Thursday, September 29, 2011

NAMA Past President Skelly voted into Tynwald!!!


16-year-old voters have their say in Manx general election - a nudge for reformers in the UK

Bright lights, cheerful place, and plenty of young voters to help keep it that way. Douglas, capital of the Isle of Man. Photograph: Don McPhee/Guardian

I hope you agree that the Isle of Man is in the north of the British Isles; apologies if not. My emeritus Manchester Guardian colleague Mike Morris certainly used to think so. He was on the steam packet at the slightest excuse.
He'd certainly have been there today, to watch some 60,000 people cast their votes in the Manx general election, which isn't such a parochial sideshow as some of us mainlanders might think.
Tarantara! It is the pioneer in Europe for allowing 16-year-olds to vote – a lead set in 2006 and subsequently followed by Austria and some local polls In Germany. Meltdown? The Northerner robustly thinks not. Only good can come from combining the ideals and enthusiasm of youth with the wisdom of those of us blessed with maturer years.
Today's exercise should remind Nick Clegg of his comments last year:
I am a big supporter of votes at 16. The state can ask a 16 year old to fight and die for this country, why not vote too?
On the island the reform has played its part in giving the Manx their largest electorate ever, more than 8000 up on the 52,000 who registered for the last poll in 3006. The number of 16 and 17-year-olds on the list has risen from 724 to 1,297.
The Isle of Man is an interestingly successful example of micro power and responsibility in our global age. Officially a self-governing dependency of the British Crown, it is not part of the UK nor the EUalthough the former looks after its defence and foreign affairs and it has a cosy protocol with Brussels.
The 24 members of the celebrated House of Keys run almost everything from policing to health services. Time was when the numer of crusty retirees clung on to devices such as birching. The suffrage is a much better way to involve potential hoodies and hoodlums in civic life.
There are 64 candidates vying for a place and the Lilliput size of the place means that direct democracy is practicable. Instead of the mainland diet of a limited number of political celebrities banging on all the time in the media, Manx radio has given a standard five minutes on air to every single candidate.
YouTube also has videos of the hustings, as the various groups such as the Liberal Vannin party and politely slug it out. The poll is today and the process culminates on 4 October when the Tynwald - the Keys plus the indirectly chosen legislative council - will pick a new chief minister to replace the veteran Tony Brown, who is planning a rest from Manx politics after 35 years' involvement.

Carhonnag -- Bed and Breakfast in the Isle of Man

 I got an email from Nicky Patterson at Carhonnag B&B. It's Manx and means a field cleared of gorse and bracken. There is nothing wild about the comfortable elegance of Carhonnag today. Set in around three acres of beautiful gardens, orchard and meadow, there are views out to the Lakeland fells (in England) to the east, Snaefell and North Barrule to the south and the Bride hills to the north. The setting is unrivalled. A bed and breakfast establishment with spacious rooms with en-suite or private facilities. Evening meals are available on request with produce from the kitchen garden in season. Family history or walking tours can be arranged to suit your interests if required. Ample parking. If you're planning a trip it looks great! 

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Cooish 2011 -- AND I"LL BE THERE!!!!

During the first week of October the annual celebration ‘Cooish’ will give everyone the opportunity to find out what is happening in the world of Manx Gaelic, and includes a visit by the editor of the UNESCO Atlas of World Languages in Danger and the Nu-Nordic band ‘Samling’.

Organised by the officers of the Manx Heritage Foundation with support from by Yn Çheshaght Ghailckagh, the Isle of Man Arts Council and local businesses, a number of events will take place with the emphasis firmly placed on the positive developments within the Manx language.

New for this year will be the introduction of a Family Fun Day at the Villa Arcade in Douglas, which will include the annual Arrane son Mannin competition to choose a group of musicians to represent the Isle of Man at the Pan Celtic Festival in Carlow, Ireland, in 2012.

Opportunities to converse in Manx, in a relaxed and informal setting will be available throughout the week across the length and breadth of the Island. Conversational classes will be available in Ballabeg and St John’s, with an opportunity to relax with a coffee at the Java Lounge in Douglas, or something a little stronger at the Rovers’ Return (also in Douglas) or the Trafalgar Pub in Ramsey. Members of the Manx Learners’ Network, ‘Cowag’, will gather for dinner later in the week, with tickets available from Adrian Cain on 451098.

At the close of the week, Elwyn Hughes, Senior Co-ordinator for Welsh courses at the University of Wales, Bangor, will be on hand to conduct teaching sessions in Douglas.  Respected for his work in maintaining the Welsh language, he has been assisting the Manx Heritage Foundation in developing a Manx adult language course run locally by Adrian Cain.

