Guernsey Guille-Allès library and museum.

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of the recently increased collection of works. He now holds the
position of Honorary Librarian.

The new buildings also comprise numerous departments suitable
for ('lass-rooms and Committee-rooms, a commodious Cloak-room
and Lavatory for ladies, and other conveniences. The roof of the
original building was reconstructed and raised so as to form a suite of
rooms ioj feet long, 24 feet wide, and 10 feet high. Lighted from the
top these are specially adapted for the Museum, to which they are

of the Guille-AUes Library. xxv.

devoted. A convenient residence for the Custodian is arranged in a
separate building, which is extended so as to provide on the ground-
floor convenient rooms for the reception and storing of books and for
the special work of the Librarians.

Entering by the new portico, between the French Halls and the
Capital and Counties Bank, we come first to a lofty and spacious
pillared vestibule from which the grand staircase ascends. The
pavement is laid with encaustic tiles of artistic design, having coloured
stars on a pure white ground, the effect of which is at once brilliant
and pleasing. The walls of the vestibule are tinted with a delicate
French grey. At the foot of the staircase are two draped bronze
figures, each holding aloft a torch symbolical of that noble light of
intellectual culture which the institution is intended to diffuse while
at the top of the first flight of steps two gas-pillars terminate the
balustrades. Busts of Shakespeare and Milton are placed near on
brackets, and in two adjacent niches are comfortable settees, stuffed
and cushioned, on which anyone may sit and rest. Facing the visitor
as he ascends the stairs are three large tablets inscribed with gold
letters on a rich chocolate ground. The centre tablet, which is sur-
mounted by the Guernsey coat-of-arms wrought in heraldic colours,
bears the following explanatory inscription :

This institution, devoted for ever to the diffusion of useful knowledge in this

island, is named in loving memory of
JOHN GUILLE, of the Villets, Forest Parish,

'died October 24, 1860 ;)
and NICHOLAS ALLES, of the Tourelle, St. Pierre-du-Bois,

(died February 1 8, 1851 ;)

the parents of the founders, by their grateful sons, Thomas Guille and

Frederick M. Alles, who after thirty years of business partnership in New

York, again united their interests in this work.

The other two tablets give respectively the names of the donors to
the Library, and to the former Societe Gucrnesiaise, which is now in-
corporated with the Library. Both lists, with the amount of the
donations, will be found at the end of the present sketch. At the top
of this stairway are situated the various rooms already mentioned,
while another flight of stairs leads to the handsome and commodious
Lecture Hall, furnished with chairs, and capable of seating between
250 and 300 persons. Lectures of a popular character upon literary
and scientific subjects, varied by occasional concerts, are given here
weekly every Tuesday evening during the six winter months, and are

xx vi. The Story in Brief

very well attended. The first course was delivered in the Spring of
1890. The hall is of pleasing proportions and is lighted from the roof.
The walls are relieved by pilasters, five on each side, with double-
branched gas-brackets arranged upon them. The walls are of a pale
buff, with a dado of rich chocolate, relieved by a red arabesque border.
Tasteful arabesque designs also adorn each pilaster, and are repeated in
the frieze, which is divided by the pilasters into twelve sections ; and
in each section are two scrolls bearing the names of the various arts,
sciences, c., in pairs, as follows : Religion, Philosophy ; History
Biography ; Literature, Poetry ; Painting, Sculpture ; Music, The
Drama ; Architecture, Archaeology ; Physics, Metaphysics ; As-
tronomy, Geography ; Biology, Geology ; Chemistry, Electricity ;
Botany, Zoology ; Mechanics, Mathematics. At the western end are
three lancet windows filled with tinted cathedral-glass, and bearing
respectively the monogram and coats-of-arms of the Founders. At the
opposite end is an anteroom, with a central door, which in the case of
illustrated lectures is found to be very convenient for arranging the
dissolving-view apparatus quite out of the way of the audience.

