[From William Cooper's Castletown]

Market Square, The Parade, Castle Street and Parliament Square

Castletown Parade c. 1905
Castletown Parade c. 1905 - George Hotel on right

Cooper's Text Notes by Eva Wilson
The Barracks are much the same, the only difference being
[that] the railings in front were taken away, the area covered
over, and the wall between it and the Bank taken away.
Conveniences were built further on with [an] iron gate to
[the] yard. This wall had a small door for single persons and
a wide door for the soldiers to march out through. There
was a sentry box inside and the soldiers on guard had to
walk the length of the yard to the hospital quarters. Behind
these was the drill yard and we lads used to climb up on the
wall from the Flatt to watch them drilling and also to see
them doing pack drill as punishment for some offence.
Manannan House, offices. The Duke of Athol owned an inn, called The
George, on this site at the end of the eighteenth century. When his
manorial rights were purchased by the Crown in 1828, the building was
converted for the use as Barracks for the Garrison. The Garrison was
withdrawn in 1896. In 1911 Castletown Commissioners bought the
building from the War Department for £600 and it became the Town
Hall. The new Town Hall & Civic Centre and Library in the yard were
built by Kelly & Bridson in 1989.
A post-war building, occupied by Lloyds TSB, now fills the gap
between Manannan House and the Isle of Man Bank.
The Isle of Man Bank is much the same, the only
difference being the present door was the house door and
the office door was next to the George Hotel, with the
counter parallel to the street. I was in the Bank the day there
was a run on it after Dumbell's Bank failure and there was
hardly standing room in the office with the depositors
wanting their money in gold. Mr. P. G. Ralfe was the agent
at the time. It was said that the Bank had to charter a special
steamer to bring gold from Liverpool and that it was sent up
from Douglas in a gig, with a policeman with a rifle at the
back, and it arrived an hour or so before the Bank opened.
The gold was laid out on the table in piles about 3" high. It
was on a Friday and my father sent me to draw the cash to
pay men on Saturday. My father had been speaking to Mr.
Tom Fisher, a Director, who told him the Bank was alright,
so he told me to take notes. The next week they were all
back to put their money in again. The first Agent I
remember was Mr. Tom Corrin.
The present building was taken over from the Bank of Mona. It is a
typical bank building design with the emphasis on solidity. The rusticated
ground floor facing is in Portland Stone, with a plinth of Roach. The
upper floors the residence of the Agent (manager). When Dumbell's
crashed in 1900, several public companies collapsed, and many
Castletown people were hit hard, but the Isle of Man Bank was not
involved and survived. The office door is now again the one next to the
George, the other door now holds the cash machine.
The George Hotel. This was occupied by Mr. John Gilbert
who, I have heard said, was a commercial traveller who
married the landlady. He sold it to a Mr. Whittle from
Chorley who put the present bay windows and balcony on
the front. He erected kitchens, etc. at the back, also the
vaults and new entrance gateway to the yard. He put in his
Son-in-law, Mr. Holden, as tenant. There have been several
tenants since his time.
The new George Hotel was financed by subscription, raised by the
towns leading personalities; the architect was John Welch and the
building was finished in 1834. The George had extensive stabling at the
back and it was here that, according to an advertisement in 1883, there
were 'open and covered vehicles for hire, extensive stabling and lock-up
coach house, boats etc.' During the season there were excursions from
Douglas. Mr Whittle's alterations to the building would have taken place
in the 1890s. Many will remember the Southern Rifle Club premises in
the old stables at the back. They were removed in the 1970s, together
with the snooker-room, to make room for more modem accommodation.
The next house, now the Co-operative shop, was occupied
by Miss Cosnahan, Mrs. Gilbert's sister. Mr. Gilbert went
there to live when he sold The George. It was afterwards
occupied by two young women dancers and their father
who died there. They had a lamp burning in the room and it
smoked during the night and covered everything with
smuts. The woman told us when we went to the funeral that
she had had to wash the coffin.
8 The Parade, Manx Co-Op since 1931. From 2003 this is also the
Post Office. In Porter's Isle of Man Directory 1889, John Gilbert is listed
as 'farmer, car proprietor and proprietor of Castletown cricket and
recreational ground in The Parade'. In Bent's Business Directory 1902,
John Gilbert, advertises his 'postings in all its branches, livery stables,
hearse and mourning coaches and eight wedding carriages'. He also
owned the house next door, originally the same build.
The next [7 The Parade] was occupied by the Misses
Llewellyn until they moved to Arbory Road, and later by
the Misses Radie and their maid, Ann Rilley, until they
went to the Bowling Green Road. Ann told me that she was
born in one of the old cottages at the old farm buildings on
