Groudle Glen, Isle of Man


The Water Wheel, Groudle Glen, Isle of Man

On the back is printed:
British Empire Exhibition
Manx Kiosk, London —– 192-
Having a good time here but expect to have a better when I meet you in the Isle of Man.

Issued by the Isle of Man (Official) Board of Advertising and Information Free from C. P. Clague, Secretary.

1920s. (British Empire Exhibition was 1924-25)

Google Maps.

From Isle of Man: Groudle Glen, via the Wayback Machine:
In the year 1890, an enterprising businessman by the name of Mr. Richard Maitby Broadbent who owned the Bibaloe Beg farm in Onchan, purchased the lease for the whole of the Groudle Glen area from The Howstrake Estate. At that time the glen was in its natural state with grass, ferns and very few trees, indeed when the glen first opened to the public it was known as “The Fern Glen of the Isle of Man”.

The development of the glen continued with trees being planted and the trademark rustic bridges built across the river. A pathway was made from the entrance beside the hotel to a rocky inlet approximately half a mile around the headlands. The inlet was a perfect natural bowl, sheltered from the winds and it was decided to use it to its full potential by creating a sea-lion pool. To achieve this, the inlet was dammed and closed off, so creating a lovely pool area in which to house not only the sea-lions but even a polar bear. …
Broadbent then hit on the idea of introducing yet another attraction, a narrow (two-foot) gauge railway to run from the inner glen to the sea-lion pool. The little railway was completed in 1896, using entirely local labour. Shortly after, Mr. Broadbent took delivery of a small locomotive, aptly named the “Sea-lion”, along with three small coaches, which had arrived from England. It was to be advertised in the local press and guide books as the world’s smallest railway.

The polar bears were retired during the Great War. Their keeper at the time, Mr. Fred Kelly who lived in the cottage, the ruins of which can still be seen at the lower entrance to the glen, he had been under instructions to shoot them, but was unable to face the task, however we do not know the final outcome. The second World War saw the closure of the pool, and the sea-lions released.

Unfortunately when the line reopened in 1946 the Groudle company suffered badly at the hands of what had become a new post-war phenomenon, vandals. With a landslide on the headland making it impossible for the trains to reach the pool and the added fact that the sea lions were not replaced, it was decided to close the line.

Water Wheel

The glen has a water wheel and wheelhouse, which were first operated in about 1895. The wheel provided power for the glen’s fairy lights, and water was pumped up the glen to the hotel at the top. Later in its life, it was to become a feature in a well known 1986 BBC TV series called ‘Lovejoy”.

Images on Wikipedia Commons (more recent photos)

Isle of Man: Things to do