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.


Also in February…

Jersey author John Lemprière dies 1st
The States considers allowing English debates 2nd
A sailing boats sinks on its way to Jersey 3rd
Jersey’s wrists are slapped by the Home Office
Safe-breaking results in a Jersey arrest 4th
Fishermen discover an unexpected coffin 5th
Courts decide who owns St Aubin’s railway 6th
A cargo ship sinks, killing its crew 7th
The government of Jersey is unveiled
The States Assembly opts for English 8th
Jersey courts ponder accountant’s extradition 9th
Jersey screenwriter William Rose dies 10th
Dean of Jersey killed in Mont Orgueil escape attempt 11th
Plane gets lost coming out of Jersey 12th
The States votes to flood Queen’s Valley
Women are jailed for smuggling gold in their knickers 13th
The States of Jersey adopts Jèrriais as an official language
Blue Islands takes to the skies 14th
Joshua Falle, Jurat of the Royal Court, dies 15th
Wartime diplomat Arthur de la Mare is born
HD Ferries confirms the end of all services 16th
Charles II is declared king in Royal Square 17th
Man convicted of killing Charles I dies in Elizabeth Castle
A bishop’s daughter is killed on Jersey Railway
Jersey appoints its first postmaster 18th
Jersey’s courts are criticised for leaving a man in limbo
Surrealist artist Marcel Moore commits suicide 19th
Channel 4’s Treasure Hunt comes from Jersey
A suspected arms dealer is arrested at his father’s funeral 20th
The Channel Islands are cut off from the outside world 21st
Murder appeal saves man’s life but results in his transportation 22nd
Lillie Langtry is buried in her parents’ tomb 23rd
Jersey Chamber of Commerce is founded 24th
The tunnel is opened beneath Fort Regent 25th
Pearl Vardon is tried for aiding the enemy 26th
Gerald Durrell marries the woman who will help him found his zoo
States treasurer is charged with embezzlement 27th
Channel 4’s Time Team comes from Jersey
Mainlanders arrested on explosives charges 28th
Two women are stranded on Seymour Tower
Coal-filled steamer strikes the rocks 29th