History of the Society

The Isle of Man Natural History and Antiquarian Society was founded in 1879 by a small group of amateur scholars led by P. M. C. Kermode who was to serve the Society tirelessly until his death in 1932.  Kermode, a typical nineteenth-century polymath, was a distinguished natural history scholar but his antiquarian interests became even better known, particularly his study of the outstanding series of Celtic and Norse cross-slabs of the Island culminating in his seminal book Manx Crosses (1907). 

P. M. C. Kermode, 1886

The Society from its inception has arranged a series of summer excursions to sites of antiquarian or natural history interest, and winter meetings at which papers have been read covering these fields of study. 

Excursion to Kirk Christ, Lezayre, 26 August 1926, leader William Cubbon

The publication of relevant papers advancing the academic disciplines covered by the Society has been an important part of its work, and its successive publications  - the Transactions 1879 to 1882, Yn Lioor Manninagh (the Manx Book) 1880 to 1906 and the Proceedings from 1906 - contain many contributions of lasting significance to Manx studies. 

As the Society grew in size and importance it played a significant role in the campaign to persuade the Government of the Isle of Man to establish the Manx Museum, envisaged in the first Manx Museum and Ancient Monuments Act of 1886 (which commenced protection of the Island's monuments), and so far as the establishment of a museum, library and art gallery was concerned this became a reality in 1922.  It was fitting, and a measure of his academic standing, that P. M. C. Kermode was appointed the first Director of the Manx Museum.

This active Society, now with a membership of over 500, continues to make a positive contribution to the intellectual life of the Isle of Man.

A. M. Cubbon