How admirably this fine Institution is fulfilling its mission is well-
known to all who frequent it. It already contains a collection of
over 60,000 volumes to which constant additions are being made
of valuable and standard works in all branches of science, litera-
ture and art, both in the French and English languages, besides
numerous works in German, Italian, Greek, Latin, &c. It has a
commodious Reading-room, well supplied with journals and periodical
publications ; while a Society of Natural Science has also been inau-
gurated and meets in connection with it. The Guernsey Mechanics'
Institution after an existence of just half a century was absorbed
into it at the close of 1881 ; and the Library of the former Societe
Guernesiaise founded in 1867 now finds a home on its shelves.
The subscription for membership is merely nominal, and up to the
present time the resulting income has not been and probably never
will be sufficient to meet even the current salaries of the Staff,
leaving entirely out of the question all the heavy general expenses
together with the purchase and binding of books, magazines, news-
papers, &c. Indeed, none but those who have had some experience
of the immense and continual outlay involved in maintaining institu-
tions of this kind in a thoroughly efficient state, and keeping them well
abreast of the times, can form even an approximate idea of the
numerous and incessant claims that crop up, and the ceaseless dis-
bursements that are al \vays going on.

of the Guille- Alles Library. xxvii.

Several years' experience of the management of this particular
Institution has enabled Messrs. Guille and Alles to form a pretty
correct general estimate of its future financial requirements in this
respect, and they have made such a liberal and handsome provision
for an Endowment Fund as will ensure the maintenance of the Insti-
tution in perpetuity, on even considerably wider lines of usefulness
than those which are found to be fully adequate at present. This,
indeed, they feel is absolutely necessary, for the educational progress
of the future is certain to be something very different from that of
to-day ; while the ultimate utility of the Institution must very largely
depend upon that capability of expansion, which shall enable it to
meet and grapple with those constantly-recurring and ever-increasing
needs as they arise.

Nor is this feeling confined to Messrs. Guille and Alles alone. On
the contrary, it is happily felt, and honourably and generously shared,
by several other liberal-minded Guernseymen, who have consequently
asked to be allowed to show their appreciation of the project generally,
by themselves adding handsome donations to swell the future Endow-
ment Fund. No doubt, too, as years roll on, other of our patriotic
countrymen will spontaneously come forward and do the same. It is,
of course, quite impossible for us to foresee to what the Institution may
finally grow. One thing, however, is certain, and that is that its ultimate
scope and influence will very largely depend upon its financial position.
The more funds it has at its disposal, the more extended will be its po-
tential usefulness, and the more various and elaborate the ramifications
which it will have the power to develop. Hence the donations, of which
a list is given at the end of this narrative, may be held to indicate not
only a tangible expression of present moral support and hearty appre-
ciation, but may also be regarded as the nucleus and initiation of an
additional source of future strength, which will probably bear valuable
fruit in the days that are to come. For an Institution like this is not a
thing of mere ephemeral interest ; it is, on the contrary, a foundation
destined for all time, and which long centuries hence will be doing a
far grander and more extensive work than is even at all possible

The various educational departments now carried on by the In-
stitution have been already mentioned. Its prospective plans of
action the near realization of which must depend in some measure
at least upon the response it receives from an intelligent and know-
ledge-loving public include the following among other measures :

i. The enlargement of the Museum premises to meet the fast
growing extension of its collections of Natural History, &c., &c.

xxviii. The Story in Brief

2. The establishment in connection with the Library of a Special
Working -Men's Reading-Room- seeing that the artisans do not
seem willing to join the existing General Reading- Room, where, how-
ever, they would always have been very welcome if they had come.

3. The inauguration of connected courses of Penny Lectures or of
Free Lectures of a popular and educational character, and dealing
with such subjects as Popular Science, Social Science, Business, Educa-
tion, Thrift, Temperance, Popular Literature, the Constitutional and
General History of the Channel Islands, &c., &c. .

4. The establishment of Branch Reading - Rooms in the rural
parishes, and the extension to those parishes of some of the winter
courses of popular lectures the same as delivered in the town.

The accomplishment of these, and probably also of other desirable
extensions in the near future, necessarily means a constantly increas-
ing outlay, and it is to this great educational enterprise in its entirety
that Messrs. Guille and Allcs are devoting not only their hard-earned
fortunes, but also that portion of their lives to which most men
naturally look forward as a time of quiet enjoyment and repose. It is,
too, with a view of still further assisting and consolidating this great
work, that these handsome donations have come from appreciative
fellow-labourers on both sides of the Atlantic. Guernseymen are
proverbially deeply attached to their native Island, however far from
it their lot in life may for a time be cast. And it is impossible for
any educated and patriotic son of Sarnia to watch the growth and
development of such a noble and enlightened enterprise as this is,
without having his innate love for the old land quickened and intensi-
fied, and his admiration heightened for the disinterested and muni-
ficent generosity of the two gentlemen whose lifelong efforts have
called this comprehensive project into being.

