Rushen Heritage Trust has submitted plans to convert the former bus shelter on Bridson Street, Port Erin, into a heritage centre.
The centre, to be known as Tree Archyn (Three Arches), would be a multi-purpose base to support the Trust’s online and other activities.
The site, opposite the Cherry Orchard, would provide the Trust with a highly visible and low-cost centre. It would be used for small exhibitions, for talks, meetings and other events, and give much-needed storage room for existing exhibition materials, publications and equipment. Overall, it will support our overarching aim of attracting people to the ‘beautiful south’ in Rushen.
Quantity surveyor Robert Graham, who has been involved with the Trust from the beginning, is managing the project. Working with Robert is a project team chaired by Ali Graham, with Board members Doreen Moule and Staffan Overgaard, and the Trust’s coordinator, John Quirk. They will be supported by Pam Crowe, who will lead the marketing and volunteering effort, later to be assisted by Hugh Davidson.
Project leader Ali Graham said of the initiative: ‘When the Trust was founded in 2014, it was as a “museum of no fixed abode”, and the creation of a heritage centre would not change that ethos. Tree Archyn would supplement our online presence and our various activities, such as exhibitions, talks and walks. Much of the exhibition material we have created over the last five years has had limited public exposure, and the centre would allow us to showcase the work of our volunteers to a much wider audience and encourage repeat visits to Port Erin.’
Chairman of RHT, Juan Watterson added: ‘While the Trust has met or exceeded most of our first five-year objectives, we’re aware that our “visibility” has been intermittent, linked to exhibitions and book launches. We have also not had a face-to-face meeting point, especially for older people with memories to share, and volunteers. These are factors which have limited the Trust’s social interaction with the community, and we hope that the centre will redress this balance and enable us to grow our membership and attract new volunteers.’
The central section of the building – the former bus shelter – will house the centre’s public space. The two existing toilet blocks, one either side of the shelter, will be transformed – one to house a storage area, the other to house an office, unisex toilet and kitchenette.
The public space would also be used as an online research area, with a computer for public use, and to sell the Trust’s publications. It would also operate as a visitor centre for the Rushen area, offering leaflets and advice about local attractions.
The building is owned by Port Erin Commissioners and was earmarked for demolition, following the creation of a new main bus stop by the railway station, and the opening of new public toilets elsewhere in the village. The Commissioners have agreed, in principle, to a long-term lease for the Bridson Street site.
Rushen Heritage Trust will be applying to trusts and other organisations for funding support for the project, as well as launching a public fundraising drive.
11 June 2019
Rushen Heritage Trust opens a new chapter in 2019 with the appointment of John Quirk as its new Coordinator.
John will be helping to deliver the Trust’s programme for 2019 and beyond, starting with a book charting the history of Port St Mary from 1829-1979, and building into a three-year plan of activities.
Manx-born John, who lives in Port Erin, is a freelance writer and event organiser. A former journalist and PR director, he has written two books – The Manx Connection and The Manx Giant – and is one of the directors of Manx Litfest, which started in 2012.
‘I’m passionate about the Isle of Man and heritage, and I’m looking forward to working with the team at Rushen Heritage Trust to explore new ways of telling the story of this wonderful area of the Island,’ said John.
'The Trust has done a huge amount of work over the last five years and I want to continue and build on that success, working alongside the management committee and a team of dedicated volunteers.’
Juan Watterson MHK, chairman of the Trust, said: ‘We are delighted to have John joining our team, on a freelance basis, to coordinate the Trust’s work and oversee the various projects undertaken by our action teams. He has a written extensively about heritage during his career, and coupled with his strong administrative skills, he is ideally placed to guide the Trust over the next few years.’
John can be contacted at email@example.com or on 464634.
Friend or Foe, the latest publication from the Rushen Heritage Trust, is on sale at all good bookshops and heritage outlets around the Isle of Man.
Written by seven members of the Trust, it is the first ever book on women's internment in Britain during World War II.
The book tells the story of how locals and internees lived together, encircled by barbed wire, with the Camp run by Manx landladies, with light touch governance from police and civil servants.
Like the seven authors who soon became friends (but often engaged in animated debates), the locals and women internees - German/Jewish refugees from Nazi oppression, Germans and Austrians who had lived peacefully in Britain for many years, and a minority of committed Nazis and fascists - all managed to 'rub along together'. The question was - who was friend, and who was foe?
