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Bruce And Saunderson


Two names which stand out in the early development of Howstrake are those of Alexander Bruce and Frederick Saunderson.

Alexander Bruce, J.P., was born at Banff in Scotland and, after working in the City of Glasgow Bank, came to Ramsey to take up a responsible position in the Bank of Mona, a subsidiary of the former Bank. After the collapse of the City of Glasgow Bank in 1878 he moved to the Dumbell Banking Company Ltd. in Douglas and lived at Ballaquayle House, near Douglas. He became the Bank's General Manager and was appointed a Justice of the Peace in 1893 and also acted as the Town Treasurer for Douglas. Although facing charges, with others, following the collapse of Dumbell's Bank in 1900, he was too ill to be present at the trial and died before its conclusion.

W. Frederick Saunderson was born at Armagh in Northern Ireland in 1841. He trained as a civil engineer and came to the Isle of Man in 1865 bringing with him experience of railway construction. For a period of about seventeen years he worked for Captain Rowe, to whom he was related by marriage, at the Laxey Mines. Following a slump in the mining industry, he took employment in an advocate's office at Ramsey. After a few years Saunderson turned to property promotion and civil engineering projects. He was involved in the South Ramsey Estate in the 1880s and was responsible for laying out the large Ballaquayle estate which stretched across the upper part of Douglas from Ballaquayle Road to Alexander Drive.

That Bruce was to meet Saunderson was fortuitous. Saunderson and a Thomas Marr were the trustees of a marriage settlement, and, in time, Marr was to be replaced as a trustee by Bruce. The eventual business combination of Alexander Bruce and Frederick Saunderson was to change the face of Howstrake.