1st October 1969

Guernsey Post Office was established

Until 1969, Guernsey’s postal needs were overseen by the (British) General Post Office. That all changed on 1 October 1969. On that day, it gained its independence under the management of Bill Sexton, the first manager of Guernsey Post Office.

Its new-found independence coincided with the abolition of the General Post Office on the mainland. On that date, the General Post Office’s assets were transferred to the Post Office, which simultaneously became a statutory corporation. Previously it had been a Department of State.

Guernsey’s independent service

The effort to establish an independent post office for Guernsey had kicked off nine months before its culmination. Local politician Peppino Santangelo set it up and chose Bill Sexton to run it. Santangelo served as president of the States of Guernsey Post Office Board.

Sexton wanted to make the service’s independence obvious. So, out went the red livery of the British Post Office, and in came Oxford blue. Most of the pillar boxes were repainted (one notable exception being the very first pillar box, in Union Street), and staff were given new uniforms.

Guernsey Post Office

The main post office remained in Smith Street, but the back-room operations were fulfilled in Le Truchot, St Peter Port, until a new headquarters could be built and opened 15 years later.

Despite being overseen from the mainland through much of its existence, Guernsey’s local postal service had actually been established in 1794. The first local stamp had been issued on the island during the occupation when mainland supplies came to an end.

An apt commemoration

Jersey Post Office gained its independence at the same time as Guernsey. The two post offices therefore worked together when they wanted to release a set of commemorative stamps to mark their 25th anniversary in 1994.

The cover notes for the Guernsey issue describe how “on the morning of 1 October [1969], hundreds of people were waiting outside the main post office in Smith Street, the queue disappearing around the corner into Hirzel Street”. Naturally, those in the queue had been hoping to get their hands on souvenir stamps marking the advent of independence.

 

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Other events that occured in October

Guernsey Post Office was established 1st
Guernsey switched to Reichsmarks 2nd
Sark was the target of Operation Basalt 3rd
Sark voted for democracy 4th
Guernsey lifeboat saved a Swedish schooner 5th
Jeeves actor died in Guernsey 6th
Sarnia Theatre celebrated its most successful year 7th
The Story of Adele H opened in cinemas 8th
Howards’ Way came to Guernsey 9th
Guernsey Ladies’ College opened 10th
A Trislander ate itself between Jersey and Guernsey 11th
The Channel Islands’ king set sail for England 12th
Major General Sir Isaac Brock died 13th
Footballer Matt Le Tissier was born 14th
Island FM brings commercial radio to Guernsey 15th
Channel Television saw off a rival broadcaster 16th
The first mines were dug on Sark 17th
Sark’s Stocks Hotel was damaged by fire 18th
Elizabeth College’s foundation stone was laid 19th
Hitler ordered the Channel Islands’ fortification 20th
Guernsey’s stone crackers demanded a pay rise 21st
The desalination plant opened 22nd
Sir Charles Hayward buys Jethou for £91,000 23rd
Guernsey Monopoly board game went on sale 24th
Dame Sibyl Hathaway chose her Desert Island Discs 25th
GUNS founder Charles Machon died 26th
Bailiff Sir Peter de Havilland was born 27th
A man “disappeared” from a Guernsey ferry 28th
Express & Star bought Guernsey Press 29th
The first lighthouses were built on the Casquets 30th
States of Guernsey voted to lower the voting age 31st