[Taken from the Ramsey Courier 14 Feb 1930]

[For those with the CD-ROM reference to the 1868 plan of South Ramsey recommended]

Ramsey Seventy Years Ago


Among the leading men in Ramsey during the period I have been dealing with to now were Deemster Stephen, living in Albert Street, Vicar-General Corlett at Lough House, and High-Bailiff Frederick Tellet, father of the late Dr. Tellet, whose residence was where the Central Hotel now stands, with a large garden attached, on the land where the hotel stables are now situate. The lawyers in the town at the time were Fredk Clucas, who lived in the house at the end of Dale Street, facing the front; Fredk LaMothe, father of J. C. Lamothe, whose house and office were at the Old Cross, the family living in the house which is now the Swan Hotel. Mr LaMothe's office was where the Old Cross Hall is now erected. Daniel Fleming Wilson, another lawyer, lived on the South Side and had an office in Strand Street ; A. N. Laughton, afterwards High-Bailiff of Peel, was in Lezayre Terrace ; Thomas Arthur Corlett, junr, son of the Vicar-General, had his office at the west end of Parliament Street, next to Creer, the stone-cutter's yard. In those days, as I have said before, the High-Bailiff was the real head of the town. The people were certainly much more given to litigation at that period than they appear to be now

Club days in Ramsey were outstanding events. They were general holidays, and in the case of the Rechabites and Oddfellows, who promoted the two principal annual events, special bands were often brought over from across the water, and steamers came from Douglas with crowds of passengers to witness the processions. For the tradesmen's procession, another annual event, the services of Quayle's Ballacorey band were usually requisitioned. I recall one early experience when James Murray Cruickshank, who was my companion in schoolboy days, and I, as juvenile members of the Rechabite Club, were among an immense crowd gathered on the Market Place listening to a band after the Club day procession was over. Thomas Criggal, bother of the late John Criggal and uncle of the present John Criggal, as marshal of the juveniles, with the aid of a stick which he frequently flourished aloft, was endeavouring to push us back, when some words passed between the marshall and my youthful self. Mr Criggal was about to go for me with the stick, when I ducked, and young Murray Cruickshank received the blow which instantly laid him out. No serious consequences resulted, however, except that some time afterwards the two of us transferred our affections from the Rechabites to the Oddfellows' Society. Mr Thomas Criggal was a man who took a great interest in town affairs. Some years later - I believe it was the day of an election - he was working on the roof of a house at Coborg Road, when he accidentally fell off and met his death.

The occasion when High-Bailiff Tellet read the Riot Act in Ramsey has been frequently recalled. I remember the circumstances well. How the disturbance started was peculiar. The marriage of a well-known local bachelor, who had given his friends no indications of his early intention of taking a partner to the hymenal altar, was kept a close secret until a friend let the fact be known two days before the wedding was to take place. The acquaintances of the man, thereupon, decided to give him a warm time for attempting to spring this surprise on them. They therefore gathered in force the first night outside the house in Parliament Street of the prospective bride, while her fiance was paying her a visit. They raised such a racket and created such a terrible din that the inhabitants turned out to see what the disturbance was. The poor man, it is reported was too terrified to come out of the house, and had perforce to spend the night at his future mother-in-law's. The revellers had provided themselves with a variety of instruments, one man had a huge drum strapped to his back and another, I remember, had a large dinner bell which belonged to my father, the sounding of which was a signal to his colleagues that the police were close at hand. The stalwarts of the law, in their familiar top hats of those days, were helpless. As soon as they made their appearance the roisterers, now reinforced by many others decamped down a lane to the quay side and for hours the game of hide-and-seek continued. The next night the disturbances broke out again but reached such a pitch that the special constables were called out, and, finally High-Bailiff Tellet was summoned, and he read the Riot Act publically in the town. The following day the wedding took place, and no further disturbance occurred.

