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New film focuses on Manx tholtans

Features photographs taken between 1965 and 1991 

A new film showcasing hundreds of photographs of tholtans around the Isle of Man has been released online.

Recorded in 1991 the photographer and author Mike Goldie presents a slideshow of photographs he took across the Island between 1965 and 1991.

His presentation includes tholtans from every parish including those on the Calf of Man. 

It also features structures perhaps outside of the strict definition of a ruined building including the Foxdale railway line in the 1960s and St Trinian’s Chapel when a tree still grew at one of its walls.

It has been released online by Culture Vannin as a film called ‘Tholtans of the Manx Crofter.’

Many of the ruins featured in the presentation have either deteriorated beyond recognition or else have disappeared completely.

The presentation opens with Cranstal Cottage in Bride, first photographed with the thatch still on in 1965, then with only one wall standing in the 1970s as the sea ate away at the coastline. 

Today nothing remains at all of Cranstal Cottage.

James Franklin, Online and Educational Resources Officer at Culture Vannin, said: "This presentation from 31 years ago offers a unique picture of the Island’s landscape which could not be repeated today. 

"In this, it is not only beautiful and insightful, but also poignant and so important."

Dr Breesha Maddrell, Director of Culture Vannin, added: "It is wonderful that Mike Goldie had the foresight to record this aspect of the changing face of the Island’s vernacular architecture, and, along with that, something of a traditional way of life. 

"It is a privilege now to be able to pass this on for all to see and enjoy."

The full film is just over two and a half hours long but 25 short extracts have also been prepared by Culture Vannin.

Mike Goldie was born at Laurel Bank, close to St John’s, in 1934. 

His photographs of tholtans were published in 1996 in a book co-authored with Gordon N. Kniveton called 'Tholtans of the Manx Crofter.’ Perhaps as many as 100 more tholtans appear in the video now online than feature in this book.

Tholtans of the Manx Crofter’ is now available on the Culture Vannin website and YouTube channel.

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