taking our culture forward

Maurice Kennaugh speaks about his experiences as a taxi driver called in to help the emergency efforts on the night of the Summerland fire.

On the evening of 2 August 1973, Maurice was working as a taxi driver in Douglas. Upon picking up a family near the southern end of Douglas promenades, with the intention of taking them to Summerland, Maurice recalls being able to see what he thought was a small gorse fire from across the bay. By the time he had driven along the length of the promenades to the site itself, it had become apparent that the fire was significantly more serious than he had first realised. After taking the family to the Nursery Hotel in Onchan instead, Maurice effectively abandoned his shift, instead using his vehicle to transport people away from Summerland who were fleeing the scene of the fire. Some went home, and some went to give blood at Ballaquayle Road in Douglas. Like so many other people in the surrounding area, he just did what he could to help.

Maurice here speaks for the first time about that evening 50 years ago, offering a telling insight into the community response to the events at Summerland that evening.

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


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  • Maurice Kennaugh interviewed by Dollin Mercer (21 July 2022)