A series of online talks about the artists & musicians interned in the Isle of Man during WWII takes place over the next few weeks.
'Insiders, Outsiders' is an arts festival celebrating refugees from Nazi Europe and their contribution to British culture - and the Isle of Man played a large role in that story.
The first two events take place on Thursday, September 30:
From Internee to Art Collector: Tribute to Ruth Borchard
Thurs 30 Sep 6pm
Tales of Internment – Sonia Lambert
Thurs 30 Sep 8pm
The Tribute to Ruth Borchard will include a screening of a film about Ruth, followed by a Q&A, which will feature Yvonne Cresswell, former Curator of Social History at Manx National Heritage, and David Wertheim, a member of RHT's Women's Internment team. You can book tickets direct from: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/from-internee-to-art-collector-tribute-to-ruth-borchard-tickets-169093506229
More information about the whole festival: https://insidersoutsidersfestival.org/events/
This year marks the 150th anniversary of the building of Milner Tower on Bradda Head as a monument to Port Erin benefactor William Milner, the Sheffield-born world-renowned safe maker who made the village his home.
To mark the anniversary, we are staging two events during October:
At 3pm on Saturday, October 9th, a Memorial Service at St Catherine's Church (the building of which was funded by Milner's estate) - all are welcome to attend and light refreshments will be served afterwards in St Catherine's Church Hall.
From Thursday, October 21st until Sunday, October 31st, an exhibition - Milner: The Man & The Tower - will be held at St Catherine's Church Hall, looking at the life and legacy of William Milner and the building of the landmark tower.
Our thanks to our sponsors for our Milner events - Culture Vannin, Isle of Man Arts Council, and the Elizabeth Clucas Charitable Trust.
We have other exciting news to reveal about other elements of our celebrations to mark the 150th anniversary - watch this space!
Photograph courtesy of Lynn Ryan, Southern Photographic Society
Following the success of last month’s Port St Mary Secret Gardens, Rushen Heritage Trust is opening 10 TOP SECRET Gardens during its Port Erin in World War II event, which takes place over the August bank holiday weekend.
Running from Friday, August 27th until Monday, August 30th, Port Erin in World War II will include attractions each day, including three wonderful exhibitions:
The Railway Station will host an exhibition on the unique Internment Camp in Port Erin recalling the time 4,000 foreign women arrived in 1940; the Trust’s new Rushen Heritage Centre in Bridson Street will host a World War II exhibition by the Manx Aviation & Military Museum; and the Legion Hall in Droghadfayle Road will be home to James Fenton’s amazing pictures of the Burma Campaign.
The TOP SECRET Gardens will be open on Saturday and Sunday, August 28th and 29th.
Rushen Heritage Trust fundraiser Pamela Crowe, Co-Chair of Friends of RHT, has pulled the weekend together.
She said: ‘We thought it was a shame that the popular Island at War event is not taking place this year, so Rushen Heritage Trust stepped in and there is now a full programme over the four days. We are working closely with Visit Port Erin and it will be a great opportunity to learn about the unique history of Port Erin and, for those who love a skeet, some lovely gardens to visit.’
The full schedule for the four days:
WWII IN THE BEAUTIFUL SOUTH - Rushen Heritage & Visitor Centre - curated by Ivor Ramsden from the Manx Aviation & Military Museum
RUSHEN INTERNMENT CAMP - Port Erin Railway Station – curated by Rushen Heritage Trust, telling the story of the Women’s and Children’s Internment Camp
WAR IN BURMA - Port Erin British Legion Hall - Paintings by Burma Star Veteran James Fenton
Friday 27th August: 10am – 4pm:
Saturday 28th August: 10am – 4pm:
Sunday 29th August: 10am – 4pm:
Monday 30th August: 10am – 4pm:
Keep an eye out for 'Laurel and Hardy', who will be around during the weekend to entertain - and if you want to really join in with the atmosphere, why not dig out any 1940s-style gear you have and dress up!
Entry to the TOP SECRET Gardens is by brochure, which costs £5 and admits two people.
The brochures are available from:
· Welcome Centre in Douglas
· Bridge Bookshop and Marianne’s Flowers in Ramsey
· Kirk Michael Stores
· Elaine’s Flowers in Peel
· Foxdale Stores
· Charlotte Sadler Opticians in Castletown
· Calvert Newsagent in Port St Mary
· Bridge Bookshop, Port Erin Pets, Erin News and Rushen Heritage Centre in Port Erin
· And all garden centres around the Island
We always welcome anyone who is interested in volunteering at our events – if you can help over the four-day weekend, please contact Pamela via email – firstname.lastname@example.org or on 834614 or 473768.
