Post St Mary is the last of the four Manx towns and villages I photographed in the early 2010s, and I am delighted to be able to complete this set of “ten years on” projects by revisiting the village this year. The project fieldwork took place over the Easter period with funding from Culture Vannin, Port St Mary Commissioners, and Manx Ocean Crewing, a long-standing business in Port St Mary.
There’s a great sense of satisfaction that I have now completed “ten years on” photography projects in all four of the Manx towns and villages that were included in the initial project. Hundreds of businesses and organisations have been included, and there are thousands of images now on this website. Special thanks are due to Culture Vannin who have supported all of the projects alongside ten other sponsors across all the projects.
Breesha Maddrell for Culture Vannin said:
“Culture Vannin has been delighted to support a project which continues to document the changing face of the Island. It’s particularly fascinating to see the ten year comparison for some of the places captured. Just as we are intrigued when we look back even ten years, we know that future generations will find this online archive very precious indeed.”
Perhaps most of all I am indebted to the people, the workers who are usually taken by surprise and asked to stand for a photograph. I try not to take this for granted, and the enthusiasm I invariably receive makes the job so enjoyable. In my view without the people, the photographs are not even half as interesting. There are a few factors that make this project unique. First that they include the people, second that no visible business or organisation on the street is excluded, and third that we now have a comparison over time. If anyone knows of other projects that tick all three of these boxes I’d love to see them.
As the fieldwork for the Port St Mary project took place over the Easter period, I allowed a lot more extra time to complete the job recognising that some places would be closed before or after the Easter weekend for holidays. In fact this turned out to be less of an issue than the weather. We had all the weather the Isle of Man could offer over the period, from bright sunshine, through heavy rain, gale force winds, hail, rainbows, but luckily still plenty of photo-suitable weather to get the project completed on time.
As with Peel, Laxey and Port Erin, there has been a lot of change over the decade, but also much that stays the same. I had the joy of finding many of the same people I photographed back in 2013 – in almost a quarter of places I captured at least one of the same workers. Most of them are not happy to realize it’s been ten years since the last visit, and apparently none of them will still be there in another ten. Let’s see! Bernadette Williams MBE – Chair of Commissioners said “Port St Mary Commissioners are delighted to support this project detailing life in Port St Mary and the changes over the last 10 years, it’s fantastic to see many businesses still going strong with some valuable additions also. Port St Mary is a beautiful village full of character, which Chris has captured well. We look forward to seeing further improvements again in another 10 years”.
Some highlights were finding new businesses keen to establish a foothold in the village, encountering other longstanding businesses who are thriving, but also touching the lives of people whose future business is less certain. A key reason for the project is to document trends on the high street and sometimes people pose for a photograph in full knowledge that their business may be leaving the street sooner rather than later. To them I am especially grateful.
For the most part the photographs speak for themselves and I invite you to take some time to look through them… manxshopfronts.com/port-st-mary/
Here’s a few highlights…
In the press…
IoMToday website: Ten years on project ends with fourth town
Overarching BBC article following completion of the Port St Mary project. Photo project shows changing face of Manx towns a decade apart