17th June 1896

States Telephone Department was established

Guernsey’s first telecoms body appeared at the end of the 19th century. It had a mandate to establish, maintain and operate an independent telephone network for the Bailiwick. The Channel Islands were deemed to be outside of the monopoly area covered by National Telephone Company, which had similar rights on the mainland.

Yet, this didn’t stop the National Telephone Company from trying to barge its way into Guernsey. It erected a series of poles and cables in St Peter Port in the belief that once it had established itself nobody would dare to object. This turned out to be a mis-judgement on its part, and its fledgling infrastructure was torn down.

The States Telephone Department went through various manifestations over the following 100 years. In 2001 it was handed over to the States of Guernsey Telecommunications Board, ready for sale. The eventual purchaser was Cable and Wireless, which took ownership on 30 May 2002. It later changed the name of its Guernsey operation to Sure.

Subscriber trunk dialling

The Channel Islands were connected to the UK’s subscriber trunk dialling (STD) network in the 1960s. This allowed users to direct-dial numbers connected through different exchanges to their own, without the help of an operator.

The introduction of STD saw the development of a system of standard codes for all numbers. Most often, these numbers were determined by the first three letters of the place name, as spelled out on the telephone keyboard or dial. Thus, Guernsey should logically be 0483 (which would later have been changed to 01483).

However, the 01483 area code actually points to Guildford (which should more logically be 01484). 01484 connects to Huddersfield which should more logically have been 01483. Either way, it was unlikely Guernsey would ever get its most logical combination.

The number 1 has not been assigned to any number on the dial, thus technically making Guernsey’s prefix 01GU[blank].


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Other events that occured in June

Cricketer Charles Grieve died in Shropshire 1st
St Johns undertook its first Guernsey rescue 2nd
Bailiff John Guille died in Plymouth 3rd
GUNS writer Joseph John Gillingham was deported 4th
First arrests were made at Guernsey Airport 5th
Jethou was put on the market 6th
The king and queen celebrated Guernsey’s liberation 7th
Occupying forces confiscated Guernsey’s radios 8th
Guernsey Railway company ceased operations 9th
Guernsey welcomed its first steam ship 10th
Laura Kennington kicks off Channel Islands triathlon 11th
Dame Sibyl became a dame again 12th
Guernsey voted to legalise local abortions 13th
Victor Hugo’s house is opened to the public 14th
The Channel Islands were demilitarised 15th
Guernsey was invaded by Colorado beetles 16th
States Telephone Department was established 17th
Pollet guest house fire claimed its third victim 18th
Aurigny founder Derrick Bailey died 19th
Guernsey joined the Football Association 20th
Guernsey’s school children were evacuated 21st
Guernsey celebrated Queen Victoria’s jubilee 22nd
Princess Elizabeth opened Guernsey’s hospital 23rd
Guernsey chose England over France 24th
First meeting of Guernsey’s Controlling Committee 25th
Guernsey bought Fort Grey from the War Office 26th
Guernsey coffee trader William Le Lacheur died 27th
G-JOEY completes his last flight 28th
Guernsey suffered its first and only air raid
The Star was published for the first time 29th
Two deserters were shot after landing on Guernsey 30th