John Henry Teare built the first bicycle on the Isle of Man 1867

john henry teare bicycleMost people hearing of ‘cycling’ and the ‘Isle of Man’, will probably think of Mark Cavendish and Peter Kennaugh, both sportsmen who have achieved amazing success.

But someone else who deserves recognition in the field of Manx cycling is the man who manufactured the first ever cycle on the Island.

In the picture is John Henry Teare, sitting on the machine he made when he was about 19 years of age.

The son of a blacksmith from Andreas, (baptismal record for 13 Feb 1847), the cycle was completed at Smeale Smithy in either 1866 or early 1867.

The handwritten annotation to the photograph states it was taken in c.1867 so it’s possible this was done to commemorate the achievement.

(source: imuseum


Denys Teare Ordre national de la Légion d’honneur

Denys Teare Legion of Honour

Denys Teare, who lives in Ramsey, has been awarded the Legion of Honour by the French Government for the part he played in fighting alongside the French Resistance in WW2.

In September 1943 Denys baled out of a burning Lancaster bomber returning from a bombing raid over Germany before it crashed into hillside some 110km south east of Reims. He was sheltered by French families and the French Resistance escape networks could not get him back to England before the allied landings in Normandy on 6 June 1944.

Consequently he spent a whole year living in occupied rural France changing from being an ‘aviator anglais’ and a liability to his hosts to become a fluent French speaker, ally of the Resistance and saboteur. The American 3rd Army eventually reached the town where he was hiding and he was liberated exactly a year to the day that he had parachuted into France.  His story of those 12 months; of life in occupied France, the friendships made, tragedies witnessed, the tensions of ‘living with the enemy’ and even at times almost a normal life bringing in the harvest with French farmers as the Allied armies got ever closer is told in his book ‘Evader’

Thomas Denys Gordon Teare was born in Liverpool, his father J.G. Teare was a village school headmaster and had received official notification that his son was presumed dead as there had been no news of his whereabouts since the crash. In fact, and against all the odds, the whole crew of the Lancaster ‘S for Sugar’ survived the crash and the war but they didn’t meet up again until it was over. Denys later trained as a fireman and worked in Widnes before eventually settling in the Isle of Man.

Evader was first published in 1954. Now published by Crecy Publishing it is available from on line retailers. It’s a great read.

Congratulations to Denys on receiving this, the highest decoration from the French Government.

New books now available

Using archives from the Teare family and Manx National Heritage Michael Teare has been researching the story of Teare and Sons, Sailmakers and Ships Chandlers. Founded in 1866 by John Teare, a roper, this family company was in business on The Quay, Peel for 100 years. Teare and Sons were very involved in the development of the Manx fishing industry both as suppliers to the fishing fleet and as shareholders in fishing boats and trading schooners. Now three small books bring these stories to wider audience.

For more information and to order your copies look in the Teare and Sons book shop

ice salt smoke coverIce, salt and smoke (curing and conserving fish) – it wasn’t always kippers on the Isle of Man, how do you export your fish without it spoiling and where do you get your ice in the days before refrigeration?


sailmakers coverSailmaking – before the development of steam engines sails and sailmakers were as important and strategic as oil is today for Navy and Merchant ships as well as fishing fleets. So when  fishing boats were powered by the wind what did the sailmaker do?


ships chandlers coverShips Chandlers - in any port the Ships Chandler was an important business, not just for supplying local and visiting boats but also as an investor in the local fleet and the life of the town. How did a 19th century ships chandlers business work?

Peel fishing boat Wanderer and the Lusitania 1915

lusitania wandererThe Wanderer PL11 was built in Peel in 1881 and sailed with a crew of 7 with skipper William Ball (Jurby), his son Stanley, William Gell (Ramsey), Thomas Woods, Robert Watterson, John Macdonald and Harry Costain (all from Peel). One of her shareholders was Charles Morrison a Peel grocer and it was to him the letters about the Lusitania rescue were sent. Wanderer was sold to Ireland and renamed Erins Hope. Later she was fitted with a motor and continued fishing until the 1930s.

Here is the link to the BBC article and video about the Wanderer, which was broadcast on BBC1 on Wednesday 13 August 2014. The video is inside the article (click on the picture of the seven men) separately the video is here

Thanks again for your kind help with my research.

I hope I have done justice to their amazing story of bravery.

Many Thanks,

Kelly Foran