Peel Godred is a good example of a Burgh or walled fortress town, and is built on a hill. It dates from before the time of King Godred Crovan. It was probably Godred MacHarold, King from 979 to 989, who turned the Peel, or Tower of Refuge, into a fort, and surrounded the town with a wooden stockade. Godred II Crovan improved on his grandfather’s work, and had, by 1070, turned it from a stockaded fortress into a completely walled town. He made it his headquarters during his conquest of The Isles, Dublin and Man. Throughout its long and honourable history, Peel Godred has been many times besieged, but never taken. Even the Cromwellians during the Great Rebellion failed to get near enough to use their artillery effectively.
There is a first class hotel in the Market Place reputedly built on the site of Godred Crovan's Hall. Its name was changed shortly before 1987 from the rather prosaic “Crovan's Arms”, to the more striking, ”White Gauntlet”. ”This,” says the landlord - a local historian of some repute - ”is a reminder of the fact that Godred II was given the nick-name of Crovan from his custom of wearing white leather gloves, or gauntlets, in battle.” Crovan Square is located here, where there is a Branch Office of The Sodor Island Trust.
When first promoted in the 1850s, the Sodor and Mainland Railway promised to build a branch line from Cronk to Peel Godred, but as the railway steadily became bankrupt the eventuality of a branch shrank, and in 1872 a group from the town entered an agreement with some mine owners at Cas-ny-Hawin to create a line to the town, forming the Mid Sodor Railway. The group ran low of funding before the line could reach the town, and plans for a fine Central Station were cancelled in favour of a smaller station in the outskirts. The Mid Sodor served Peel Godred from 1880 to 1947, and Arlesburgh Harbour became the town's port.
In 1923, the Peel Godred Power Company was formed to build a hydro-electric power station near the town. The North Western Railway was chosen over the MSR to provide transport for their equipment, and the railway built an electrified branch line to the town from Killdane. The railway tunnels under the east end of the hill on which the town is built, to reach the station on the northern side. The construction of the branch line had devastating effects on the MSR, with traffic from Peel Godred steadily decreasing until 1936, when the mountain section that led to the town was closed. The Railway itself followed 11 years later, in 1947.
About a mile north of the town is the Sodor Aluminium Works, founded in 1926, where Stuart and Falcon worked for several years after the Mid Sodor Railway closed. Alumina is brought there from Tidmouth, and the finished ingots of aluminium are taken to the Mainland. The company brings valuable employment and income for the area.
In the Television Series
In the television series, the station is named simply as Peel. In the ninth season and learning segments, the town is correctly depicted as a walled town. The station consists of two platforms, with the southern platform housing the station building, and four through tracks. In the eleventh season the northern platform is removed, and the town changes to a more conventional, non-walled layout.
- In real life, Peel is the name of a town on the Isle of Man.
- The station building is similar to that of Kellaby.