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Dr Richard Henry Quine

Title: Dr

Epithet: Instigator of the Manx National Trust (1859-1959)

Record type: Biographies

Biography: From ‘New Manx Worthies’ (2006):

Richard Quine was the fourth son of William Quine and his wife Christian. Following his early education in the Isle of Man, he studied medicine at Glasgow and Edinburgh Universities where he won prizes in surgery, physiology, clinical medicine and clinical surgery, qualifying in 1884. He subsequently attended Manchester University and his ultimate qualifications included DSSc.Vict., LCC, LRCP Ed., LFPSG Fellow, and SMOH. Following experience as a house surgeon at Glasgow Royal Infirmary and as a ship's medical officer with the North Atlantic Services, he became a general practitioner in Pendleton, Lancashire, shortly after his marriage in 1886. This is where he and his wife, Agnes, brought up their family of two sons and four daughters. He took a special interest in public health and founded the Pendleton Engineering Company Sanitaries (1903) Ltd., to mass-produce hygiene facilities for the homes of the less privileged people in society. As a result, he was awarded the Sanitary Institute Medal for public health inventions. In spite of his busy life, he always maintained his association with the Isle of Man, as an active member of the Manchester Manx Society and, through his family connections, in 1900 he purchased the Ballasalla Ochre Works and Silverburn valley, later called Silverdale Glen, placing it in trust with his father.

On the outbreak of war in 1914, he volunteered his medical services but, as he was then 55 years old, he had to be content with taking over the practice of Seaton Delaval to release the incumbent for military medical duties. From 1917 to 1936, as general practitioner at Frizington in Cumberland, he assumed the duties of District Medical Officer, Whitehaven, Public Vaccinator and Assistant County Medical Officer of Health. It was during this period that his wide interests together with his ever-inquiring mind came into their own. He was a keen archaeologist, studying pre-Roman human habitats from 5000 BC by analytical methods, his area including the Isle of Man. He floated several inventions to commercial firms, including cheese and butter as soft spread for the very young and for invalids. It is interesting that these became popular in the 1930s. He designed a rubber mattress with an air-cell interior and, it is also claimed, dual-filament car headlight bulbs to effect dipping. He gave equal medical care to all, never charging those without work, and to counter the depression in Cumberland during the 1930s, he proposed and costed a west coast road from North Lancashire to Scotland, on which some preliminary planning work was done. He was given BBC broadcasting time on the project which was well received locally and nationally. Unfortunately it had to be shelved because of the approaching war, but it was not forgotten, and it could well have been the precursor of the M6 motorway which substantially followed his projected route.

Shortly after his wife died in 1936, he retired to the Isle of Man, converting the ruined Ballasalla Ochre Works to an all-electric modern home, the Grey Tower, which he designed himself. On the outbreak of World War II, he again volunteered his services, this time to the Manx authorities, and when thanked but turned down on grounds of age (now 80), he turned his energies to the future of the Island and the preservation of its beauty by launching an appeal to both nation and politicians via the Isle of Man Examiner. His article on 20th December 1940, entitled 'A Manx National Policy' proposed the setting up of a body called the Manx National Trust. The call was heeded and came to fruition by an Act of Tynwald in 1951.

His retirement years at Ballasalla were highly active, with writings on historical, medical and technical matters, perhaps the most original being his personal memories of childhood at Glenmoar entitled 'The Isle of Man in the 1860s'. A dedicated Manxman, he attained his centenary on 17th May, 1959, some five months before his death.

Biography written by William Sleigh (grandson).

(With thanks to Culture Vannin as publishers of the book: Kelly, Dollin (general editor), ‘New Manx Worthies’, Manx Heritage Foundation/Culture Vannin, 2006, pp.390-2.)

Culture Vannin


Gender: Male

Date of birth: 17 May 1859

Date of death: 30 October 1959

Name Variant: Quine, Dr


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