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This Is Winter: Manx Press Pictures

This Is Winter

Photographs from Manx Press Pictures Archive 1950s, 1960s & 1970s

We’re normally used to seeing images of the Isle of Man in Summer, This Is Winter celebrates the flip side of the year. What was life like on the Island during the long winter months?  From sink holes appearing in a Douglas street to snow storms, Christmas turkeys, drinks parties and pantomimes. Manx Press Pictures captured it all on camera!

This Is Winter is a revealing snapshot of 1,000 images selected from thousands of negatives which make up this extraordinary archive held by Manx National Heritage.

Manx Press Pictures was owned and run by island resident Bill Peters. He was contracted to supply images to the Isle of Man Examiner and the Isle of Man Times. In 1964 he was joined by John Maddrell and between them they have created a fabulous photographic legacy.

To see all the digitised Manx Press Pictures images please visit This Is Summer & This Is Winter at: www.imuseum.im.

The following extracts taken from the Manx Newspapers are also on display at Manx National Heritage’s exhibition, This is Winter, from 5th Oct 2019 to 1st March 2020 at the House of Manannan.

Behind the Bar at the Dog’s Home

Tuesday 12 March 1968, Isle of Man Times – Woman’s Magazine (Image ref: PG/13633/1/1968/234/1)

Mrs Muriel McAleer is small, dark and pretty, looking much too young to be the mother of a 15-year-old son. She is “at home” to visitors every day because “home” is the Victoria Tavern in Drumgold Street, better known as the Dog’s Home, and if you go and sit by the fire in the oak-panelled lounge bar she’ll be delighted to serve you a drink.

Peter and Muriel McAleer have been “mine hosts” at the Dog’s Home for the past 17 years, taking over from Peter’s father, Mr Robert McAleer, who himself bought the pub in 1923. Quite a family tradition!

“How did it come to be called the Dog’s Home?” I asked. Apparently the cattle market used to be held in Market Street, behind Drumgold Street, and when sales were completed the farmers adjourned to the Victoria. They all brought their sheepdogs with them, and at busy times of the day there were so many dogs in the pub that it acquired the nickname which has stuck ever since.

Protest March and Demo Planned

LAST DITCH BID FOR OAP’S £10 BONUS

Friday 8 December 1972, Isle of Man Examiner. (Image ref: PG/13633/1/1972/939/1)

A last-ditch bid will be made in Tynwald on Tuesday to get the £10 “Christmas bonus” paid to all old age pensioners in the Island. It is being made by Mrs Elspeth Quayle, M.H.K. for Castletown – and a member of the Board of Social Security – who will ask members to back an amendment she has tabled. This would have the effect of paying the £10 bonus “across the board” instead of just to those people in receipt of supplementary benefit.

And before members go into Tynwald to discuss the bonus they will be lobbied by Island trade unionists who plan a protest march and demonstration outside the Legislative Buildings in Douglas.

Automatic Telephone Exchange Opens

Friday 10 November 1972, Isle of Man Examiner (Image ref: PG/13633/1/1972/844/1)

From 1pm on Wednesday all Peel telephone numbers became prefixed with the number 2 as the new fully automatic Subscriber Trunk Dialling Exchange in Albany Road came into operation.

Everything was very quiet as the second hand on the clock crept towards the hour and about a dozen engineers waited to rip the old exchange plugs out of their sockets and insert the new ones. And as the hour struck on the nearby church clock the place came to life as the change-over was completed.

But although everything seemed to go like clockwork it was quite obvious that a lot of preparation and gear oiling had gone into making Peel S.T.D.

Ploughmen Beat the Weather

But the Concert Party Lost to the Snow!

Friday 9 January 1959, Isle of Man Times (Image ref: PG/13633/1/1959/1/1).

Conditions were just about as bad as they could be for the Southern Young Farmers’ Tractor Ploughing Match at Balladoole, Arbory, on Tuesday.

 The weather had made the ground almost a swamp and competitors found great difficulty in the heavy going. In the circumstances the results achieved were a credit to them.

