Tribute paid to author passionate about Manx transport system

Harry Constantine

Harry Constantine

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Tribute has been paid to a man well known for his passion for the island and its transport system.

Harry Constantine, who lived in Sydenham, London, for most of his life before returning to the town of his birth Alton, Hampshire, a couple of years ago, has died aged 72.

Harry was the producer, author and photographer behind the horse trams souvenir book ‘First 100 Years of the Horse Trams’, produced for Douglas Corporation. His wife Sandra did the illustrations.

The whole family got behind the 1976 centenary celebrations – Harry and Sandra helping at the Strathallan stables until late the night before, son Martin helping to paint a former Douglas cable car, and daughter Ann selling souvenir books.

Harry also published ‘Tramway Travels’ and ‘Discovering Isle of Man Horse Trams’.

His love of the horse trams saw him negotiate with the London Science Museum for the return of the double decker horse tram.

The family started coming on holiday in the island in the 1960s, sometimes staying on Douglas seafront for three months.

One of the many people Harry got to know was Paul Gelling, who in 1975 offered him the travel agents at 42 Duke Street, Douglas, as Paul was retiring. He didn’t take up the offer – but the company with which he was a director did.

In the 1980s he regularly travelled to the island and was often met at the airport by someone – always a surprise as he went over unannounced.

Son Martin said: ‘I remember dad looking at buying a home on the island many times as well as looking at the Laxey Wheel Cafe.

‘Alas he decided not to move over. I had various conversations with him recently, joking that that was the worst decision he made because I love the island as much as him.’

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