Historical Interest

Onchan is a district and the name of a parish which historically included parts of the capital, Douglas. Onchan has a thriving shopping centre and a large pleasure park, as well as glens and nature walks.

The name Onchan was derived from Kirk Coonachan, a church named after a Celtic Saint. Lieutenant Buckle Reeves is buried in the churchyard of Onchan's Parish Church (St Peter's) and was the last surviving officer to have sailed with Nelson on the Victory. Captain Bligh of the Bounty married a local girl in an earlier church on the same site.

Molly Carrooin's Cottage (Skillicorn Cottage)

Molly Carrooin's Cottage

The building which we refer to as Molly Carrooin’s Cottage started out life in the early 1700s.   At that time it was not a cottage but in fact a weaving shed used by Mr Crowe who lived in a cottage where the barber’s car park now stands. 

In the early 1800s this was turned into a cottage by the addition of a chimney stack on the outside of the building (most Manx cottages have the chimney stack on the inside and flue running up within the thickness of the gable wall).  In a will dated 1817 it was referred to as “my little house”. 

The cottage was thatched and the photograph on the mantelpiece, which was taken around about 1860, shows how it was.  Floor level was below the level of the road and therefore the earth floor of the cottage was subject to flooding from time to time.  When a slate roof was put on around 1900 the walls were raised in height and the floor level brought up. 

If you look at the side gable facing the Cassa Field you can see the projecting stones to which ropes were tied to hold down the thatch.  You can also see the line of the original height of wall and the amount by which it has been raised.  The cottage has never had water, gas or electricity let alone drainage. 

Molly Carrooin lived in the house up to the time of the First World War with her sister.  Their only means of support was by taking in washing and this they would dry on the bushes of the black smithy across the road where the Department of Transport depot now stands.  It is reputed that when one sister built up the fire to boil the water for the wash the other sister would go up to the Manx Arms with a jug and have it filled with ale to help them through their task.  When they left the cottage they moved to St Catherines Terrace which runs immediately behind the Manx Arms. 

The Molly Carrooincottage was presented to the commissioners in the 1970s by the Misses Skillicorn of Summerhill Road on condition that it was kept as a traditional Manx cottage.  The cottage has been furnished and is open from time to time courtesy of the Friends of Onchan’s Heritage.   

Fuel Ration Books

Motor Fuel Ration books were issued by the government to combat petrol shortages during the 1973 oil crisis, when the Organisation of Petroleum Producing Countries (OPEC) imposed an oil embargo on Western countries which had supported Israel during the Arab-Israeli Yom Kippur war. Ration books were issued on the basis of engine size and horse-power. http://www.ambaile.org.uk/en/item/item_photograph.jsp?item_id=36583

Oil prices rose and it was feared that there may be a 'run' on the petrol stations.

In December 1973, Onchan Village Commissioners applied and were granted rations for three vehicles:-

MMN 269

3 ton, 13 cwt

Class A

746 VMN

90 cwt 2 qtr 

Class B

MN 3955

140 cwt

Class C


The coupon entitlement depended on the unladen weight and on the type of fuel used.  



Unladen Weight

Coupon Type






6 ½ sheets


Diesel Road Vehicle

Over 1 ½ tons; not exceeding 5 tons


2 ½ sheets


Diesel Road Vehicle

Over 5 tons; not exceeding 8 tons


3 sheets

The basic ration was for a six month period and could be claimed for any vehicles that were currently in use and were licensed.    One claim could only be made per vehicle, even when the ownership was changed.   

Formal rationing proved unnecessary and the coupons were never used.

Onchan Youth and Community Centre

1979 is the year chosen by the Government of the Isle of Man to celebrate 1,000 years of believed unbroken self-government. Each local authority or district had been asked to assist in the celebrations by brining to light some part of its own history and thus our Island Heritage can be enjoyed by visitor and local alike.

In Onchan the Parish and Village Commissioners have joined together to produce a programme of events that should not only provide some enjoyment to their participants and spectators, but should ultimately provide a lasting benefit to 

the future generations of Onchan Residents. Each event promoted is intended to be fund raising, and the proceeds are to go towards the erection of a Youth and Community Centre on the Lily Pond site in the School Road Recreation Field.

Other events are being promoted by clubs, societies and even individuals in an effort to achieve this long sought after building. A 'Buy a Brick' scheme has been launched and purchasers of bricks stand a chance of winning prizes in Tombola to be held in November.

architects image. 

Onchan Local Plan

WRITTEN STATEMENT for consideration with the Planning Scheme Order (Proposals Map)

Department of Local Government and the Environment
(Rheynn Reiltys Ynnydagh as y Chymmyltaght)
Planning and Building Control Division,
Department of Local Government and the Environment,
Murray House,
Mount Havelock,
Isle of Man
IM1 2SF.


