Alderney Harbour in the 19th century
The Island of Alderney, which is situated to the north east of Guernsey about twenty miles, and about forty north of Jersey, via Guernsey, and from Portland Bill, the nearest point of England, sixty miles. It lies between 49o 42' and 49o 44' north latitude, and 2o 9' and 2o 14' west longitude. It is in length from north-east to south-west, nearly four miles, and in breadth the widest part about one mile and three quarters; highest elevation 280 feet, the area about four square miles. The circumference about ten miles. Its population in 1861 was 4,033, and in 1871 about 2,443 inhabitants. Hill’s Historical Directory of the Channel Islands (1874)
The island is loyal to the English monarch, who is represented in the island by the Lieutenant-Governor. Past governors have included member of the De Carteret family of Jersey, the Andros family of Guernsey, from whom it was inherited by the Le Mesurier family who established a hereditary line of governors that lasted until 1825.
During the 19th Century, the British Government decided to construct a major harbour as part of its defence of the islands against the threat of attacks from France. These were not completed, although the breakwater remains the longest in United Kingdom. The construction efforts brought many labourers and their families to the island.
It was almost completely evacuated during the German Occupation of the Channel Islands. Four concentration camps were built on the island, including Lager Sylt an SS-run death camp.
The island has one parish St Anne.
- Government House - now the Island Hall
T H White's 1957 novel The Master was set in Alderney, and was serialised on television in 1965-66.
Riduna by Diana Jackson, published in 2009, is set in Alderney. Its title is derived from the Roman name for the island.
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