Photograph courtesy of Colin Cunliffe
Tynwald weekend's Secret Gardens & Hidden Treasures event in Port St Mary, organised by the Friends of Rushen Heritage Trust, proved a huge success, with around 2,500 people visiting the village and raising almost £5,000 for the Trust.
The weekend saw 10 beautiful gardens in Port St Mary and Cregneash open to the public and an antique and collectors fair at Port St Mary Town Hall.
Organiser Pam Crowe, Co-Chair of the Friends of RHT, said: 'We could not have raised these funds without the kindness of the homeowners who agreed to open their beautiful gardens for the weekend.
'We would like to thank everyone who volunteered their time over the weekend and helped make it such a fantastic success – and, of course, to all those who visited the village over the weekend to view the gardens and attend the fair. The event brought extra business for Rushen’s many fine shops and eateries.’
Pam is not one for resting on her laurels - she is already busy working with volunteers to plan the Trust's next event, 'Port Erin in World War II', which will run over the August bank holiday weekend - Friday, August 27th through to Monday, August 30th.
'This will be a unique event celebrating the 4,000 foreign women who arrived for internment in Port Erin in 1940,' said Pam. 'We are planning two wonderful exhibitions, a German "flea market", vintage vehicles, a “ration book” challenge, children's activities and internment trains, with lots of prizes on offer. So, we are looking for everyone to dig out their 1940s gear and join in the four days of fun celebrating Port Erin's rich history.
'The first exhibition will be at the Railway Station, focusing on Internment, with the second being at our new Rushen Heritage Centre in Bridson Street, which will host a visiting exhibition curated by Ivor Ramsden from the Manx Aviation and Military Museum at Ronaldsway.
'Finally, following on from the success of Port St Mary's Secret Gardens, there will also be 10 top secret gardens open around Port Erin over the August bank holiday weekend. It should all make for a fantastic few days.'
Pam added: 'We are always in need of volunteers for these events, so if you would like to get involved in any way, please give me a call on 834614 or 473768.'
Photograph courtesy of Ian Costain
An exciting new chapter dawns for Rushen Heritage Trust (RHT) this week with the opening of our new heritage centre in Bridson Street, Port Erin.
The project to redevelop the former bus shelter began two years ago and, despite delays caused by Covid-19 lockdowns, Rushen Heritage Centre (RHC) will open its doors to the public for the first time on Tuesday, June 29th.
The centre will open from 10.00am-4.00pm Tuesday to Saturday, from Easter until late October/early November each year, providing a multi-purpose base to support Rushen Heritage Trust’s activities.
Exhibitions will be central to RHC, with a new topic featured approximately every six weeks. The first exhibition is a collaboration with the Isle of Man Public Record Office, looking at the ‘Lives & Landmarks of Rushen’. This will feature photographs and plans showcasing the local landscape and its people from early to mid-20th century.
The Centre was officially opened at a private event on Saturday evening, June 26th.
Doreen Moule, Chair of RHT, explained: ‘Since the Trust was founded in 2014, we have enjoyed great success with a series of exhibitions, which have attracted more than 10,000 people to Rushen, and published four well-received books, alongside many other events. Two years ago, we identified a need to have a physical base, somewhere for the public to come and meet us, learn about the work we do, and hopefully get involved with our projects.
‘In addition to exhibitions, the centre will stock our books, host regular meetings, and serve as a visitor centre for the Rushen area, providing information on both heritage and tourism.’
The idea of transforming the bus shelter into a heritage centre came from Staffan Overgaard, one of the Trust’s directors.
The building project was skilfully managed by quantity surveyor Robert Graham and Ali Graham, of Robert Graham & Co, who carried out the work pro bono. They developed the plans for RHC, submitted the planning application and put the project out to tender, with the building work undertaken by J&J Building Contractors, who were excellent.
Ali, who is the RHT Treasurer, said: ‘We have received wonderful financial support towards RHC from several organisations and private individuals, including Manx Lottery Trust, Gough Ritchie Charitable Trust, Elizabeth Clucas Charitable Trust, Lord Cockfield Memorial Trust, Celton Manx, Visit Isle of Man, Isle of Man Government’s Town & Village Regeneration Scheme, and a significant donation from RHT co-founders Hugh and Sandra Davidson. In addition, several of our suppliers gave us generous discounts or provided items free of charge, which was wonderful.