On November 26th, 1890, a public meeting was held in the Lecture
Hall for the purpose of founding a much-needed association under the
title of The Guernsey Historical and Antiquarian Society, an impor-
tant branch of whose work is the publication of ancient documents,
&c., connected with the Island and Bailiwick. This Society holds
its usual meetings in the Library premises, Messrs. Guille and Alles
having kindly placed one of their rodms at the disposal of the

Students' classes for the teaching of French, German, Italian, Short-
hand and Harmony, are held weekly throughout the winter. In an
island like Guernsey, where from the limited business requirements
many of the young people necessarily have to go and seek their fortunes

of the Guille- Alles Library.

abroad, the advantages for self-culture offered by an Institution like
this can scarcely be over-rated. The local facilities afforded for the
acquisition of French are particularly marked, while it cannot for a
moment be doubted that a young man or woman who can use both
French and English with fluency, is much better equipped for the battle
of life than is a person knowing only one of these languages. What-
ever intellectual needs may become apparent in the people, these the
Guille-Alles Library will set itself to supply. Its Founders, indeed, are
especially anxious that there should be no hard and fast barriers about
its settlement, which might cramp its expansion or fetter its usefulness.
On the contrary they desire while adhering, of course, to certain
main lines of intellectual activity to imbue it with such elasticity of
adaptation as will enable it to successfully grapple with the changing
necessities of changing times. The chief wants of to-day may not
necessarily be the most pressing requisites of a century hence. There-
fore, one of the greatest essentials and at the same time one of the
greatest difficulties- -in a foundation like this, is to provide for and
combine within it such a fixity of principle and such an adaptability
of administration as shall enable it to keep pace with the progress of
the ages, and suit itself to the several requirements of succeeding
generations as they pass.

It may also be mentioned here that the Institution is indebted for
many of its rarest and most costly and valuable works to the prompt-
ness and energy displayed by Mr. Alles in securing such volumes as
they happened to come into the market. On various occasions he has
started off at a few hours' notice, on special journeys to London and
Paris, for the purpose of examining and purchasing particular volumes
or sets of volumes which happened to become obtainable under ex-
ceptional cicumstances, and must either be secured then or not at all.
Such journeys, instead of appearing irksome to Mr. Alles, have always
been regarded by him as veritable labours of love. Indeed the most
enthusiastic sportsman could not take a keener interest in tracking and
bagging some long-coveted quarry, than does Mr. Alles in unearthing
these literary or artistic treasures of which he is always so ready to go
in quest.

As regards the Museum already incidentally referred to it may
be necessary briefly to explain that the nucleus of the collection was
originally formed under the auspices of the late Guernsey Mechanics'
Institute, by the members of which it was ultimately transferred to
Messrs. Guille and Alles in December, 1881. Its new owners thereupon

xxx. The Story in Brief

immediately set to work to enlarge and improve the collection with
the view of rendering this additional department of their Institution
which is a very important one in itself more widely useful as an
educational agency, and thus constituting it a valuable adjunct to the
general work of the Library. To this end Messrs. Guille and Alles
supplemented it with their own extensive private collections the
fruit of many years of careful gathering in the rich geological and
other fields of the United States. Since that date the Museum has
also been fortunate in receiving many valuable donations of objects of
local and general interest from various sources. Notably a large
collection of geological and mineralogical specimens, together with
the cabinets containing the same, presented by Mrs. Gilbert
Hamilton (Miss Charlotte Brabazon de Sausmarez), and formerly
the property of her late husband, Mr. Gilbert Hamilton, in memory
of whom they are given. This collection has considerable historic
interest, having been originally formed at Soho, near Birmingham,
by the famous engineer, James Watt, at whose death it passed
to his son, Mr. James Watt, jun., of Aston Hall with whom Mr.
Hamilton was for many years associated in business and who ulti-
mately presented it to Mr. Hamilton as a souvenir of his distinguished
father as well as a token of his own personal regard and esteem.
The Honorary Curator of the Museum is Mr. John Whitehead, to
whose indefatigable care and liberality it owes not only its present
greatly improved arrangement, but also many of its most costly show-
cases and other fittings, besides numerous rare and interesting
specimens both local and general. The greater part of these have
been preserved and mounted either by Mr. Sinel, the well-known
Jersey naturalist, or by Mr. Jago, taxidermist of our own Island, and
reflect great credit upon their skill and good taste. Mr. Zachary
Robert also kindly arranged and presented some interesting collec-
tions of geological and mineralogical specimens from Guernsey and
the other Islands of the Channel group.

