15th January 1891

Benefactor Osmond de Beauvoir Priaulx dies

The name of Osmond Priaulx – or his surname, at least – will be long remembered on Guernsey. He donated the Candie Estate to the island and, with it, his extensive collection of books. He also granted a £10,000 endowment to fund a free library for public use.

He wasn’t the only man keen on providing libraries for the public good, as we have seen elsewhere. Messers Guille and Alles had been having similar ideas, which resulted in the setting up of the library in St Peter Port that carries their names. However, where the Guille-Alles library was only open to visitors paying an annual subscription, Priaulx’s institution was to offer free access for the good of all.

A generous bequest

Yet Priaulx was a modest man and if he had got his way he might now be long forgotten. He had originally wanted the library to be called the Candie Library, but this request was discarded out of hand. His gifts to the island were too great to go unmarked.

He had studied law at Cambridge but even after graduation he hadn’t practiced in the profession. He had no need to earn a living as he had inherited an early fortune upon his father’s death, which had happened when Priaulx was still young.

An astute man, he had used the money wisely, making a number of sensible investments that provided a steady income and left him free to indulge his love of books and literature. The ultimate beneficiaries of this love were the people of Guernsey.

Priaulx died following an operation from which he never fully recovered. He succumbed at his London home, 8 Cavendish Square, four months after a hospital stay. He was cremated at Woking and his ashes returned to Guernsey to reside in an urn at Candie House.


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Other events that occured in January

Alderney elects its first president 1st
Guille and Alles open their library 2nd
Guernsey bans smoking in public places 3rd
Guernsey Press registers its domain 4th
Guernsey Zoo is sold as a going concern 5th
Guernsey opens its wartime files
Guernsey Police moves to its new headquarters 6th
Guernsey Fisher makes its maiden voyage 7th
Work begins on the Val des Terres 8th
A hotel porter goes on trial for murder 9th
Guernsey Police Service appoints its first inspector 10th
Royal theft inquiry heads to Guernsey 11th
Channel Express Airways plane crashes in Guernsey 12th
Sibyl Hathaway, Dame of Sark, is born 13th
Channel Television disappears 14th
Benefactor Osmond de Beauvoir Priaulx dies 15th
MV Prosperity is wrecked at Perelle 16th
Guernsey’s Royal Court sits for the first time 17th
Doctor Who travels to Guernsey 18th
Channel 4 gameshow Treasure Hunt comes to Guernsey 19th
Hanois Lighthouse is cut off by the weather 20th
Guernsey-built prototype plane crashes 21st
Guernsey Steam Tramway stops running 22nd
Radiant Med sinks with loss of life 23rd
Guernsey wins gold at the Commonwealth Games 24th
Sark is awarded Dark-Sky status 25th
Guernsey passengers are battered by storms 26th
Sir Isaac Newton has his say on a mysterious Guernsey invention 27th
Guernsey’s last witch trial takes place 28th
Guernsey poet George Métivier is born 29th
The States of Guernsey proposes a new airport 30th
Guernsey lifeboat performs a chemical tanker rescue 31st