Minute book of the Palace (Douglas, Isle of Man) Ltd

Archive Collection

Scope and Content

The deposit comprises of minutes of meetings of directors of the company and minutes of meetings of the advertising, amusement, opera house, finance, supervising and emergency committees.

Administrative / Biographical History

In the nineteenth century the Isle of Man tourism industry was flourishing as people flocked to the Manx seaside for recreation and respite. Indoor amusements were deemed essential and enterprises such as the Derby Castle Company Limited were already underway in Douglas. In the late 1880s the Castle Mona estate (situated in the centre of Douglas bay) became available. It was offered to both Derby Castle and the Falcon Cliff (Hotel and Pavilion) however the £80,000 price tag was beyond the reach of both companies. On 24 October 1888 the estate was taken over by a newly formed company called the Manx Syndicate. It was headed by John A. Brown (c.1839-1925) who was editor and proprietor of the Isle of Man Weekly Times and Daily Times and nine other local businessmen. The syndicate initially offered the estate to the Isle of Man Government as a potential residence for the Governor and to the Douglas municipal authorities as a park or museum. Both parties declined resulting in the syndicate undertaking the development itself, by selling off the Castle Mona Hotel and some land for housing and constructing the Palace Pavilion. This 200 x 100 ft. ballroom opened in 1887 with an adjoining Opera House.

In 1890 a new company was formed (still headed under John Brown) to manage the Palace complex called the Palace (Douglas, Isle of Man) Limited and thus the Manx Syndicate disbanded. The 1890s saw stiff competition amongst the Island’s entertainment businesses, with numerous venues in Douglas such as the Palace complex, Derby Castle, the Marina Pavilion (later the Gaiety Theatre) and the Falcon Cliff. It was decided that a merger of the entertainment companies was necessary if the Island’s tourist industry wanted to survive. Therefore in 1898 and under the leadership of John Brown the Palace Company Limited dissolved and amalgamated with Derby Castle, the Marina Pavilion and the Falcon Cliff; becoming known as the Palace and Derby Castle Company Limited (see MS 09398 for more information).

Conditions Governing Access

No regulations or restrictions are implemented on this material.

Advance notification of a research visit is advisable by emailing library@mnh.gov.im

Archivist's Note

The biographical information was gathered from the Isle of Man Times (16 July 1921) and G.N Kniveton’s (eds.) Douglas Centenary: a Celebration of the Centenary of the Borough of Douglas, 1896-1996 (1996). Isle of Man newspapers available online at http://www.newspapers.gov.im/Default/Skins/IOMDemo/Client.asp?skin=IOMDemo&enter=true&AppName=2.

Fonds-level description created by Eleanor Williams (MNH Project Archivist), November 2015.

Related Material

Related material held by Manx National Heritage includes the 'Archives of the Palace and Derby Castle Company Limited'. Reference number: MS 09398. Further related material includes numerous library and photographic archive resources of the Palace Ltd, and later the Palace and Derby Castle Company Limited.

The dissolved Company file of The Palace (Douglas Isle of Man) Ltd is housed at the Isle of Man Public Record Office, Douglas. Reference number: S2/109.