After centuries of debating solely in French, February was the month in which the States of Jersey first allowed English to be used in the chamber. Then, in a nod to the island’s heritage, it made Jèrriais an official language – a move that would hopefully preserve the tongue for generations to come.
Transport features prominently in Februaries of the past. An unfortunate maritime collision led to a coffin and its inhabitant being lost at sea, there was a dispute over who owned the St Aubin Railway, a cargo ship went down, HD Ferries brought its passenger service to a close, and a bishop’s daughter was killed on the Jersey Railway. On the roads, it was also the month in which the Fort Regent tunnel opened after seven years’ work.
More fundamental was the vote to flood Queen’s Valley to form a new reservoir that would meet the island’s needs for decades to come. Although those in favour won, it would be many more years, involving several setbacks, before their plans finally came to fruition, and submerged the house that had been used as Bergerac’s home in the BBC police drama.
National broadcaster Channel Four turned its attention to the island – twice – by broadcasting episodes of its top-rated shows Treasure Hunt and Time Team during this month, albeit in different years, and Jersey-born Lillie Langtry, one of the most famous celebrities of her age, was buried in her parents’ tomb after her death in Monte Carlo.