Victoria Tower

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Victoria Tower

Victoria Tower is public building on the skyline of St Peter Port, built in 1847, to commemorate the visit of Queen Victoria in 1846.

History

In 1846 Queen Victoria and Prince Albert made a visit to Guernsey. As this was the first time a reigning monarch had ever visited the island, a Scottish architect William Colling was asked to draw up plans for a tower to commemorate the monarch's visit.

The site chosen for Victoria Tower was an earthen mound opposite the Town Arsenal, where the militia were housed. On 27 May 1848 the first foundation stone was laid by the Governor of Guernsey, Major General John Bell during a large ceremony. Laid in the foundations of the tower was a time capsule containing Guernsey and English coins, which are the alms distributed to the poor by the monarch.

A public garden was later created which housed two cannons captured from the Russians during the Crimean War and these now sit on the ramparts of Castle Cornet. Many years later other guns were displayed in the garden but were removed and buried in 1940 so the invading German forces would think the island was not fortified. Presently there are two German guns situated in the gardens which were excavated in 1978.

In 1999 the tower was closed to the general public due to structural issues and re-opened on Wednesday 24 May 2006, the birthday of Queen Victoria, during a re-enactment of the ceremony in 1846. The Lieutenant Governor, Vice Admiral Sir Fabian Malbon KBE re-opened the tower in the presence of the Bailiff Geoffrey Rowland.

References

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