‘The Friends of RHT has held several superb fundraising events – the next will be Port St Mary Secret Gardens & Hidden Treasures, which will take place over Tynwald weekend July 3rd-5th – and our sincere thanks to all volunteers who have helped with those events.
‘Our thanks also to Port Erin Commissioners, with whom we agreed a 99-year lease at £1 a year – and we have already paid up our 99 years’ rent in advance!’
Pamela Crowe leads the RHC Operations Team.
She said: ‘This is an exciting time for RHT and the culmination of a lot of hard work by a wonderful team of people. We have more than 40 volunteers who have kindly offered their time to “staff” the centre and we are indebted to those volunteers, because without their commitment the vision for the project would not have been possible. It has been a real team effort to see this project through to fruition and we cannot wait to open the centre and welcome visitors.’
In recognition of their excellent work on RHC, Saturday night’s official opening will see Doreen present the Trust’s highest honour, the Silver Medal for Outstanding Performance, to Pamela, Ali and Robert. Only five Silver Medals have been awarded in our seven-year history.
If you would like to know more about Rushen Heritage Centre, or if you would like to volunteer at the centre, please contact RHT Coordinator John Quirk at email@example.com or call 464634.
One of our major fundraising events of the year will take place over Tynwald weekend, with beautiful gardens to view around Port St Mary and a huge antique and collectors fair being held in the Town Hall.
Organised by the Friends of Rushen Heritage Trust, the three-day Secret Gardens & Hidden Treasures event runs from Saturday, July 3rd through to Monday, July 5th, from 10am-4pm each day.
There will be 10 gardens open to view around the village, the antique and collectors fair at Port St Mary Town Hall, and a Farmers' Market and Hog Roast centred around the Town Hall.
Admittance is with a brochure, which costs £5 and admits two people.
Brochures are available from various outlets island-wide including:
The weekend will raise funds towards the running costs of the Trust's new Rushen Heritage Centre at 1 Bridson Street, Port Erin, which opens to the public for the first time on Tuesday, June 29th.
Organiser Pam Crowe said: 'Our previous Secret Gardens & Hidden Treasures event, in Port Erin two years ago, was a huge success, raising several thousand pounds towards the work of Rushen Heritage Trust. We want to make this Port St Mary even bigger, and we are looking forward to a fantastic weekend. The gardens are truly beautiful, and the antique and collectors fair will be packed with stalls - we only have one or two still available, so do get in touch quickly if you would like a table.'
Pam is marshalling a team of volunteers to ensure the weekend runs smoothly, but would welcome any additional support.
She said: 'We have a wonderful team of volunteers at Rushen Heritage, but we never turn away offers of help. If anyone has an hour or two to spare over the Tynwald weekend, we would love to hear from you.'For further information, please call Pam on 834614 or 473768.'
We are sorry to announce that we are cancelling our planned talks at the Erin Arts Centre on May 13 (Pamela Crowe) and June 7 (Allison Fox).
This season of talks got off to such a wonderful start in December, with Charles Guard's superb talk about his career filming around the Island. But lockdowns and concerns over Covid led to us to call off the next four talks, which created some confusion for our supporters, and to those outlets that sell our tickets, who have been very patient with us.
There was another problem last week that saw us have to rearrange the date for Pamela's talk.
Having discussed the situation further, the Trust decided that, in order to avoid any further disruption in the coming weeks, it would be best to cancel the forthcoming talks and start afresh with a new season of talks in the autumn. At a time when things remain uncertain, with occasional Covid cases appearing, we felt this was the most sensible course of action. We hope you understand.
If you have purchased tickets to any of our cancelled talks this year, and have not yet had a refund, please email our coordinator John at firstname.lastname@example.org or call/text on 464634.
In brighter news - there will be other events taking place during the summer and our new Rushen Heritage Centre in Bridson Street, Port Erin, will be opening its doors soon.
Having discussed with Alison, we have agreed to cancel her talk scheduled for Monday, March 8th at the Erin Arts Centre. In the current situation regarding Covid, it is vital that everyone involved with an event feels completely comfortable. We did not want to cancel late in the day, so have agreed this decision now.
