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Sailmaker's stencil from Port St Mary

Date made: early 20th century

Maker: Parks & Son

Description: A sailmaker's stencil made by Parks and Son of Liverpool for the donor's father, John Cubbon Watterson, a sailmaker in Port St Mary. John Cubbon Watterson worked as a sailmaker from the 1870s until the early 20th century, with his own sail loft in Lime Street, Port St Mary.

The stencil is made from a sheet of zinc and has the inscription 'John C.Watterson, Sailmaker, Port St Mary, I.o.M.' in voided letters. It would have been used to quickly and neatly mark the sails that Watterson made.

Until the arrival of steam trawlers in the 20th century, Manx fishing boats were powered either by hand with oars, or more usually by wind power with canvas sails. As a result every fishing port on the Island would have had several sail lofts, where the sailmakers made and repaired the acres of sailcloth that would have been used to make by hand the sails for the Manx fishing fleet and other merchant vessels. This traditional trade disappeared as steam-driven and then diesel-powered fishing boats became more common.

Measurements: overall: 20.5 cm x 41 cm

Materials: zinc

Object name: stencil

Collection: Social History Collection

ID Number: 1960-0269


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