14th June 1927

Victor Hugo’s house is opened to the public

Victor Hugo lived in Guernsey for 15 years. He bought his home, Hauteville House, after leaving Jersey while in exile from his native France. He wrote many of his best-known works there.

Hauteville House

Following his death, his heirs donated Hauteville House to the City of Paris. This could only be done after Guernsey’s Lieutenant Governor, sitting in the Royal Court, raised no objections to its acquisition by a non-Brit.

Memorial to a famous author

The heirs had wanted it to be turned into a museum celebrating his life and work. That is exactly what the City did once it was in possession of the property. On 13 June, with the work complete, a delegation from the Paris Municipal Council left for Guernsey. They would officially open the museum the following day.

Until its donation to Paris, the home had been the property of Jean Negreponte (nee Hugo), the author’s granddaughter. She said at the time that she was sure Victor would have wanted the home to be donated and used as a memorial to his achievements.

A generous bequest

The Guardian reported that,

The house is in the same condition as when Victor Hugo left it to return to France after the declaration of the Republic in 1870, and it is estimated to be worth, with its contents, about £20,000.

That would equate to around £875,000 today allowing for inflation, but without taking into account any appreciation of property values. The Paris Municipal Council awarded the Hugo family a gold medal in recognition of its generosity.

Hugo wrote several of his most notable works at Hauteville House, including Les Miserables and Toilers of the Sea, the latter of which he set on Guernsey and dedicated to the island.

 

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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