If you have purchased tickets, please ask for a refund from the outlet - Erin Arts Centre, Erin News and Bridge Bookshop in Port Erin, and Calvert Newsagents in Port St Mary. All have been informed of the decision.
At this stage, our April 12th talk at the EAC - A Postcard Tour of the Isle of Man, by Peter Kelly - is planned to go ahead. We will let everyone know when tickets go on sale.
There is no Pudding Club planned for this coming Thursday (March 4th) - they are scheduled for March 11th, 18th and 25th at St Catherine's Church Hall in Port Erin. We will update should there be any changes to those dates.
With the Island going into lockdown as of tomorrow (Thursday, January 7th), we have to postpone the next of our series of talks - Around the South in 30 objects, with Manx National Heritage's Allison Fox - which was scheduled to take place on Monday, January 11th at the Erin Arts Centre.
We are hoping to rearrange this to another date, and will update supporters about subsequent talks in due course (along with information about refunds, should they be required).
The Pudding Clubs planned for January 14th and 21st at St Catherine's Church Hall have been cancelled - we will update regarding future dates as and when we have more information.
Rushen Heritage Trust (RHT) is in discussions with Port Erin Commissioners regarding both their demolition decision of the Cosy Nook, and their current planning application for an Art Deco style new building.
RHT opposes the demolition decision and submitted a six-page objection to the planning application for the new building on 14th July 2020. However, there are Areas of Agreement between RHT and the Commissioners and Areas for Discussion, and we are hopeful that a way forward can be found which will satisfy the public both in Port Erin and elsewhere.
AREAS OF AGREEMENT
1. We would both prefer to work together in cooperation as in the past, since both Port Erin Commissioners and RHT Directors are all unpaid volunteers working for the benefit of the community.
2. We both want to get this iconic site back into active use as soon as possible as an all-year-round community asset, with a larger modernised interior providing relaxing spaces and panoramic views.
3. It would be ideal to have an agreed blueprint for going forward before the new Commissioners' Election in April 2021.
AREAS FOR FURTHER DISCUSSION
1. Commissioners' Plan to demolish the Cosy Nook building.
This has been approved by the Commissioners for a variety of reasons, including the desire to use the enlarged outdoor space for future local activities and events. RHT opposes demolition now. There is no immediate urgency. The building is not dangerous or falling down and it is uninhabited. If there are vermin, that can be dealt with. The ‘Save the Cosy Nook’ online petition has already attracted more than 1,400 supporters in its first three days.
The residents of St Catherine's Terrace also deserve consideration. Demolishing now and rebuilding sometime in the future would involve two separate periods of major disruption for them, and an empty site for an indefinite time to lower their spirits.
RHT believes that any future demolition should only occur when there is an approved plan and agreed start & finish date for a new Cosy Nook building. While much of the current building interior may need to be demolished, the architect should have the option of re-using existing heritage materials or retaining part or all the existing front exterior. If the building is demolished now, that option would disappear forever. RHT also fears that the levelled site could remain empty for many years, as has happened elsewhere in Port Erin with the former Ocean Castle Hotel site and the Marine Biological Station, both empty for more than 10 years.
2. Should the new building be Art Deco as currently proposed or heritage style frontage with modern and enlarged interior?
RHT strongly supports the latter approach. In June, an online poll (conducted by RHT) produced 879 replies. 63% voted against the proposed new Art Deco building, 33% were in favour, and 4% were indifferent. Among Port Erin residents, as many as 68% voted against. These are decisive results in market research terms. The survey also invited people to make comments. An astonishing 87% did, demonstrating the strength of feeling on the topic. RHT has spent many days studying these comments. Based on them, a new building specification could be developed in tune with public preferences, and this would certainly include a Manx heritage style frontage at least reminiscent of the original.
3. Could the current Planning Application be withdrawn?
RHT recommends this. It is a way of saving time which both the Commissioners and RHT want. The clock is ticking and the summers of 2019, 2020 and 2021 will have passed without the Cosy Nook Cafe.
The application has already been with the Planning Department for almost five months. Even if it is approved soon, there are likely to be time consuming follow up processes to be followed before building work begins, since the current plan is opposed by the Principal Registered Buildings Officer, Ross Brazier; DEFA; and the Isle of Man Natural History & Antiquarian Society, as well as RHT. If the Plan was approved, RHT would immediately call a public meeting to give the public the right to respond and to agree on an action plan. Each of these steps would lose us time.
