1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/St Peter Port

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search

ST PETER PORT, the chief town of Guernsey, one of the Channel Islands. Pop. (1901) 18,264. It lies picturesquely on a steep slope above its harbour on the east coast of the island. The harbour is enclosed by breakwaters, the southern of which connects with the shore and continues beyond a rocky islet on which stands Castle Cornet. It dates from the 12th century and retains portions of that period. Along the sea-front of the town there extends a broad sea-wall, which continues northward nearly as far as the small port of St Sampson's, connected with St Peter Port by an electric tramway. To the south of the town Fort George, with its barracks, stands high above the sea. On the quay there is a bronze statue of Albert, Prince Consort (1862), copied from that on the south side of the Albert Hall, London. St Peter Port was formerly walled, and the sites of the five gates are marked by stones. St Peter's, or the town church, standing low by the side of the quay, was consecrated in 1312, but includes little of the building of that date. It has, however, fine details of the 14th and 15th centuries, and is, as a whole, the most noteworthy ecclesiastical building in the islands. The other principal buildings are the court house, used for the meetings of the royal court and the states, the Elizabeth College for boys, founded by Queen Elizabeth, but occupying a house of the year 1825, and the Victoria Tower, commemorating a visit of Queen Victoria in 1846. Hauteville House, the residence of Victor Hugo from 1856 to 1870, is preserved as he left it, and is open to the public. The harbour is the chief in the island, and a large export trade is carried on especially in vegetables, fruit and flowers. The construction of the harbour was ordered by King Edward I. in 1275.