taking our culture forward

Maggie Clarke was waiting to get into Summerland when the fire took hold and the crowds rushed over her in their haste to escape the building.

Originally from Scotland, Maggie came to the Island for work in the hospitality industry. Working in a hotel in the early 70s, Summerland was one of the main destinations for her and her peers to relax, unwind and have fun. Maggie recounts some of her memories from the entertainment complex prior to 1973, and gives a flavour of what life was like at the epicentre of Douglas’ busy tourism offering, entertainment and nightlife – on its promenades. Maggie, and many others, would balance her shift work in the hotel with sampling what the Island’s entertainment industry had to offer in her free time.

From the night of 2 August 1973, Maggie has a particularly vivid story to tell. After finishing work for the day, she arrived at Summerland just around the time when the fire was taking hold – barely making it onto the threshold of the building when panic spread among the crowds gathered inside. Maggie was caught up in the rush of people that then rushed to escape, and she here gives her account of the moments between the general realisation of the seriousness of the incident, and the point where she was able to reflect, as somebody who had fortunately managed to escape.

An Island resident since, Maggie also speaks about the effect that the Summerland fire has had on her ever since.

This interview was conducted as a part of the Summerland Remembered project commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Summerland Fire on 2nd August 1973.


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.

  • Maggie Clarke interviewed by Dollin Mercer (21 July 2022)