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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