The authors interviewed locals who retained vivid memories of Rushen Camp, and found much new information on the under-researched topic of World War II women's internment and soon realised the story addressed important universal themes of continuing relevance today - immigration, injustice, gender, tolerance, diversity, the nature of friendship, the ability to adapt to inequity and loss, and, most of all, the triumph of human values in difficult situations.
The publication of the book was kindly supported by Culture Vannin and the Gough Ritchie Trust.
Friend or Foe is priced at £18.95, with all profits from the book going towards Rushen Heritage Trust, a not-for-profit charity.
We brought the seaside back to the Beautiful South for one weekend only. On Friday 29 September we were in Port Erin. Thank you to the Falcon's Nest Hotel for hosting us.
The next stop on Saturday evening was the Port St Mary Town Hall. Young and old thoroughly enjoyed the event and we hope to run the event again in the near future.
Margaret Galloway and Peta Cubbon organised a superb exhibition about the Pierrot tradition on the Isle of Man, which was displayed at the two locations for the Pierrot Shows.
Peta Cubbon is the granddaughter of Fred Buxton, famous in his days as a show business entrepreneur and has many historical pictures and posters associated with him.
Buxton's Pierrots were at their peak in the 1920s and performed in Douglas, Onchan, Ramsey and the Traie Meanagh Baths in Port Erin. Fred Buxton built the Pierrot Village on Douglas Prom, near the old Crescent Cinema. It was an incredible entertainment area which incuded a seated arena for 2000 people.
A Pierrot Group called the Leslies performed in a wooden pavilion behind Victoria Square in Port Erin every summer from 1919 to 1939. Unfortunately the theatre burnt down a few days before the start of World War 2.
Many thanks to Margaret and Peta for master minding this fascinating exhibition, to Iris Burton for her vivid memories, and to the Gough Ritchie Trust for sponsoring the shows and exhibition.
Rushen Heritage Trust is delighted to announce the winning entry for its 2018 Charity Calendar Competition, where we asked people to take a walk along one of the routes on the app and snap a photograph for their chance to win £100 in gift vouchers of their choice.
Over the past two weeks, people from across the island - and even as far as Canada! - have been voting for their favourite photograph from the 35 stunning entries that we received. We are now delighted to announce that Lucy Matthews from Colby is our winner, who entered a photograph of her dog Darcey on a walk at Bradda – one of the waypoints on the Port Erin route on our walking app.
“I am by no means a professional photographer and I have no experience of using professional equipment,” says Lucy, who was thrilled to be told that her entry had won. “This photograph was taken using my iPhone camera whilst taking our rescue dog Darcey for a walk. I turned to see her close by, the sun breaking through the clouds and suddenly there was an amazing view. I quickly aimed, snapped and hoped for the best. It wasn't until I came home and took a look at the picture that I thought it was a pretty good aim! I had it printed and framed and it is still my favourite photograph.” The entry received a staggering amount of engagement on social media and received 24% of the overall votes, so it was a very clear winner, but when we asked Lucy where she would like her prize vouchers to come from, she had an unexpected answer.
“We adopted Darcey in December from a charity called Amicii, who rescue stray, abandoned and abused dogs in Romania. Volunteers work tirelessly to save as many dogs as possible and through fund raising, sponsors and donations are able to spay, neuter, treat, care for and send as many of their dogs to foster carers and adopters in the UK and on the Isle of Man. I think it is only fitting that in lieu of gift vouchers the money be donated to this charity. After all, if it wasn't for their fabulous work we'd never have adopted Darcey and she'd never have taken me for a walk that day – so a big thank you to everyone who voted for my photograph!”
Lucy’s photograph will appear on the front cover of the calendar as well as on one of the months inside. We also had eleven runners up who will all feature in the calendar too and will also receive a free copy of the calendar. The Isle of Man Walks app was officially launched last October with three heritage walks in Port St Mary, Port Erin and from Port St Mary to the Sound along the Raad Ny Foillan, where special beacons have been placed at specific waypoints along the route. After downloading the Isle of Man Walks app to their smartphone, walkers are able to access photographs, films and audio pieces about the local area – from facts about wildlife and nature to memories of history and heritage. The range of stunning entries we received as part of the competition shows just how beautiful the walks on the app are. We also hope that the app will help to preserve local heritage for residents and increase tourism in the local area.
“I believe Lucy richly deserves the top prize of the photographic competition as she has wonderfully captured the essence of the beautiful south that is Rushen” says Hon. Laurence Skelly MHK and one of the directors of Rushen Heritage Trust, pictured here with Lucy and her dog Darcey. “I would like to thank everyone who entered the competition, which was clearly a very high standard and encourage the general public to continue snapping and sharing their photos of Rushen via our Facebook and Twitter accounts.”
