13th August 1877

Guernsey steam tramway is granted its concession

Guernsey once had a fully fledged steam railway. The Guernsey Steam Tramway company was granted a concession to run services on 2 May 1877, which was confirmed by an Order in Council on 13 August the same year. However, the service didn’t start operating for another two years, with the first trains running between St Peter Port and St Sampson on 6 June 1879.

On 22 November 1879, a letter appeared in The Star from Henry Brady, who described himself as the company’s solicitor to whom the concession for the line had been granted personally, before he transferred ownership to a company set up by a Mr J Howard. As the Act of Parliament that had authorised the formation of the company stipulated must happen, Brady had resigned from the company so that two Guernsey directors could be appointed in his place.

Guernsey Steam Tramway grumbler

However, not everyone approved of the service. In the same issue, another letter, from a correspondent signing off as Diogenes, took issue with safety arrangements, pointing out that, “when a few more accidents have occurred and a few lives have been lost in consequence of the defective arrangements for carrying on the traffic of the line, the authorities may awaken from the lethargic state in which they seem to be happily existing at present.”

Diogenes’ main complaint was that while a watchman had been stationed at Hogue a la Pere hill, he had no real authority, as a policeman would have had in the same position. As a result, cab drivers were taking no notice of his safety instructions. “To expect cabdrivers to possess caution, or even an average amount of common sense, is quite out of the question,” he claimed. “Possibly when a dozen or more little children, and an old lady or two, have been run over, a law may be passed, and certain officials appointed to see that the law is carried out, to prevent the [tram] cars from proceeding at a greater speed than six to eight miles an hour from the town to the Hogue a la Pere.”


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Other events that occured in August

The Saumarez Memorial foundation stone was laid 1st
Guernsey won double-silver at the Commonwealth Games 2nd
Earl Grey was appointed Governor of Guernsey 3rd
A boy scout fell 250ft over a Torteval Cliff 4th
Jethou tenant was rescued from an up-turned boat 5th
A tomato ship and a tanker collided 6th
Human remains were found on Lihou 7th
The Beatles played at Candie Gardens 8th
The RAF bombed Guernsey Airport 9th
Guernesiais linguist Marie de Garis died 10th
Alderney experienced a total eclipse of the sun 11th
A minister was found dead at Icart Point 12th
Guernsey steam tramway is granted its concession 13th
Police found a bomb in Bluebell Wood 14th
Hanois Lighthouse’s foundation stone was laid 15th
Charlie Chaplin played in St Peter Port 16th
St Peter Port inundated with fish 17th
A royal visit… of sorts
The Rolling Stones played St Peter Port 18th
Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society was published 19th
Archaeologist Crystal Bennet was born 20th
Mapmaking geologist John MacCulloch died 21st
St Sampson pensioner was buried in a landslide 22nd
Trident VI ran aground on its return from Herm 23rd
Queen Victoria visited Guernsey 24th
The post-Occupation military government was disbanded 25th
Wesleyans celebrated 100 years on Guernsey 26th
Oliver Reed was jailed in Guernsey 27th
Guernsey’s Reform Law was enacted 28th
Winston Churchill visited Guernsey with his wife 29th
Philip de Saumarez was discharged as a Jurat 30th
Jersey swimmers set a round-Guernsey record 31st