GUERNSEY HISTORY 

26th March 1931
Guernsey to UK telephone connection inaugurated

Guernsey’s phone system was up and running by 1898. However, it took until 1931 for Guernsey to be connected to the mainland by telephone.

Until then, there were two ways to send or receive a message. Brief notes could be sent by telegram, but that was charged by the character. Longer missives would go by sea. Guernsey Post Office was established in 1794, but even before that it had been possible to send letters around the island. Anything sent further afield would be put onto one of the regular steamships that sailed between the island and the mainland.

So, when the telephone line back to England was inaugurated on 26 March 1931, it simplified matters greatly. For the first time, it directly connected both Guernsey and Jersey to South Devon. From there, calls could be routed throughout the mainland trunk line system.

Telephone

Establishing a voice-enabled link over such a distance was quite an achievement, which deserved to be marked in some manner.

The inaugural call was made by the British home secretary, John Robert Clynes to the Lieutenant-Governors of Guernsey and Jersey; who were Lord Ruthven and Major-General Edward Willis, respectively.

Smart marketing

Although they have gone down in history as the first men to speak on the line, that’s not quite the whole story. It had actually hosted its first calls two weeks earlier, on Thursday 12 March, so this was merely ceremonial – or marketing.

What that “official” first call more accurately marked was the moment the line was opened for public, rather than merely official use.

The line itself wasn’t newly-laid, either: it had really just been converted. The hardware linking the islands to the mainland had previously been a telegraph cable, which had been used to send military signals during the first world war.

Category: Guernsey History | Other events tagged , ,

Check out The Sarnian’s email newsletter for Guernsey history, features, puzzles and pictures. It’s also the first place where you’ll find out about the Sarnian series of books, including sneak previews and discounts.

We will never sell your data to third parties, and there’s an unsubscribe link in every email, so you can leave whenever you like.

What else happened in Guernsey in March?

Guernsey history newsletter

Check out The Sarnian’s email newsletter for Guernsey history, features, puzzles and pictures. It’s also the first place where you’ll find out about the Sarnian series of books, including sneak previews and discounts.

We will never sell your data to third parties, and there’s an unsubscribe link in every email, so you can leave whenever you like.

* indicates required

The Sarnian

The Sarnian Book 1: Dead in the Water

A body on a beach, an impossible alibi and an unstoppable race against time!

Check out the first book in The Sarnian series, set on the Channel Island of Guernsey.

Click here to get your copy today…

June in Guernsey through the years…

G-JOEY completes its last flight

28th June 2015

Coffee trader William Le Lacheur dies

27th June 1863

Guernsey buys Fort Grey from the War Office

26th June 1891

Guernsey celebrates Queen Victoria's jubilee

22nd June 1897

Guernsey joins the Football Association

20th June 2011

Sarnian secrets

Sign up to The Sarnian's occasional newsletter for updates on your favourite characters and locations, to go behind the scenes on the writing process, and for early-bird discounts on every new book. We promise not to share your details with anyone else, and you can easily unsubscribe whenever you choose.
* indicates required

Search the archiveWarning