Eddie Lowey, MLC, Memories of Childhood

Pam Quine, secretary, introduced our new chairman, Bill Quine, to the meeting. He opened with the sad task of recording the death of Les Quilliam, RBV. We recorded his passing with a one-minute silence, remembering his work for the Trust and the scholarship of his Manx publications. We recorded our sympathies to his wife and family.

Bill also gave us an update on former secretary, Sam Knight who’s across for work on his heart. He should soon be back on the Island and will continue with his excellent posters for us. These are collectors’ items. We wish Sam a speedy recovery.

Eddie Lowey, MLC, PG (Peel Gobbag) then began his long-awaited journey through his childhood from birth, in 1938. Yes, some memory and he’s younger than me! Although leaving Peel in 1945, his heart was still in this place. He raised a great laugh by saying that he was sounding like Lord Ashcroft!

His early home was in the Duke Street cottages. These were due to be demolished, some years ago but with a bit of persuasion, Nigel Kermode stepped in and saved them. We are so dependent on private individuals and organisations such as the Trust, in saving our heritage. The authorities and developers treat it as a sick game to defeat us whenever they can but much of old Peel still survives to delight and inform us and, hopefully, future generations. Be vigilant!

Eddie’s early memories include tin baths and hot towels and much affection. He admits to a fetish for Scots fisher girls in rubber aprons. This dates back to the lovely fishy hugs he enjoyed as a child. He made the serious point that this loving childhood in the still warm embrace of Peel gave him the security and confidence that led him from a ‘humble beginning’ to meeting with the most senior world figures as part of his political career.

The re-cycling of the old Methodist rooms in Atholl Street to produce the magnificent Centenary Centre, now one of the premier arts centre in the nation drew particular praise. To marry old and new to enable a happy marriage between past, present and future needs clearly shows the way forward for us. Shun the all too easy slash and burn policy of most developers, Street Heritage having been a notable exception.

Eddie surged from his father, a ‘Fantastic fisherman’, the role of the railway as the principle transport link, (if only!), to tales of entertaining world leaders in the Viking Longhouse – the late George Cowley adorning them in helmets and sheepskin cloaks and installing them as honorary Kings of the Vikings. A role many still treasure.

The leaders he met and worked with as a member of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association included Nelson Mandela, Joan Sutherland and St. Mother Theresa.

This isn’t a Peel boy made good. It was Peel that made him good!

Our next meeting is on Tuesday, 20th April, 7.30pm in the Centenary Centre when Norrie Radcliffe presents, Old Ramsey Town.