A very pleasing ceremony took place on Wednesday, December
i;th, 1884, at St. Julian's Hall, when His Excellency Major-General
Sarel, C.B., the then Lieut.-Governor, presented Messrs. Guille and
Alles with their portraits on behalf of a numerous body of subscribers
resident 5n all parts of the island, and also in Paris, New York, and
Brooklyn. A public meeting had been called on the 4th of February
previous, when an influential Committee was appointed ; about ^227
was speedily raised, and then Mr. Frank Brooks was commissioned to
paint two life-size portraits in oil, which gave great satisfaction when
finished, and are now hung in the Library.

of the Guille- Alles Library. xxxi.

Julius Carey, Esq., who was then Chief Constable (Mayor) of St.
Peter-Port, as President of the Portrait Committee, opened the pro-
ceedings, by briefly narrating the circumstances which had called the
meeting together.

His Excellency then, after a few preliminary remarks, said :

He must express the very great pleasure which he felt in being present on
such an interesting occasion, when the whole community were testifying their
appreciation of the noble Library which had been founded for their benefit.
Indeed, he felt it a great honour to have been asked to present these hand-
some portraits to Messrs. Guille and Alles. It would not be necessary for
him to dwell at any length on the antecedents of these gentlemen, who were
well-known in the island. Many years ago Mr. Guille went to the United
States, and there he found the advantages which accrued from having access to
a good library. He then conceived the idea of one day bestowing a similar
boon upon his own native island, and this project he had been happily
spared to carry out. During his exile the thought had remained ever with
him ; he had not allowed business to engross all his attention ; and now that
he had returned once more to settle down in the little rock-bound island-
home of his youth, he was reducing to practice the beneficent plans of earlier
years. He was not content to lead a life of ease with the produce of his
industry, but he had founded an institution of incalculable value for the moral
and intellectual welfare of the isle. Then there was another large-hearted
Guernseyman, Mr. Alles, who determined that his old friend Mr. Guille should
not be left to carry out his noble scheme alone. They had long been asso-
ciated in business enterprises, and they were now linked in the higher bond
of a common desire for the well-being of their fellow-citizens. All honour
to them for it. The Library told its own story and needed no encomium. All
it wanted was constant readers and plenty of them, and he could not too
strongly impress upon the people and especially upon the rising generation
the immense advantages they would derive from availing themselves of its
literary treasures. In conclusion, it simply remained for him, on behalf of the
Committee and the Subscribers, to ask Messrs. Guille and Alles to accept these
paintings, which would show to future generations of Guernseymen the form
and features of two public benefactors who had deserved so well of their
country and their kind.

Mr. Guille, in response, gave a very interesting address in English,
and Mr. Alles followed with an equally appropriate and practical
speech in French, both gentlemen being received with prolonged
applause, and listened to by the numerous assembly with the most
interested attention.

Brief complimentary addresses were then delivered by Sir Edgar
MacCulloch, F.S.A., Bailiff (Chief Magistrate) of Guernsey, and by
F. J. Jeremie, Esq., M.A., Jurat of the Royal Court, and the pro-
ceedings terminated with a hearty vote of thanks to the Lieut.-Governor
for presiding, proposed by the Very Rev. Carey Brock, M.A., Dean
of Guernsey.

A brass plate attached to Mr. Guille's portrait bears the following
inscription ;

xxxii. The Story in Brief

Presented to THOMAS GUILLE, Esq.,

by his numerous friends, in recognition of the great

benefit he has conferred upon the inhabitants of his

native Island as one of the Founders of the

Guille-Alles Library.
Guernsey, 17 December, 1884.

A similar plate, bearing the name of Mr. Frederick Mansell Allcs, is
attached to that gentleman's portrait.

