9th November 1832
Guernsey was declared free of cholera

Guernsey was struck by cholera twice in the 19th century: first in 1832 and again in 1849. Both of these coincided with outbreaks on the mainland.

Cholera is an infectious disease usually spread through poor sanitation that causes extreme diarrhoea, which can lead to dehydration and death.

Cholera in Guernsey

The outbreak was centred on St Peter Port and, according to Poverty and Welfare in Guernsey, 1560 – 2015 by Rose-Marie Crossan, “the [parochial cholera] committee … arranged for a public cholera ward to be opened at the Town Hospital to which victims of the disease could be transferred from their homes and treated by the cholera doctors in isolation”.

The first reported death was Jean Martin on 17 October; the last, Samuel Moon on 9 November.

In total, 103 people are known to have died in the 1832 cholera outbreak. As with all diseases, though, it’s possible others died of the same cause, but their deaths either were not locally recorded or were attributed to some other factor.

The outbreak inspired a wave of charitable giving among the better-off residents. As James Marr described in The History of Guernsey,

A particularly noteworthy example of such benevolence is seen in the generosity shown by the wealthy when cholera smote the island in 1832. Not only were several houses provided by their owners as havens of refuge from the risk of infection to which the poor of the Town Hospital could be moved, but a staggering total of more than £1600 (at least £170,000 in 1996 terms) was contributed within 10 days of the launching by Lord de Saumarez of a fund to succour those widowed or orphaned as a consequence of the 103 deaths resulting from the epidemic.

Category: Guernsey History | Other events tagged

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