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‘Pirates of the Irish Sea’ - Radio Caroline Exhibition Opens at the House of Manannan 4 August 2008

Manx National Heritage’s new temporary exhibition ‘Pirates of the Irish Sea’ was officially opened last Friday evening, 1st August 2008, by special guest Terry Cringle. Caroline3

The exhibition is the culmination of six months of careful research and preparation for the curators at Manx National Heritage, which marks the 40th anniversary of the departure of pirate radio station ‘Radio Caroline’ from Manx waters in 1968.

The exhibition is housed at the House of Manannan, and the radio ship MV Caroline, though based off Ramsey in the 1960’s was tended by a Peel vessel, the Essex Girl operated by local man Harry Maddrell.

Manx National Heritage Curator of Social History Matthew Richardson commented:

Stones“The past six months have been really enjoyable for me as we contacted radio enthusiasts around the world and tracked down former DJs who had worked on the station. Some fantastic memorabilia has come to light, from records played on the ship, to parts of the transmitter.”

Matthew continued:

“We are very excited and pleased to be staging this exhibition, which we believe is the first one to cover the subject of Radio Caroline anywhere in the British Isles. We are very fortunate to have been able to work on this exhibition with Andy Wint, who was a fan of radio Caroline in his youth and has retained an infectious enthusiasm for the station ever since.”

ProtestDJ Tom Lodge who arrived with the ship off the Isle of Man in 1964 could not attend the opening but sent a message of goodwill from his home in California:

“The Isle of Man has a very special place in my heart ... even though I cannot come to the opening, I shall be there in spirit. I am so fortunate to have had the opportunity to have been a deejay on Radio Caroline North, to have introduced some of the finest rock music to the country, I would be most grateful if you could pass on a thank you to the people of the Isle of Man for their hospitality and their support during those adventurous and sometimes dangerous years”.

Terry Cringle, who opened the exhibition, was a freelance journalist in the 1960s and clearly remembered reporting on the wedding of Radio Caroline DJ Mick Luvzit on board the ship. Terry said:

“There was never so much international focus on the Isle of Man as there was whilst Caroline was here – the Isle of Man was really at the centre of the pop music world. I remember when the UK government passed the act to outlaw the pirate stations, there was tremendous fury in Tynwald. Clifford Irving, who was a great showman, had a copy of the UK Act with him in the House of Keys and he very theatrically tore it up, saying “This should not be applied to the Isle of Man””.

Visitors to the exhibition can hear sounds from the 60s as well as view the exhibits which include fan letters to DJs, original records played aboard the ship and visitors will also be able to view original archive footage of Radio Caroline North which has never been seen in public before.

In addition to the exhibition, events which shaped the radio industry in the British Isles will be recalled in a special conference organised by Radio Caroline enthusiast Andy Wint, which will take place in September 2008 and will be attended by a host of special guests.

The exhibition is open at the House of Manannan on Peel Quayside, which is open from 10 am to 5pm every day and entry to the exhibition is free.

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