Prom’s WW2 past should be marked

Post holes in the Promenade, which marked the area where the fence stood of the WW2 Internment Camp. MNH are trying to preserve them

Post holes in the Promenade, which marked the area where the fence stood of the WW2 Internment Camp. MNH are trying to preserve them

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Douglas seafront’s role as a Second World War internment camp should be recognised in some way as part of the £21m promenades revamp project.

That’s the view of the director of Manx National Heritage Edmund Southworth, who said the heritage body has had an input in the development of the promenades refurbishment project.

Final design details of the scheme are still being worked on.

But the MNH director said it is important that any scheme should recognise the significance of the promenade to the island – including its role as an internment camp.

This could include marking the location of the post holes, still visible on Queen’s Promenade, for the barbed wire fence that once surrounded the camp.

Mr Southworth said: ‘We’ve been involved in the last couple of years from time to time in the development of the scheme and we’ve had the opportunity to make comments to the department.

‘We responded a while ago to the formal consultation but we are aware the plans have changed since. We will obviously respond as we feel appropriate to any planning application that’s submitted.

‘We wanted to emphasise the importance of understanding the significance of the promenade to the town and the island.’

He said that one unique significance of the promenade is its use in World War Two as an internment camp.

And he told the Examiner that MNH has suggested this needs to be recognised in some way and any traces of that history need to be recorded during any engineering works

He said: ‘We know where the posts were, the marks are still visible but won’t be once the road is rebuilt. This is an opportunity to record traces that survive.

‘We don’t think it’s appropriate to keep the postholes but it would be appropriate to recognise them in some way.’

He suggested that could be done by having a feature in the road surface, using different coloured tarmac or an information panel describing the location and significance of this important historical feature.

Turning the issue of the horse trams, Mr Southworth said MNH would support their relocation onto the promenade walkway if that ensured their future survival.

He said: ‘Manx National Heritage is very keen to see the retention of the horse trams on the seafront on a linear route from one end of the promenade to the other.

‘If it’s got to change in order for them to survive then that’s what we got to do.

‘It’s more important they survive rather than closing down in their original location.’

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