27th May 1848

Work started on the Victoria Tower

When Queen Victoria made an unannounced visit to Guernsey in 1846 (see 24 August), she was the first reigning monarch to step foot on the island. Naturally, it was something to commemorate, so William Colling was commissioned to design a red granite tower in her honour.

It was built on the site of a windmill, which had been positioned high above Town to take advantage of its elevation. The resulting tower is 200m above sea level, and stands 100m tall, offering commanding views across St Peter Port.

Guernsey’s governor laid the foundation stone on 27 May 1848, and a time capsule containing Guernsey coins was set into the base.

Royal approval

If the intention had been to attract a second visit from the monarch, it worked. She and Prince Albert returned to Guernsey in 1859 to inspect the finished tower, which had cost £2000 to build.

Had she come much earlier, she might not have been amused. The cost of the works was high for the times, and it was only through public donations that the workers were finally paid all they were owed and were convinced to make good the site. Until the mid-1850s it had remained full of construction detritus.


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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