Mr. Guille was, on the i6th of April, 1887, unanimously elected a
jurat of the Guernsey Royal Court the choice being one which gave
great satisfaction both to his colleagues upon the Bench, and to the
inhabitants of the Island at large. The Royal Court is the most
ancient judicial body in the Island, and is composed of the Bailiff (or
chief judge), who is the president, and twelve jurats, or judges, whose
election is for life. The functions of the Royal Court are to a certain
extent legislative as well as judicial, and its enactments in most cases
take immediate force as law, a provision which sometimes proves
very valuable by enabling sudden emergencies to be at once legis-
latively dealt with, should the necessity for such immediate action

The following is a copy of the contents of the two tablets which are
placed on the stairway in the vestibule of the Library, as previously
mentioned at page xxv.

Founded 1882.


The late Independent Club, a valuable collection of several hundred
volumes, maps, &c.

The late Martha E. Alles, widow of the late John

David, Esq ^100 o o


Mrs. Jessie Blankley, of Brooklyn, New York, in
memoriam of her late father, Charles Willams, Esq.,
formerly of this island 50 o o

Mrs. Charlotte Marquis, in memoriam of her late cousin,

Charles Manger, Esq., of the Varclin 20 o o

of the Cnille-AUes Library.


Rev. Charles Metivier, a collection of books, formerly
belonging to the late George Metivier, Esq., of
this island.

Edward Williams, Esq ^ 50 o o

Also in memory of his late brother, Charles I

Williams, Esq. ; and in memory of his late C 50 o o
cousin, Charles Mauger, Esq J 50 o o


Charles Le Boutillier, de Philadelphie, Etats Unis ;
James Le Boutillier, de Cincinatti, Etats Unis ;
A la memoire de leur pere George Le Boutil-
lier, Ecr., ne 1783, decede" 1867. Le promoteur

de 1'Arcade Commerciale 220 o o

John Allez Le Lacheur, Esq., of Tunbridge Wells 105 o o

Henry D. Mauger, Esq., Her Majesty's Sheriff. 100 o o


fonde'e le 8 Octobre 1867,

dans le but de conserver la langue et les monuments historiques du

pays. Fusionne'e avec la bibliotheque Guille-Alles par une decision

unanime de ses fondateurs survivants,

le 13 FeVrier 1888.



Feu James De Lisle, e'er ... ,50 o o

Feu James Litton, ecr 50 o o


Feu Pierre Roussel, e'er., du Boue't, jure" justicier de la
Cour Royale, initiateur de cette societd et promo-
teur indefatigable de ses buts patriotiques 200 o

Feue Dlle. Marguerite-Jeanne Jeremie 105 o o


Mrs. M. L. Mansell, of Le Chene, Forest Parish ; in
memory of her late husband, Stephen Martin, Esq.,

Her Majesty's Sheriff, 1862-1881 .,,. 100 o 6


xxxiv. The Siovy in Brief of the Cnille-Allcs Lilvavy.

Donations of \Q sterling have been received from the following
gentlemen : Mr. F. J. Jeremie, M.A., Jurat of the Guernsey Royal
Court ; Rev. Charles Mdtivier ; Mr. Charles Pool ; the late Mr.
Osmond de Beauvoir Priaulx ; Mr. Henry C. Marquand, of New
York ; and " An Anonymous Friend." Also a yearly donation of
; 10 from the opening of the Library to the present time, from "A
Sincere Friend."

The Directors also acknowledge with many thanks a large number
of smaller donations in money, books, natural history specimens, &c.,
which they have gladly received and duly appreciate, but of which lack
of space precludes the individual enumeration. Among these, how-
ever, they may just mention :

The bequest of a large number of valuable books from the Misses
Le Cocq, and tha late Mr. W. J. Le Cocq. Also donations of books
from Mr. Bonamy Dobree, of Beauregard, Guernsey, and of South
Kensington ; from the Rev. William Kelly, of Blackheath, S.E. ; from
Mr. R. W. Woodruff, now of Guernsey, and formerly of New York ;
from Mr. Robert Richardson, Mem. Inst. C.E. ; and from Mr. J. C.
Le Mottee, solicitor, of Guernsey this latter gift comprising three
large folio volumes of manuscripts containing copies of scarce and
valuable local historical documents. Also a number of valuable books

Online LibraryGuernsey Guille-Allès library and museumEncyclopeadic catalogue of the lending department → online text (page 3 of 206)