Victorian

Devotedly loyal islands in collision with the Government, 1845

10th May 2017
The Eclectic Review, Vol 17 (1), 1845, pp. 540-555. 1848 is the year of revolution in Europe; in Guernsey the stirrings of the people, such as they were, occurred just a few years earlier. (The headings have been added for ease of reading.) The illustration is a print from the Library Collection dated c 1835, published by M Moss, and showing the interior of the Royal Court in St Peter Port. 'May this people ever beware of apeing the follies of their neighbours, and retain their own dignified simplicity! For it they are pre-eminent. Should they ever stoop to become imitators, they can never get beyond an humble mimicry of that which is useless and effeminate in the customs of England.'

Les Miserables de Guernesey: Children

21st April 2017
On 5 March 1862 Hugo made arrangements with his cook, Marie Sixty, for a repas des enfants pauvres to be served every week, ‘the meal will be the same as ours, we shall serve them, they will say as they sit down Dieu soyez beni and on rising Dieu soyez remercié.’ Hugo followed the teaching of a French doctor that meat and a glass of wine were good for growing children—not a medical opinion that would be advocated today. The first such lunch took place on 10 March 1862 and thereafter they were held on a regular basis. There was a special meal at Christmas, when presents were distributed. These were often of a useful nature—items of clothing for example, but there were also toys. This is part of The Victor Hugo and Guernsey project.

Victor Hugo and Guernsey

8th November 2016
A new digital project based upon the book, Victor Hugo's Guernsey Neighbours, by Gregory Stevens Cox, MBE, MA (Oxon), Ph.D. The publication of the book was timed to coincide with the Victor Hugo in Guernsey Festival which took place in Guernsey in May, 2016. From this festival was born The Victor Hugo in Guernsey Society. The Festival celebrated the 150th anniversary of the publication of Victor Hugo's great novel, Les Travailleurs de la mer, or Toilers of the sea, which with its references to actual people and localities demonstrates a detailed knowledge of and interest in the island, and an understanding and empathy for Guernsey's culture and inhabitants, unparalleled until the publication of G B Edwards' Ebenezer Le Page in 1981. Hugo was not only influenced by Guernsey in writing this novel, however, but absorbed everything around him in his new home, and the legacy of Guernsey can be detected in every aspect of his life and work. The intention of this project, hosted by the Priaulx Library, is that it should collect and examine that island influence, and we welcome any contribution.

Prehistoric remains in Guernsey, from the Lukis MSS

28th June 2016
In the early 20th century, local historian Edith Carey made copious notes from various manuscripts belonging to the Lukis family into scrapbooks which are now in the Library collection. She collected the following observations about early island archaeology together and copied them again into the notes she made to the book Guernsey Folk Lore, intended to aid her as its editor in a putative new edition, which she never completed. The Lukis family (Frederick Corbin Lukis and his children) were all deeply interested in archaeology, and these journal notes give a very Guernsey flavour of the beginnings of archaeology as a science. The photograph is of 'Frederick Lukis, Esq., at the Du Tus cromlech, Guernsey' from an album in the Library's Harvey collection (the Harvey and Lukis families were related.)

Spirit of adventure: Violetta Thurstan

25th April 2016
'Guernsey readers will read with interest of the adventure of Miss Violetta Thurstan, who is managing an ambulance unit in Spain.' This article, from the Star newspaper of April 1, 1937, recalls her war service and brings readers up to date with her activities in the Spanish Civil War. Violetta received the Mons Star, the Russian Royal Cross of St George, and, twice wounded, was awarded the Military Medal.

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