Phase one of a project to celebrate Laxey, past, present and future, opens this weekend (29th June).
Visit Laxey Valley’s Welcome Centre is the start point for a heritage trail that will tell visitors the story of the village’s rich industrial heritage.
Laxey has been a mining village since the 1700s. By the 1870s, aided by the Great Laxey Wheel, it was one of the richest and most successful metal mines in the British Isles. Almost 1000 men, together with a few women and young boys, worked at the mine.
The village’s history has shaped it, from its housing to its harbour.
The Welcome Centre is in Christ Church, just metres from the Manx Electric Railway and Snaefell Mountain Railway intersection in the heart of Laxey. The church was built by the miners, for the miners.
The centre will feature things to do in Laxey and a video narrated by ‘Captain Richard Rowe’, a Cornishman who started work in the mines aged 12, then travelled to find work and became Captain of the Great Laxey Mines in their heyday.
Before embarking on the trail, visitors can collect literature on Visit Laxey Valley and a trail map designed by Alice Quayle.
The trail features information displays in seven locations will be brought to life by volunteers, dressed in period costume as characters from the mines’ history.
Bus Vannin has modified the route of its summer shuttle bus, service 15, to collect passengers from the Welcome Centre and drop them to the wheel and the seafront.
Visit Laxey Valley is a not for profit charitable company set up by geologist Dr Richard Hubbard and his cousin Valerie Kinrade, which has been a mining family over many generations. Valerie’s mother-in-law is the daughter of Edwin Kneale, the man who saved the Lady Isabella Water Wheel for the Island in 1946.
The Welcome Centre and heritage trail forms part of a wider project to celebrate all Laxey offers, from summit to sea.
The charity is a partner of UNESCO Biosphere Isle of Man.
Biospheres promote sustainable development, conservation and education and Visit Laxey Valley will not only boost tourism and trade in the village but will increase knowledge about its fascinating history and, in future, about its natural wonders, too.
New patron of Visit Laxey Valley, former President of Tynwald Clare Christian, will formally open the welcome centre on Saturday 29th June – Laxey Fair Day.
You will shortly be able to find out more about Visit Laxey Valley via a website that’s under construction – www.visitlaxeyvalley.com – and via social media.