The Isle of Man Walks Calendar is now available for pre-order in our online shop and all proceeds will be used to develop more walks on the app and create new features for the local community to enjoy.
8th May 2017
Over fifty volunteers and supporters of Rushen Heritage Trust enjoyed the charity’s first annual presentation dinner at Bradda Glen Restaurant last night, celebrating key achievements and contributions in a special awards ceremony. Hosted by Hon. Juan Watterson SHK and Professor Hugh Davidson MBE, who are both Directors on the Board of RHT, the evening included a range of talks from key members of the four Heritage Action Teams, awards presented to twelve key volunteers and supporters and a special silver medal, which was awarded to John W. Qualtrough in recognition of his collection of 160,00 historical artefacts. Established in 2014, Rushen Heritage Trust has built up some incredible momentum and awareness in the last three years with over 70 volunteers working within the charity, who have independently run seven successful exhibitions, produced two heritage books and created the world’s first outdoor heritage walk using iBeacon technology. Four volunteer groups – known as Heritage Action Teams or HATs – are currently active and span WW2 Internment, Story of the Land, Story of the Sea and Tourism. Our awards ceremony celebrated and awarded the volunteers in their achievements and successes of projects in 2016. John W. Qualtrough received a special award in recognition of the 160,000 artefacts he has developed in the last few decades and to thank him for his continued support and involvement with RHT, sharing his materials and memories with us in all that we do. We also presented a posthumous award to John K. Qualtrough’s wife Barbara, in recognition of his contributions to Rushen Heritage too. Twelve other volunteers were also awarded award certificates and included Staffan Overgaard, Doreen Moule, Ali Graham, Pam Crowe, Jane Saywell, David Wertheim, Sylvia Jarret, Stanley Clucas, Kerry Hudson, Sam Styles, Captain David Clarke and Gerry Callister. 2017 is set to be another exciting year for Rushen Heritage Trust with our new projects, new volunteers coming on board and the addition of our new Heritage Coordinator, which will be announced in early May. We look forward to seeing you at all of our future events and we will keep you updated with press releases and further information throughout the year.
11 April 2017
The WW2 Internment HAT are in the final stages of producing a second publication, celebrating their two successful exhibitions on internment in Rushen.
The book, “Friend or Foe? The Story of Rushen Camps W and Y - Women’s Internment on the Isle of Man in World War 2” is being compiled by HAT members Sandra Davidson, Pam Crowe, Alison Graham, Jane Saywell, David Wertheim and Doreen Moule (pictured left) and is based on their research about the internment camps in Rushen.
Having mounted two extremely successful exhibitions in 2015 and 2016 about the camps, the group decided to publish their findings plus some additional material. The book is expected to be launched in the autumn.
- 1st April 2017
One of Rushen Heritage Trust’s greatest friends and supporters, John W. Qualtrough from Port St Mary, has developed an astonishing collection of over 160,000 historical artefacts over the years which he is keen to share with the community so that they are not forgotten.
As part of an exciting new project led by our Story of the Land HAT, John has shared his library of materials to help build up a picture of Port St Mary across a hundred years in the town’s history. The team are planning a series of events during 2017 and 2018 which will capture the stories and memories of Port St Mary and the people who have lived and worked in the town over the decades, to see how things have changed - and how they may have also stayed the same.
Do you have stories or memories from Port St Mary that you would like to share as part of the project?
It could be memories of when you were growing up in the town, or stories passed along through the family from relatives. You may have once visited the town on holiday or you may remember some of the shops and the people, have photographs that you could share of the landscape or the times you have visited.
If you would like to help us tell the story of Port St Mary and help us to celebrate the history of the town, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org and find out how you can be part of this special project.
- 1st April 2017
Last September, over 200 children from schools across Rushen Sheading and Douglas enjoyed a trip to Port Erin, where they walked in the footsteps of the 3,000 women and children who were interned during the second World War.
Led by our WW2 Internment HAT, classes from Arbory, Castletown, Rushen Primary and Schoill yn Jubilee arrived by steam train at Port Erin station - many dressed in outfits of the time - and were taken on a guided tour of the seaside town by volunteers Doreen Moule and Ali Graham, who have developed special resource packs for teaching in schools.
The resource packs, which will soon be available to schools across the whole island, include detailed teaching presentations, posters, notes for a Walk and Talk in Port Erin, wartime recipes, registration cards and a map. If you are interested in a school resource pack, please contact Doreen on 834826.
