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Interview with Tom Brew, thatcher, about thatching in the Isle of Man

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Date(s): 4 February 1978

Scope & Content: Tom Brew, one of the last thatchers in the Isle of Man, talks about thatching. Tom talks about the process of thatching and re-thatching of roofs; collecting thatching materials such as wheat straw, known as ‘bent’, by the roots on the northern coast of the Isle of Man; preparing a roof for re-thatching; method commonly used for re-thatching including common measurements; his youth in Sulby and how all the cottages there were once thatched; replacement of thatching by modern materials; evidence that identifies which houses used to be thatched; financial incentives by local authorities to retain thatched cottages; thatched cottages as tourist attractions; the extra warmth of a thatched cottage; the time required to complete a thatched roof; longevity of thatched roofs (3-6 years); requiring wild grass which grows in the sand dunes in the north of the Isle of Man; needing bundles of ‘bent’ and how the use of combine harvesters renders wheat straw too broken for use in thatching; ‘bent’ grown especially in Cregneash to re-thatch their cottages which is cut by traditional methods.

He gives further details of the process of re-thatching a roof; when in the year it is best to thatch; some older methods of thatching; and the cost of having a cottage thatched.

Language: eng

Extent: 14 min. 28 sec.

Collection: Sound Archive

Level: ITEM

ID number: SA 0326

Access conditions: All reasonable attempt has been made by Manx National Heritage to trace and request permission (where needed) from the copyright holder(s) in this sound recording. If however you think you are a rights holder then please contact Manx National Heritage.

Subject tags : #UOSH


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