The weather also had an effect on the evening concert, always a good round-off to the morning and afternoon competitions.

Preparing for what MIGHT Happen! 20 Years After…

3 March 1960, Isle of Man Examiner (Image ref: PG/13633/1/1960/14/1).

These pictures – taken on Sunday – show the Civil Defence volunteers in Douglas engaged in exercises, training the organisation for something everyone hopes will never happen – nuclear war.

Amid clouds of smoke, firemen deal with a staged reconstruction in the South Quay district. Elsewhere rescue teams go into action amid the debris to extricate trapped and injured occupants.

C.D. takes C.D. seriously in the Isle of Man. Waste of time, waste of money?* Well, you’re entitled to your opinion. It’s 20 years short two months since the trek back to Dunkirk began…since the Battle of Britain was about to begin…A pity, perhaps, we had not better prepared for it then…

*Civil Defence estimated costs in the Isle of Man for 1959-60 was £22,489.

Disastrous Fire at the Metropole

Monday 6 November 1961, Isle of Man Daily Times (Image ref: PG/13633/1/1961/428/1).

This picture gives some idea of the damage done to the Metropole by the disastrous fire which broke out there in the early hours of Saturday, when flames shot up the lift shaft and destroyed the whole of the staff dormitories on the top storey of the five-storey building, and eight letting bedrooms in the fourth storey.

The fire was confined to the top of the original hotel and the roof of that has gone. Firemen from the Douglas Brigade had the outbreak under control within two hours but members of the Brigade were on duty throughout the day and night.

The hotel has 100 letting bedrooms, but is closed for guests during the winter. The annual dinner of the Ellan Vannin Cycling Club should have been held at the Metropole on Saturday but had to be switched to the Empress Hotel.

Lessons With a “New Look” at Castletown

Duke’s Awards Scheme Introduced for Fourth Year Pupils

Thursday 4 October 1962, Isle of Man Examiner (Image ref: PG/13633/1/1962/494/1).

A project at the new Castle Rushen High School is attracting attention in local education circles.

Recognising that there is a large section of school leavers with little potential for academic work and no aptitude for examinations, the school nevertheless feels that these pupils have desirable qualities looked for by employers.

In an attempt to develop these qualities and measure them to a standard accepted by employing authorities throughout the country, the School has introduced the Duke of Edinburgh Award system into the fourth year work for non-academic forms.

The project is being divided into four main sections: Public Service, Expedition, Pursuits, Physical Fitness.

Christmas at the Maternity Home

Thursday 27 December 1962, Isle of Man Examiner (Image ref: PG/13633/1/1962/579/1)

Christmas at the Maternity Home (on the left) new born baby (half an hour old) joining in the festivities.

During the “quietest Christmas on record” at the Jane Crookall Maternity Home, a baby girl was born on Christmas Day to Mrs. Frances O’Grady, of Marathon Road, Douglas. The baby was born ten minutes before midnight. A baby boy was born in Noble’s Hospital on Christmas Day to Mrs. Smythe, of Grafton Street, Douglas.

Reactions in the Homes of South Ramsey

What the Clearance Scheme Means

Thursday 9 April 1964, Isle of Man Examiner. Picture: Mrs. Cicely Callow and a grandchild at their home in College Street, Ramsey – one of the houses earmarked for destruction in the South Ramsey redevelopment plan (Image ref: PG/13633/1/1964/257/1)

Whilst the rest of the Island plans for the tearing down of this smouldering sore in the side of Ramsey there are those in the area who are clinging on for dear life to the bricks and mortar they have known since their early childhood days.

There is, for example, 82 year old Mr James Bradford and his wife Mrs Levina Bradford (81) of College Street. Ever since 1937 when a development plan for South Ramsey was first proposed houses have been torn down in their neighbourhood until now theirs is one of the few properties left standing in the street.

