15th August 1860

Hanois Lighthouse’s foundation stone was laid

It took a long time for Trinity House to agree to build a lighthouse on Le Bisseau, one of the rocks that comprise the Hanois reef, lying around two miles off Pleinmont. A lot of lives had been lost in the interim, and even Victor Hugo, author of Toilers of the Sea, had highlighted the danger it posed to shipping.

However, when plans were finally drawn up and work got underway it was obvious that the structure would become a landmark in the history of lighthouse architecture.

Les Hanois Lighthouse

Les Hanois lighthouse was the first to be built with all of the stones forming the floors and walls dovetailed into one another. Once completed, they formed a single solid mass. The technique proved so successful that it became the standard construction method for all rock-mounted lighthouses that were built from that point on.

Laying the foundation stone

The foundation stone was laid with great ceremony by the Bailiff of Guernsey, Peter Stafford Carey. He was taken to the rock with his wife and a number of Jurats, on a small boat from Portelet Harbour.

Upon his arrival, he was able to see that the bed for the foundations had already been cut into Le Bisseau in such a way that the rock within them would protrude into the interior of the tower by around 4m. This gave the lighthouse extra strength and anchored the structure to the bedrock. There was also a crane and small railway track in situ. These were to be used to move the 2,500 tonnes of granite that would be used in the building works.

The party made the most of its unusual visit. After pointing out that such a group had never before been assembled on the rocks throughout the whole history of mankind, they laid the first stone, gave three cheers, and spent around two hours enjoying the plentiful supply of refreshments that they’d brought across with them.

The lighthouse was completed in 1862.


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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