The Ramsey Front

On the South Shore in the fifties, before the days of the Promenade and the Queen's Pier, there was a broken line of property from the South Pier to Beach House. The first house was where the Prince of Wales Hotel stands and that of Philip Teare draper. Mr Teare, as I think I said before, built Clague's (ironmongers) premises in Parliament Street. He also built the property then called Calico Hall, and now known as Belmont, North Ramsey.After his house on the front came an open space known as the Barrack Yard, and there was nothing further until the workshop at the corner which was purchased by Mr John Lane, owner of the Royal Albert Brewery and which afterwards became the first Roman Catholic Church in Ramsey the gable of the old church being discernable to this day. Then across the way came that splendid hotel, "The Albert," which should never have been pulled down. It stood facing Dale Street from one end and the sea from the other, with a large green enclosed by iron railings on the front. Mr J.J. Corkill, who was the owner of the "Albert" at that time had a sea wall built and afterwards other adjoining owners, including Mr C Midwood, joined in the extension of this sea wall as far down as the Prince of Wales Hotel. This part was afterwards, however, carried away by the sea. Stables adjoined the "Albert" on the south side, and from the roadway, which ran to that point, one stepped onto the beach. The next building, after some stables, was the Wesleyan Chapel, now known as the Arcade, which in its present derelict state, is no ornament to the South Promenade. Where the Imperial Hotel stands was an open space, and then came a decent terrace of houses, the roadway in front of which was reached by steps from the beach. Among the people occupying these houses, I remember a Mrs Cowley who took in lodgers, Daniel Fleming Wilson and Mrs Kerr, mother of the late Mr E. C. Kerr, and the two houses adjoining Mrs Kerr's belonged to Mr Robert Sayle, of Andreas Village, builder, a brother of Daniel Sayle. From here to the corner there was an open space known as Duke's green, opposite Radcliffe Terrace. A huge heap of soil, eight to ten feet high, ran across the entrance to the Old Cross to prevent the inrush of the tide. In bad weather, of course, barriers are still employed at this point for the protection of the Old Cross and Church Street.Coming back to the front after the Old Swan stables the first dwelling house now converted into a shop, was occupied by Mrs Banks and family. It was a daughter of Mrs Banks who afterwards became Mrs J. C. LaMothe. Then came the houses of Mr and Mrs Macauley (or "Betty" Macauley, as the wife was more familiarly called.) There was a garden in front of the house, and an interesting point arose when the Commissioners came to start on the Promenade scheme. Mrs Macauley was on the point of receiving compensation for loss of her garden, when it was ascertained that it was on Crown property, and the Commissioners were saved a substantial sum by this discovery.

Next came the stables occupied by Mrs Creer, baker of Queen Street, on the site now occupied by Burlington House. Then there was the Mansion House garden, belonging to Miss Christian, Ballure, and after a lane to Maughold Street was Auckland House, occupied at the close of the fifties by Rev. W. Sparrow, headmaster of the Grammar School situate where the Church Institute is now. Another open space was succeeded by Neptune Cottage, where a man named Capper lived. The next premises were Trafalgar House, where old Mr Bridson, auctioneer, lived for many years., and this was followed by Edward Gawne's house. From the Old Cross, up to this point, there was a roadway in front of the houses with steps leading on to the beach from that part where Dr. Crocker's house is now built. After a garden and lane there came two houses, one of which was occupied by John Criggal. The next house, now called "Sefton," was occupied by Mrs Gill, the sister of Mrs Kerr. A sea wall was built at this point, with steps descending from the south end to the beach, and then came four or five small thatched houses, extending to the corner. Standing by itself was another house, built out to the sea-front and facing Queen's Drive, and after that there was the open shore until Beach House, occupied I believe, by James Teare, grocer, of Church Street was reached, with the stone bulwark below as at present. After that there were the houses, Washington Villas, and from there to the house at the top, occupied by Mrs Thomas Cannell, was a garden owned by Christians, of Ballastole, otherwise the French Christians. There were no houses in Stanley Mount in those days.


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