Mrs Bradford is hopping mad:

If they had come fifty years ago they would have been welcome to it. But now we have sunk our life savings into the place, our families have been born, bred, married and buried from here. For the little time we have got left surely we can be left alone.”

Neighbour Mrs Ciceley Callow, of 36 College Street has lived there for the last 24 years. And she says she doesn’t want to leave “until I really have to”. Said Mrs Callow “I would prefer living where I am than in a new Council House, I have never lived anywhere else but this part of town.

Living (for Some) in Douglas – 1965 Style

A Visit to a Blot in the Capital Town Landscape

Thursday 28 January 1965, Isle of Man Examiner. Picture: Some of it Boarded Up – some of it a home, the scene in Chester Street, under the distant tower of St. Thomas Church (Image ref: PG/13633/1/1965/87/1)

The shadow of fear stalks Chester Street. “Don’t publish my name” pleads the tired, worn woman in the shabby dress. “Our landlord will throw us out.” It does not matter that she lives in a rat-ridden home and pays twenty-five shillings a week to stay.

It does not matter that winter and summer the walls weep with the peculiar sadness of mould and decay and damp. It does not matter that there is no bathroom, no hot water and only a backyard privy to provide the crudest, more primeval form of civilisation. There is nowhere else to go. Nowhere else that comes at twenty-five shillings a week. Nowhere else that a working family existing on a working income can afford to live. Nowhere else but a Council house, but in the matter of social priorities Chester Street is a poor runner limping along at the end of the field

BLIZZARD BLITZES ISLAND

Road Transport Brought to a Halt as Island is Blanketed in Snow

Blown Fuses – Shops Closes – Funerals Postponed – Digging out the Buses

The Beer Freezes – Cars Stranded Out West – The Only Happy People – the Children!

Thursday 7 February 1963, Isle of Man Examiner. (Image ref: PG/13633/1/1963/48/1)

Blizzard – the worst for years – engulfed the Island yesterday, heavy snowfall being whipped into a blinding white storm by the fierce easterly gale. Mountainous grey-green seas rolled into Douglas Bay and the sea and air services between the Island and England were halted.

Tuesday night’s 70m.p.h. blizzard had left cars stranded on roads all over the Island was followed by further heavy falls yesterday morning. And soon after lunch time buses on all out-town routes were withdrawn. Road conditions were a nightmare, with visibility down to a yard or two and deep drifts waiting to trap unwary motorists. Highways and byways were littered with abandoned vehicles. Six men spend Tuesday night in a van after it was trapped in a drift near Peel cemetery.

End of the Island’s Oldest Tripe Dressers

Friday 15 March, 1974 – Isle of Man Examiner. Picture: End of Island’s oldest tripe dressers. Familiar figures in Clague’s tripe shop for many years, Mrs Ada Fletcher (centre), Mrs Kathleen Clague (right) and Mrs Sadie Bain. (Image ref: PG/13633/1/1974/232/1)

The tripe trade in the Isle of Man won’t be the same in a few weeks’ time for, after a lifetime in the trade, the Island’s last full-time tripe dresser is going into retirement.

It will be the end of the line for his famous “Savoury Ducks”, his beef and tongue brawn made to a traditional recipe that has commended itself to thousands of Manx people for generations and all those pig’s feet and cow heels that have satisfied so many gastronomic appetites.

Mr Lionel Clague plans to call it a day at the end of the month and with his retirement there will pass into history one the most unique family businesses on the island today – Clagues of Nelson Street.  For nigh on 70 years it has catered for the Islands tastes in cooked meats the more “exotic” products of offal.

BIRCH BATTLE RAGES

Thursday 4 December, Isle of Man Examiner. (Image ref: PG/13633/1/1969/559/1)

HOW BRAVE THE ISLE OF MAN!

In last week’s Examiner you published a spate of letters of protest and alarm at the thought that the practice of judicial corporal punishment might be reviewed. The most common denominator of these letters is the word “thug”. Other favoured terms include “hooligans, louts, robbery, beating up, murdering, brutes”…

 Now according to the latest records since 1952 there have been 24 birchings of what one might perhaps, technically call “thugs”: the 16 adults and eight boys, found guilty of crimes of violence.

