Culture & History 26 January 2024

The Guernsey Blue Plaque System: How does it work and who has one?

From the producer of the Beatles' albums to the creator of the Wombles, renowned authors and artists to even a founder of a religion, here on the Islands of Guernsey we are lucky to have a rich history in which many famous and influential people have been born or lived on our Islands, calling them home.

The Guernsey Blue Plaques are our own version of the English Heritage Blue Plaques, which originated in London, allowing us to celebrate these people and their achievements and contributions to our Islands and the wider world. Read on to learn more about the scheme, who has been awarded a Blue Plaque and why.

What is the Guernsey Blue Plaque Scheme?

Guernsey Blue Plaques are an important part of recognising our history and heritage in our Islands and beyond. Much like the blue plaques in other parts of Britain, the Guernsey Blue Plaque scheme recognises Guernsey people who have made important contributions to the Bailiwick and the wider world.

It is intended to enhance awareness amongst the island population and visitors about these important people and where they lived or worked.

Each nominee has to meet basic selection criteria, which include:

  • The nominee must have been born in Guernsey or have lived in Guernsey for a period of significant importance in their life or work.
  • The nominee must have been deceased for at least 20 years - or the centenary of their birth must have passed.
  • A building associated with the nominee must survive in Guernsey.

The Blue Plaques panel meets regularly and members of the public are welcome to make a nomination using the Blue Plaques nomination form throughout the year.

In January 2023, a new Blue Plaque was awarded to former Guernsey Deputy and political pioneer Marie Randall MBE (1881 – 1965) in St Peter Port.

Who was Marie Randall, MBE?

The latest Blue Plaque has been awarded to Marie Louise Mansell Randall MBE. She was the first woman in Guernsey to be a People’s Deputy, elected to represent St Peter Port on 31st January 1924 at the age of 42 and remained a States member for 31 years. For 24 of those years, she was the only woman in the States of Guernsey.

Image Credit Left: Island Archive Services
Image Credit Right: Guernsey Press

Marie was the daughter of R.H. Randall and the sister of R.W. Randall, both successful brewers. She was educated at The Ladies’ College Guernsey. At the age of 33, she volunteered as a member of the Voluntary Aid Detachment in World War I and nursed in Guernsey, Rouen and London. In 1919, she became a lay member of the General Committee of the Victoria Hospital (Amherst). She served on a long list of States Committees and was an advocate for equal voting rights for women. In 1933, she signed an unsuccessful petition from 14 Deputies and others calling for the voting age for women to be reduced from 30 to 20 to match the male voting age. She brought the matter back to the States in 1938 and, after a proposal from the Bailiff, the voting age for women in Guernsey was reduced to 20. Marie was made an MBE in 1954 and retired from the States in 1955.

January 2024 marks the 100th anniversary of Marie Randall’s election. Local Committee, Women in Public Life, nominated Marie to commemorate the occasion. Shelaine Green, Chair of Women in Public Life, said:

‘Marie Randall was a pioneer, elected just four years after Nancy Astor first sat in the UK Parliament and 24 years before Jersey’s Ivy Forster. We’re thrilled that the Blue Plaques Panel have accepted our nomination. We hope Marie’s story will inspire other Guernsey women to follow in her footsteps.’

The plaque was unveiled by the Deputy Bailiff, Jessica Roland, on Wednesday 24th January at One St Julian’s, Marie’s former home when it was Vauxlauren’s Brewery. Around 150 people attended the ceremony to celebrate this inspirational local woman.

Who else has been awarded a Blue Plaque in Guernsey?

Before Marie, who now makes 13, there were 12 Blue Plaques awarded by The Blue Plaques Panel. These can be seen around our Islands, on buildings of significance to each individual.

