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September 2019



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notes from a small island

curiouswombat in photo_scavenger


I got involved with the 64 Million Artists January Challenge this year, although being without computer access for almost half the month meant it was a rather patchy involvement.

One of the challenges was to write something about a local historical building or person. I thought it fitted so nicely with this challenge here that I have combined the two.

So - here is the photo I took for History, and under the cut is the history behind it, and a couple more of my pictures taken in the past, to illustrate it.


This may look like a small castle on a rock - perhaps a rich man's folly...

Here it is in relation t the rest of the bay.

365 week 46 Sunday

But just imagine that bay before they built the breakwater, and the tide is covering the rock on which the tower stands, as it does in that second picture. Now add on a stormy day when the sea in the bay looks like this;

stormy weather Nov 2011 Douglas 3

And you can begin to understand why it is called the Tower of Refuge.

It was the idea of Sir William Hillary (who helped to found the Royal National Lifeboat Institution) when he lived in Douglas, on the Isle of Man. He had helped local men attempt to rescue survivors of shipwrecks on the semi-submerged rocks, and watched in dismay as the ships broke up and people drowned, so close to land.

He decided what was needed was a refuge for survivors until help could arrive. Sir William personally contributed a high proportion of the costs, alongside public contributions, and the Tower was completed in 1832.

The ground floor was simply for access to the higher floors, so people could get above the tide, and food and dry wood for a fire were kept in those upper rooms, replenished regularly.

Oddly, there have been no major shipwrecks on St Mary's rock since the tower was completed - quite possibly because it made it obvious where the rock is! And, of course boats and navigation have changed over the years.

But Sir William still stands on Douglas Head, looking out over his tower.

douglas head 002


He decided what was needed was a refuge for survivors until help could arrive.

How wonderful!
Wasn't it just!
Lovely pictures ... and great to read the story behind it
Thank you - I have expanded a little more on my own journal as I remembered another photo I had that fitted in.
That is SUCH a good story!! I will tell it to my ship/water/safety-obsessed man and he will love it, too! Thank you!

When I first saw the first picture you posted,... I did not see the castle. I saw the cloud in the upper left hand of the picture and I said: "Its a T-Rex in knee-deep water"!
Because... that is how my mind rolls... oops!
"Its a T-Rex in knee-deep water"!

It totally is! I hadn't noticed it until you pointed it out - thank you!

I posted a little more of the story on my own journal an hour or two after this, as I remembered another picture I had that expanded the story a little further, you might want to point your man in that direction instead - https://curiouswombat.livejournal.com/577169.html?view=17462929#t17462929

What a great story!
I kind of love the happy irony that 'there have been no major shipwrecks on St Mary's rock since the tower was completed'.
It amused me, too, when I first realised that some years ago. As a child I imagined it being used by Victorian ladies in rather damp bonnets :)
That's a really interesting story. Thank you for sharing it.
My pleasure!
I always love hearing about that tower and its history! The pic is awesome, too, so well composed with the fence in front and the clouds above...
I've been meaning to ask about this challenge, too, in your LJ, but you were offline already when I wanted to so I forgot. In one of the first posts about it you either linked to the origin or pointed to it, but either it didn't work or I couldn't find it. Do you still know / have the link to where it originates or is explained?
I was rather pleased with the composition of that picture :)

I could use it for 'cloud' too, as someone pointed out there is a cloud in the left that looks like a dinosaur wading his way across the sky!

Here is a link to the 64 million artists page abut their January Challenge. And here is their Facebook Page where people posted some of the things they did as it went along.

Edited at 2019-03-19 09:27 am (UTC)