taking our culture forward

A conversation with Nigel Crowe RBV, about his childhood, youth, professional career and his lifelong passion for Manx studies which resulted in him receiving the RBV award in 2022.

Nigel Crowe grew up in East Baldwin, on the family farm, Ballachrink, but Union Mills also featured heavily in his upbringing through the family’s involvement in the chapel there. This was one of the venues that fostered his love of music, sat on his father’s knee and absorbing his wonderful bass singing. This musical side to his life has seen its expression through the family entertainment groups, choirs and the Guild.

Nigel’s grandmother in Kirk Michael played a prominent role in his life, influencing his interest in all things Manx not least through introducing him to the wonders of the Manx Museum Library at the age of 11 – something which Nigel’s mother suffered from until Nigel was old enough to go on his own during their weekly trips into Douglas!

After his time at school, Nigel got a job the land registry, which only drew out his already blossoming interests in the Manx landscape. It was this passion that saw Nigel identified at a very young age as someone of special interest in Manx historical circles. For instance, he was elected to the committee of the Isle of Man Natural History and Antiquarian Society when still only a teenager, later becoming one of its leading members and President.

Nigel was also central to the foundation of the Isle of Man Family History Society, and was its Genealogist from its inception in 1979, when the society’s mission was very much set in motion through the surprise ‘Operation Roots’ announcements of that year.

Since then, Nigel’s brilliant, tireless and generous work in Manx studies around genealogy, landscape history and associated fields has led to his being recognised with the Reih Bleeaney Vanannan award in 2022, the Isle of Man’s highest cultural award. It was this immensely deserved award that prompted this timely conversation with one of the Isle of Man’s leading scholars.


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  • Nigel Crowe interviewed by James Franklin (10 March 2022)