The Nautical Museum, Castletown, is a branch of the Manx National Heritage and was opened in June, 1951. It centres on the 18th Century yacht Peggy, and occupies the boathouse built for her by her owner, Captain George Quayle, in 1789. The small, three-storeyed building stands in the shadow of Bridge House, the Castletown home of the Quayle family of the Bridge House and Crogga, which dominates the north-eastern side of the harbour and reflects the prominence of the Quayle family in the life of the Islands capital in the 18th century.
George Quayle (1751-1835), eldest son of John Quayle, a learned and patriotic Clerk of the Rolls, was one of the striking figures of his period. He was a member of the House of Keys for 51 years and during the time of the wars with France from 1793 was an able officer in successive Manx forces raised for Island defence. He was a co-founder of the earliest bank in the Isle of Man. An enthusiastic inventor, he won the gold medal of the Society of Arts for one of his inventions. He was widely travelled, and journeyed as far afield as Turkey.
The owner of the Peggy was a man of ingenuity and the boathouse he erected has many curious features which reveal his lively and inventive mind. It is a happy stroke of fortune that it has survived the years intact to become the home of the Island’s Nautical Museum. There could be few more appropriate settings than this old building built in 1789 tucked in by the harbour of the ancient capital of Mann, and looking across the tide to Castle Rushen and the spot where the Norse kings long ago drew up their ships and made a fortress from which to rule their kingdom of Mann.