HERITAGE CENTRE PROPOSED FOR RUSHEN
Rushen Heritage Trust has submitted plans
to convert the former bus shelter on Bridson Street, Port Erin, into a heritage
The centre, to be known as Tree Archyn
(Three Arches), would be a multi-purpose base to support the Trust’s online and
The site, opposite the Cherry Orchard,
would provide the Trust with a highly visible and low-cost centre. It would be
used for small exhibitions, for talks, meetings and other events, and give
much-needed storage room for existing exhibition materials, publications and
equipment. Overall, it will support our overarching aim of attracting people to
the ‘beautiful south’ in Rushen.
Quantity surveyor Robert Graham, who has
been involved with the Trust from the beginning, is managing the project.
Working with Robert is a project team chaired by Ali Graham, with Board
members Doreen Moule and Staffan Overgaard, and the Trust’s coordinator,
John Quirk. They will be supported by Pam Crowe, who will lead the
marketing and volunteering effort, later to be assisted by Hugh Davidson.
Project leader Ali Graham said of the
initiative: ‘When the Trust was founded in 2014, it was as a “museum of no
fixed abode”, and the creation of a heritage centre would not change that
ethos. Tree Archyn would supplement our online presence and our various
activities, such as exhibitions, talks and walks. Much of the exhibition
material we have created over the last five years has had limited public
exposure, and the centre would allow us to showcase the work of our volunteers
to a much wider audience and encourage repeat visits to Port Erin.’
Chairman of RHT, Juan Watterson added:
‘While the Trust has met or exceeded most of our first five-year objectives,
we’re aware that our “visibility” has been intermittent, linked to exhibitions
and book launches. We have also not had a face-to-face meeting point,
especially for older people with memories to share, and volunteers. These are
factors which have limited the Trust’s social interaction with the community,
and we hope that the centre will redress this balance and enable us to grow our
membership and attract new volunteers.’
The central section of the building – the
former bus shelter – will house the centre’s public space. The two existing
toilet blocks, one either side of the shelter, will be transformed – one to
house a storage area, the other to house an office, unisex toilet and
The public space would also be used as an
online research area, with a computer for public use, and to sell the Trust’s
publications. It would also operate as a visitor centre for the Rushen area,
offering leaflets and advice about local attractions.
The building is owned by Port Erin
Commissioners and was earmarked for demolition, following the creation of a new
main bus stop by the railway station, and the opening of new public toilets
elsewhere in the village. The Commissioners have agreed, in principle, to a
long-term lease for the Bridson Street site.
Rushen Heritage Trust will be applying to
trusts and other organisations for funding support for the project, as well as
launching a public fundraising drive.
If you would like to support the heritage
centre project, either financially or as a volunteer, please contact Rushen
Heritage Trust coordinator John Quirk at email@example.com
or call 464634. Any assistance large or small will be very welcome.