Harbour Lights – Minor Lighthouses of the Isle of Man: A Guiding Light…

Tracey Dean Interviewed by Paul Moulton for MT TVHarbour Lights – Minor Lighthouses of the Isle of Man: A Guiding Light...

The Isle of Man Post Office is pleased to present Harbour Lights, a set of six stamps depicting minor lighthouses around the Isle of Man. We commissioned local artist Tracey Dean to prepare new paintings which truly capture the elegance of the familiar landmarks.
Local historian Stan Basnett writes:
The principal Lighthouses around the Isle of Man are maintained by the Commissioners of Northern Lights and are not the only lighthouses around the Island. Each harbour being protected by minor lights erected on the extremities of piers and breakwaters many of which are also being fitted with an audible device such as a horn or bell for use in fog.

Harbour Lights – Minor Lighthouses of the Isle of Man A Guiding Light
When built their purpose was vital to vessels entering harbour at night or in restricted visibility.
Their importance has since diminished through the use of modern equipment such as radar and GPS. They still however have a useful part to play as an aid to navigation. Prior to the Revestment Act of 1765 the responsibility for the Island’s harbours lay with the Duke of Atholland the Island’s Government. After that date the harbours came under the control of the Admiralty and the Crown. Ultimately they reverted to the Isle of Man Harbour Commissioners and still remain the responsibility of the Manx Government through the Department of Infrastructure
The outer harbour at Castletown is protected by a small breakwater on the end of which is a superb limestone built lighthouse. It carries an inscription that clearly states that it was built in AD 1849 at which time Castletown was the capital of the Island and the harbour was more important than now. The lighthouse displays an occulting red light every 15 seconds and is visible for 8 miles. The approach to the inner harbour carries a smaller “pepper pot” lighthouse displaying an occulting red light every 4 seconds visible for 4 miles.

Harbour Lights – Minor Lighthouses of the Isle of Man A Guiding Light

This stamp depicts the lighthouse on the end of the Battery Pier at Douglas, which was completed in 1876 and formed the outer breakwater for the harbour. The light exhibited alternate white and red lights every 15 seconds and had a bell fog signal of one ring every 2 seconds. When a new breakwater was completed in 1983 a new light was erected on an unpretentious metal mast and as a result the original light now displays a considerably reduced quick flashing red light.
The harbour at Laxey owes its origin to the lead mining industry. Responsibility for it passed to the IOM Harbour Commissioners in 1890 who then commenced work on the construction of a breakwater which was completed in 1893. The stone built lighthouse on the seaward end exhibits an occulting green light every 3 seconds visible for 7 miles. The smaller inner light on the end of Rowe’s Pier displays an occulting red light every 3 seconds also visible for 7 miles.

Harbour Lights – Minor Lighthouses of the Isle of Man: A Guiding Light

Peel harbour is protected by five lights and the one depicted on this stamp is the oldest and located on the outer breakwater which was completed in 1896. It is an elegant octagonal cast iron structure erected on the raised head at the extremity of the breakwater. It displays a white occulting light every 7 seconds and is visible for 11 miles. It did have a fog signal in the form of a bell giving 4 rings every 12 seconds.
The harbour entrance at Ramsey has a channel trained between two piers. The South Pier was extended in 1876 and the stamp depicts the hexagonal cast iron lighthouse erected at its seaward end. It displays an occulting red light every 5 seconds and is visible for 8 miles. As the channel is effectively a navigable channel the North Pier exhibits a green light as an aid to ships entering the port. In the background is the Ramsey Queen’s Pier, now disused, which was built as a low water landing pier.
The harbour at Port St Mary has two piers. The Alfred Pier completed in 1886 protects the outer harbour and until recently carried one of the elegant hexagonal cast iron lighthouses but a severe storm washed it off the pier and it has been replaced with a light on a steel post. The drying inner harbour is protected by the Quay which is a much earlier structure and carries its original lighthouse, depicted on the stamp, which exhibits an occulting red light every 3 seconds visible for 8 miles.
Please visit our website at www.iomstamps.com to find out more about our stamps and products.

Look Who Loves Our London 2012 Paul Smith Olympic Stamps!

Look Who Loves Our London 2012 Paul Smith Olympic Stamps!

Lord Sebastian Coe - chairman of the London Organising Committee for the Olympic Games.Exclusive picture by Peter Jennings FRPSL, FRGS

Look who’s a fan of our London 2012 Olympic Games Stamps by Sir Paul SmtihLord Sebastian Coe! Lord Coe was kind enough to pose for us and sign some of our stamps for us.What a gent!



By Peter Jennings FRPSL, FRGS



Lord Seb Coe, the world-famous Great Britain middle-distance runner, and Chair of the  London Organising Committee for the Olympic Games, has autographed a sheetlet of the superb IOM £1 “runners” 2012 Olympic Games stamp, designed by Sir Paul Smith.

Seb Coe, who headed the Olympic bid to bring the 2012 Summer Olympics to London, won the 1500m gold medal at the 1980 Moscow Olympic Games and successfully and mesmerisingly defended his title four years later at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympic Games, also agreed to be photographed holding the IOM stamps.


