Douglas – Isle of Man

Douglas, population 26,000, is the capital city and business center of the Isle of Man, a self-governing Crown dependency of 80,000 in the center of the British Isles. Douglas sits on Douglas Bay, which is formed where the Rivers Glass and Dhoo flow into the Irish Sea. A number of villages lie within walking distance of Douglas. The two largest are Union Mills and Onchan. We have many More Isle of Man Vacation Information, Travel Review and Attractions Articles Now Available.

Douglas was likely founded specifically because of the natural harbor, which is now known as the Inner Harbor after extensive improvements including extensive dredging and the building of a breakwater were done in the 1900s. During the 1700s the population of Douglas increased from about 800 in the early part of the century to some 3,000 by century’s end. The advent of the Industrial Revolution created a middle class in England with money to spend and a desire to get away from the Dickensian-filthy cities. The Town Commissioners of Douglas wisely put attention on closing the town’s open sewers and by 1870 the town – in fact, the entire Island, was rapidly earning a reputation as a holiday refuge. This was a remarkable change from the early part of century, when the locals suffered through measles, diptheria and cholera epidemics.

In an urban renewal scheme enacted from 1870 to the 1920’s the Commissioners of Douglas patiently worked at changing the hodge-podge architecture of the growing town. The Douglas of the 18th century, when most of the town was built, was a fishing and trading village. Utilitarian though it may have been, by the late 1800s the building style was an anachronism, and one not of the type that attracted tourists. Modernization was undertaken and the Victorian improvements have aged more charmingly that did their predecessors. One of the features contemporary tourists look for, however, was lost forever. The maze of alleys and narrow streets in the harbor area was replaced with an unimaginative grid lay-out. Other alterations to the infrastructure of Douglas were undertaken to improve tourist conveniences, most famously the Loch Promenade, which opened in 1878. Sixty thousand tourists visited Douglas in 1870. Less than twenty years later, in 1887, over three hundred thousand visited for the Queen’s Golden Jubilee.

The Loch Promenade in Douglas continues to be a thing of beauty and charm 140 years later. We have many More Isle of Man Vacation Information, Travel Review and Attractions Articles Now Available.