Rushen Heritage Trust are also keen to develop strong links with education across the island and this year we’re pleased to announce our second college placement with University College Isle of Man. Studying a two-year degree in History and Heritage, Rory Murphy hopes to bring the passion he has for heritage to his work placement and help spread the word of the beauty of the south of the island.
“I’m a keen walker too,” says Rory, “so I’m also looking forward to the future development of the Isle of Man Walks app and being able to assist in any way I can with Rushen Heritage Trust’s programme.” Rory will join the Story of the Land HAT from the end of April to early June to get involved with their major projects as part of his work placement.
- 30th March 2017
Our Tourism HAT have announced plans to stage a traditional “Pierrot Show” in September, with two performances lined up in both Port Erin and Port St Mary.
By the nineteenth century the holiday industry was beginning to flourish and in France, pierrot shows became tradition having been developed from “Comedie del Arte”. They were much admired by an English entertainer called Clifford Essex who created a troupe of English entertainers to perform in seaside towns such as Brighton, Southend and Blackpool. Traditionally dressed in white costumes with black pompoms and white painted faces, pierrot shows became an active part of entertainment between 1890 and 1960 across the UK and also in Douglas, Ramsey and Port Erin on the Isle of Man.
Leslie and Dorothy Ford came to the island each summer with their pierrot troupe and “Leslie’s” pierrot shows were performed regularly at Leslie’s Pavilion – then situated adjacent to what is now the Erin Arts Centre – which was mysteriously destroyed by a fire just before the start of WW2.
This autumn, we’re reviving the pierrot tradition by adapting their principles to showcase the considerable amount of talent we have locally and to honour and celebrate the heritage bequeathed to use by the pierrots of the past. If the shows are successful, the plan is to re-establish the pierrot experience as an ongoing tradition to acknowledge and develop this important part of our cultural heritage.
The Gough Ritchie charitable trust has kindly agreed to support the project and our artistic director, Susie Beswick, is now finalising the cast in what promises to be an exciting programme of entertainment for the whole family to enjoy.
Save the dates!
Friday 29th September, The Falcon’s Nest in Port Erin
Saturday 30th September, Port St Mary Town Hall
- 12th March 2017
This spring, walkers all over Rushen will be snapping their favourite views as part of the Rushen Heritage Trust and Isle of Man Walks 2018 Calendar Competition!
All you have to do is download the free “iomWalks” app on your app store, take a walk along your chosen route from the app and when you get back home, send your favourite photo to us! All entries will then be displayed on the Isle of Man Walks website, where people can vote for their favourite image. The winner will receive £100 in gift vouchers of their choice and a copy of the calendar, on which their image will feature on the front page. Eleven runners up will also receive a free copy of the calendar.
Remember that images need to be in reasonably high resolution and in landscape format, and must be a view taken on one of the walks on the app. The competition is open to all ages and residents of the island. The deadline for entries is Monday 17th April 2017 and voting will take place between 21st April to 2nd May, with the winner announced on Monday 8th May 2017. Calendars will be available to buy from 22nd May and all proceeds will go to future RHT and Isle of Man Walks projects.
- 1st March 2017
Born in 1947 in a small mill town of West Yorkshire, David Clarke was about as far away from the sea as you can get. Little did he know then that he was destined to become a Captain in the Merchant Navy and would one day be telling his stories as part of a special evening in Port Erin.
“I was just 13 on holiday in the Isle of Wight when I was first seduced by the sea,” says David, who now lives in Port Erin. “We were on the ferry to Cowes, passing great transatlantic liners and cargo vessels in the Southampton Waters and the Solent and that’s what inspired the dream.”
David’s great marine adventure began when he was just 17 years old, where he joined the SS Cerinthus in Liverpool. So began his journey from ‘boyhood to manhood’ on his first trip of 8 months, travelling across the world from Africa and America all the way back to Heysham and the Manchester Ship Canal!
Joining Captain David in this fascinating evening of storytelling were Dessie Robinson, who spoke about the boom years of Herring Fishing, and Michelle Heywood who gave her talk on diving and the wrecks of the south of the island.
The event was held in the relaxed surroundings of the Falcon’s Nest in Port Erin and was crammed to the rafters as Alan Jackson compered the evening.
The Story of the Sea HAT hope to repeat the evening next year with more from Captain David who will move on to the next part of his tale, and invite some other speakers to join him.
