An expedition to dive the wreck of Mona’s Queen III will be the focus of the first in a new season of talks from Rushen Heritage Trust.

In April 2023, Dr Michelle Haywood MHK led a team of divers from the Isle of Man to Dunkirk to dive the wreck of Mona’s Queen III, one of three Isle of Man Steam Packet Company ships lost within 24 hours during the evacuation in May 1940.

In her illustrated talk, Dr Haywood, who is co-owner of Port St Mary-based Discover Diving, will explain how one of the Steam Packet’s finest vessels was lost and the challenges faced by the divers trying to pay their respects to the crew.

Her talk at 7.30pm on Monday, November 6th kicks off RHT’s new season, with each of the six talks through to April 2024 taking place at the Erin Arts Centre in Port Erin.

Historian Charles Guard is December’s speaker, telling the story of ‘The History of Manx Tourism’, after which Yvonne Cresswell, former Curator of Social History for Manx National Heritage, will deliver a talk about ‘William Hoggatt – A Passion for the Manx Landscape’.

In February, Gaiety Theatre tour guide Mike Lean will reveal some of the ‘Secrets of the Gaiety Theatre’, and in March Peter Geddes, from the Laxey Mines Research Group, is back due to popular demand, to deliver his ‘Deep Inside Bradda Mines’ talk that he presented last season.

Finally, in April, astronomer Howard Parkin will bring the curtain down on the season with his talk ‘The Isle of Man for Dark Skies’, discussing the problems of light pollution from an astronomical perspective, but also looking at the impact on nature, wildlife, humans, and the environment.

Juan Watterson SHK, Chairman of RHT, said: ‘After the great success of last season’s talks, we are delighted to announce another excellent line-up of speakers for the forthcoming season. The dive to Mona’s Queen was brought to life in May in an exhibition at Port St Mary Town Hall and it will be fascinating to hear it first-hand from Dr Haywood.

‘We welcome back Charles Guard and Peter Geddes, who have given talks to us in previous seasons, and are thrilled that, in addition to Dr Haywood, Yvonne Cresswell, Mike Lean and Howard Parkin are making their “debuts” for RHT.’

Make a date in your diaries for the 2023-24 season:

  • November 6 – Dr Michelle Haywood: Diving the wreck of Mona’s Queen
  • December 4 – Charles Guard: The History of Manx Tourism
  • January 8 – Yvonne Cresswell: William Hoggatt – A Passion for the Manx Landscape
  • February 5 – Mike Lean: Secrets of the Gaiety Theatre
  • March 4 – Peter Geddes: Deep Within Bradda Mines
  • April 22 – Howard Parkin: The Isle of Man for Dark Skies

Tickets for each talk are £6 – or £5 for Friends of Rushen Heritage Trust – and available online at or from Erin Arts Centre, Bridge Bookshop and Rushen Heritage Centre in Port Erin. Tickets for each talk will go on sale after the previous talk has taken place.

For more details, contact RHT Coordinator John Quirk at or on 464634.