11th December 1976

Beau Sejour opens for business

Beau Sejour took a long time to get off the ground. Long overdue proposals for an all-purpose indoor sports centre were first mooted in 1966 by a group of Guernsey sportspeople. The island didn’t even have a public indoor swimming pool at the time, but that didn’t mean that the idea would gain automatic approval.

When the site on which it sits was selected – and from which it takes its name – any plans to build on it needed the approval of the residents of St Peter Port. The issue was put to a vote, which came out in favour, but it still wasn’t until 1970 that a steering committee was formed to push the project forward. Four years later, the States of Guerney voted in favour of the £2.5m plans proposed by the States Sporting Committee for what should become the finest complex of its kind in Britain.

Usurped by the mainland

Building work began right away, but almost immediately ran into problems. The steel that Guernsey had ordered for the complex’s infrastructure was requisitioned by the British government for use on oil rigs. This pushed back completion of the shell until mid-1975 and likely contributed to the overall delay in its completion. It had originally been projected to open in March 1976 but it was another nine months before the bailiff, Sir John Loveridge, finally cut the ribbon.

Beau Sejour was designed as a leisure centre in the truest sense of the term, incorporating sports facilities, a conference centre, exhibition space and a theatre. Following the closure of the Little Theatre three years earlier, it was the only venue on the island that could host plays and shows. Aptly, its opening night hosted a performance of Fiddler on the Roof.

One of its earliest big-ticket events was the fourth Commonwealth Table Tennis Championships, which were held there within three months of its opening.


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Other events that occured in December

French fishing boats prepare to invade 1st
Two cargo ships collide on their way to Guernsey 2nd
Guernseyman Herbert Le Patourel wrongly thought killed 3rd
A Guernsey funeral takes place in Cornwall 4th
Guernsey steamship SS Rossgull is wrecked 5th
The Guernsey Tapestry is completed 6th
Air UK Fokker overshoots Guernsey runway 7th
Naftel’s paintings go on display 8th
Guernsey and Jersey newspapers agree to merge 9th
Sark holds its first election 10th
Beau Sejour opens for business 11th
Victor Hugo flees France and Napoleon 12th
Explorer Edmund Kennedy is speared to death 13th
Author Mary Ann Shaffer is born
Herm bribery case comes to court 14th
Alderney’s evacuees return to their island 15th
Guillaume de Beauvoir appointed dean of English Church in Geneva 16th
Castle Cornet surrenders to Guernsey 17th
Telex, phones and telegram cables go quiet 18th
Guernsey shipwreck results in starvation 19th
Channel Islands Securities Exchange founded 20th
G-COBO has a bumpy flight 21st
Guernsey struck by an earthquake 22nd
William Hedley Cliff buys Jethou 23rd
Wombles author Liza Beresford dies 24th
Asterix is discovered in St Peter Port harbour 25th
Guille and Alles lease the Assembly Rooms 26th
The Red Cross saves Guernsey from starvation 27th
Operation Hardtack targets the Channel Islands 28th
Ebenezer Le Page author GB Edwards dies 29th
Castle Cornet is struck by lightning 30th
Guernsey Police makes the world’s first underwater arrest 31st