If the application was withdrawn by PEC, the next steps would be to draw up a new specification reflecting input from the recent online Poll; appointing an architect with a successful track record in modernising heritage buildings in the IOM; working closely with Ross Brazier; and ideally having the modernised building ready for occupation by summer 2022.
We would welcome any comments or suggestions from the public – please send them to RHT Coordinator John Quirk at rushenht@gmail(dot)com by 22ndDecember 2020.
Our new season of talks gets underway on Monday, December 7th, with Charles Guard speaking about his career 'Filming the Isle of Man'.
Over the last 40 years, Charles has made many videos about the history and culture of the Isle of Man. In this illustrated talk, Charles recalls some of the more amusing events that have occurred and gives an insight into the problems and pitfalls of the filming process.
The talk starts at 7.30pm (doors 7pm) at the Erin Arts Centre. Tickets cost £5 - or £4 for Friends of RHT - and are available from Erin News, Bridge Bookshop, and Erin Arts Centre (all Port Erin) and Calvert Newsagents in Port St Mary.
This season's other talks:
Monday, January 11th
Allison Fox, Curator of Archaeology at MNH – Around the South in 30 Objects
Monday, February 8th
To be confirmed
Monday, March 8th
Alison Jones, Trustee and Lead Researcher at Knockaloe Centre for WW1 Internment – Life at Knockaloe told through five Artefacts
Monday, April 12th
Peter Kelly, Historian – A Postcard Tour of the Isle of Man
Monday, May 10th
Pamela Crowe, RHT Internment Team – Mistaken Identities
We are offering a discount to anyone who would like to book tickets to all six talks - £25, or £20 to Friends of RHT. If you would like to take advantage of this discount, please email John at email@example.com before Charles Guard's talk on December 7th.
Unfortunately, we have just learned that the speaker we had lined up for February has had to withdraw, but we should have details of the new speaker soon.
Rushen Heritage Trust has a new Chair, with Doreen Moule taking over the role from Hugh Davidson MBE.
Doreen has been involved with the Trust since its inception in 2014 and leads its World War II Women’s Internment team.
She played a lead role in the Trust’s two most recent books – Friend or Foe?, the story of World War II women’s internment in Port Erin and Port St Mary, for which she acted as coordinator and wrote a chapter; and she wrote a chapter for Living with the Sea, which tells the story of Port St Mary and its people from 1829-1979.
During Doreen’s time as Chair, the new Tree Arçhyn Heritage Centre in Bridson Street, Port Erin, led by Pamela Crowe overall and by Robert and Alison Graham on the building side, will be completed and opened to the public at Easter 2021. It will serve as a multi-purpose base to support RHT’s activities.
Doreen said: ‘I am looking forward to my time as Chair of RHT and the many events planned for the coming year, particularly the opening of the Tree Arçhyn Heritage Centre. This is an exciting new venture for the Trust and its important role in the community. As ever, we are seeking to share our research with local people and visitors alike and we look forward to welcoming you all to Tree Arçhyn.’
Born in Wolverhampton, Doreen grew up in the Black Country and trained as a teacher in Birmingham, where she taught in a primary school from 1970 to 1999. In 1999, she moved to the Isle of Man to take up a teaching post, retiring in 2008.
She has lived in Rushen since 2004 and still retains a keen interest in education, being the Trust’s Schools Liaison Officer.
Hugh and Sandra Davidson were the Co-Founders of the Trust six years ago and both still serve on the Board. Hugh served a year as Chair after taking over from Speaker of the House of Keys, the Hon Juan Watterson SHK in autumn 2019.
Hugh said: ‘Doreen has been a major player in the success of Rushen Heritage Trust, leading the WWII Women’s Internment Team from the beginning in 2014. The Team has run two exhibitions attracting more than 6,000 people, published two books, one sold out, the other in its second edition, and the Team is making an impact internationally. She also initiated and led the Trust's schools' program within and outside Rushen. Doreen is a great team person and highly respected by her colleagues. Her appointment as Chair is well deserved.’
9 November 2020
Work is underway on the creation of the new Tree Archyn Rushen Heritage Centre in Port Erin.
Tree Archyn, which is Manx for ‘three arches’, will serve as a multi-purpose base to support Rushen Heritage Trust’s activities.
