As an island that frequently sells itself on being reliably sunny – and one that relies on accurate forecasts for its ongoing sea-based trade – it’s understandable that the weather should have been a frequent concern in Jersey’s history. January, over several years, saw it register record highs and lows, extreme storms and even its first ever weather observation, courtesy of local Jesuit priests.
It was also the month in which local broadcaster Channel Television officially disappeared from our screens when it was fully subsumed into the larger ITV network, and the Guernsey-set drama Enemy at the Door, which had been filmed entirely in Jersey, debuted on the same network.
Two disastrous fires broke out, one of which entirely destroyed the Town Militia arsenal because authorities had failed to learn the lessons of the earlier blaze at Fort Regent, which had come so close to igniting the gunpowder stored there. If it had done so, it would have changed the face of the island forever and dealt a serious blow to Jersey’s ability to defend itself at a time when France was frequently making worrying noises about mounting an invasion – as indeed it did on 6 January in the Battle of Jersey.
Conservationist Gerald Durrell, who founded Jersey Zoo, was both born in, and died in January, the island lost a respected former Bailiff and a pioneer of self-powered flight took one final voyage into the afterlife. An enormous hoard of 70,000 gold coins was uncovered in a farmer’s field, and a Jersey-based company revealed plans to build a nuclear shelter capable of housing 12,000 people.