Motor Boats

Crogga Valley Ferries have fully restored on of the Motorboats which operated at Onchan Park.

Please see the youtube video for the full details.  

Hector Duff's 100th Birthday Celebrations

To celebrate Hector Duff MM BEM, WWII Veteran's 100th Birthday the three Onchan Schools compiled displays with information about the people who are remembered on the Onchan War Memorial.

There is just a selection of the work below.






History for location of War Memorial



Following the First World War a public collection was held for the erection of a War Memorial to those persons from the Parish of Onchan who lost their lives in the Great War.


The trustees of the late James Spittall agreed to give a small plot of land at the junction of Church Avenue and Main Road for the purpose of erecting a memorial. The Deed plan for such gift was prepared in June 1923 by Jos. E. Teare although the actual Deed of Conveyance was not prepared and indented until 15th November 1924.


War Memorial - Original Location The land was given to the "Onchan Trustees" who comprised the Captain of The Parish, Chairman of the Village Commissioners and Chairman of the Parish Commissioners with their respective successors in office being included in the expression Onchan Trustees.


The memorial was designed by Mr Archibald Knox with a wheel cross and lettering on the front face, the wheel cross with celtic interlace pattern being very similar to a Celtic cross in the porch of St. Peter's Church. The reverse has an artistically adapted replica of the carving on Thorid's Cross also in the porch of the Onchan Parish Church. The monumental mason was Mr. T.S. Quayle of St. Georges Street, Douglas and the large block of Irish limestone arrived on the Island in May 1923.


At the time of its unveiling it was described as being twelve feet long, twenty-eight inches wide and ten inches thick. It was set into a five-ton boulder which had been taken from part of the Howstrake Estate.


The unveiling took place on 16th November 1924. The memorial, which had been covered with a large Union Jack was unveiled by Mr & Mrs R M Broadbent late of Eskadale, Groudle. They had lost three sons during the war. The memorial was dedicated by the Reverend Robert Wakeford M.A, Vicar of Onchan. Also attending were the Reverend Aaron Smith Superintendent of the Douglas Primitive Methodist circuit and the Reverend S. Paul Hadley, Junior Wesleyan Minister. The service took place in the presence of His Excellency the Lieutenant Governor.


War Memorial - RelocatedBy indenture dated 10th November 1925 the trustees of James Spittall gave a further plot of land to the Onchan Trustees as an extension to the area occupied by the War Memorial. A Deed plan was drawn by Jos. E. Teare in December 1924.


The triple stone (flat plaque type) to commemorate those members of the district lost during the Second World War was also carved by the firm of Thomas Quayle of St. Georges’ Street to the design of Mr Wilfred T. Quayle, architect and surveyor of Athol Street, Douglas. It also was executed in Irish limestone.


Road widening works were necessitated in Onchan from the mid 1970's and this was undertaken on a phased basis. The result was the necessity to move the War Memorial which was undertaken firstly by the formality of the "Onchan Trustees" and the Spittall Trustees agreeing to the site being transferred to one held by the Onchan Village Commissioners between Elm Tree House and a proposed development incorporating a new library opposite the top of Royal Avenue. The Spittall Trustees agreed to surrender the land which would have had to revert back to them if the site was no longer required for a war memorial and the Commissioners undertook to provide the alternative site and to maintain and protect the War Memorial under the War Memorials (Local Authorities Powers Act 1927) The Commissioners undertook to do this by agreement signed 26th March 1982 and approval was granted at a sitting of Her Majesty's High Court of Justice

Chancery Division held at Douglas on 31st March 1982. The petition of the Commissioners to undertake the various exchanges of land and re-erection of the War Memorial was approved by the Isle of Man Local Government Board on 4th June 1982 and by Tynwald on 13th July.


The War Memorial was moved by Format Building 'techniques Limited leaving the bolder on the site and setting the memorial into a new mass concrete base. The Second World War tablets which had previously masked the bolder were placed at a slightly lower level so as not to obscure the First World War Memorial.



A short service was held on 26th September 1982, conducted by Canon Dennis Baggaley, M.A. which also incorporated the dedication of two memorial seats to the late Canon J. Duffield and the late Father J. McGrath.


NOTE: The boulder (glacially borne granite from Scotland) in which the First World War memorial was originally placed was removed in 1986 (Manx Heritage Year) and relocated at the other end of Main Road. Now known as the Heritage Stone it commemorates the amalgamation of Onchan Village Commissioners and Onchan Parish Commissioners on 1st April 1986.


 War Memorial - Drawing of new location


Onchan's Loss - The Great War Centenary

Great War - Centenary , full article available here Onchan's Loss

Registered Buildings

There are a number of registered buildings within the Local Government District of Onchan.  For further information please see the government website for registered buildings.  

Electric Car Charging Ports

Electric Car Charging Ports Installation, Onchan Park

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Library Assistant

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