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Manx National Heritage and Manx Transport Museum Group 1 March 2007

Representatives of MNH receiving their award from the AIAThe Association for Industrial Archaeology (AIA) has given special awards to Manx National Heritage and the Manx Transport Museum Group for their care and presentation of the Isle of Man’s heritage.

The award to Manx National Heritage is for the conservation, interpretation and presentation of the Great Laxey Wheel and Mines Trail. The aim of the Manx Transport Museum Group is to preserve and display the Island’s rich transport heritage and their award is for its work at the Brickworks Office in Peel. Highly commended awards have been given to the Laxey Mines Research Group and the Laxey and Lonan Heritage Trust.

The Association for Industrial Archaeology is the principal organisation for people who share an interest in the industrial past of the British Isles and was formed in 1973 following a meeting on the Isle of Man. It brings together people who are researching, recording, preserving and presenting the great variety of industrial heritage. During September 2006, the AIA held a week-long study conference on the Island with over 100 people visiting many of the Island’s industrial sites whilst hearing talks from local experts and their own members.

Manx Transport Museum Group receive their award from the AIAThe members of the AIA vote for special awards for the best of what they have seen and Manx National Heritage and the Manx Transport Museum Group have come top of the polls.

Manx National Heritage has been awarded the President’s Award – a glass trophy – for the Great Laxey Wheel and Mines Trail as the best site visited.

The Manx Transport Museum Group has been awarded the Initiative Award for groups that have taken on a challenging task for their work in Peel.

Laxey Mines Research Group and the Laxey & Lonan Heritage Trust have received high commendations for the Snaefell Wheel Project and for the Great Laxey Wheel Railway Project.

Representatives of the winning groups receiving their awardsThe President of the Association for Industrial Archaeology, Professor R Angus Buchanan OBE, and Mike Bone, Vice-Chair and Acting Chair, visited the Island on Tuesday 27 February to present the awards at the Manx Museum.

Professor R Angus Buchanan OBE, President of the Association for Industrial Archaeology said:

“AIA's return to the Isle of Man for its annual conference was a great success and one of our most memorable. We are indebted to all who contributed to this by providing excellent speakers and itineraries for our tours to see the Isle of Man's important industrial and transport heritage and the way that the Island's development in the last two centuries has been shaped by technological change. AIA members were also highly impressed with the warmth of our welcome and level of hospitality and professionalism of our travel agents. We are delighted to be back to present these well-deserved awards.
At the Great Laxey Wheel we were particularly impressed with the quality of conservation work undertaken by Manx National Heritage and the presentation of the history, structures and machinery at this important site. We were equally impressed by the challenges which the Manx Transport Museum Group has taken on, and successfully achieved in Peel. We are also pleased to be able to commend the high quality of work being undertaken by the Laxey Mines Research Group and the Laxey and Lonan Heritage Trust. The Isle of Man should be proud of what its heritage agency and volunteer groups are achieving.”

Martin Moore, Chairman of the Trustees of Manx National Heritage said:

“Manx National Heritage are delighted to receive this award from the Association for Industrial Archaeology. We worked hard to bring about the restoration and new presentation of the Great Laxey Wheel and Mines Trail and are grateful to Tynwald for funding the work and to the community and volunteer groups who worked and work with us in Laxey.
It is very gratifying to receive this accolade from the members of the AIA whose experience and expertise in the Industrial Heritage of Western Europe is unrivalled. We are also pleased that the AIA has recognised the real value which volunteer and community groups bring to the care of the Island’s heritage.”

Sam Knight, Secretary of the Manx Transport Museum Group said:

“Little did we realise in 1999 when we first gained access to the tiny office of the former Peel brickworks, that a few years later we would be the recipient of an Initiative award from such a fine body as the AIA.
We are absolutely delighted; the Award comes as a complete surprise. The refurbishment of the 1926 building has certainly been ‘a challenging task’. Some may have thought we were quite mad, and perhaps we were, but thanks to a lot of volunteer and determined work, we have, at least, drawn attention to the huge amount of transport heritage we have on the Island.
No visitor to the Isle of Man can fail to be impressed by the largest water wheel in the world, amid such a wealth of industrial archaeology which is, of course, the village of Laxey. It is no surprise that the award for best site visited, according to the delegates, has been given to Manx National Heritage. They are to be congratulated for all the restoration and presentation carried out in time for the Lady Isabella’s 150th birthday.
We are also pleased too that the Laxey Mines’ Group and the Laxey and Lonan Heritage Trust are to be acknowledged for the work done on the Great Laxey Mine Railway, and the restoration and return of the Snaefell Mine Wheel, the Lady Evelyn.
We are so proud to be associated with these groups and we are determined to do what we can to engender enthusiasm for Heritage on the Island.”

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