Other highlights during the week will include the ‘Ned Maddrell Memorial Lecture’ at St John’s Mill, which this year will be given by Christopher Moseley. A teaching fellow in Latvian at the School of Slavonic and East European Studies at UCL, he is also the General Editor of the third edition of the UNESCO Atlas of World Languages in Danger. Adrian Cain commented, “This lecture is an opportunity for an academic to visit the Island to talk about their own particular field of work, and in this case Christopher Moseley will be discussing his work with UNESCO. This will also be an opportunity for him to find out more about Manx Gaelic and the recent revival in fortunes for the language; this will, hopefully, enable him to draw some lessons for UNESCO on how they approach the situation for languages in danger”.

To finish off the celebrations a concert at the Erin Arts Centre will feature the band ‘Samling’. Specialising in combining song traditions from Norway and Scotland, the band is recognised as part of a new movement within the European roots scene commonly referred to as Nu-Nordic. Presenting a new, exciting and uplifting sound, this collaborative project was inspired by the band’s founder, Anne Sofie, a traditional singer from the north-west of Norway who moved to Scotland.

Valerie Caine © September 2011

(Courtesy of Manx Tails)

Manx Radio and the BBC working on Manx language programs

Manx Radio and the BBC are working together to produce two new one-hour Manx Gaelic programmes that will be broadcast from 17.05 to 18.00 on Mondays and Fridays, starting Oct. 3. On Monday afternoons, Bob Carswell presents Traa dy Liooar (Time Enough), a talk based magazine programme covering a wide range of current affairs and cultural issues.
On Fridays, James O’Meara hosts Jamys Jeheiney (James on Friday). This will feature mainly music with Gaelic and Celtic roots as well as new tracks from around the world. The presentation on both programmes will be exclusively in Manx Gaelic and they are being broadcast on Manx Radio’s 1368 AM frequency, on-line via the Radio Player and on the Manx Radio iPhone App.

“We are delighted to have the support of the BBC for these two new programmes," Marc Tyley, said Manx Radio’s Programme Controller. "There is a resurgence of interest in Manx Gaelic on the Isle of Man and increasing our Gaelic output from four to six hours a week is a great way of reflecting this." A BBC spokesperson added, "The BBC is delighted to be supporting this investment in Manx language broadcasting. Promoting language and culture is key to the BBC's public purposes and we are proud to be working with Manx Radio on offering new resources for the island's Manx speakers."

Monday, September 26, 2011

Baby seals on Calf of Man

I don't know how the fish or fishermen will feel about a new crop of hungry seals but the Manx Wildlife Trust is very happy about them. Check out their Facebook page for more details.

Confessions of a Faded Politician

With election fever spreading across the Island, former MHK for Peel (1978 – 1986) Dr David Moore shared his views on Manx politics, both historically and contemporary.

Initially concentrating on recent financial growth he reflected on the poor state of the Island in former years; tourism was in decline, unemployment rising and the new lucrative finance sector a new born infant, with poverty a dark spectre for many. But unlike others Dr Moore saw salvation in the horrific collapse of the Savings and Investment Bank, which many deemed catastrophic for the Island, forcing the country to become a respectable player within the world of modern finance.

High Bailiff Laughton
Delving into his 1978 manifesto Dr Moore willingly confessed both his achievements and failures and coyly recalled his days as a raw, young man who professed to know better. Truth to tell he hated elections, a time when truth and politeness were suspended and some people’s reasoning behind voting for a particular candidate could only be described as fickle. Although the date may have changed, for some the principles remain the same.

Dr Moore is not shy to speak about the modern image of successive, contemporary Manx governments, suggesting that their public image, inflated salaries and ultimate re-naming as Honourable Ministers has fundamentally placed a serious wedge between them and the electorate.

Although many of the political questions raised today would not be unfamiliar to our ancestors, Dr Moore believes that the Island’s interest in Manx politics has decreased, and considers that democracy has now, regrettably, been taken for granted.

Tom Cormode
Dr Moore explored the issues surrounding the unexpected contest between High Bailiff Laughton (sitting member for Peel) and Tom Cormode, a Blacksmith living outside of the town from Quine’s Hill near Port Soderick, in the Manx General Election of 1903. An unforeseen challenge, Cormode’s appearance raised many questions in the minds of the electorate; he was working class, did not reside in Peel and was up against a respected social figure. Minds were brought sharply into focus as voters toyed with the influence of religion and the benefits of ‘keeping in with the likely winner’. But Laughton employed four out of five people in Peel which gave others more to think about, and ultimately family and friends remained divided about their choice.

