Port Jack Glen is situated in lower Onchan and has two entrances. The main entrance is at the bottom of Royal Avenue and the lower entrance is behind the shops at Port Jack. Access is by electric tram, bus, on foot from Onchan, or by car. Car parking is on the roadside.
Until the beginning of the 1960s, Port Jack Glen was a small, undeveloped valley at the bottom of Royal Avenue. This area had originally belonged to The Douglas Bay/Howestrake Estate Company who gave it, in 1892, to Douglas Corporation.
After a great many years of wrangling with Douglas Corporation, Onchan Commissioners finally took control of the glen in 1959. They immediately commenced to landscape it with paths, bridges, steps, iron railings and small planting areas. The stream was dug out and controlled to form two small ponds before flowing under the road and out to the sea at Port Jack.
The little river had once been the tail-race of the mill belonging to Howestrake Farm which stood at the bottom of Royal Avenue when it was a meadow, approximately where no's 92 and 94 stand now. The water for this mill originated under what is now aptly named The Springfield Court Residential Complex.
The bottom entrance to the glen used to have an iron archway over the gate with the letters OVC (Onchan Village Commissioners), Port Jack Glen.
Port Jack Glen celebrated its centenary in 1992 when the Onchan Commissioners arranged for activities and entertainment to take place within the glen for its parishioners.
New Millennium Entrance
Onchan Commissioners completed one of its Millennium projects by replacing the entrance at the top end of the glen in Royal Avenue.
The original entrance, used by many high school students to keep them dry whilst waiting for the school buses, was built in 1960 and was showing structural damage.
The new entrance consists of a bus shelter with seating area and a public clock, which faces up Royal Avenue. It was built at a cost of £71 000. Isle of Man Transport contributed £3,000 and the Mann 2000 committee gave a grant of £10,000.
It was designed by The Kellett & Robinson Partnership and the work was carried out by Curtins structural engineers and Curphey Bros (Builders) Ltd.
A stone plaque was unveiled on September 6th 2000 commemorating the opening.
Royal Avenue West / East
The houses on the east side were built in 1898 followed by the west a few years later in 1906. This second phase of building, by Mr Alexander Gill, was to entice the growing number of holidaymakers away from Douglas, to stay in these newly constructed boarding houses.
On the 11th June 1940 the houses on both sides of the glen were commandeered for use as an internment camp for German and Austrian internees. Each house was occupied by between twenty and forty people in eight to ten rooms.
This camp closed in July 1941 only to reopen in September of the same year with Italian internees who were held there until November 1944. Now, they are mostly converted into flats.
[Source: Manx Glens - A stroll through history]
[Acknowledgement: Suzanne Cubbon]