Work on converting the former bus shelter site in Bridson Street was delayed because of Covid-19, but it is now underway and should be completed by December, with Tree Archyn opening to the public for the first time at Easter 2021.
To give everyone a chance to find out more about Tree Archyn, Rushen Heritage Trust is holding an Open Day (2.00pm-8.00pm) on Friday, October 9th at St Catherine’s Church Hall in Church Road, Port Erin.
Pamela Crowe is leading the team that will run the centre. She said: ‘It is wonderful to finally see work underway on Tree Archyn. It will be used for small exhibitions, talks, and meetings, and provide a visitor centre for the Rushen area, offering leaflets and advice about local attractions. The Open Day is an opportunity for the public, and our volunteers, to drop by St Catherine’s Church Hall for a drink and a chat, to see the plans and meet new friends. The Open Day is an ideal opportunity for anyone who is interested in getting involved with our team to come along and learn more.’
The building project is being managed by quantity surveyor Robert Graham and RHT Treasurer Ali Graham, with the work being undertaken by J&J Building Contractors. Doreen Moule, who chairs our successful WWII Women’s Internment team, is also importantly involved with Tree Archyn.
Ali said: ‘Tree Archyn could not have happened without funding support from several organisations and private individuals, including Manx Lottery Trust, Gough Ritchie Trust, Elizabeth Ann Clucas Trust, Lord Cockfield Trust, Celton Manx, and the Isle of Man Government’s Town & Village Regeneration Scheme.
‘We would like to thank everyone who has supported the project, and all those volunteers who will help bring Tree Archyn to life when it opens in April next year. Our thanks also to Port Erin Commissioners, with whom we agreed a 99-year lease at £1 a year – and we have already paid up our 99 years’ rent in advance!’
The Trust is appealing for some assistance for its storage area within Tree Archyn.
Pamela explained: ‘We are looking for a chart or map chest to store posters, and Dexion shelving for storage. We are happy with second hand and happy to pay. If anyone can help, please call me on 473768.’
Rushen Heritage Trust and Port St Mary Commissioners have teamed up to launch a heritage scheme which tells the story behind how a street or road got its name.
The first nine ‘names’ are in place now, with more to follow over the coming year. The first signs can be seen at:
· Fistard Road
· Clifton Road
· Truggan Road
· Clugston’s Gut
· Alfred Pier
· Lime Street
· Bay View Road
· Karran Quirk Footpath
· Cronk Road
Each sign gives the name in Manx and English, along with background as to why a location is so named.
The information on the names was researched as part of the book Living with the Sea, published by Rushen Heritage Trust in October 2019. Co-written by 10 volunteer authors, it tells the history of Port St Mary and its people from 1829-1979.
The idea was the brainchild of RHT Board Member Staffan Overgaard, who wrote the chapter in Living with the Sea which focuses on street names, alongside Port St Mary historian John W. Qualtrough.
Staffan said: ‘When in one of the suburbs of Hannover, Germany, I saw street signs with an explanatory text. I thought that was an excellent idea. I remember the street name – “Bernd-Strauch-Weg”. I had no idea who that Strauch was, but the text on the sign explained he was some kind of local commissioner.
‘I kept the idea and when researching for Living with the Sea, I thought the sign idea would be an excellent way of raising awareness of the village’s heritage. I hope that the people of Port St Mary like the idea, and that it also brings visitors to the port to see what we have done. Hopefully other towns and villages around the Island will want to follow in our footsteps.’
The street sign project was welcomed by the Board of Port St Mary Commissioners.
Chair Michelle Haywood said: ‘This is an excellent example of the enthusiasm of local residents, extending their knowledge and curiosity to share with everyone these historical names. We are grateful for the volunteers at Rushen Heritage Trust, who have provided us with many more interesting signs.
‘As the street signs come up for replacement, we shall look to roll out more of these enhanced signs. Keeping alive the reasons for the street names is such an important part of our social history.’
The joint project sees Rushen Heritage Trust cover the cost of this first batch of street names. The signs for the rest of the street names around the village will be supplied by the Commissioners, with the Trust supplying the explanatory text.
Living with the Sea is priced at £18.99 and is available in our online shop or from all Isle of Man bookshops.
Rushen Heritage Trust (RHT) is opposing the plans submitted by Port Erin Commissioners to redevelop the Cosy Nook site.