Democracy may have fretted in its crudely made cradle over the years for the voters living in the fishing port, but against all the odds Tom Cormode triumphed over the popular High Bailiff, justifying the power of the vote for the ordinary working man.

Valerie Caine © September 2011

iMuseum packing a mighty punch for Manx historians everywhere.

Christian Family c 1895, (C) Manx National Heritage Photographer unknown
With People Surnames from A – P now on iMuseum, this month’s newsletter is dedicated to family history, including a look back at some of the family research themed activities held at iMuseum during Tynwald Week. If you’re new to doing family history on the Isle of Man or just want to refresh your knowledge on some of the resources available, this newsletter will help to get you on your way.

Manx Family History Surgery – Top Tips from Priscilla Lewthwaite from the Isle of Man Family History Society

1. Always bring a paper copy to any research centre
2. Do only one side of your family at a time, go back as far as you can on the one family then have a break and tackle the other
3. Find out as much as possible about each generation before trying to take the family further back
4. Always keep a record of the resources you have used, so as not to waste time on your next visit

The Isle of Man Family History Society was formed in January 1979 to encourage the study of genealogy and family history, particularly within the Isle of Man. Being a member of the society benefits all those researching their families, whether they are Manx born or not. Members living abroad will find it rewarding to discover their Island heritage in this manner. 


There is a huge amount of useful information here on a ton of stuff from Manx National Heritage: iMuseum


Sunday, September 25, 2011

Cav crowned World Champion!

THE Isle of Man’s Mark Cavendish has won the Men’s World Championship Road Race in Copenhagen, Denmark to be crowned world champion on Sunday afternoon.
The Manxman, tipped by many to be among the main contenders for the title in the flat course in the Danish capital, produced one of his trademark sprint finishes to oust his HTC-Highroad team-mate Matt Goss to the line.
The 26-year-old’s British team, which included the likes of Geraint Thomas, Chris Froome and Bradley Wiggins, worked tirelessly throughout the 266-kilometre race, with Wiggins in particular instrumental in chasing down the leaders at the front of the peloton.
A massive crash inside the final 100km of the race put paid to the hopes of several of the Manx Missile’s main rivals, including defending world champion Thor Hushovd.
The breakaway riders remained out in front until just a few kilometres from the end and from there on in it was all about the work of the British team as they expertly delivered Cav to the finish where he stormed to victory.
In doing so, the Manxman become only the second ever British winner of the World Championship Road Race, the only other being Tom Simpson way back in 1965.  BBC
A full report along with photographs will be in this week’s Isle of Man 

Friday, September 23, 2011

Isle of Man political system 'more democratic'

The current Chief Minister, Tony Brown will not stand in the General Election 2011


The Isle of Man's political system is more democratic than others because it is not dominated by party politics, according to the Chief Minister.
In an interview with BBC Radio 4's Today programme, Tony Brown said the set-up meant politicians were directly answerable to the Manx public.
Mr Brown has served for 30 years in office as an independent member of the House of Keys.
He has announced he will not be standing in the 2011 General Election.
Mr Brown added that election candidates needed to engage with teenagers to encourage high voter numbers among 16 and 17 year olds.
The island is currently the only place in the British Isles to give the vote to this age group, which became law just before the general election in 2006.
Mr Brown said: "When we introduced the changes before the general election we saw a very positive uptake. We had a 58% turn out of those who actually registered.
"The big question at that age is why should I care, and can I actually make a difference? The candidates have to recognise these teenagers as part of society who are going to influence the election."

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Isle of Man Post – Birds in Winter

The latest release from Isle of Man Post features the work of Island based artist Jeremy Paul and encompasses the Europa theme of ‘Forests’ and the SEPAC theme of ‘Scenery’, in a strikingly visual presentation entitled ‘Birds in Winter’.

Some of the featured birds reside on the Island all year round, whilst others visit temporarily over the winter period. The easily identified Robin is a perennial favourite and has been selected for this issue along with the visiting Redwing, which flies into the Island in October to strip our bushes and trees of berries in their quest for survival. The dainty Goldfinch, however, has become a winter feature in many Manx gardens, easily recognised by his red and yellow plumage. In contrast the Siskin (one of the finch family) makes its home on the Isle of Man on a year-round basis, with the many conifer plantations scattered across the Island providing useful breeding sites and an increase in numbers. But the Waxwing is seen as a true winter visitor to the Island with its breeding grounds extending from north-eastern Scandinavia to west Siberia. A natural opportunist, these birds will travel in large numbers across to the British Isles in search of plentiful feeding grounds. The final stamp in this series shows a typical favourite of the winter garden scene highlighting the miniature Long-Tailed Tit. Their survival during the winter season relies on team work, body heat, good communication and the providence of Island householders.

