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Interview with John Edward Sansbury about growing-up in Cregneash, Port St Mary and Douglas in the 1920s

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Date(s): 3 July 1990

Creator(s): Manx Museum

Scope & Content: John Sansbury talks to Nigel Wright about growing-up in Cregneash, Port St Mary and Douglas in the 1920s. John starts by identifying the house he grew up in near Cregneash and names his siblings, including Kenneth who died age 6. He talks about the house; journey to Rushen school; plumber Stanley Karran; childhood games; King of the Road Rushen Football team; playing hockey; the Four Roads smithy and Ned Costain; Water Board depot; headmasters Kelly and Corlett and teachers Miss Collister, Miss Clague, Miss Kellet, Mr Jones; Douglas High School; working on farms; chores for grandparents at Four Roads; school holidays.

John then discusses Clague’s butchers, hairdressers and Nicholl’s fruit shop; Alec Maddrell and Charlie Clugston coal merchant. He describes buildings in Cregneash and talks about Eddie Cooil; Harry Kelly’s house and how few people still speak Manx Gaelic. He recalls putting-up holidaymakers in the summer; mother doing washing for the Ballaqueen Hotel; café at The Sound owned by Bridey Lowey; visitors to Cregneash and The Chasms; Kneen’s tour buses. John talks about Port St Mary then and its shops and where actor Mollie Sugden lives; boat trips; marionettes, dancing and meals on Douglas Head; Marine Drive tramway; Auntie May at the Lhargen; father’s job on the boats; going to football matches in Liverpool; paddle steamers; conditions on the boats for passengers and crew; boats 'Rushen Castle' and 'Peel Castle'; Sunday school at Cregneash.

He describes where the artist William Hoggatt lived and talks about Cregneash tradespeople; grocers’ and bakers’ vans; Billy Keig and Faragher’s baker’s shop; childhood chores; going to Douglas on the train; amenities at Port Soderick; Sunday School trip to Silverdale. Nigel asks about Christmas and tea parties. John talks about the cancellation of boats in bad weather; returning home after the Second World War and working on the boats; the men lost on the 'Mona’s Queen'; internees; HMS 'Valkyrie' and HMS 'St George'; rationing.

John recalls the 1950s and the impact to the Isle of Man of cheap package holidays; Fleetwood to Douglas runs; working as a fireman on the boat; working on the 'Viking'; Charlie Nixon and Ernie Griffon, Mayor of Douglas; Corlett’s farm at The Sound; Watterson’s farm; Norman Callister of Church Farm and his two sisters; the Quirk family. John asks who is now farming fields behind Harry Kelly’s cottage and talks about Jackson’s paper shop and going in the 'Argo' boat with Billy McGane to take supplies to Chicken Rock lighthouse and the Calf; the Kneen family; Putney Cajeen, Jack Karran, Freddy Gawne the harbourmaster; Harry Radcliffe; loss of the 'Mona’s Queen' at Dunkirk. (The sound recording ends abruptly.)

Administration / Biographical History: Nigel Wright, assistant keeper and social history curator for Manx National Heritage (c.1990-1994).

Language: English

Extent: 1 hr. 10 min. 40 sec.

Item name: magnetic tape

Collection: Sound Archive

Level: ITEM

ID number: SA 0149

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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