cornice. There are three-storey buildings on both sides and it
has the look of a later addition, as suggested by Cooper. The rebuild
would have been in about 1887. A yard, still with the former cycle
sheds, extends behind the next-door houses, nos. 8 and 10.
No. 8 This was the branch of the Bank of Mona. I do not
remember it as a bank but have seen the screens marked
with `bank' on them in the windows. It was a good many
years empty and one year, when the officers had their band
over, there was not enough room in the Barracks and some
where billeted here. I think the company was of the 36th
Regiment, and they were brought over for the opening of
the tennis courts, the officers being some of the principal
supporters of the tennis club. It was later bought by Mr. P.
Kelly who opened a small shop in it and a few years ago,
after the war, a new shop window was put in it and it is now
a paper and fancy goods shop.
8 Arbory Street, Ashbrooks Estate Agent. Tommy Mylchreest, who
also had a remarkable memory, particularly for the period before the
First World War, remembered 'Kelly sweets' here. In the 1960's, Mr
Hinstridge, a blind basket- maker, occupied this shop. He did not think to
light his shop for customers, and I remember groping about in the dark
ordering the excellent wastepaper basket I still own.
No. 10 This was Mr. George Hudson, the tinsmith's, shop
and he employed Pat Gallagher as tinsmith. It was in a very
bad state of repair, but was afterwards bought by a Mr.
Crebbin who repaired it and put on a new roof and had a
chip potato shop. He later removed to the Promenade and
the new owner has a fish and chip shop.
10 Arbory Street, Craft Emporium. From the mid-1990s, this was the
Post Office until it removed to the Co-op in the Parade in 2003. The
five-bay frontage was changed when the Post Office occupied the
building, and has now been changed again with a central door between
the shop windows. A side door gives access to the premises above
where, it is said, ships' timbers, used in the construction, can still be
No. 12 This was a saddlers and boot shop kept by Mr.
Edward Kelly and, after his death, by his two sons, John
and Edward. They also had a greengrocery shop which they
supplied from the two acres they worked in the Flatt. They
did not last long and the Isle of Man Bank took over the
premises. I also remember a Miss Shimmin having a ladies
and children's dress establishment here, but she went to
New Zealand. It was afterwards taken by Mr. T. A. Sayle as
a draper's shop and Mrs. Sayle had a milliner's department.
After his wife's death Mr. Sayle neglected his business and
went smash. During his occupation the gable of the shop
was taken out and the room [the] Kellys used as kitchen
added to the shop. Now a fancy goods shop.
12 Arbory Street. Until recently this was Cooper's Newsagent and is
now News Plus.
No. 14 This was the Kelly's greengrocery shop and was
Mr, R. P. Kneale's greengrocery until he removed to the
other side of the street. It was also occupied by Mr. T. A.
Sayle, and lately as a Ladies Hairdressing establishment,
but is now empty as they have removed to Douglas.
13 Arbory Street, Michael Andrew Hairdressing. R. P. Kneale
greengrocery moved to 7-9 Arbory St
No. 16 This was Mr. J. S. Kegg's warehouse and was
afterwards taken over by Mr. J. Armroyd as a hairdressing
shop and it is now carried on by his son, Mr. C. Armroyd.
16 Arbory Street. Pot Luck, now empty. J. S. Kegg was the grocers
across the road at 19-21 Arbory Street. This small building still has the
look of a warehouse about it. There is a shuttered opening above a first
floor window and a double door below with a small shop window on the
side. Barbara Price, a local artist, kept an antique shop here in the
1960s and 70s when she lived in the Bagnio House.
No. 18 This was the position of Mr. J. Cubbon, saddler,
shop and tan-pits and also a small shop kept by Mr. J.
Wilson, watchmaker. Mr. Cubbon's shop was afterwards
kept by Mr. W. J. Barrett as a fancy goods shop. They were
pulled down by Mr. T. M. Dodd to build the present
Castle Rushen Stores Opening with inscription above the gates. T. M.
Dodd, grocer, wine and spirit merchant, had started business in Malew
Street in 1884 (see 19-21 Malew Street) By the end of the century he
acquired property in Arbory Street and connected these with the Malew
Street properties. A mineral water bottling factory operated on the site.
In the early 1990s the area from 18-22 Arbory Street through to 17-21
Malew St. was excavated as part of a plan to link the two streets with a
shopping arcade.4
No. 20 This has been a draper's shop all my time, kept at
first by a Mr. Jones and then by Mr. J. J. Maddrell, one of
the Maddrells' Ballamaddrell. In their time it was called
Glencairn House as the lintel over the shop window was
part of the Kelson of a ship called that name.
Mr. James Taggart was the next tenant and he changed the
name as he thought Glencairn was unlucky. It is now a
private company 'Taggarts Ltd.'.