But there have been a further 88 birchings of children and juveniles for crimes which did not involve another person or any form of violence. Of these 88 “inhuman brutes” who, incidentally, never laid a finger on anybody, something like 60 were under 15 and a number of these were primary school children…

How brave of the Isle of Man, how wise to tackle its crime problems by flogging little boys, some of whom are not even old enough to sit for their 11 plus…

Millicent Faragher

Valerie Roach

Angela Kneale

Fistard Road, Port St Mary

“Examiner” Readers Have Their Say In

THE BIRCHING UPROAR

ONLY DETTERENT: My wife and I came to live in the Isle of Man in January this year mainly so we could enjoy a peaceful retirement. Having had numerous burglaries in our families’ residences, one with violence, we dread to think of what will happen here if birching is abolished for crimes of violence. It is the only deterrent that the thugs operating in the UK really fear.

TOO LENIENT: Don’t abolish the birch, it is the best deterrent there is against crimes of violence on innocent people. At least in the Isle of Man people can go out at night without fear of being attacked by gangs of thugs. All too often these (young) offenders are dealt with two leniently and they just have a good laugh at the courts…

FOUND PEACE: Re: birching wrongdoers. I came to this lovely peaceful Island to escape the thuggery, rape and robbing which is so rife in England…These people who are against corporal punishment have the remedy in their own hands and do not have to stay in a country where they want the laws different…

FAULT OF THE PARENTS: There is a great deal of talking and writing about birching young delinquents. To my mind it is often the parents who deserve the birching. A boy comes home from school find nobody at home; mother out working from nine until six o’clock. He gets himself some food and wanders off out and meets other boys similarly placed. No wonder they get into mischief….No woman with a family should be out all day every day.

TURKEY PRICES TUMBLE

Irish Supplies Roll In

Thursday 10 December 1959, Isle of Man Examiner. (Image ref: PG/13633/1/1959/262/1)

You can buy your Christmas turkey now for 3/6d a lb. – that is 2/-a lb. cheaper that the price the Board of Agriculture has fixed for the Manx reared birds! And there is no shortage of top-quality turkeys at this cheap price.

They were on offer yesterday in the windows of Mr. J. Curtis, at Prospect Terrace and Victoria Street, at this price.

And the glut of cheap Christmas dinners has put the cat among the pigeons properly as far as the Boards of Agriculture’s price-fixing policy is concerned! Turkeys may become even cheaper. In his Prospect Terrace shop yesterday, Mr. Curtis showed our reporters a large quantity of Irish turkeys which he had on sale at the more than reasonable price of 3/6d. a lb.

The Anti-Birching Campaign 1969 – 1978

Image ref: PG/13633/1/1969/559/1

From 1969 to 1978 Angela Kneale, Millicent Faragher and Valerie Roach led a successful anti-birching campaign, despite very strong opposition. In 1976 the last birching took place on the Isle of Man.  In 1993 the law changed and the birch was removed from the statute book.  

Angela Kneale recalls:

It is not easy to swim against the tide of public opinion.  The birch had assumed the importance of a national symbol; woe betide anyone who dared to question it in any way.

I came to live in the Isle of Man in August 1947, the young bride of a Manxman; Brussels had been my hometown until then.  For many years I kept silent on the vexed subject of birching, although it was a burning concern of mine. Millicent Faragher phoned me with an idea of hers and Valerie Roach’s that we should gather signatures for a petition to the Governor to set up a commission of inquiry into corporal punishment on the Island.  Reaction on the Island was swift and predictable. 

We were troublemakers.  We were not Manx.  We had no right to interfere. 

Leader writers and readers’ letters poured scorn and abuse on us.  We did not care for the victims.  We were misguided, and so on ad nauseam.  This did not discourage us.

 This Is Winter is open at the House of Manannan from 5th October 2019 to 1st March 2020. Admission is free.