24th July 1935
Val des Terres was first opened for traffic
The Val des Terres in St Peter Port probably isn’t as old as you think. Work started on cutting it in 1931, and it was opened for traffic four years later, on 24 July 1935.
The Prince of Wales (who later became Edward VIII for less than a year before his abdication) did the honours. He travelled to Guernsey for the first time to snip the ribbon using golden scissors and welcome the traffic onto the road that he named Le Val des Terres. He then walked down the road, which until then had been known simply as “new road”, watched by 6,000 cheering school children.
Several mainland papers reported on the prince’s visit and quoted his speech. It was, he said, a great pleasure to see the beautiful and fertile island that has been associated with British royalty for so long while acting as a link with our friendly neighbours in France.
The Scotsman described his visit in full, including his carriage journey to the site of the opening:
At St Martin’s the Prince rode under an arch on which hundreds of whirring propellers formed in giant letters the word ‘Welcome’ and on the outskirts of St Peter Port he passed through a shaded tunnel of trees in which hundreds of electric fairy lights twinkled.
As reported by the Northern Daily Mail, “The prince… said that it gave him great pleasure to open the new road ‘constructed by those whom the last tying years have deprived of their normal employment’.”
A five-ton stone at the top of the road commemorates the opening.
The price had arrived at Guernsey on the destroyer, Faulknor, having spent the previous day visiting Jersey. The ship had left Jersey at 1am, and the prince had remained onboard until 11am on the 24th. His journey home was more convoluted. He flew from Guernsey to Calshot in an RAF flying boat, then took a second aircraft from Hamble aerodrome to Sunningdale in Windsor.
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