Professional wildlife artist Jeremy Paul travels extensively in his work, but found inspiration for this series of stamps a little closer to home by studying birdlife on the Isle of Man during the heavy snowfall and extreme cold of recent winters.

Local charity ‘Manx Birdlife’, established in 1997 under the name of ‘Manx Bird Atlas’ also undertakes important work within this field, working with the Manx Wildlife Trust in relation to bird monitoring on the Calf of Man. They are also working closely with the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds with a view to developing plans for a wetland site in the north of the Island.

Valerie Caine © September 2011

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

THE Isle of Man is getting its own version of Monopoly.

Woo hoo! We love Monopoly!

The Island will be immortalised in the popular family board game with around 30 Manx landmarks replacing the likes of Oxford Street and Park Lane.

Winning Moves UK, the manufacturers of this version of the game which is under license from Hasbro, has said the game will be on shelves in time for Christmas. 

Mark Hauser, the licensing director at Winning Moves UK, said: "We are delighted to be making this announcement. The original streets on the traditional London board will now take on a distinct Island twist – but we need the public's help to do this and would be very grateful for suggestions."

Local people have been asked to nominate landmarks to fill the board. The public have been invited to offer suggestions in general for the board as well as offering particular suggestions for the board's most expensive site – Mayfair.

Landmarks which could appear on the board include Castle Rushen, the TT Grandstand, the Tower of Refuge, the Fairy Bridge, the Isle of Man Railways and even Jurby Prison.

As well as the property sites there will be other changes from the original Monopoly board. Some of the Chance and Community Chest cards will also be customised to reflect the flavour and feel of the Island.

The playing pieces could also be changed with a suggestion that the dog playing piece could be changed to resemble a Manx cat.

Mark continued: "All suggestions will be welcomed. Without the Isle of Man public this board could not be produced."

Voting for the Isle of Man Monopoly board starts at 12pm today (Wednesday) and ends at 12pm on June 8.

To register your vote click here or e-mail suggestions

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Isle of Man looking for greatest Manx person

Any ideas, anyone? Here's what the paper has come up with so far in its quest:

WE’VE been on the search for the greatest living Manxman or woman – but could it be we’ve found both under one roof?
Former Deemster Jack Corrin CBE and his wife Pat Corrin OBE, who are looking forward to celebrating their golden wedding anniversary on September 30, are surely worthy contenders for the title, having notched up many years of outstanding public service between them?
Jack’s Manx credentials are impeccable. Born in Douglas in January 1932, his parents, all four grandparents and all his great grandparents were born in the island.
He was educated at Fairfield and Murray’s Road schools before winning a scholarship to King William’s College when he was 11.
Intent on becoming a lawyer, he became articled to a Manx advocate after leaving school and was called to the Manx Bar in 1954.
He went on to become a senior partner in Dickinson Cruickshank and Co. Appointed Attorney General in 1974, he represented the island at the European Court of Human Rights Court in Strasbourg to fight the Isle of Man’s case to retain the birch. This was subsequently abolished after being deemed a degrading punishment.
Jack was appointed Second Deemster in 1980 and then First Deemster in 1988.
Funnily enough they don't say anything about Pat, who was awarded her OBE for work in education and charities, especially Cruse Bereavement in which both of the Corrins are intimately involved.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Thursday, September 15, 2011

125 Years of Freemasonry on the Isle of Man

The Isle of Man has a long historical association with freemasonry, and in celebration of its 125th anniversary during September under the title of the Provincial Grand Lodge of the Isle of Man, will be holding a number of exhibitions to explain the work and history of the Masonic Lodges on the Island, provide a better understanding of their aims and explore one of the world’s oldest secular, fraternal societies.

The first lodge to meet under the constitution of the United Grand Lodge of England was ‘The Athole Lodge’ in 1864, formerly known as the ‘Royal Isle of Man Lodge’, which historically operated under both Irish and Scottish constitutions. But masonry on the Isle of Man can be traced back to 1765, although little documentation survives, with lodges in Douglas, Castletown and Peel.

Interest in the Masonic Lodge waxed and waned, but in 1886 the Provincial Grand Lodge of the Isle of Man was inaugurated in the now demolished Masonic Lodge Rooms on Loch Promenade, Douglas, which later became better known as the Douglas Snooker Club.

Many of the lodges had taken on names associated with the Island, such as St Maughold, Tynwald, Ellan Vannin, Athole, Mona and St Trinian’s.

