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Cover and pages from 'The Manx Cad
  “Upon returning from a trip to America Lord Vivian found that his wife was living in the Isle of Man with Alfred Curphey. ”
The Manx Cad , page 25
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   pic of the Ballamoar carvings  
The Manx Cad
  We always like our books to be well
illustrated and this was something
of a challenge for The Manx Cad.
  To start with, there is only one
known photograph of the man
himself, and it’s not a very good one.
Having said that, the slightly
shadowy picture which appears on
the front cover looming over two
of Curphey’s conquests is perhaps
indicative of his shady character.
  Old photographs of Ballamoar were
kindly loaned by local collectors,
and the book’s author, John Cannan,
spent a lot of time chasing
illustrations which helped to bring
the Manx Cad’s unusual lifestyle to
life. A particular favourite of the
publisher is a photograph of a
first-class cabin on board the
SS Heliopolis. Later called SS Royal
George the ship was commissioned
by a firm which included Alfred
Curphey as one of its directors.
  The modern photograph above is of
a carving at Ballamoar commissioned
by Curphey and undertaken by local
firm Kelly and Sons in 1906.
  The Manx Cad
The Remarkable Story of Alfred Curphey,
Squire of Ballamoar

By John Cannan

page from the manx cad

Unusually for a Manx book most of the ‘action’
doesn’t happen on the Isle of Man. Curphey was
a traveller, visiting various states of America,
Mexico and Egypt, usually by the most
up-to-date means and staying in first class
hotels. He rubbed shoulders with the rich and
famous including the composer Giacomo Puccini
and the writer Agatha Christie. Almost always
such luxury was paid for by someone
else’s wife.

page from the manx cad

He bought Ballamoar from the Isle of Man Bank,
knocked it down and built something grander.
He was then given the unofficial title of Squire
by the Ramsey Courier – not at all bad for the son
of a widowed housekeeper whose husband had
died in a lunatic asylum. Locals got used to
seeing Curphey’s exotic visitors in the town,
possibly being chauffeured in his Brasier car,
one of the first cars on the island. And yet
Curphey had no reliable income. His money
came from speculation and sponging.

page from the manx cad

Curphey wanted to cut a dash and didn’t seem
to mind how he did it. Whether he was providing
tea for groups of local Manx schoolchildren, or
working as a British secret agent, or seducing
the wife of a robber baron, Curphey got noticed.
He may have been unscrupulous to the point of
villainy but he had a very interesting life.

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