- 7th October 2016
Isle of Man Walks is the innovative new mobile app created by the Story of the Land Heritage Action Team of Rushen Heritage Trust. Using cutting edge technology, the team are excited that this will open up new walking experiences for local residents and visitors to the island in a way that has never been done before! Earlier this year, the team created a walk along the Raad Ny Foillan coastal path from Port St Mary to the Sound and over the summer, invited Pilot Testers to take part in a testing scheme to help iron out any faults or bugs in the technology. Two more walks were then created in Port Erin and Port St Mary, using content from our recent Tourism exhibition "Southern Tourism Across the Decades" as well as input from our Story of the Land HAT. This weekend, team members officially launched the app at Bradda Glen Restaurant as part of Manx National Heritage Week. Despite the pouring rain over a hundred people turned up to meet Robbie Callister, five time winner of the Parish Walk, and to see demonstrations on how to use the app on their own walks. The app is now available to download on our sister website www.isleofmanwalks.com
- 3rd October 2016
Almost 200 people voted for their favourite entry in our 2017 Charity Calendar Competition this summer and out of the 22 stunning entries we received, we can announce that Rowanna Miller is the winner! “I chose the photograph for my entry for the Rushen Calendar Competition because it is the stunning view from my living room window,” says Rowanna. “Day or night it is a place of tranquillity.” Rowanna also chose the setting for her entry as a personal tribute to her friend Vivian Liff, who lived in the house before her. “Vivian is a very dear family friend who had this view for many, many years before me,” Rowanna continues. “Now, I feel privileged to share it with my own family. Aren’t we all so lucky to live on such a beautiful island!” Rowanna will receive £100 in M&S gift vouchers plus a copy of the calendar, where her entry features on the front page. Our eleven runners up will also have their entries featured in the calendar and will receive a copy each. The calendar will be available to buy for just £5 at both of our events this Autumn at the Bradda Glen Restaurant on the 1st October or at the Falcon’s Nest on the 6th October. All proceeds will be used for our 2017 programme, dedicated to telling more stories of Rushen and involving the community in new projects.
- 17th September 2016
Rushen Heritage Trust are excited to announce a new partnership with Pilgrimage Isle of Man – a walking trail group who will be using the Isle of Man Walks app to provide faith heritage walks across the island. The app was pre-launched over the summer with a heritage walk from Port St Mary to the Sound along the Raad Ny Foillan, where special beacons have been placed at specific waypoints along the route. After downloading the Isle of Man Walks app to their smartphone, walkers are able to access photographs, films and audio pieces about the local area – from facts about wildlife and nature to memories of history and heritage. Pilgrimage Isle of Man is a collaboration between the Cathedral IoM, Manx National Heritage, Praying the Keeills, and Manx born geographer, Dr. Avril Maddrell, from the University of West England. The initiative builds on the now well-established annual week of keeills walks and ideas discussed at the 2014 Diocesan Faith-based Tourism workshop. Following on from research on the Praying the Keeills walks on the island, Avril secured funding from the UK Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) to work with the partner organisations to develop pilgrimage trails which explore the island’s faith heritage. The trails use existing footpaths and heritage sites, including the keeills, and the first two walking trails to be launched on September 10th will be the Triskelion Way Pilgrimage which links Rushen Abbey, St Germans and Maughold; and the Raad ny Foillan Pilgrimage which uses the coastal path to explore keeills and Manx crosses. Road routes are also being developed for those who prefer to cycle or drive. Historical information, prayers and reflections will be provided via the Pilgrimage IoM website and on the Isle of Man Walks App, as well as print copies.
- 8th September 2016
It was by pure chance that Pam Crowe from our WW2 Internment HAT found Professor Eva Rieger, and when she did, she came up with an entire weekend of special events for the community to enjoy based on women’s internment in Rushen during the Second World War and links to the composer, Richard Wagner.“I was researching the Methodist baptismal book of 1940/45 when I came across the name Rieger and I recognised it as one of the Lutheran Pastors’ names,” says Pam. “I searched for Eva Rieger online and found a Professor of Music in Lichtenstein – and it was Eva! She is a leading authority on Wagner and, following my invitation, came to Port Erin with her brother and friend Dagny, who is the great-granddaughter of Richard Wagner. This weekend we have had a series of talks and other special at the Erin Arts Centre, the Methodist chapel where Eva was baptised in 1940.” The weekend of culture began on Friday evening with a re-enactment concert produced by John Bethell of the Erin Arts Centre, showcasing the talents of local singers Karen Johnson, Graham Crowe and John Elliot. On Saturday morning a special talk by Professor Chris Rieger held a captivated audience, as he gave his memories of his time in Port Erin as a six year old boy when his mother was interned. Members of our local community also shared their memories, giving a fascinating insight into life for children in Rushen and their friendships with the children that they were told were ‘the enemy’ but were in fact, just like them! On Saturday evening, Professor Eva Rieger and Wagner’s great-granddaughter Dagny shared their research and memories of Friedelind, following her life and career as she was interned on the Isle of Man and then the journey she took from there. Rushen Heritage Trust would like to especially thank Pam for her planning and organisation of such a wonderful event. We had special visitors all the way from New York and members of the Manchester Wagner Society join us for the events and the feedback we received was wonderful. Had it not been for Pam, and such hard work from the rest of the team, Rushen would have missed out on a fascinating weekend culture and some firm friendships that will remain for many years to come.