The space between this house and the next was called 'No
Built in the 1790s as one of a pair with number 8, both originally
rendered. This house has the original red sandstone steps to the front
door, a basement area and railings. This was the home of the
Government Chaplain, George Stickler Parsons (1795-1855) who was
responsible for setting up many almshouses for the poor in Castletown.
Its more recent history is unusually well known. Both houses were
acquired by a Mrs Harriet Hunt, a widow, in 1923. She made a home for
several of her children here, including Mrs Foort and her two boys. One
of these, Patrick, has left an account of growing up in Castletown in the
late nineteen twenties.6
The next [6 The Parade] was the town house of Mrs.
Quilliam„ widow of Capt. Quilliam of the'Victory'. The
first tenant that I know of was a Dr.Wise. My father took
me to him when I was a lad. When I was an apprentice it
was occupied by Col. Mosse and his family. It was later
occupied by Tom Corrin and family and is still occupied by
his last surviving daughter.
Balcony House, earlier known as Parade House, was built not long
after the semidetached houses nos. land 8. Capt. John Quilliam, who
famously 'steered The Victory at the battle of Trafalgar 1805' lived in
Balcony House after returning to the Island in about 1813. He married
Margaret Christian Stevenson, second daughter of Richard Stevenson of
Balladoole. The property belonged to her. John Quilliam died in 1829.
On his retirement as the first manager (or Agent) of the Castletown
Branch of The Isle of Man Bank, the house became the home of Tom
Corrin, and his family. After his death in 1912, four unmarried daughters
remained in the house, remembered as pillars of Castletown society,
arbiters of taste and propriety.
The adjacent coach house was at some time incorporated with the
building through doors at ground and first floor levels. This part has more
recently become an independent unit, first an off-licence, then an
advocates office. The building is now empty and in poor condition.
The next [5 The Parade] was occupied by Mr. Ralfe
McKenna who took photos and was also an Estate Agent. It
was later bought by Mr. Gell, butcher, and after his death
his two daughters lived there until it was bought by the
Town Commissioners and turned into their offices.
This house is of a mid-eighteenth century appearance and has a stone-
vaulted cellar. It was in the late 18th or early 19th century owned by the
Quayles', the Brewery family. The Gell family lived here, and in no. 4
next door, from the 1880s. They were butchers and had a slaughter-
house in Queen Street, later moved to a site below the Grammar
School, and a shop in Market House, now Barclays' Bank. I is now
empty and in a poor condition.
4 The Parade was demolished when Farrants Way was built in 1951.
The corner of no. 5 was pierced with an arch, to create a sight line to
help the traffic round this tight corner.
On the opposite side I cannot remember any of the persons
who lived in the one next to the Church [3 The Parade]
until it was taken by the Manx Bank, who remained in it
until they removed to Market Square, now Martin's Bank. I
remember a Mr. Tom Uglow living in the house; he was a
Cornishman who came over to work in one of the mines in
Rushen, married, and stayed here.
The Agent of the Manx Bank was Robert Cretney. Between the wars this
was the Methodist Manse.
The next [2 The Parade] was occupied by several different
families. The first I remember was named Darrah, army
people who had sons at College; another was Darlington;
also a retired parson named Davidson who had a son who
wrote a novel about Castletown called 'The Green Hills by
the Sea'.
These two houses were built as a pair, each with three storeys and three
bays. In the 1960s and 70s Mrs Eileen Hall, daughter of Leighton
Stowell, lived here with her husband and family. They put the balcony
on the house, the railing, with the three-legs motif in a circle design, to
match the Balcony House railings across the Parade
The next house [1 The Parade] was Sir James Gell's and
High Bailiff's Office. Their chief clerk was Mr. C. B.
Bickerstaffe, who at one time was the master at Ballasalla
The Red House. These were the offices of Gell & Gell, Advocates. In
the first telephone directory issued in 1899/1900 by the National
Telephone Co. Ltd., their number was 6. Sir James Gell had a most
distinguished career, High Bailiff of Castletown, Attorney General, First
Deemster and Clerk of the Rolls. During the surprise visit to the Island in
July 1902
by King Edward VII and Queen Alexandra, he acted as
Deputy Governor. His son, James Stowell Gell, also became High Bailiff
of Castletown.
The house on the corner of Castle Street [1 Castle Street]
was Miss Kelly's confectionery shop. There was also a
Gents' Reading Room above the shop with an entrance door
in the gable - now the 'bus office.
I do not remember who lived in the next [3 Castle Street],
in my young days, until it was taken over by the
Coastguards, until they moved to their present quarters. It
was after occupied by Mrs. Cannell and her daughter after
they gave up the restaurant.
The next [5 Castle Street] was occupied by Mrs. Edwards,
and her son, Jack, of whom I have told before; it was then
bought by Mr. David Lace, mason, whose daughter still
lives in it.

