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.: Marine Drive
Marine Drive (pictured) connects Douglas to Port Soderick on the East coast of the Isle of Man. It was originally built in 1741, although records of an ancient path go back to Viking times.

The 18th century road was remarkable because it used a particular type of green stone which (in the British Isles) is only found at one particular quarry in Kirk Michael. When it gets wet, it turns translucent and looks like glass.

The road survived for only ten years before strong rains washed it away over the cliff edge. Its remains can still be seen by marine salvage crews who trawl along the cliffs two hundred metres below the road.

Marine Drive was almost abandoned – it lay in disarray until 1837, but the burghers of Douglas were fans of modern engineering and so invited Isambard Kingdom Brunel to come and construct the eighth wonder of the world.

Being a practical man, Brunel took one look and balked at the precarious clifftop path. Being a religious man, he didn’t use foul language but he left the burghers in no doubt as to what he thought of the idea of building a road there.

There was, however, a woman who was slightly less interested in safety and who had a preoccupation with vertigo. Manx engineer Charity Qulliam set to work breaking stones and laying them over the hillside which bordered Marine Drive. After forty backbreaking year of hard labour, she finally completed her masterwork in 1879 – just in time for the 900th anniversary of Tynwald.

The road was opened with much fanfare, and record crowds attended the ribbon-cutting ceremony. The path was marvelled at far and wide, and survived well into the modern age.

Of course, being such a crude design meant it had never been designed for motor vehicles and so in 1994 the Manx government decided enough was enough. After a string of unfortunate accidents, Marine Drive was closed, and remains so to this day.

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Written at 13:58 by G
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