G.B. Edwards, 1899 - 1976, Author of The Book of Ebenezer Le Page.
Location: Hawkesbury House, Braye Road, St Sampson
Unveiled: 2008

Peter Le Lievre, 1812 - 1878, Artist.
Location: 17 Hauteville, St Peter Port
Unveiled: 2010

Denys Corbet, 1826 - 1909, Poet and Painter.
Location: La Roberge, La Roberge, Forest
Unveiled: 2011

Major Marie Ozanne, O.F., 1906 - 1943, Member of the Salvation Army and resistor to oppression.
Location: Aquarius, Dehus Lane, Vale
Unveiled: 2013

John Herbert Le Patourel,1909 - 1981, Fellow of the British Army, and Herbert Wallace Le Patourel, 1916 - 1979, awarded the Victoria Cross.
Location: Villa Magnol, Fosse Andre, St Peter Port
Unveiled: 2015

Thomas De la Rue, 1793 - 1866, Printer.
Location: Le Bourg, Forest
Unveiled: 2016

Guernsey Underground News Service, 1942 - 1944, Produced at The Star Offices.
Location: Eleanor House, The Bordage
Unveiled: 2017

Desmond Bagley, 1923 - 1983, Author, and Joan Bagley, 1934 - 1999, his manager and assistant.
Location: Bagley House, Rohais de Haut, St Andrew
Unveiled: 2018

Mervyn Peake, 1911 - 1968, author, poet and artist.
Location: Gallery Stores / Post Office, Sark
Unveiled: 2019

Nicolas Blondel, 1703 - 1775, first professional clockmaker in the Channel Islands.
Location: Cornet Street, St Peter Port
Unveiled: 2019

William Le Lacheur, 1802 - 1863, Guernsey Sea Captain, played an important role in the economic development of Costa Rica through the coffee trade. Read more about William here.
Location: L'Epinel Farm, Forest
Unveiled: 2022

Major-General Sir Donald Banks, KCB, DSO, MC, TD, 1891 - 1975, soldier, civil servant and devoted Guernseyman.
Location: 43 High Street, St Peter Port
Unveiled: 2023

In addition, the committee also supported a Plaque which was awarded by the BBC on BBC Music Day 2017:
Domenico Eusanio Santangelo, 1882-1970, Composer of the music for the Island's anthem 'Sarnia Cherie’ (Dear Guernsey) in 1911 and a founding member of the Guernsey Music Society in 1920.
The plaque was awarded by BBC Radio Guernsey.
Location: Nikita, Elm Grove, St Peter Port
Unveiled: 2017

Blue Plaques on Alderney

Alderney has its own version of the Blue Plaques, celebrating their own most influential and impactful residents. Most of the plaques are in and around the town centre of St Anne, but there is a Blue Plaque Trail leaflet to help you discover more about who these people were and where to find the Plaques.

Le Mesurier Family, 1729 - 1825, prominent privateers and maritime traders.
Location: Carriere Viront

Sir George Martin, CBE, 1926-2016, record producer, arranger, composer and conductor who worked on all of the Beatles’ original albums.
Location: Braye Road

Sir Henry John Gauvain, MD, MCH, FRCS, 1878-1945, a pioneer in the surgical treatment of tuberculosis and heliotherapy, the curative benefits of fresh air and sunlight.
Location: St Catherine’s House, Victoria Street

T.H White, 1906-1964, author of Arthurian novels, including The Sword in the Stone (1938).
Location: The White House, 3 Royal, Connaught Square

John Arlott, OBE, 1914-1991, journalist, author, poet and cricket commentator for BBC’s Test Match Special.
Location: The Vines, Longis Road

Elizabeth Beresford, MBE, 1926-2010, children’s author best known for The Wombles.
Location: 22 Little Street

Thomas ‘Tommy’ Rose, DFC, 1895-1986, RAF pilot during WW1 and celebrated aviator.
Location: 2 Les Venelles De Gaudion

Rev. John Wesley, 1703-1791, Founder of Methodism.
Location: The Divers Inn, Braye Road

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