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HistoryThe Old House of Keys was restored to resemble how it looked in 1866, believed to be a major turning point for the House as they moved from being a self elected body to a democracy with members elected by the public. Originally the House of Keys was more of a social club, where existing members chose new members. Before 1710, they met infrequently at Castle Rushen and after they met in Bishop Wilson's library until the late 1700's when the building was said to be unfit. For a time the House of Keys met at the local George Inn, but this was deemed unfit for a Court of Justice and plans for a new building were made. After many years of debates with the British Treasury over the cost of a new building, a deal was reached and in 1821 the new building was completed. It was within this building that the 24 members of the House decided on the laws which set the direction for the Isle of Man.
In 1874 the House of Keys moved from Castletown to the new growing town on the island, Douglas. There they took the old Bank of Mona on Prospect Hill and still use this building today.
LocationCastletown in the south of the island.
Castletown is a main southern town, served by a multitude of roads. Just follow the road signs.
Plan your journey with our Bus and Rail Timetables.
Castletown can be reached by the taking the Electric Railway to Douglas and then the Steam Railway to Castletown.
Castletown can be reached on the Steam Railway from Douglas going to Port Erin or by taking the Port Erin (Port St Mary) train going to Douglas.
Visiting the Old House of KeysEveryone is greeted at the door by the secretary of the House of Keys and moved into a small area outside the Chamber. The House of Keys is opened and all the members (tourists and public) take a seat. There is a list of items to be voted on before each member, but that is taken in turn. There is a speaker who leads the proceedings and he is much more than just a man. Very good audio and video presentations throughout. Also the chance to have a real vote on key laws, which could have been major turning points for the Isle of Man. Sessions last for 45 minutes.
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