Manx Tholtans by Ray Kelly
Friday, 5 January 2018 | Gareth
Professional photographer and author Ray Kelly began his photographic recording of Manx Tholtans some thirty years ago with the aim of catching the delicate ruins of old Manx farm and Industrial residences. Ray began recording the buildings after he observed how quickly the ruins would decrease and felt he needed to produce a record of them as they stand today prior to they disappear permanently.
The appeal of these remarkable buildings is recorded perfectly in this stamp collection which pays homage to Ray's exceptional work and offers a peek into the Island's rural history.
Photographer and author Ray Kelly writes...
It is from the old hill farms, homesteads and mills that the Island people originated and some of the traditional farming ways are still vivid in my memory. As I walked the hills and the valleys I wanted to capture the old ways in my photography as a means of an almanac, to preserve their images for the future. I have encountered Tholtans in various states of disrepair; some are a mere pile of stones. Each year they deteriorate further as they are exposed to the elements so it has been important for me to encapsulate their essence before they disappear totally.
The best preserved Tholtans are the ones that still have their roofs intact; or at least some part of the structure remaining. Even the most dilapidated homesteads seem to reveal something about the families who once lived there. It could be the style of the wall construction, lintel indentations that were used as shelving, the rusty old iron stove or washbowl that remains.
I started my photographic recording of Tholtans some thirty years ago and it is with some dismay and sadness that, when I came to compare my images, the rate of deterioration is tangible. I felt that I had been called to record them so I commenced my fascinating journey.
I feel that this project will always be a work in progress as I don't think I can ever say categorically that I have recorded every Tholtan but I am happy that the most important ones are now stored forever, frozen in time on the day I took the pictures.