Located at the mouth of the River Douglas lies the Isle of Mans largest and capital town , Douglas. Due to Douglas’ ties with Liverpool in the 18th century, thew town grew from a small settlement to a large industrialised town, so much so that the government relocated to Douglas from Castletown. The famous annual motorbike race starts and finishes in the town of Douglas.
Douglas has a number of attractions and items of interest:
The Tower of Refuge is a small castle-like shelter built upon Conister Rock in Douglas Bay as a sanctuary for shipwrecked sailors. Construction was instigated by Sir William Hillary, founder of the RNLI.
Douglas Head is home to the Grand Union Camera Obscura which has recently undergone restoration and is open to the public during the summer months. Other artefact’s and remnants of Victorian Tourism can still be found on walks around the area.
The horse-drawn trams that run along the promenade from the Sea Terminal to the Manx Electric Railway station from spring to early autumn.
Steam trains run 15 miles from Douglas railway station to Port Erin in the south of the Island.
The Grandstand on Glencrutchery Road marks the start and finish of the annual TT Races and various other motor sports.
Victoria Road Prison was the first purpose-built prison in the Isle of Man. Opened in 1891, the prison closed in 2008.
The Gaiety Theatre and the Villa Marina are popular venues for all manner of stage acts – from rock music to comedy to drama to ballet. The Gaiety Theatre is one of the best surviving examples of the work of Frank Matcham and dates from 1900. Both venues have recently undergone extensive renovations.
The award-winning Manx Museum in Kingswood Grove is a treasure house which contains many of the most important cultural artefact’s relating to the Manx nation. Some of the highlights include the Calf of Man Crucifixion Stone, the Pagan Lady’s necklace from the Viking excavations at Peel Castle, and the largest collection of Archibald Knox materials. It also houses the National Art Collection, and the National Archives.
The Jubilee clock is a street clock built in 1887 in commemoration of the Golden Jubilee of Queen Victoria’s reign. It is located at the foot of Victoria Street and Loch Promenade. The location also marks one terminus of the Upper Douglas Cable Tramway
Other buildings of interest include Isola restaurant, in John Street, and the Douglas Hotel, on the North Quay, both merchants’ houses from the mid-eighteenth century; The Castle Mona (formerly the Quality Hotel), a magnificent seaside mansion built by John Murray, 4th Duke of Atholl in 1804, currently awaiting refurbishment; and the Loch Promenade, a magnificent curving terrace of former boarding houses dating from the 1870s. Douglas is becoming increasingly renowned as it saw the first architectural essays of the Arts and Crafts architect Baillie Scott.
The breakwater extension which was completed in 1983 was opened by Princess Alexandra and built outside the existing smaller one, which carried a rail-mounted crane
The Sunken Gardens on Loch Promenade were created as a result of the widening of the promenade at the turn of the twentieth century. A construction line was installed for this task.
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