The popular café, located at the end of St Catherine’s Terrace on Shore Road, has been empty since the lease expired in May 2019 and earlier this year the Commissioners unveiled their plans for a redeveloped art deco-style building.
Having received strong comments for and against the new plans, RHT conducted a survey, which drew 879 replies – with 63% voting against the proposed new building, 33% in favour, and 4% indifferent.
Of the 879 respondents, 37% were Port Erin residents – and of those, 68% were against the plans, with 28% in favour.
Chairman of RHT, Hugh Davidson, said: ‘We would like to thank everyone who took the time to respond to the survey. It is obvious that the Cosy Nook has been a much-loved café for many years and people have strong feelings about it, which was shown by almost 90% of respondents leaving comments explaining their views. These views are proof of the strength of feeling about the site, on both sides. With 63% voting against the new plans, it is a decisive result and, as such, the Trust is therefore submitting an objection to the Planning Committee.’
Concerns raised by those against the Commissioners’ plans:
· A need to retain the traditional façade, so as not to lose the site’s uniqueness/character
· New building is too large, and not in keeping with the site
· Site will lose its cosy/quaint/charming/tranquil aspects
· Parking issues/congestion
· Loss of Manx character and the need to preserve heritage
Of those in favour, many considered the plans to be exciting and forward-looking, praising the Commissioners for moving with the times and showing vision.
Mr Davidson added: ‘We are recommending that the new-look Cosy Nook should be a building with traditional Manx cottage style frontage, which fits the heritage setting of St Catherine’s Terrace, and links with the cosy, charming, informal characteristics of the Cosy Nook. The interior would need to fit modern customer requirements and provide spectacular views of the sea. Hopefully, a significant part of the internal decoration and pictures would recall and celebrate the Cosy Nook's memorable past.
‘Of course, we recognize that the substantial minority who favoured the application also had strong views, sincerely held, and courteously expressed, and appreciate their participation in the poll. We also respect the motivations of Port Erin Commissioners in submitting the planning application.’
Irrespective of the decision by the Planning Committee, the Trust is recommending that the Commissioners convene a public meeting to enable them to outline their proposals, and to allow people to express their views face-to-face.
Mr Davidson said: ‘There are several issues which need to be addressed. We recommend that an external lift is installed, creating direct access to the new Cosy Nook from the Promenade, so that those visiting can park “above” on the Promenade. This would have the added benefit of making it more likely for visitors to shop in Church Road. Parking is already a problem in St Catherine’s Terrace during summer. The parking spaces outside the Cosy Nook could be reserved for nearby residents and disabled people. A more traditional building seems likely to be less expensive and savings could contribute to cost of lift.’
The Trust is conscious that timing is important since the community has already lost two summer seasons of the Cosy Nook. While a 2021 opening for a new building may be too optimistic, priority should be given to accelerating the planning, consultation and building process. The Trust feels it is essential that strong consideration is given to the needs of the residents of St Catherine’s Terrace, a narrow street with some historic buildings.
The Cosy Nook planning application (reference 20/00598/B) can be viewed at: www.gov.im/viewapplications.
The deadline for submissions to the Planning Committee is 17th July 2020. They can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org or to the Department of Environment, Food and Agriculture, Planning & Building Control Directorate, Murray House, Mount Havelock, Douglas, IM1 2SF.
Port Erin Commissioners are submitting a planning application for the Cosy Nook site on Shore Road, which would see a new building replace the existing traditonal stone cottage.
The Board of Rushen Heritage Trust is developing its position on the plans, and we want to consider the opinions of our supporters when doing so.
To help us, we are asking our supporters to complete a very short survey - only two questions - after which you are invited to leave a comment. The survey will close at 9.00am on Saturday, 27th June 2020.
The link to the survey is below - it includes links to the Cosy Nook proposal, plans and images which are on the Port Erin Commissioners website, which you may wish to review before taking the survey:
Thank you for taking the time to complete the survey.
First and most importantly, I hope you are managing to adapt to this new situation and keeping safe. As someone who was a boy on the Island during WWII, it's one of the most disruptive environments I can recall.
People will remember their experiences in this period in 20 years' and 50 years' time, and their successors will want to hear about them. We are creating tomorrow's heritage and memories today.
At Rushen Heritage Trust, we are adapting quickly. In summary, we will do all the things we had previously planned, but use a wider range of online communication, keep in touch with our more elderly supporters by phone or surface mail, and in a few cases, postpone activities.
