Sunday, 28 September 2008

Monday, 22 September 2008

Isle of Man

I just searched Isle of Man on Specialist Auctions and got 241 results from inputting Isle Man. That is a good return. The 30 mile long Isle of Man is widely recognised as a beautiful tourist island in the middle of the Irish Sea. It has a long and proud history. Tynwald claims to be the the oldest continually running Parliament in the world. It was an island settled by the Vikings whose influence is still apparent. A version of a Celtic language is Manx. Another very identifiable symbol is the three legs of Man symbolising the difficulty of overthrowing the Manxmen. Yet another classic image of the island is the Laxey Wheel, the Lady Isabella. This huge waterwheel has been a tourist attraction ever since it was built around 1854 to drain the lead mines. Passengers on the Snaefell Mountain Railway have a good view as they pass to the 2036' mountain summit from where on a good day five kingdoms are on view. That railway is just one of five vintage systems left in operation. The railways have produced plenty of collectables as have the shipping and aviation lines that have served the island. The island plays up to its history and Manx stamps and coins are collectables in their own right. I am about to upload the item just above which is a newsletter about these from a couple of years ago just when they celebrated their own car building industry. This was the Peel microcar made in that little fishing port around 1960. Amongst the 241 listings were many of my own for ephemera from the railways, buses and ships serving the islands. More unusual items cover a competitor to the Steam Packet (another good search) called Norwest who worked from Fleetwood. The Laxey Wheel, Steam Packet ships and the railways readily appear in some of the stamps being listed. There are even Manx stamps on offer produced for use in mainland Britain during one of our postal strikes. The term Manxman is a good search as it covers one of the most famous ships which before it ceased working in 1982 became a film star in Chariots of Fire. The Tourist Trophy TT, Manx Grand Prix or Six Day Trials are worth searching for. These refer to the motor cycle races for which the island is famous. I can offer shipping handbills covering these operations and there are stamps and covers available from other vendors ( TT Races as a search got results). A number of attractive first day covers from the island are on offer from Specialist Auctions. A newish function is that the Isle of Man has its own heading now in Books>History>Local History>Isle of Man so hopefully that can grow. All in all we are not doing the island badly but we will as ever welcome more bidders and vendors.

Thursday, 18 September 2008


Lake Windermere is the best known of the four main lakes of the British lake district. I define main in a clever way by the lakes on which scheduled passenger boat services have worked. By this score Ullswater, Derwentwater and Coniston are the others. The Lake District is a British National Park and a centre of National Trust activity. An abundant literature including famous poets like Wordsworth and Auden and range of collectables is bound to follow. Various items can be found through Specialist including (not from me) Goss ware, other china, and postcards. Search Windermere, Lake District, Lakeside, Ullswater and you will soon get results. My special take is transport paperwork from the area and I can offer a wide range from the vintage to the recent. Windermere is especially well served. The illustration is one of my lots, the 1960 timetables. I have material on offer from the late 1950s forwards. Old handbills, a very attractive sequence of brochures, even from this 21st century, they continue to be attractive, some tickets, can all be found. There is also the Cumbria full public transport timetable, a now deceased beast. Material from the Lakeside & Haverthwaite railway connects to the bottom end of Windermere whilst a Ravenglass search takes you over to the famous miniature railway on the western edges of the Lake District and to the standard gauge coastal railway which is very scenic as it runs between the sea and the mountains. The old names for the area were Cumberland, Furness and Westmorland and each of these as a search will reveal more material. Happy hunting.