- 8th August 2016
Last night our WW2 Internment HAT launched our third exhibition of the summer with the help of Baroness Ruth Hennig and with a special visit from His Excellency Sir Richard Gozney and his wife, Lady Gozney. It was wonderful to see so many members of our local community join us to celebrate this significant event – sponsored by the Isle of Man Arts Council and Culture Vannin – which marks the second exhibition about the establishment of Rushen Camp W in May 1940 and the establishment of the unique married camp the following year. Rushen Camp differed in many ways from the male Camps in other parts of the Island. It was run by civilians not by the military. The exhibition has been developed entirely by volunteers from the WW2 Internment HAT (Heritage Action Team) at Rushen Heritage Trust. Two years ago the Team knew little about Rushen Internment but has since amassed considerable collective knowledge, from multiple resources at home and overseas. The Team describes itself as “a bunch of amateurs” but aims to achieve professional standards. It has done much original research and generated new material on WW2 Women’s Internment, previously an under-researched topic.
- 28th July 2016
When Captain of the Parish Stanley Clucas sat down to write about his family memories of life on Ballachurry farm, he had no idea that it would one day lead to those stories being in print and a whole exhibition dedicated to his memories. With a beautiful and diverse collection of photographs and illustrations, “A Year on Ballachurry Farm 1943-1944” perfectly captures the stories and memories of a traditional Manx farm during WW2. Meet the Boss and his wife “The Missus”, and the hard-working farmhands who keep the day-to-day workings of Ballachurry going, despite the demands of the war effort and the enigmatic new workers from nearby internment camps who are employed to help. From the milking and calving of cows to ploughing fields and stacking the hay, there’s not a dull moment on Ballachurry with the mischievous antics of the Boss and his workers! Both the book and exhibition have been sponsored by Culture Vannin and the Elizabeth Clucas Trust, with photographs taken from both the Clucas family album and local Rushen farmers as well as illustrations provided by John Hancox, a local Rushen artist famous for his TT drawings. Stanley writes with special affection and humour of farming through the changing seasons, illustrating the colour and rhythm of the busy farm that has been in his family for almost a hundred years.
- 11th July 2016
Looking back across the decades…
On Friday 27th May, the volunteers of our Tourism HAT launched our first exhibition of the year with “The Happy Days of Southern Tourism” at St Catherine’s Church Hall in Port Erin.
Attracting over 1,000 visitors in just 19 days, the exhibition looked at the memories and stories of tourism in Rushen from swimming at the Traie Meanagh Baths to golf at the Rowany, dancing at Bradda Glen and Collinson’s Café to tennis or bowls in Breagle Glen – showing just how much things have changed in the south since the late 1800s.
“The hey days of southern tourism may be a bygone era,” says Minister the Hon Laurence Skelly MHK, who opened the exhibition at our launch party, “but tourism is such a valuable part of our local economy. When you see the glens that the Victorians give us and the history and heritage that surrounds us – tourism is still here and the volunteers of Rushen Heritage Trust are keeping these stories alive through exhibitions such as this one.”
- 20th June 2016
One of the ways that Rushen Heritage Trust brings together the local community is through sharing memories across the generations of families who have lived in Rushen over the years.
On Thursday afternoon we were privileged to share an afternoon tea with some wonderful members of the community who were happy to tell some fascinating stories about their childhoods and memories of the past.
Do you have any memories that you would like to share? We’ll be holding more afternoon sessions in Port St Mary and Port Erin in the future but if you would like to meet with us and make sure your stories are never forgotten, please get in touch!
