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This Is Christmas – Photographs from Manx Press Pictures Archive, 1950s-1970s

Posted on 02.12.2020

Katie King, Community Learning Officer for Manx National Heritage, explains more about the Manx Museum’s latest exhibition:

I have been working with our fabulous Manx Press Pictures archive for a number of years, having curated our This Is Summer (2017) and This Is Winter (2019) exhibitions and associated digitisation projects. Manx National Heritage holds over 25,000 negatives, transparencies and prints from Manx Press Pictures. Over the past few years we have digitised nearly 2,000 images from the collection, so that more people can enjoy these wonderful photographs.

Our latest exhibition, This Is Christmas, is a revealing snapshot of Island life during the festive season from the 1950s through to the 1970s. From Christmas turkeys, children’s parties, visits to Father Christmas and pantomimes…Manx Press Pictures captured it all on camera.

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.  In the exhibition the photographers’ original captions and titles have been used wherever possible, with additional material drawn from the newspapers.

It has been a real pleasure to curate a festive selection of images, this time just focusing on December. Here are some of my highlights:

Auldyn School Christmas Show, December 1977

‘This very appealing photo typifying the Christmas season was snapped at Auldyn School last Thursday when the talented young pupils staged their annual Christmas concert.’ (Isle of Man Examiner, 23 December 1977, p.15.)

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Maternity Home Christmas, December 1962

‘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.’ (Isle of Man Examiner, 27 December 1962, p.1.)

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Father Christmas at the Co-Op, Douglas, December 1958

‘Father Christmas besieged by an excited crowd of youngsters on arrival at the Co-op store in Duke Street, Douglas, on Saturday.’ (Isle of Man Times, 10 December 1958, p.1.)

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Children’s Party by Peel Police, January 1965

‘Children of Peel who were entertained at the annual “treat” given by the Police in the West.’ (Isle of Man Examiner, 7 January 1965, p.10.)

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This is Christmas is on display in the Temporary Exhibition Gallery at the Manx Museum from Saturday 28 November until 10 January 2021.

On www.imuseum.im you can see all of the digitised Manx Press Pictures from This Is Summer & This Is Winter, or simply click this link: Manx Press Pictures

Emma Morter
Digital Collections Assistant
Manx National Heritage

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