Lost Manx church remembered

Mon, 15 May 2017

One of the most distinctive and unusual churches on the Isle of Man closed its doors finally on the first of this month, but now it will be remembered forever thanks to a project by Culture Vannin.

All Saints Church on Alexander Drive, Douglas, first opened its doors over 118 years ago, in July 1898. Initially built with a corrugated iron exterior, it did not last well in the Manx weather and it had to be rebuilt entirely after sixty years. Reopening on the 20th of April 1967, the new All Saints was one of the most startling and impressive structures on the Isle of Man.

Built with concrete and angular lines, the church was with the Sea Terminal in being one of the few major buildings on the Island built in a modernist style. However, it was not to last and structural problems were discovered which were estimated to cost around £400,000 to repair. For this reason, the church closed its doors for the last time on the 1st of May 2017.

However, one week before its closure, Culture Vannin went in to photograph and film the space so that it was documented and available for future generations to see.

59 high-resolution photographs and a short film have now been released through the Culture Vannin website. As well as recording the building inside and out, the materials are also designed to give a feel for the meaning of the place.

“Buildings are a part of our lives,” says James Franklin, Online and Educational Resources Officer at Culture Vannin, “so many personal stories and connections have run through this magnificent building, so it was important for us to try to capture something of that.”

The images and short video are a part of Culture Vannin’s on-going project to record the changing face of the Isle of Man and the Manx. As well as the freely available online archives of oral history recordings and video, there are over 70 other sets of photographs documenting parts of the Isle of Man which have now been lost.

“We are here to celebrate our culture and the tell some of the stories which define who we are. Buildings like All Saints are an important part of this.”

All of the files are accessible through the Culture Vannin website: http://culturevannin.im/image_collection_477335.html