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Interview with Gordon Birnie and Mrs Joy Birnie about their time working in the Empress Hotel and managing the Metropole Hotel, Central Promenade, Douglas, 1964-1985

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Date(s): 20 September 1999

Creator(s): Manx Heritage Foundation

Scope & Content: Continuation of an interview by John Beckerson with Gordon Birnie and Joy Birnie who recall their time working in the hotel trade on the Isle of Man. They speak about the camaraderie between the different boarding houses; popularity of ballroom dancing at The Palace; official associations and their role.

Their recollection of the Summerland fire when they were at the Metropole Hotel; the public response and how they helped during the Summerland fire; the behaviour of reporters in the aftermath of the fire.

They tell an anecdote about a hotel fire alarm going off at 7:30am in the morning and then recall locking of boarding house doors in the evening; how they ran their guesthouse compared to other hotels; anecdotes about guests leaving the Gaiety theatre early so they could make it back in time for supper; the strain of hotel life on health and family; the demanding work schedule whilst working at the Metropole Hotel.

Joy discusses what her mother and father did for a living and how women were not expected to work in that era; her employment history and how she came to the Isle of Man; how she met Gordon.

Gordon talks about his parents’ employment history; he explains why he pursued a career in catering; his career progression and the different roles he had within the industry.

Administration / Biographical History: John Beckerson, researcher, born 1974.

Language: English

Extent: 22 min. 7 sec.

Collection: Sound Archive

Level: ITEM

ID number: SA 2019-0001/19

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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