Lord Coe, a former conservative MP, and Sir Craig Reedie, IOC Member, are both members of the East India Club in London and had spoken and answered questions together with Sir Keith Mills, Deputy Chair of LOCOG, after a recent “London 2012” dinner for members and their guests.


A range of penetrating and discerning questions were all answered with candour and sparkle but under strict “Chatham House” rules, meaning that nothing may be divulged. Such was the enthusiasm of the distinguished trio  answering questions that the event did not finish until after 11pm, an hour way beyond Club custom. The exclusive photograph I was able to take shows Lord Coe holding the IOM stamps as he left his club.


The Olympic story began in February 1894 when the father of the modern Olympic movement, Baron Pierre de Coubertin, visited England as a guest of Sports Club president, Sir John Astley. He had come to England to gather support to re-launch the Olympic Games. Among the people he talked to were the Prince of Wales, Lord Desborough, founder of the British Olympic Association, the Rt Hon Arthur Balfour, the future Prime Minister, and Charles Herbert, Secretary of the Amateur Athletics Association, who helped to design the Olympic track and field programme.


A dinner was held at the Sports Club, (now part of today’s  East India Club) in what would be Coubertin’s last planning meeting before the Sorbonne conference in June 1894, where the International Olympic Committee was  officially established. From those early beginnings to the present day, the East India Club has retained its connections with the IOC. What a very fitting  venue for Lord Coe to autograph this splendid sheet of IOM 2012 Olympic stamps!



Look Who Loves Our London 2012 Paul Smith Olympic Stamps!

Our London 2012 Olympic Games stamps by Sir Paul Smith as signed by Lord Sebastian Coe!Exclusive picture by Peter Jennings FRPSL, FRGS

Titanic – Ship Of Dreams – A Reflection…

Titanic - Ship Of Dreams - A Reflection

The Isle of Man Post Office presents a set of six stamps to commemorate the 100th Anniversary of the loss of RMS Titanic after striking an iceberg. It is one of the deadliest maritime disasters in peacetime history, more than 1,500 passengers and crew died in the early hours of 15th April 1912.

Captained by Edward John Smith, one of the company’s most respected and experienced officers, and billed as the largest and most luxurious ship in the world, the Titanic was on her maiden voyage from Southampton to New York, when tragedy struck.

The trip had begun five days earlier when 914 passengers boarded the liner with 884 members of crew, including a squash professional, swimming pool lifeguards, Turkish bath attendants and a chaperone for single women in third class – four firemen missed the sailing because they were in the pub. First class passengers lost included John Jacob Astor, Benjamin Guggenheim and Macy’s owner Isidor Strauss. Chairman of the White Star Line, Joseph Bruce Ismay, survived the tragedy.

Titanic - Ship Of Dreams - A Reflection...

They marvelled at the grand staircase, which ran through six decks, the sumptuous staterooms, oak and mahogany panelling and luxurious fitted carpets, before being escorted to their rooms by stewards.

Second and third class passengers entered through a corridor and were directed to their rooms. They included schoolteacher Lawrence Beesley, who wrote an account of the disaster and seven-year-old schoolgirl Eva Hart, whose life was saved after her mother had a premonition and refused to sleep. At midday Titanic steamed into the Channel and headed for Cherbourg, where a further 274 passengers joined the voyage and then on to Queenstown, in southern Ireland, where they picked up a further 136 passengers and the Irish mail. At 1.30pm on 11th April, Titanic headed into the Atlantic for what was expected to be a six-day voyage.

Titanic - Ship Of Dreams - A Reflection...

The first class passengers enjoyed lavish facilities. The catering was exquisite: on 14th April, the ten-course dinner included oyster, consommé, poached salmon, filet mignon, lamb, duckling or sirloin of beef, punch romaine, roast squab, asparagus, paté de foie gras and Waldorf pudding. But for some, it was to be their last supper.

Titanic - Ship Of Dreams - A Reflection...

At 11.39pm lookout, Fred Fleet, spotted the iceberg looming in the dark. He rang the bell three times and telephoned the bridge. First Officer Murdoch immediately gave the order ‘hard-a-starboard’ and signalled the engine room ‘stop’ but the liner was cruising at 22 knots and within a minute it had struck the iceberg. Captain Smith rushed to the bridge. After inspecting the damage, it was clear that the ship was doomed: although there was only a small hole, the iceberg had buckled the steel plates and sheered the rivets below the waterline; water was spilling over the bulkheads, flooding the first six compartments and weighing the At 12.05am, the order was given to uncover the lifeboats. But the operation was disorganised. Eighteen lifeboats were launched – the first at 12.45am; the last at 2.05am. Ten minutes after the last lifeboat was launched, the bridge was under water and the forward funnel collapsed. Within five minutes the Titanic gave a sudden lurch and threw the two remaining lifeboats into the sea. There was a rumbling like thunder from the bowels of the ship and at 2.20am the lights went out and the Titanic sank, plunging more than 1,500 people, including Captain Smith, into the icy sea. But it was the heroism of the band that will always be remembered. As the stern began to rise, violinist Wallace W Hartley, who was band leader, told the other seven musicians they could stand down. But they remained. All of them sacrificed their lives for their courage.

Titanic - Ship Of Dreams - A Reflection...