taking our culture forward

A conversation with Ann Stacey (nee Quirk) about her childhood and youth in Peel through the Second World War, her experiences as a part of the very start of the Manx Folk Dance Society, and her time in the Wirral Manx Society.

Valerie Ann Louise Stacey (nee Quirk) was born on 16 January 1938 in Peel. The family was at 2 Stanley Mount through the war years, when they had a refugee stay with them (from whom Ann received nits!) and also one of the Metropolitan police officers working at Peveril Internment Camp. A stand-out memory from this period was her sitting on the front doorstep each week, to watch the internees come down the road towards the cinema, and some would throw her sweets!

In 1946 the family moved to Rosslare, Mount Morrison, where they took in boarders each summer, sometimes resulting in Ann having to sleep with her grandmother on the kitchen table when all the rooms were taken!

Happy youthful trips out along the Headlands and off to Poortown with nothing more than a packet of jelly in her pocket are fondly remembered, perhaps in contrast to her school days in Douglas, with the infamous train rides in and unpleasant uniforms.

It was in Peel Clothworkers School in 1952 that Ann went along to a Manx dance class. Led by Philip Leighton Stowell, this was the founding of the Peel branch of the Manx Folk Dance Society, where she learnt Manx dances for the first time, as did everyone else.

Ann describes her experiences here, the others involved, the dances performed, the performances done and the interactions between Leighton Stowell and Mona Douglas fondly.

These experiences set her up for her years away as a young teacher, where she joined the Wirral Manx Society, and later the Manchester Society.

Now back in the Isle of Man after her working life away, Ann is happy to be home at last.


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.

  • Ann Stacey interview by James Franklin (20 March 2024)

More Photos

  • Ann Stacey in the 1950s
  • The Wirral Manx Society dancers