22 April 2012
Wendy Thirkettle, archivist at Manx National Heritage, gave us a tantalising glimpse of the wealth of archive material held by Manx National Heritage. She entitled her talk, ‘Aspects of Peel and the West.’ To contain this in a reasonable time frame was an obvious challenge, so she had, sensibly, concentrated on items and events that appealed to her and were likely to be of interest to this largely local audience.
We saw the relatively new five- storey storage building referred to as ‘the stack’. Fresh to our eyes were the internal, mobile racks that can be wound to and fro to allow access between them. Personally, having viewed films where victims were deliberately crushed between them, I would feel a little wary of using them!
Business archives were illustrated by Irving’s Peel pop works with views of original accounts, including supply of drinks to the Knockaloe Internment Camp in the First World War. Usefully, members of the audience were able to help identify people and places or to give dates such as when the pop works was demolished. Its name lives on in Pop Works Cottage on the corner of Atholl Street and Douglas Street. Other business accounts we examined included Peel Fishing Co. 1893 – 1905 and J. Teare, ships’ chandlers, 1866 – 1929. Wendy commented on the way people helped each other out, exchanging goods and services rather than relying, totally, on a cash economy. Mind you, in Peel, at least, we still have a strong tradition of mutual help -an important element in a community as in a family.
Court records were shown as an important archive. We were shown a couple of examples. One striking one was the Peel Riot of 1758.
An interesting item was the proposed swing bridge in 1900. The plans we saw showed a remarkable similarity to the one we now enjoy, a century later. Patience is a virtue! The original was set aside because it was felt that there would be too much delay if it was hand operated and a hydraulic drive would cost too much to recover in a reasonable time. Tolls were predicted to raise about £235 pa but the construction cost would be £4k. The famous ferries and wheeled boards continued for another half-century or so.
Various committees’ archives were displayed, as were letters and testimonials, some relating to loss of life at sea and courageous rescues. Lots of material is available from the Knockaloe internment camp. We can, of course, see much of this in our own Leece Museum on the quay.
Wendy has referred us to a new website, www.manxnationalheritage.com I’ve just accessed this and recommend it to follow up any interests you have in the past, including the new I.Museum in Kingswood Grove, soon to be on line.
Next meeting, Wednesday 16th May, 7.30 pm in the Centenary Centre. M.G.P. winner, Carolynn Sells will tell us her adventures in this male dominated sport. Non-members are always welcome, with or without ‘bikes!
Posted by Chris Littler at 21:19
7 April 2012
Good grief, where do I start or end! Roy took us on a wander through his memory bank moving to and fro, from topic to topic from infancy to the present. Yes, he did get to his experiences as a commentator for Manx Radio T T at the Gooseneck, as billed!
Roy began by saying that at a previous talk to the Dyslexia Association, he was hailed as a shining wit. The chairperson was, presumably, Dr Spooner. Another triumph was at the Haemorrhoid Society where he received a ‘standing ovation’!
Within a few moments, we heard about Geoff Cannell, a relative, an uncle Jack who raced here and was in THE film, ‘No Limit’ – (I think!) We were then swept along by Geoff Duke, on his 4 cylinder Gilera, as we all were, at the time and Reg Armstrong. Help, hold on tight, we were now in Lea Terrace, one of his several homes. We had been in the Glencrutchery Road a few seconds back.
Rowing boats in the harbour came and went – a lot faster than my efforts at rowing them against wind and tide. Then we seemed to be in Peel with a brother called the Olympic Torch because he never went out! Peel generates some wonderful nicknames. Fortunately, you do not always know your own!
Douglas Head ferries were recalled, together with Pierrot shows and the “Snotty Bridge” at Kewaigue – so called, Roy, said, because of ‘what hangs from it.’ Presumably, stalactites from lime leaching out with water ingress. This is a guess - you’ll have to ask him.
The much-loved Clypse Course, surfaced next. I liked this because the bikes came round so often. It was very intimate – you lifted your legs to let the sprung hub Triumphs bounce round. These must have been difficult to overtake, as you never knew which way they would bounce next.
A coach-driving uncle came and went at this point and memories of his hero, Mike Hailwood.
Roy’s cousin (?), Geoff Cannell, started commentating in 1968 and Roy followed on in 1984. Refreshments were announced but we had got to the Hairpin!
Back at the start line – a tap on the shoulder and we were away again.
The broadcasts are set up so that all the commentary points are linked to the control room at the grandstand. The commentaries were carried down a special, pure telephone line to avoid interference. The producer says, when on air, how long before the commentator has to speak and gives a count down. It is often necessary to listen and to speak at the same time – a difficult skill to master.
Roy mentioned how difficult it can be to fill in gaps between riders or when racing is delayed. One rider hit a seagull that, fortunately, did no more than embed itself in the fairing. Roy found himself saying, “Shows how easy it is to pick up a bird in Ramsey!”
Next meeting – Wednesday, 18th April, 7.30, Centenary Centre, Wendy Thirkettle, MNH.
Posted by Chris Littler at 12:34