20 Arbory Street. Castletown House, now empty. Was Coach House
Studio, photographic shop, to 2000. In the early 1880s James Taggart
established his drapery, tailoring and millinery business in two houses
on opposite sides of Arbory Street, nos. 19 and 20. Taggat's hats were
a synonym for the best in millinery and were worn all over the Island. In
the early 1920s he sold out to Mr. John Christian Moore who extended
the business to include carpets and furniture. In 1948 another shop was
opened in Malew Street (nos. 8-10). In 1975 the Arbory Street shop was
vacated. 5
This is a substantial three-storeyed, five-bay building with a nineteenth-
century shop-front, complete with golden ball-finials, added in early
Kelson is a timber laid parallel with the keel, to which it is bolted, to
fasten floor timbers and keel together.
No. 22 This was Mr. Edward Martin's office until he
moved up to Tower House. It was later occupied by Miss
Cubbon when she gave up business in Malew St. She took
out the shop windows and put in ordinary windows, which
were later removed, and shop windows put in again. It was
then occupied by Mr. W. Lawson, shoemaker, until he
removed to the opposite side of the street. It was then
occupied by several people afterwards; Mr. Kneale, saddler,
Mr. Eaton, papers and stationery, and now by Mrs Hawley.
22 Arbory Street, J. & H. Bell Antique Shop.
No. 24 This was a crockery-ware shop kept by Mr. John
Martin who went by the name of Old Pot. He also sold
greens, etc. grown in his garden in Malew Street near the
Tennis Courts. It was afterwards kept by his daughter until
she was bought out by Mr. Robert Corlett, who turned it
into the present grocers shop now 'Corlett's Ltd.'.
24 Arbory Street, Castletown Laundry.
No. 26 The Archway. This was an old cottage with a large
doorway for the use of Mr. Kennaugh's traps. He lived in
Malew Street, and had a passage through to Arbory Street.
The cottage was occupied by a widow, Mrs. Cubbon of the
Ballaelse [?] tribe. She went by the name of Mrs. Cubbon
Blind Eye as she was blind in one eye.
Archway inscribed AD 1898. Erected by T. M. Dodd as a secondary
entrance to his Malew Street premises.
No. 28 This was occupied by the Misses Creer. I do not
know anything about them except that they were Wesleyan.
It was afterwards bought by Mr. R. Corlett, who erected
storage sheds in the garden and bought houses in Malew
Street so that he could take the gardens to erect stables etc.
It is now occupied by Corletts Ltd.
28 Arbory Street, The Beauty Room. Opening on the ground floor
through to Wesley Mews behind. When John Wesley visited the Island
in 1777 it is said that he stayed in the original part of the house.
The Bridge Bookshop is remembered here in the 1970s, before
removing to 1 Castle Street.
No. 30 This was occupied by Mr. W. Clucas, Policeman,
his daughter and son-in-law, Mr. D. Lace. Later a Ladies
and Childrens dress business kept by a Miss Shimmin until
she moved down the street. It has been a chemist shop, a
restaurant and is now a dairy, grocery and ice-cream shop
kept by Mr. A. Court.
30 Arbory Street. This was The Town Dairy, it's ice-cream famously
'Often licked but never beaten'. It closed in the mid-1980s and is now a
private house.
No. 32[-34] This was occupied by a General Farrant, a
retired Marine officer, and afterwards occupied by Mrs.
Kewley, widow of Mr. James Kewley, Rolls Office, and her
daughter. When she died it was taken furnished by Dr.
Hannay who afterwards bought it, and it is still occupied by
his widow. It used to be called Old Lodge but Mrs. Hannay
changed it to The Bagnio as it is supposed to have been the
Lord's Bath-house. It was also sometimes taken furnished
by officers of the Barracks, who sometimes kept their
horses in the stable. At one time one could run behind the
houses and come out at Mr. Stowell's yard but [this] is now
blocked by a wall. The Lane [was the] back entrance to
Westwood and to the four houses.
Bagnio House. A building on this site is mentioned in Manorial Rolls
from 1511 as bathhouse and pleasure garden for the officers of The Castle.
The present house was added in the seventeenth-century and its large
garden included the land on which the adjoining terrace, The Oddfellows
Hall and the large houses in the Crofts were later built. It was known as the
Lord's and Governor's Garden and lay at the end of West Street, which
later became Arbory Street. The Lane is still there and leads to the former
coach house to Westwood, now a private residence.
No. 36 This was occupied by Mr. Clague who went by the
name of Clague Roses and was manager of the corn-store
where the Wesleyan Sunday School now is. I do not
remember him but I remember his widow and daughter. At
this time it had a trellis work over the door. It was later
occupied by a Mrs. Ferguson and her two daughters who
were from the West Indies - they had a full-blooded negress
for a servant. It was occupied for a short time by Mr.
Richard Cain when he first married, and was afterwards
taken by Mrs. Fairless, widow of a Wesleyan Minister and
daughter of Mr. J. Kermode, baker - she lived in it until she
moved to Ramsey. It was then taken by Mr. Richard Kneen
whose sons still live in it.
