[From Douglas by N Mathieson in draft.1961]


There must be many people who, walking through a strange town, wonder what it looked like in the past. What type of person trod, its streets ? Surely that queer old house has a history. How did yonder lane obtain such a strange name Did a smiling bride come to that old Georgian house when it was new, or was it the last refuge of some weary, broken hearted exile ?

This little book tries to answer that questions, which are not those of visitors alone, for many residents have a similar curiosity about places which they pass every day, out of which nobody can tell them anything. "My father says" or "I have heard it said' is as far as they can get. The information must be somewhere, but how to obtain it ? The local Museum may be able to supply a date, or the town Library a name. But records are frequently difficult to trace, even by those who know the likely places in which to search, while how much is it safe to believe of what the 'old inhabitant' tells you, or, indeed, of many of the older histories and guides.?

I hope this little book will help to solve the problem. It is true that Douglas has no ancient castle, no Norman church, no old posting inn - those historical landmarks so familiar in many an English town - but there still remain vestiges of a not altogether uninteresting past which are sufficient to intrigue both visitor and resident alike.

As is to be expected in a work of this nature, it is in the main a compilation from a number of widely scattered sources, though these have been checked against original sources wherever possible.

I acknowledge with gratitude my debt to the many writers - a few still living, but most of them now departed whose works I have laid under contribution, justifying myself for so doing by the fact that none of them , though so much better qualified for the task than I have seen fit to undertake it.

To Mr. W. R. Serjeant, B.A. the Archivist of the Manx Museum, who placed many original documents within my reach, and to Mr. A, H, Karran of Douglas who helped me in various ways, I offer my particular thanks.

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