As the Masonic Lodge on the Isle of Man entered a new era, Sir John Senhouse Goldie-Taubman became its first Provincial Grand Master and members became more socially active, with the establishment of two charitable funds in 1901.

The Provincial Grand Lodge relocated to its striking new premises on Woodbourne Road in Douglas and was opened by Deemster Frederic Malcolm La Mothe in 1925.

Many notable figures in Manx history have been appointed as Provincial Grand Masters including Lord Raglan, a former Governor of the Isle of Man who founded four new lodges, including one which still bears his name. Other well-known local personalities who became Freemasons included entrepreneur and philanthropist Henry Bloom Noble, world famous Manx designer and artist Archibald Knox and the aforementioned Sir John Senhouse Goldie-Taubman, remembered as owner of The Nunnery (now the home of the Isle of Man Business School) and long-standing Manx politician.

The Isle of Man Freemasons’ 125 Years Celebration Committee has also adopted one of the stamps from the ‘Birds in Winter’ series to be issued by the Isle of Man Post Office at the end of this month. Featuring artwork by locally based artist Jeremy Paul, the 37p stamp bears the image of a robin which has now become part of general folklore, but can also be found engraved on some of the early Masonic gravestones to indicate the soul of the departed.

A number of exhibitions across the Island will bring together the history of freemasonry on the Isle of Man, including memorabilia and artefacts associated with many of the lodges located here. Their first exhibition will be held in the Strand Shopping Centre from the 15th October for a fortnight, with further opportunities to view the exhibits at a later date at the Manx Museum in Douglas and Quayle’s Hall in Ramsey.

Valerie Caine, © September 2011 (Courtesy of Manx Tails)

Monday, September 12, 2011

Archibald Knox Work in Colorado Exhibition and US Lecture Tour

Chairman of the Archibald Knox Society, Liam O’Neill
One of the many museums in the world to have the distinctive work of Archibald Knox on permanent display is the Kirkland Museum of Fine and Decorative Art based in Denver, Colorado, where you will see the largest collection of items on permanent display in any museum in the USA.

The museum cares for 64 pieces of art work designed for the celebrated Liberty & Co. from approximately 1898 – 1908, a time when Knox was at his most active. But now a temporary exhibition entitled ‘Liberty of London and Archibald Knox’ will give the public an opportunity to see all of this work from Liberty & Co. on display at the Denver museum.

Running from the 16th September for one month under the guidance of the museum’s founding director and curator, Hugh Grant, visitors to the exhibition will be able to view examples of Knox designed  Cymric (Silverware) and Tudric (Pewter) from the museum’s archive, often inlaid with enamel and sometimes semi-precious gems. Promising a cornucopia of delights from the London based Liberty & Co., they will include an array of clocks, vases, candlesticks, jewellery, an inlaid tea and coffee set and ice tub amongst others.

Liberty & Co. was founded in 1875 and became well known as an emporium for imported fabrics, metal ware and home furnishings, becoming a shop window for local arts and crafts artists, although the company insisted on anonymity for their designers. Knox became one of Liberty & Co’s most influential designers and was influenced by Celtic patterns and the curvature of Art Nouveau.

The Kirkland Museum of Fine and Decorative Art will also be the starting point for an important lecture tour of the US at a number of prestigious venues during September, highlighting the work of Knox, with the first location co-sponsored by the New York based group Initiatives in Art and Culture. Entitled ‘Archibald Knox: In the Ministry of the Beautiful’ these lectures will be given by the current Chairman of the Archibald Knox Society, Liam O’Neill. With a Bachelor’s Degree in Theology from the University of Ottawa and an MA in Celtic Christianity from the University of Wales, Liam O’Neill has worked as both a teacher and lecturer for over thirty years, but has a long held passionate interest in the life and work of one of the Island’s most celebrated craftsmen. This ultimately led to him founding the Archibald Knox Society in 2006. 

Liam will then travel to Seattle (24th) for the 14th Annual Bungalow Fair where his lecture will be co-sponsored by Historic Seattle and The Royal Oak Foundation, before heading for Gamble House in Pasadena, California (27th), as part of the Sydney D. Gamble Lecture Series and the Grolier Club in New York (29th) which will also be co-sponsored by The Royal Oak Foundation and the New York Victorian Society.

The Archibald Knox Society is also indebted to the Manx Heritage Foundation and the Knox Group PLC located in Douglas on the Isle of Man, who will also be sponsoring this unique tour of the US.

For further information about dates, venues and registration details, or the work of the Archibald Knox Society or email

Valerie Caine © August 2011