Descriptive Gazetteer Entry for DOUGLAS

DOUGLAS, a town in the Isle of Man; partly in Kirk-Braddan parish, but mostly in that of Kirk-Onchan; at the mouth of the river Blackwater, on the SW side of a crescent-shaped bay, 11 miles NE of Castletown, and 75 NW of Liverpool. It was originally a village of clay huts, occupied principally by smugglers; but has become the chief port of the island, a seat of considerable traffic, a highly-esteemed watering-place, and a great resort of strangers. The older streets are irregular, and in some instances very narrow; but the newer ones are good; and the outskirts and environs include crescents, terraces, many pretty villas, and much fine scenery. The custom-house, once the residence of the Duke of Athole, is a handsome edifice. The court-house and the oddfellows' hall also are interesting structures. Castle Mona, built by the fourth Duke of Athole, for his own residence, is now a hotel. St. George's church stands pleasantly at the west end of the town, and was built in 1761-80; St. Matthew's church is in the market-place, and was built in 1711; St. Thomas' church stands at the north end of Castle-street, was built in 1850, and is a Gothic edifice, with tower and spire; St. Barnabas church stands in Fort-street, was built in 1830, and has a spire 140 feet high; and all are p. curacies in the diocese of Sodor and Man; St. Barnabas in the patronage of Trustees, the other three in that of the Bishop. Value of St. G., £245; of St. M., £85;* of St. T, . £200; of St. B., £240.* There are also a floating chapel for mariners; chapels for Scotch Presbyterians, Independents, Plymouth Brethren, Wesleyan Methodists, Primitive Methodists, and Roman Catholics; commercial and united service newsrooms; good libraries; a mechanics' institute; a theatre and several billiard rooms; a house of industry and a dispensary; free and other schools; a head post office, ‡ a telegraph station, and three chief inns. The bathing appliances are excellent; and include hot and cold baths, bathing machines, and caves in the rocks along the beach. The pier, with a lighthouse at the head, is 540 feet long and fully 40 feet wide; was built in 1795-1800, at a cost of £25, 000: admits vessels of 10 feet draught; and serves as a public promenade. St. Mary's or Connister-rock, outside, was the scene of the wreck of the St. George steamer in 1830; and has now a refuge tower, built in 1832, by Sir W. Hillary, for the benefit of distressed mariners. The bay measures 2¼ miles across, and is exposed, but might be converted into a harbour of refuge for the Irish sea, and would make a fine basin of from 40 to 50 acres, with good anchorage in from 30 to 35 feet water. A lighthouse stands on Douglas-head, 1½ mile SE of the town; was built in 1832; and shows a fixed light, 104 feet high, visible at the distance of 15 miles. Steamers ply regularly to Liverpool, Whitehaven, and Dublin; and omnibuses run, in summer, to the several towns in the island. Markets are held on Saturdays; a linen manufactory, a good coasting trade, and extensive fisheries are carried on; and four weekly newspapers are published. Pop., 12, 511. Houses, 1, 743.

(John Marius Wilson, Imperial Gazetteer of England and Wales (1870-72))

Linked entities:
Feature Description: "a town"   (ADL Feature Type: "cities")
Administrative units: the Isle of Man CrProt
Place: Douglas

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