Castletown 1 Castle St c.1900FPC: 1 Castle St c.1900 - described in advert as 'Manchester House Restaurant - Mrs Bell proprietess which also offered board + residence.In 1833 indicated as Post Office

1-5 Castle Street. This row of houses may well go back to the
seventeenth century buildings shown in Daniel King's drawings of the
.7 They have suffered many changes, not least the very radical
recent rebuilding of Mrs Hawton's souvenir and fancy goods shop, now
The Garrison wine bar and restaurant.
In another context Cooper tells anecdotes about Mrs. Edward's son,
Jack,'an imbecile', and adds: 'Poor Jack, we small boys got a lot of fun
out of him'.

The next, Stanley House, was the Girls' High School, when
I was an apprentice. It was bought by Mr. D. T. Callow,
who made the front bottom room an office. It was occupied
by Mr. P. G. Ralfe, after he retired from the Bank. It was
then converted, after his aunt's death, into a confectioner's
shop by Miss Paul and has also been a baker's shop and is
now a butcher's shop kept by Mr. Dee.
7 Castle Street, Stanley House. Daniel Teare Callow, Auctioneer,
Coroner for Rushen and Estate Agent. He was secretary of the Manx
Steam Trading Company and Castletown Commissioner 1897 and
1904. Miss Paul's café is remembered with fondness by many. The
Manx Electricity Authority now occupies the ground floor.
Compton House: this was in my young days kept by Mr.
George Bradshaw. He also kept a milliner's and tailor's.
The tailor's shop was in the house round the corner. One of
MY sisters served her time there as a milliner. When Mrs.
Bradshaw died the business was taken over by her manager,
Mr. C. Christian, and after by his son Artie.
Compton House has a fine shop-front on Castle Street, now occupied
by Dean Wood Estate Agent. The main entrance to the house, now
offices, is in Parliament Square. Red sandstone steps lead up to the
front door with a fanlight. The doorframe has columns of a type also
used elsewhere in the Island. Below the steps is an area of the original
cobbled paving. The building is probably of fairly early nineteenth
century date, but the architect is not known, nor is it known how it got its
name. There is a restaurant, Bon Vivant, in the cellar.
compton house, Castletown c.1900FPC: Compton House from Mates Guide
also seen are Stanley House to right and 5
Parliament Square to left
Mr. Bradshaw's tailor shop [5 Parliament Square] was
later kept by Mr. R. C. Roberts, tailor, who at one time had
worked with Mr. Bradshaw, but had gone away to England
to work, but had come back again. His family had come
here to the herring fishery from Penzance bringing their
furniture with them in their own nickey. When the fishing
declined most of the family went back to England, except
her daughter who had married; but one son, Paul, a
hunchback, stayed here. The father and tailor son came
back again. This is now a restaurant and a shop.
Chris Blackburn Estate Agent now occupies the ground floor. When
the Roberts family lived here, the house was known as Cornish House.
This rather elegant, mid-nineteenth century building has had mixed
fortunes, and rough treatment, since then. Mr and Mrs Tate were small
grocers and ran a café; later it became Brown's Café. It became Brown's
Knitting factory and later the workshop of Mona Plastic Products Ltd.
After a period as a private residence, it was renovated as offices. The
ground floor became a health-food shop for a while.
The next two houses and some old buildings belonged to
Mr. H. E. Gelling, who had his office in the first. There
was a back entrance to Stanley House through the first of
the old buildings. These buildings were occupied by Mr. J.
Taggart, coach proprietor. Used as stables and coach
Westminster House. Only one house now remains of Mr Gelling's
properties, its companion was demolished in the 1970s.
The house on the corner of Chapel Lane was the home of
Mr. Bill Cowell, coach proprietor, and afterwards occupied
by his daughter and son-in-law, Mr. Power, who came over
as a tailor to Mr. Bradshaw. Pulled down to build
slaughterhouses for Cubbon, the butcher.
There were a further two houses along that part of Parliament Square
which passed to the south-west of the Old House of Keys and down to
Chapel Lane. Until the clearance of the Grammar School area,
completed in the late 1950s, Chapel Lane ran from the bottom of
Parliament Square to St Mary's Church and The Parade.


6 Salisbury-Jones, C. 1997, `The Co-op and next door', Castletown Heritage Newsletter, no. l .
Salisbury-Jones, C. 1998, `Young in Castletown in the twenties', Castletown Heritage Newsletter, no.2.
Salisbury- Jones, C. 2001, `Harriet's Story', The Isle of Man Victorian Society Newsletter, 59, p.26.

7 Roscow, J.R. 1999, `The Development of Castletown 1601-1703', Proc. Isle of Man Nat. Hist. and Antiq. Soc., Vol.Xl, no. 1, 7, fig.3.

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