Search records

'Ellan Vannin' spar box

Description: Laxey Miner's spar box with three legs emblem in centre, 'Ellan Vannin Son Dy Brach' and 'Stabit Quocunque Jerceris'.

These spar boxes were made by miners from Laxey during their spare time, using waste material from the mining industry. The Laxey mines chiefly produced lead and zinc ore, which were in high demand in Victorian Britain. Zinc in particular is a component of brass. The Laxey mines at their height were the chief producers of this metal in the British Isles. Along with metal ore, large quantities of quartz and other minerals came to the surface, but were discarded. The miners built these into decorative cabinets, which would catch the light and were reminiscent of the magnificent natural displays of quartz which they came across in underground galleries. The Laxey Wheel also attracted a significant number of tourists at this time, and a piece of quartz was considered a good souvenir. Some miners were able to earn additional income by selling cabinets like this one to wealthy visitors. This example is of further interest in that it incorporates the Manx Gaelic Ellan Vannin Son Dy Brach, 'Isle of Man For Ever.' The Manx language was still widely spoken at this time.

Measurements: overall: 60 cm x 40 cm x 29 cm

Materials: glass, paper, silk, stone/carbonate, stone/other, wood

Object name: spar box

Collection: Social History Collection

ID Number: R-0836

Subject tags : #MM100COLLECTIONS


Optional, not displayed

Manx National Heritage (MNH) will always put you in control of the information we send you. Read our privacy policy