Small Island, big changes.
11 February 2015
There’s a saying locally that the ‘Manx don’t like change’. It’s actually quite an endearing phrase but not one I agree with!
Anyone familiar with the Isle of Man will know what a massive impact the Victorian era had on our town centres and tourism infrastructure. Our magnificent vintage railway network: The Steam Railway, The Manx Electric Railway and the Snaefell Mountain Railway (the latter built in an incredible 9 months); the sweeping Douglas Promenade, Douglas Harbour; the Horse Trams; the Camera Obscura; the Laxey Wheel; and the Gaiety Theatre; houses, hotels and of course, under the ground we have the sewerage infrastructure which was instigated and built in Victorian times.
Massive changes and investment, which not only galvanised the tourism industry with the Isle of Man becoming known as ‘the playground of Northern England’ but also provided improvements to quality of life in the Island at a cost which in today’s money would represent many hundreds of millions of pounds.
I often wonder what the local population in the Victorian era thought about all the ongoing developments and building work? Were they happy with the results? I’m sure there were healthy discussions and a lot of reticence in some quarters.
Tourism was to remain our main industry into the 1970’s and we have been left with a fantastic legacy with much of it preserved and still intact for us to enjoy.
Today, there are big plans for the development and regeneration of key sites around the Isle of Man but particularly in the capital Douglas with the launch of a Central Douglas Masterplan.
Change is healthy and it continues…it always has in the Isle of Man (as will the healthy discussions I’m sure..!)