taking our culture forward

A conversation with Adrian Corkill RBV about his life and work, a large part of which has been dedicated to his groundbreaking and monumental research into shipwrecks around the Isle of Man.

Born in 1966, Adrian’s early life in Castletown and Douglas was predominantly focused on the sea. Initially primarily through fishing from the shore and pier at Douglas, he then became interested in fishing from boats, the first of which he bought in preference to a car.

Prior to this, a formative experience in his life was his time at Aeglagh Vannin, the youth group run by Mona Douglas RBV. Here, Adrian and his brothers learnt about their Manx cultural inheritance through language, song, dance, history and, curiously, fencing. This was the final stage of the long-running group, and the experience laid foundations for Adrian’s life-long understanding of his Manx identity.

It was as a young adult that he first became interested in shipwrecks, but it was originally only because they made good fishing grounds.

Initially trying to find out about only a single wreck, Adrian was amazed to discover accounts of 150 other wrecks in the Manx newspapers before he came to the one he wanted. This experience was the beginning of what was to become the most complete database of shipwrecks around the Isle of Man.

Adrian learnt to scuba dive to extend this work. He recalls some of the amazing experiences he has had out on and under the water, including some key discoveries of previously unlocated wrecks.

An early adopter of a computer as far back as 1987, Adrian worked on the database which today is hosted by Manx National Heritage as a part of the publicly available Isle of Man Historic Environment Record (IOMHER).

A key part of Adrian’s work is his understanding that Manx heritage is of equal worth, whether it is on land or under water. For him, a comprehensive database of these underwater remains offers the Isle of Man the chance to better understand and protect an important part of our heritage.

It was for this work that Adrian received the RBV award in 2024, an honour which he reflects on at the conclusion of the conversation.


When you click play on one of the interviews below there will be a slight delay as the audio file is downloaded. Large files or slow internet connections will increase the length of this delay.

  • Adrian Corkill RBV interviewed by James Franklin (20 May 2024)

More Photos

  • A porthole from The Liverpool
  • Tankard from The Florence