1st May 1889

Priaulx Library opens for the first time

The Priaulx Library opened for business on 1 May 1889. It is the primary repository of family and local history on Guernsey. It was a gift to the island from Osmond de Beauvoir Priaulx, and is housed in his former home, Candie House.

Priaulx had been born in Guernsey in 1805, and moved first to Cambridge to study, then to London to become a barrister and author. Although he hadn’t lived long on the island, he remembered it right up until the time of his death in 1891. He had donated the Candie Estate, in St Peter Port, and his collection of books, some years before his passing. He wanted the house to become a library that would be free for anyone to use.

Several volumes were still in transit when the Priaulx Library opened in 1889 under the guidance of librarian Percy Groves. Priaulx himself had requested that it be called Candie Library so as not to look egotistical, but the States ignored his wishes.

Candie House

Candie House, in St Peter Port, was built at the end of the 18th century and was, for a while, the home of the Bailiff, St Peter Stafford Carey. Carey was never the owner, merely a tenant of Joshua Priaulx, who sold the property to his brother, Osmond, during the Bailiff’s tenancy.

Osmond Priaulx lived in London, so had no need for the house. He sold it to the States of Guernsey and spent the money that the sale had raised – £2000 – renovating the property. It was at that point converted for use as a public library, which Priaulx funded with a further bequest of £10,000 to pay for books.

Although he didn’t occupy the house during his lifetime, Priaulx could be said to live there now. He was cremated in London and his ashes were returned to Guernsey. They are now in an urn, which is on display in the library.


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Other events that occured in May

Priaulx Library opens for the first time 1st
Horse racing returns to L’Ancresse race course 2nd
Guernsey deportee, nurse Gladys Skillett was born
“Twink” goes missing on its way to Guernsey 3rd
Role of Chief Minister of Guernsey abolished 4th
Guernsey Airport opened for business 5th
Alderney debated in the House of Commons 6th
Songs of Praise comes from Guernsey 7th
Final issue of Deutsche Guernsey-Zeitung was published 8th
Guernsey was liberated from German occupation 9th
A Guernsey retiree’s £1m offer attracts 57,000 requests 10th
A liberation celebration ended in disaster 11th
Guernsey plays Tottenham Hotspur 12th
Guernsey’s telephone wars broke out 13th
British papers reported Dame of Sark’s deportation 14th
The States of Guernsey bought Aurigny 15th
Alderney was liberated at the end of the second world war 16th
Herm goes back on the market 17th
A mainland murder with a Guernsey connection 18th
Guernsey declared a State of Emergency 19th
Wartime diplomat Wilfred Gallienne born in Guernsey 20th
Hauteville House is bequeathed to the City of Paris 21st
Guernsey poet and painter Denys Corbet was born 22nd
John Doyle was appointed Lieutenant-Governor 23rd
The Imperial Hotel opened for the first time 24th
Elizabeth College is founded in St Peter Port 25th
Game of Thrones actor Roy Dotrice was born 26th
Head of Guernsey CID is shot in St Peter Port 27th
Work started on the Victoria Tower
Guernsey’s first paid constables were hired 28th
Guernsey woman advised to leave for her safety 29th
Occupation stories occupy the mainland papers 30th
“Overdose” verdict in Guernsey farmer’s death inquiry 31st