For 2020, our Coordinator John Quirk has already established the successful new series of Winter Talks, with audiences of more than 100 people, and regular volunteer meetings. He has also booked exciting speakers for the 2020/21 series, and we expect the first talk to be in early November at the Erin Arts Centre.
Major activity in 2020 would have been the opening in mid-summer of the new Tree Archyn Heritage Centre, converting the former bus shelter building opposite the Cherry Orchard. Our Buildings Team, led outstandingly well by Robert and Ali Graham, both qualified quantity surveyors, is ready to move fast once it is possible to start building work. We already have approvals from the Planning Committee and Department of Infrastructure, have signed a 99-year lease at £1/year with supportive Port Erin Commissioners, developed detailed specs & bills of materials, and shortlisted possible suppliers. The Hon Juan Watterson SHK has been really helpful in this approval process, as has Clerk to PE Commissioners, Jason Roberts.
Thanks to generous funders and proceeds from Port Erin Secret Gardens, organised by Pam Crowe in summer 2019, we have almost reached our funding target, and are ready to start. The stop press news is that, through Eddie Lowey, the Cockburn Trust has generously donated £6,500 to the project.
Pam, who, together with Pamela Tomlinson, heads our Friends of RHT, has also given talks on WWII Women’s Internment to large international audiences on cruise ships, and has many future talks on the topic booked in the IOM and Florida.
Much of our time in 2020 will be spent preparing for a big year in 2021, since some projects have quite long lead times. Major activities in 2021, in addition to opening Tree Archyn Centre, will be:
1. Events to mark the 150th anniversary of the building of Milner Tower. They will cover the life of William Milner, Port Erin's biggest benefactor, the building itself and Bradda Head as a notable place.
2. Activities to celebrate 90th anniversary of The World's Best Photograph, a competition run by Kodak in 1931. The value of first prize, a picture of the photographer's girlfriend on Bradda Head, was worth more than £300,000 in today's money. We are planning a photographic competition, hopefully in partnership with Southern Photographic Society. It will be open to people all over the world, must be a photograph of the South of the Island, and will be linked to Visit Isle of Man to attract more tourists.
3. Knockaloe WWI Internment exhibition in Port St Mary, set up by our partners in Patrick, who have done world-class work on WWI Internment.
We expect the Heritage Centre to be open by early 2021 and are delighted to have at least 25 volunteers who have kindly offered their time to help operate it.
Doreen Moule will be continuing to lead the highly knowledgeable WWII Women’s Internment Team, and, with Ali Graham, our Schools programme. Another Director, Staffan Overgaard, will be spearheading the exciting new Heritage Street Signs project with Port St Mary Commissioners, as well as the relaunch of our I-Beacon Walk project.
All four of our books have sold well, with Living with the Sea one of the bestselling Manx books last Christmas season. Friend or Foe has already been reprinted.
John Quirk will shortly be writing to tell you how we plan to progress these activities online in the new environment, inviting supporters to volunteer for our project groups, and suggesting new ways in which we can create tomorrow's heritage today in our current ‘once in a century’ situation.
Many thanks for all you have done to make Rushen Heritage Trust a success since its launch in 2014, both in heritage and for the community.
Best wishes, Hugh
Hugh Davidson MBE
Chair, Rushen Heritage Trust
(Image - Vintage LNWR Travel poster, by Sam J M Brown)
Given the troubling times we all face in light of the Covid-19 Coronavirus outbreak, we regret that we must postpone the following events:
1) The next volunteers' meeting at the Erin Arts Centre on Tuesday, March 24th.
2) Wish You Were Here: A postcard tour of the Isle of Man, with historian Peter Kelly - this was scheduled for the EAC on Monday, April 6th. This was to be the final event in our very successful season of Winter Talks - we are aiming to rearrange this as part of our 2020/21 season of Winter Talks, for which we already have several excellent speakers lined up.
3) The WWII Women's Internment exhibition, which was to be held at Port Erin Railway Station in late May/early June. We will look to reschedule this at a later date.
We can also advise that the proposed exhibition at Port St Mary Town Hall to mark the 80th anniversary of the sinking of Mona's Queen, Fenella and King Orry at Dunkirk has been postponed. This was to be staged in late May/early June. For this exhibition we were working with Dr Michelle Haywood from Discover Diving and Port St Mary Commissioners. It is hoped to reschedule this for 2021.