Mannin Quilters

As many of you will know, I’ve been pretty busy recently launching The Engine House in Castletown (, a new co-working and incubator space for new and emerging businesses in the arts, media and tech sectors. We’ve had a lot of enquiries this week so I haven’t had much time to devote to the weekly news update. However, I am very pleased to be able to share with you some information about the Mannin Quilters, who again impressed me greatly at this year’s Isle of Man Arts Festival. There were some amazing pieces of work. I took a few pictures and have included them here so that you can see how amazing some of these quilts are.

Rose Mary Coase of Mannin Quilters very kindly sent me this information which I hope you will enjoy in lieu of the news this week.


Mannin Quilters’ home is in the Isle of Man. We were the first quilting group on the island, starting when a group of ladies attended evening classes and decided they would like to carry on doing patchwork and quilting. Eight of them started meeting in their former tutor’s house in 1990. They made an inaugural quilt in 1991 adapting blocks to represent Island Life and 21 years later we made ourselves a birthday hanging, again depicting different aspects of island life. 

Now we have about 80 members but are still a group of ladies with a shared love of sewing who meet to quilt, embroider, chat, share tips, eat cake (usually home made) and drink tea! 

The group is open to anyone who enjoys sewing – you don’t have to be ‘a sewist of a certain standard’ – and they can come along to a couple of meetings to see what we do before joining.

We have two meetings every week – Wednesday afternoon at St Columba’s Catholic Church in Port Erin 1.30-4pm and Tuesday evening at Ballabeg Methodist Chapel 7.30-9pm.

Mannin Quilters has always been involved in community projects. For our Millennium project in 2000, instead of making a big quilt we started making tiny quilts for babies in the Neo Natal Unit (then SCBU) at our local hospital. The parents choose a tiny quilt to brighten up the incubator and when the baby is big enough to go home, the quilt goes with them. We make between 100 and 120 every year.  

We also made a cover for the travelling incubator which cuts out noise and light which can be stressful for the baby while in the helicopter flying to hospitals in the UK and then a couple of years ago we accepted the challenge of  making new bright covers for the incubators in the Unit.

During the early years of visits from the children from Chernobyl (who came over to the island for a month’s  respite care) we made lap quilts  – each in it’s own little bag – for them to take back with them. The first year, the children carried them everywhere!

Every 2 years we hold  an exhibition of our work where we showcase things made at workshops as well as quilts made at home. We don’t have an exhibition every year as it takes us 2 years to make enough items for a good exhibition – 150 exhibits in 2016 and 148 in 2018.

We also make a group quilt to be raffled for charities, relevant to and  chosen by, the group, which takes a year from design to completion.

For the past 3 years we have also made cushions for island ‘Live at Home’ schemes which are given out as presents at Christmas, much to the delight of the recipients.

Mannin Quilters has its own website too:

Charities supported since 2000

2000 – Started making baby quilts for the Neo Natal Unit; Exhibition at Ballabeg; Made a replica quilt for Harry Kelly’s cottage, Cregneash; Made lap quilts for Chernobyl children to take home

2001 – Made 24 lap quilts, each in their own bag, for Chernobyl children – each had a Manx cat or 3 legs on somewhere 

2002 – Exhibition ‘Stitches in Time’  at Ballabeg

2004 – Exhibition at Ballabeg – Hospice care £1,000

2006 – Exhibition at Ballabeg – Alzheimers Society / Rebecca House £650 each

2008 – Exhibition at Ballabeg  -Parkinsons/Breakthrough Breast Cancer £650 each

2010 – Exhibition at Ballabeg  – Robert Owen House/ Hyperbaric / Hospice £500 each.

2012 – Exhibition at Ballabeg  – Manx Cancer Care/ Parkinsons £620 each; 50 lap quilts for Hospice

2014 – Exhibition at Ballabeg – Alzheimers/Macmillan Nurses £1,000 each; Made 93 cushions for Southern Befrienders

2015 – Made 64 green jerseys for start of the Tour de France in Harrogate; Made a Manx patchwork quilt for the North American Manx Association homecoming

2016 – Exhibition at Ballabeg  – Hyperbaric/Rushen First Responders £1.000 each; Made a new travelling incubator cover for Neo Natal Unit; Made cushions for Laxey and Lonan Live at Home

2017 – Made Christmas bunting for Neo Natal Unit; Made cushions for Western Live at Home scheme

2018 – Raising money for Macular Society Isle of Man and Multiple Sclerosis Society Isle of Man


Michael Sandle: Monumental Rage

I’m delighted to bring you this week a press release forwarded to me by Michael Sandle, RA, about his forthcoming major exhibition in Chester which opens this Friday 18th May in the Grosvenor Museum. 

Michael told me in his email “Weirdly a very long time ago when I was doing my National Service in the Royal Artillery when aged eighteen I was stationed in Chester and some evenings I was able to attend the local art school as an evening student –  now this very same art school has become the Grosvenor Museum – a nice bit of symmetry I feel.”

Winner of many prestigious awards Michael has also produced numerous public commissions. The two local ones you might be familiar with are:

  • 1997 “The Viking”, Port Erin Arts Centre, and
  • 2001 Monument to Sir William Hillary, Marine Gardens, Douglas.

The exhibition runs until 7 October 2018 so if you are planning a trip across this might be an exciting show to add to your itinerary.




The Engine House – a New Media Hub in Castletown

The Island’s creative sector will benefit from an exciting new shared workspace initiative in the newly established Engine House in Castletown. Located in the former Canada Life building on Alexandra Road, The Engine House is aimed primarily at those working in the media, arts and technology fields, generating new businesses and relationships through the companies who base themselves there.

Just two minutes drive from the airport, and within easy walking distance of the town, The Engine House is located within the Castletown regeneration zone so that tenants can apply for grant support and up to their first years’ rent free of charge. There are some larger media businesses locating there, building the media “buzz”, and making it an appealing space for smaller media businesses and sole traders to take up desk space on either a ‘My Desk’ or ‘Hot Desk’ license basis. 



Director Jane Hall said “Prices have been pitched at very competitive rates and after the initial 3 months, the rental shifts to a one month rolling basis which means that you aren’t tied in for a long period of time if you need to set up your own, larger office space.  You can set up on a Hot Desk deal for as little as £360 for three months inclusive.” 

The Engine House provides a different working environment from most regular office spaces. Its casual look and with desks made from upcycled materials it offers a great alternative to traditional office furniture. Break out spaces, Noa coffee and the steam train running past the windows with a glorious view of the countryside are not what most people think about when they head to the office – but this is a space for creatives and the Engine House team has tailored the space to make it a place in which people will look forward to going to work.

Jane said “We are aiming to build a community, not just offer a co-working space. Through introductions, collaboration and support from our team we will provide a ‘soft landing’ for anyone looking to re-locate their business to the Island. We are working with all kinds of service providers such as CSP’s, legal firms and of course the Department for Enterprise to ensure that our clients get the advice they need, when they need it.”

Phase 1 of the renovation work is almost complete with ambitious plans to build a members’ area commencing later in the year. For just £30 per month, Workbench members will be able to meet in a comfortable yet professional environment and have access to reception services and printing facilities as well as being able to book meeting rooms, use shower facilities and have their own personal locker.

For more information about The Engine House or to book a visit to see the building, please email or visit the website