Great Manx stories captured forever

Mon, 05 Mar 2018

From ghosts and plane crashes to Viking swords and a million pounds in the back of the van – a new series of conversations about the past on the Isle of Man have been released online.

The series of oral history interviews carried out over the past six months have just been released on the Culture Vannin website. They offer first-hand stories of the Isle of Man’s history from the 1920s through to the present day.

Online and Educational Resources Officer at Culture Vannin, James Franklin, says:

“The stories of people’s lives on the Isle of Man are incredibly important. They tell us so much more than newspapers or history books ever could; they give us a real sense of who people are and what their lives are like.”

The interviews with people from Lezayre to Port St. Mary offer many interesting insights into well-known parts of Manx history, such as WWII rationing or the start of double decker buses on Manx roads. But perhaps more interesting are some of the more unusual stories which would be lost but for these recordings.

Vivien Quane recalls a chilling story of the ‘White Lady’ apparition seen by her and other nurses at the Ramsey Cottage Hospital in the 1950s. Pauline Kinvig speaks of the harrowing experience of exchanging waves with passengers on a WWII bomber moments before it crashed into the Manx hills. Rob Farrer RBV laments having found a Mesolithic site at The Cronk one morning, only to have it washed away by coastal erosion by the next day.

Such serious or telling tales are balanced by other lighter stories. These include David Fisher’s wonderful memories of riding empty train carriages down the hill from Foxdale to clatter into other trucks at the St. John’s station before scampering away from the angry station master. Four postmen also tell a wonderful set of stories, from the perils of a Christmas Day delivery when plied with alcohol at each house, to the time the traffic on Circular Road was halted by a colleague’s work-break ‘raunchy’ picture show.

“It would be terrible if these sorts of stories were not captured for the generations to come,” said James Franklin. “They offer not only an important alternative side to Manx history, but also a wonderful way to connect to the stories and lives of the Island in the past, giving us a sense of connection to the people and places of the Isle of Man.”

The interviews are available on the Oral History part of the Culture Vannin website:

Oral History / Beealeydys


A sample of some of the things to be found in the interviews is as follows: