Papers of the Tynwald Millennium Committee and its sub-committees

Archive Collection

Scope and Content

Contents include agendas, handwritten draft minutes, correspondence, accounts, Millennium Office staff member details and printed and ephemera materials. Committees documented are the Millennium committee (shortened to MILCOM by the administrator) and the following sub-committees: Parliamentary and Ceremonial (PARCOM), Publications and Publicity (PUBCOM), Artistic and Cultural (A&C), Security and Communications (SECURICOM) and Works (WORKCOM). Preparations for and reviews of events such as the Scottish week, royal visits, tattoo performance, garden party, dinners, presentations, and youth jamboree are recorded. Further material relates to the history of the official Manx tartan and a UK ‘Keep Britain Tidy’ Campaign encouraged throughout the Millennium celebrations.

Administrative / Biographical History

The Isle of Man is not part of the United Kingdom, but a Crown Dependency (a self-governing possession of the British Crown). Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II (b.1926) is acknowledged as Lord of Mann. As a Crown Dependency the Isle of Man is not subordinate to the government in the UK, therefore the Island has its own government with its legislative power held by its parliament The High Court of Tynwald. Tynwald claims to be the oldest continuous parliamentary assembly in the world, with a tradition of over 1,000 years of meetings being held. The two branches of Tynwald - the Lord's Council and the House of Keys - also have a long tradition. The Lord’s Council (now the Legislative Council) consisted of officers appointed by the Lord who were assigned specific duties and were available for him to consult as he wished. The House of Keys originally consisted of men who through land ownership and family succession were known as ‘the worthiest men’. Alongside the Deemsters (judges) these two branches considered issues sent to them by the Lord and advised and assisted him. Today the branches sit alone discussing Manx legislation and together as Tynwald Court consider matters of policy and finances (while still voting separately).

Tynwald Day (5 July) is the National Day of the Isle of Man and on this day the Tynwald body congregates in the western village of St John’s. A service is conducted in the Royal Chapel of St John the Baptist and the main ceremony is conducted on Tynwald Hill. The two branches of Tynwald, the Lieutenant Governor and the representative of the Lord of Mann attend the ceremony. During the ceremony by statute, each Act of Tynwald must be promulgated on Tynwald Hill within eighteenth months of enactments and any person may approach Tynwald Hill and present a Petition for Redress.

In 1977 the Isle of Man Government proposed to celebrate the millennium anniversary of Tynwald in 1979 with a year-long celebration of events. To this end the official Millennium committee and its several sub-committees were established, tasked with organizing and co-ordinating numerous events. The Millennium committee was chaired by Betty Hanson Member of the House of Keys (MHK) (1918-2008), whilst Charles Kerruish (1917-2003), Speaker of the House of Keys chaired the parliamentary and ceremonial sub-committee, Geoffrey Crellin MHK (1914-1998) chaired the artistic and cultural sub-committee and the events committee was chaired by Clifford Irving MHK (1914-2004). Further sub-committees included publications and publicity, security and communications and a works committee. The combined efforts of the organizers and the Island’s community produced approximately 340 events and projects with pageants, festivals, exhibitions and special ceremonies taking place throughout 1979. A royal visit was conducted by King Olav V (1903-1991) of Norway, highlighting the strong Norse connection many Islanders felt. Queen Elizabeth II presided over the sitting of Tynwald in July, special issue coins and stamps were released and a twenty feet long wall tapestry depicting Manx history was created.

Conditions Governing Access

A file containing a list of Millennium Office staff members and their terms of employment will be subject to data protection.

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

Archivist's Note

The biographical information was gathered from Dollin Kelly’s (ed.) New Manx Worthies (2006: 222-223), Gordon N. Kniveton’s (ed.) Here is the News: A Chronicle of the 20th Century 1951-2000 (2000, Vol. 2: 146) and the website http://www.tynwald.org.im/Pages/default.aspx.

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

Related Material

Related material held at Manx National Heritage includes numerous library resources. Other material includes archives relating to Tynwald. Reference numbers: MS 08191, MS 09478, MS 09768 & MS 09811.