taking our culture forward

Patricia Skillicorn, writer, social historian, teacher and great supporter of all things Manx

Tue, 08 Sep 2020

Pat Skillicorn's retirement from the board of Culture Vannin in 2017
Pat Skillicorn's retirement from the board of Culture Vannin in 2017

It is with great sadness that we learn of the passing of Pat Skillicorn, who served on the board of the Manx Heritage Foundation/Culture Vannin for many years, and whose deep knowledge, bright kindness and insight supported our work for Manx culture and history for so many years.

A historian and teacher, Pat was a long-time member of the Manx branch of the Celtic Congress, and of the IOM Natural History and Antiquarian Society. She was one of the small number of people to hold the MA in Manx Studies from the University of Liverpool, giving talks to societies and heritage trusts, as well as contributing papers to Manx journals.

After her retirement from teaching, Pat was able to turn attention to the writing which had always been part of her life – from Wave to Your Daddy, a wonderfully evocative autobiographical work to Foxgloves, a collection stemming from her portfolio for the MA in Creative Writing from the University of Lancaster, she wrote on themes of family and identity, of a sense of place, giving a voice to those who she knew would otherwise be unheard.

Her MA in Manx Studies dissertation formed the basis for what would be published in 2016 as The Hammer of Thor, an incredibly valuable contribution to our understanding of the impact of the 1st World War on the people of the Isle of Man. Like her father before her, Pat was a member of the Manx Labour Party, and the fight for constitutional and social reform was always close to her heart. The Hammer of Thor covers constitutional issues of Home Rule and the threats to it, the role of women, conscientious objectors, and key events such as the General Strike of 1918.

In 2018, Culture Vannin invited Pat to give a short talk on Tynwald Day to an invited audience to mark the centenary of that strike. This can be viewed here.

For more about Pat’s published works, please see her website

On behalf of Culture Vannin, we send our deepest condolences to Leonard and to her family and friends.

Pat's quiet strength supported our work whenever and however it was needed. Generous with her time and meticulous in her approach, she was always willing to offer her knowledge, expertise and guidance.

Pat was someone who could always be called upon to talk of the importance of Manx culture and history, and to represent both herself and our organisation with quiet charm and the greatest of integrity.