Remembering the Palace & Derby Castle Company Search of iMuseum

Remembering the Palace & Derby Castle Company

Posted on 18.12.2015

I’ve just returned from a lovely reminiscence afternoon at a Douglas care home with one of our memory boxes on the theme of ‘Entertainment and Leisure’. The box is full of fabulous artefacts and archives from our collections – including a selection of playbills and leaflets from the Palace Ballroom and Derby Castle in the 1950s and 1960s.

I was delighted to discover during the session that one of the residents had spent over twenty years working for the Palace and Derby Castle Company as accounts manager. I was even more delighted to hear that he had arranged the donation of over 30 boxes of company archives to MNH Archives when the company finally disbanded.  By coincidence I had just met the very man whose donation ensured we have rich and fascinating information about this major player in the Manx tourist heyday – what a treat for me!


The Palace Ballroom, Douglas, c.1904. To zoom-in on this image take a look at the full record on iMuseum: PG/3773

PG-7115-12Palace Company Staff 1956

The Palace Company Staff, 1956. To zoom-in on this image take a look at the full record on iMuseum: PG/7115/12

This wonderful gentleman entertained me and other residents with tales of his career at the Palace and Derby Castle Company – which included meeting all the stars of the day including the Rolling Stones, Stella Hartley, Hilda Baker, Ronnie Aldrich and many more. He also had a number of humorous and somewhat scandalous tales that I won’t share here…but might share at further reminiscence sessions!


Derby Castle, Douglas, late 19th century. To zoom-in on this image take a look at the full record on iMuseum: PG/9208

The Company at its peak owned and managed many of the major entertainment complexes on the Island, not just the Palace Ballroom and Derby Castle Ballroom – but also the Gaiety Theatre, the Onchan, Strand, Regal, Royalty and Picture House Cinemas, and White City. To learn more about the records we hold relating to the Palace & Derby Castle Company visit Archives Hub.

Katie King (Manx National Heritage Community Outreach & Learning Support Officer)

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