- 7th May 2016
Led by our WW2 Internment HAT, the festival will celebrate the life of Richard Wagner’s “rebellious” granddaughter Friedelind, who was interned in Port Erin in 1940. She was the only member of the Wagner family to be strongly anti-Nazi and her mother was a close friend of Hitler.
Friedelind Wagner despised her mother’s close liaison with Adolf Hitler and was the only member of the Wagner clan who fled Germany in protest. Although she was warned that the Nazis would ‘exterminate’ her if she continued her open opposition, she travelled to London and published articles pillorying the Nazi élite. Even so, in the eyes of the authorities, she was suspicious and they promptly interned her in Port Erin. Only with the help of the world-famous conductor Arturo Toscanini was she able to gain an exit visa to New York, where she broadcast, lectured and published against the Nazis, wrote an autobiography, and became friends with many other emigrants including singers who had themselves abandoned Bayreuth.
Prof. Eva Rieger published her acclaimed book about Friedelind Wagner in 2012 and is visiting Port Erin this summer as part of our festival. She is visiting Port Erin with her brother Dr Chris Rieger, who was six years old when he was in Port Erin and who hopes to meet up with the local boys he played with on the beach to swap memories.
- 12th April 2016
Our Story of the Sea Heritage Action Team are developing plans for their first event.
Chaired by Steve George – who is also one of RHT’s Board Directors – our Story of the Sea HAT are currently planning their first project.
The group are our fourth Heritage Action Team and hope to stage a series of talks related to the sea in 2016.
We’re always looking for new volunteers to join in with our projects but if you have a particular interest in our Story of the Sea HAT or you have any memories relating to the Story of the Sea which you would like to share, please come along to our next meeting at the Cherry Orchard in Port Erin on Monday 22nd February at 6pm.
- 9th February 2016
Manx recognition in the New Years Honours List
Rushen Heritage Trust is only one of the charities that Hugh and Sandra Davidson are actively involved with and they have been recognised in the 2015 New Years Honours list for their incredible work and contribution to the Manx Community.
Hugh’s MBE recognises his many charitable ventures both on and off the island including the H & S Davidson Trust, which has undertaken joint ventures with Save the Children to educate over 3,000 street children in Kolkata and with Oxfam to more than double the income and empowerment of 11,000 very poor women and their families in Odisha (India) and north Bangladesh.
Hugh has been the Vice President of Save the Children (IOM) since 2002, is a founder member and part funder of the One World Centre – aimed at raising awareness of larger global issues – and established the One World Charity Challenge. He is also involved with AXA IOM and Age Isle of Man in the inter-generational ‘Tell Me Project’, in which children record memories of older people to be preserved for future generations. Hugh and Sandra co-founded Rushen Heritage Trust, which was launched in July 2014. - 1st January 2016
The curators of Rushen Heritage Trust are our Heritage Action Teams (HATs) who work hard to research information, talk to people within the community and find ways to engage visitors to our exhibitions.
Responsible for their own exhibitions, publications and dissemination of content, the HATs choose their own topics, driven by community interest and focusing on people and their stories. In 2015 we saw over 4,000 visitors to our two major exhibitions “Friend or Foe” from the WW2 Internment HAT and “The Glory Days of Southern Tourism” created by the Tourism HAT. Both were extremely successful and will be continued in 2016 by two further exhibitions and short publications.
In 2016 our Story of the Land HAT will host their first exhibition based on the book “A Year on Ballachurry Farm 1943-44” written by Stanley Clucas, which will be available to buy next summer. They are also launching our interactive walking app “Isle of Man Walks” in late Spring. The Story of the Sea HAT will close the summer events with a series of talks and lectures – and don’t forget to look out for us at the Southern and Royal Agricultural fairs!
- 15th December 2015
Since Rushen Heritage Trust was formed in July 2014, we have had a very successful run of exhibitions and published our first book; all of which has inspired Martin Norbury to nominate us for the Isle of Man Newspapers’ Pride in Mann Awards, in the Manx Cultural Champion category.
Doreen Moule, chair of our WW2 Internment HAT says “We have enjoyed it very much, when we first started I was not sure where we were going, lots of people got involved. We are all really enthusiastic. It’s wonderful to have achieved so much in such a short space of time, I’m quite shocked!’ She added: ‘If it had not been for Hugh and Sandra Davidson and the rest of the board for setting the Trust up, we would have nothing. It was a brilliant idea, the south needed something.’
Pride in Mann is an awards scheme sponsored by the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company that aims to recognise unsung heroes in the community.
- 7th September 2015
The Board of Rushen Heritage Trust has appointed Laura Cuthbertson as its new Heritage Coordinator. This is a part time role to provide cultural services and Laura is also an active published writer.
