The Steam Packet Company has donated three artefacts to Manx National Heritage, which it’s hoped will eventually join the Company’s gallery at the House of Manannan.
The items were delivered to the MNH’s store at Balthane, where they will undergo restoration. The three artefacts are:
• A carving of the Three Legs from the paddle wheel cover of Mona’s Queen II (1885-1929), the Company’s last operational paddle steamer. The Three Legs were positioned above the Company’s Fort Street offices for many years and now need restoration work
• The bell from Lady of Mann I (1930 – 1971), one of the vessels that took part in Dunkirk and D–Day during World War II
• A ship’s telegraph (origin unknown)
Matthew Richardson, Curator of Social History for Manx National Heritage, said: ‘We are delighted to receive these wonderful items from the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company, and we would like to thank John Watt in particular for his efforts in arranging their transfer to us. Two items especially illustrate the very important role that the Company has played beyond Manx waters in time of conflict, and remind us of the dangers that the Company’s ships, crewed largely by Manx personnel, faced in the two world wars.
‘The carving of the Three Legs comes from the paddle wheel cover of Mona’s Queen II, which was engaged as a troop transport during the First World War. On one occasion in the English Channel she encountered a U-boat and her captain decided to engage the submarine by ramming it.
‘These three legs might well have been the last sight the U-boat commander saw, before his fatally damaged vessel sank beneath the waves. The bell meanwhile is from the Lady of Mann, which took part in the evacuation of the British and French armies from Dunkirk, under ferocious air attack, in May 1940.
‘We hope that in due course, after the appropriate conservation treatment, all three items will be on display as part of the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company gallery at the House of Manannan in Peel. Here they will join a range of other objects, in displays which chart the long history of the Company.’
Steam Packet Company Chief Executive Mark Woodward said: ‘We are incredibly proud of the Company’s heritage, and the gallery at the House of Manannan is a fitting tribute to everyone who has been involved with the Company during the 184 years it has served the Island. We look forward to seeing these three artefacts on display for everyone to see.’
Matthew Richardson, Curator of Social History for Manx National Heritage, and Steam Packet Company Marketing and Online Manager Renée Caley with the Three Legs carving from the paddle wheel cover of Mona’s Queen II at MNH’s Balthane Store.