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Manx National Heritage Secures Historic TT artefact 15 December 2006

Manx National Heritage has secured another historic TT artefact as part of its major exhibition to mark the centenary of the TT races in 2007.

Silver Flask belonging to Rem FowlerFollowing the inaugural TT motorcycle races in 1907, Rem Fowler, winner of the twin cylinder class was presented with an inscribed silver hip flask and through its contacts in England, Manx National Heritage has now secured the loan of this historic item for the TT centenary exhibition next year.

Matthew Richardson, Manx National Heritage Curator of Social History commented:

“Just occasionally in this line of work an object turns up which really takes your breath away, and that happened to me when I first saw the silver hip flask. Over recent months Manx National Heritage have been steadily sourcing objects and arranging loans of items for our TT centenary exhibition, and I’ve come across some very interesting things in the process. When I first saw the hip flask I was thrilled. The connection to Fowler makes it a real piece of history and as far as we know it is the only surviving artefact connected with that first race. The TT centenary exhibition promises to be one of the best and the biggest exhibitions staged by Manx National Heritage in recent years, with historic bikes, leathers, medals all on show”.

It was a cold and windy morning on 28th May 1907 when Harry Rembrandt Fowler (1882-1963), known as Rem, rode into history on a Peugeot engined Norton. After the race he reported that he had stopped ten times. He had changed the inner tube, changed two plugs, fallen off twice, wired up a mudguard, wired up the advance spark lever, dropped his pump and had to pick it up (as he had to finish with a complete tool kit) and had stopped twice to take up slack in his belt. He won in a time of 4 hours 21 minutes 52 seconds and at an average speed of 36.32 mph. At one point in the race he was so exhausted and dispirited he considered giving up, until told by a spectator that he was half an hour in the lead. He said: “I think that the 1907 TT was the most hectic I have had in all my riding years”.

The inscription on the flask reads:

“Presented to H.Rem Fowler by H.G.Parkes Esq for the best performance by a member of the Birmingham MCC during the year 1907. Winner of the ACC International Tourist Trophy Race Twin Cylinder Class. 28 May 1907 Isle of Man”.

The silver flask now belongs to an enthusiast in the south of England, who approached Manx National Heritage when he heard about the exhibition, which will run from May 2007 to November 2007 at the Manx Museum.

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