Hugh Davidson, Director of RHT commented: “We had a number of very strong candidates, but Laura met the specification most closely. She has a degree in Journalism, exceptional skills in social media and digital marketing, a very positive and enthusiastic approach, and much experience of working with schools. Laura also has wide experience in organizing UK national conferences, in training and communications, and in chairing meetings of people with a diverse range of skills."
While Laura is relatively new to the Isle of Man, she has a great interest in its heritage. Her partner is Manx, and has a long Manx family history in Rushen”.
Hon Juan Watterson MHK, Chair of RHT said: “Laura succeeds Graham Hall, who did an excellent job in starting up RHT, and remains an important volunteer. Her role will be to coordinate the activities of the five Heritage Action Teams (HATs), and the supporting specialists in IT, video/film and interviewing; to involve the whole Rushen community in some aspect of Heritage; to help communicate widely the excellent content developed by HATs, especially online and via social media; and to develop and help implement a Three Year Plan for RHT.”
- 30th August 2015
The Illustrated Roll Call book was published on 18th May 2015, and has sold as well as we had thought it would.
The book consists of a unique collection of Christmas greetings from 70 German/Austrian internees in Rushen Camp W, to their Manx landlady, Mrs Marjorie Creighton, together with a commentary which summarizes the background to internment and life at Camp W, and analyses the contents of the Greetings. These were in poetry form, and most were illustrated. All were written in the authors’ second language, and most of the writers were classified as domestic servants.
The quality, creativity, and range of the Greetings is astonishing. The original 40 pages of greetings belongs to Mrs Betty Kelly, who is the daughter of Marjorie Creighton.
Betty has been enormously helpful to RHT in lending us material, and giving us informative interviews/memories.
The book is available from the Bridge Bookshop in Port Erin, and the Lexicon in Douglas.
- 2nd August 2015
RHT’s interviewing team of Alan Jackson (former BBC, and lead performer on many local musical occasions), Beth Espey of Manx Radio and Drew Herdman (former Port Erin Beach photographer, and filming/video expert), with occasional help from Hugh Davidson has been hard at work. They have now completed over twenty interviews!
Recent interviews, all generating fascinating memories, have been with Joyce Corlett (wide range of memories); Chris and Joan Robertshaw about Chris’ father, Gil, well known Manager of the Belle Vue from 1968 to 1978 – Joan has an amazing story about the ghost in Room 99; Eileen Swales, daughter of Mr Scrimgeour, owner & managing Director of Perwick Bay Hotel from 1930 to 1945, who later helped build up Swales Flooring in Laxey, retiring at the age of 86, six years ago; and Lisa Walster, daughter of Ken & Margaret Ives, the last owners of the Perwick Bay Hotel (1978 – 88), widely and affectionately remembered.
Lisa Walster spoke of how her father Ken loved animals, and had a wide variety at the Perwick Bay, and that before coming to the Island in 1978, he and Margaret ran the Puffin Hotel in Anglesey where they had 24 peacocks. Ken investigated ways of bringing them over to the Island, but the IOM Steam Packet Co was unable to provide the necessary facilities for them.
Many thanks to Alan, Drew, and all our very interesting interviewees.
- 28th June 2015
Brian and Kathleen Trustrum are playing a leading role on the Tourism HAT, led by Chair Jonathan Latimer.
Brian’s grandfather owned the Falcon’s Nest for two decades at the end of the nineteenth century, and there is still a “Trustrum Suite”.
Brian and Kathleen have developed a fascinating display of the Falcon’s Nest, tracing changes in the place and its people since 1860, for the recent exhibition at Thie Rosien. Their work and example inspired all on the Tourism HAT, and, like the displays of the other four places, greatly interested local visitors to the exhibition.
Bob Potts, who has now owned and enhanced the hotel for many decades, gave us a lot of valuable help with memories, pictures, & information.
- 28th March 2015
The last time we asked John W Qualtrough how many local heritage pictures or written items he had, he said “115,000”.
Most but not all relate to Port St Mary. All are neatly arranged by topic in books and online, and many are on video.
The skills John developed over 40 years with T.H. Colebourn are much in evidence. At Mona’s 100th birthday party, John updated us. He now has 136,000 items, but the latest ones have not yet been fully itemised.
John has developed his collection over many decades, and knows almost everything about the history of Port St Mary. His astonishing knowledge and collection have been invaluable to RHT.
Thank you again, John.
- 26th March 2015