Sunday, 28 June 2015

Safe Harbour

A peaceful sunset at Bordeaux Harbour in Guernsey, one can almost hear the lapping of water against the bow. This is one of a series of coastal scenes featured on the island's definitive series 'Abstract Guernsey'.  It is only a short boat ride away to the smaller island of Alderney
here celebrating the founding of their harbour (the first of a series of stamps themed "Garrison Island").  There had been a harbour here since 1736 initiated by Henry Le Mesurier but it was not a very safe anchorage in storms so in the 19th Century an artificial harbour with  a 3000 ft breakwater was built.  The stamp on the right identifies a ship  "Ariadne at Anchor" and with a piece of luck (plus Google) I found the Priaulx Library on Guernsey had an article from the 19th century celebrating the fact that you could travel between Guernsey and London in three days, and mentioning the Ariadne, which it turns out was one of two steamers which ran from Southampton to Guernsey and Jersey. The Ariadne sailed on a Tuesday and the Beresford on a Friday but only from March to October and for a guinea and half the luxury of a main cabin could be obtained for the 12 to 15 hour journey.   For the tribulations of shipping, war with the French and privateers see the article here

Did you notice that railway line on the left stamp with crowds out on the hillside?  Today it would be Braye Harbour Station but back then the Victorians knew they needed a lot of rock to build the breakwater and also construct the forts along the coast to provide safe harbour.  How would they transport it from the quarry?   
Yes lets build a railway line!  This opened in 1847 to carry stone to the eastern end of the island on a 2 mile coastal route, which today is the only working railway on the Channel Islands (run by volunteers).
Queen Victoria landed in 1854 to see the progress of the forts and harbour accompanied by Prince Albert
both taking a tour of the islands.    

An entry to Sunday Stamps II on the theme of - Ports and Harbours - sail into more here


Bob Scotney said...

These are superb stamps. Yet more island harbours.

FinnBadger said...

The Alderney stamps are particularly impressive.

Eva A. said...

Love all of them.

violet s said...

It's always such an event when the Queen arrives on your shores!