Leaving the Cabin room by the other door, a narrow passage way
leads on to a landing from which a steep flight of steps gives access
to a loft or attic room. This room was once used by George Quayle
to work on his ideas for inventions. His lathe and his astronomical
telescope are still to be seen at one end of the loft.
This top floor room has been fitted out as sailmaker's loft. Ship
and boat building was a busy trade in the Isle of Man in the days
of sail, and many fine vessels were built in the ports of the Island.
The skill of the sailmaker was then much in demand, and first rate
craftsmen flourished. One such was William Clucas of Port St. Mary,
the last of a long line of sailmakers, who presented the whole of
his tools and gear to the Museum.
This now unfamiliar equipment, the serving mallets and serving
boards, the grease horn and palms, the tar trough, the winding blades
and the sailmaker's form or bench; all are in place. The wooden
bull's eyes, used to lead running rigging, and the metal thimbles,
incorporated in cringes, with the fine range of large fids and the
smaller marlin spikes employed in splicing rope; all are displayed
to give a picture of an authentic and typical workshop, characteristic
of the latter days of sail.
While the sailmaker would complete his large commissions in his
workshop, he would also take his form, to which the basic tools
would be attached, on board ship for repair work. The Clucas account
books are now in the Manx Museum Library. They give a fascinating
insight into the sailmaker' activities and show the magnitude of
work sometimes undertaken. In 1889, for example, a new mainsail
was made for the Kate, a typical locally built topsail schooner,
and required 207.5 yards of canvas. The cost, including making,