No. 38 This was occupied by Capt. John Clague of the
Mercantile Marine until his death a few years ago. He went
by the name of Starvation Jack as it was said he starved his
crews. He traded to China and once, when she was in a
German port, he smuggled out a young German who
wanted to escape military service. Once, when I was in the
house, he showed me a piece of furniture which the German
had made for him when he was aboard the ship. This house
was later occupied by Mr. Kermode, Mrs. Clague's nephew,
and is now occupied by a Mr. Jones.
No. 40 This and 42 were built when I was about ten years
old by Mr. Stowell. First occupied by Mr. J. T. W.
Wicksey, Master of the Grammar School. and his sister,
Mrs. Lace, who kept a girls' School, and there were
connecting doors. After Mr. Wicksey left the connecting
doors were built up and no. 40 was occupied by Mrs. Gell
and her daughter. Now occupied by Mrs. Karran.
No. 42 After Mrs. Lace left it was occupied by Miss
Cowin, Infants' School Mistress at Victoria Road School. It
is now occupied by Mr. Kennaugh who farms the Red Gap
The Terrace 36-42 is one design, but 40 and 42 are built together - as
Cooper says - in about 1880, while 36 and 38 are built separately.
The Oddfellow's Hall was in my day the Town Hall. The
big railings in front have been taken down and this year the
gable above the columns has been taken down, as the beams
were rotten, and a roof, hidden from the street, put over the
steps. I was asked several years ago if I remembered the
front with only two pillars. I said it had always been the
same to me, and the man who asked me said that the two
centre pillars were put up later, as the lintels were sagging
under the weight.
The caretaker in my young days was Mrs. John Quayle
who lived in the rooms on the ground floor at the back.
Several of her boys were playmates of mine. Mr. Quayle
was a carter in the Brewery and a strict teetotaller. After
they left, the caretakers were Mr. and Mrs. John Heelis. Mr.
Heelis was an old army pensioner. It was said that he could
not read, but had a good memory, and, after hearing some
person reading news out of the paper, would afterwards
pretend to read to some other person with the paper upside
After him was Mr. Pattie and daughter, who were the last
to live at the Hall. Mr. Pattie was a quarrier, and when
working at the quarry at Turkeyland, for the owners of
Ronaldsway, a charge misfired and, [when] he tried to draw
it, it went off and he got the full charge of powder in his
Castletown Youth and Community Centre. In Thwaites Isle of Man
Guide and Directory 1863
, we learn that'The Town Hall in Arbory Street
forms a spacious and handsome structure of stone. It was erected in
1856, the foundation stone being laid in March that year, by J. Gell, Esq.
The High Bailiff of Castletown. The cost of erection being defrayed by a
company of proprietors, who formed themselves for that purpose.' It was
later taken over by the Order of Oddfellows, whose lodge, Loyal Hope
and Anchor, was founded in Castletown in 1859. This was not a Town
Hall in the modern sense. The upstairs room served the community as
an Assembly Room for meetings, lectures, concerts, etc and could
accommodate some 500 people. There were smaller rooms on the
ground floor used for various purposes. In Thwaites, we learn further
that, for example, 'in 1856, the Young Men's Mutual Improvement
Association was established. This association is now in a very
prosperous condition, and is proving a considerable benefit to the town.'
The building continues to serve although, having lost its pediment, it is
no longer 'handsome'.
The Yard was Mr. Flaxney Stowell's builders yard. He had
a saw-pit against the wall at the Town Hall side. The pit
was sunk in the ground with a wooden roof over it. Pit-
sawing had nearly gone out in my time, but I have seen
them sawing here. Mr. Flaxney Stowell, painter, built the
shop on it now as a painters' shop. This was shortly after he
came back from the First World War.
46 Arbory Street. The Arbory Street Surgery, for many years the
doctor's surgery it closed down 2003.
Elderbank was built by Mr. Stowell, Sr. for himself, wife
and brother-in-law. It was originally only a small house.
When Mr. Flaxney, the second, came in to it, he added to it
by using up part of the workshop, making a kitchen and
scullery on the ground floor and stairs to the attic. When
Mr. Flaxney, the third, died, his sister sold it to Mrs.Quayle,
confectioner, who now lives in it.
The earliest part of Elderbank was built about 1839. The round-arched
doorway between pillars on Arbory Street could be the original entrance.
The entrance is now from The Crofts


4 Davey P. J., Freke D. J., Higgins D. J. 1996 Excavations in Castletown, Isle of Man 1989-1992 Centre for Manx Studies Monographs, No. 1 Liverpool University Press, 49-125.
Bawden T. A., Garrad L. S., Qualtrough J. K. and Scatchard J. W. 1972 Industrial Archaeology in the Isle of Man, Newton Abbot, 252.

5 Douglas, Mona, 1977,`Taggarts the Tailor', Manx Life July/August, 94.

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