taking our culture forward

John Cashen finished his working life as Chief Financial Officer at the Isle of Man Treasury, but his story begins with a childhood at the farm in Hillberry, Onchan.

Born in 1941 in Allan Street, Douglas, John was raised until the age of 9 at Ballaskelly Farm. He recalls an Italian internee working on the farm, happy memories of selling pop to the TT fans sat on their hedegrows, entertainments at the Methodist Chapel and the long walk back from school in Onchan village!

In 1950 the family moved to Royal Avenue West, to run a boarding house close to Onchan Village and Port Jack. He recalls learning to swim in the sea, watching the park get built, and making the most of the cinemas and other entertainment opportunities around the town.

After a paper-round and then work selling ice-cream at the Palace whilst still at school, John started his adult working life as a junior clerk at Douglas Corporation. He recalls happily the many tasks shared between the team, including collecting rents and delivering £100s of pounds to the bank each week, though the task of cleaning the money from the Loch Promenade Wishing Well was not an enjoyment, for good reason!

From the age of 20, John began to study accountancy. It was this which led his later career, leading him off the Island for a job in Reading in 1964, but then returning in 1969 to a role in the Isle of Man Treasury. It was in 1991 that he became the Chief Financial Officer, where he earned an OBE before his retirement in 2001.

Outside of his working life, John has been highly involved in the Manx Operatic Society since 1969, enjoying roles both on stage and as a part of the organising team.

He concludes the interview here with a reading from T. E. Brown's The Doctor, which he first heard his father recite in the Hillberry Methodist Hall in the 1940s.


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  • John Cashen interviewed by James Franklin (2 March 2023)