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Cover and pages from 'Castletown
  This may look like a footbridge – and indeed it is – but it was built in 1913 to disguise
a sewer. Originally it was supported on twelve pillars which caused local doctor Rowland
Jones to Christen it “Apostles Bridge”… The name is particularly appropriate as Apostles
Bridge gives access to Paradise, the area before Malew Street and Mill Street. ”
Castletown: past & present , page 69
 
 
blank top
   pic of Castletown castle and inner harbour 14  
 
Castletown: past & present
 
  Most of the old photographs and images used in this book are drawn
from Ray Stanfield’s extensive
collection of postcards. The first
picture postcards were published
in Britain in 1894 and millions were
sent over the next twenty years.
Local photographers would often
produce them in quite short runs to
tempt customers to send or collect
them as holiday souvenirs.
 
  But post cards were also the text
messages of their day. Before
everyone had a phone, the only way
to contact friends and relatives was
to write to them. Post was delivered
several times a day, so it was
perfectly possible for a postcard to
arrive the same day it was sent –
within the island at least. Post your
card early enough and you could even
get a reply the same day as deliveries
went on into the evening. And
postcards were cheaper to send
than letters.
 
  People therefore sent postcards for
all sorts of reasons. Their main
importance in this book are the
images on the front, of course.
Even so, as with its sister volumes
Peel: past & present and
Port Erin: past & present,
when we were putting the book
together we were often fascinated by
the glimpses the messages gave us
of the lives of those who had written
them so long ago.
 
  Castletown: past & present
Home to probably the most complete mediaeval castle in Europe, Castletown has not always had an easy relationship with the ancient stronghold in the town’s centre. The castle has been used as royal residence, courtroom, museum and gaol, and is still one of the largest buildings on the Isle of Man.

page 11 from Castletown:past & present

Castletown grew up around it, to service the garrison’s needs, but maintained a civic pride of its own. Its slightly sleepy aura today belies its history as stronghold, former island capital and bustling port. Books offering a peek into what a place looked like a century ago are always fascinating, and Castletown offers more contrasts than most.

page 29 from Castletown:past & present



There are surprises too. Castletown was once home to a world-famous museum of magic and witchcraft. A local school is renowned for annually setting the world’s most difficult quiz. And, each year, the quiet town hosts the World Tin Bath Championship. The old photographs show as many social differences as architectural ones.

Much has changed, of course, but it’s often surprising just how much has remained the same.

page 29 from Castletown:past & present

Castletown: past & present joins its sister publications Peel: past & present and Port Erin: past & present in offering a fascinating glimpse into the Isle of Man’s past.




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