BBC HomeExplore the BBC
This page has been archived and is no longer updated. Find out more about page archiving.

18 June 2014
Accessibility help
Text only
Legacies - Guernsey

BBC Homepage
 Legacies
 UK Index
 Guernsey
 Article
Listings
Your stories
 Archive
 Site Info
 BBC History
 Where I Live

Contact Us

Like this page?
Send it to a friend!

 
Immigration and Emigration
Guernsey's emigrant children

Guernsey in the 1750s

In the mid-1700s, Guernsey was suffering from economic depression, caused by England's wars with France and Spain. The island's geographical position in-between France and Britain made it particularly vulnerable. As a small island, Guernsey's economy relied on imports and exports, both of which were disrupted by the wars, and consequently, the island suffered both an economic downturn and food shortage.

Farm
A typical Guernsey farmhouse of 1750
© Gillian Lenfestey
In November 1751 there existed a real threat of famine for the islands' inhabitants. A poor harvest meant they had little home-grown wheat, whilst the wars between France, Spain and England made shipping perilous. Consequently the price of wheat increased to reach a level when few of the islanders could afford to buy it.

The wheat shortage was felt most keenly by the island?s poorest inhabitants. To reduce costs the residents at the Town Hospital, the local poor house, were given bread made from a mixture of barley and wheat. However, they complained of its bitter taste and refused to eat it; eventually the Hospital's Directors were forced to sell the remaining barley off cheaply and resume making wheat-only bread.

It was these people, at the edge of the poverty line, who were taken, or sent, to America and Canada. This part of the world was well known to Guernseymen; every summer they fished off the Grand Banks of Newfoundland and brought back salted, dried fish every autumn. By the beginning of the 18th Century Guernsey's residents were already starting to settle in Canada, in Quebec, Newfoundland and the Gaspe Peninsula, and also in Boston and New York.


Pages: [ 1, 2, 3 ] Next


Your comments




Print this page
Archive
Look back into the past using the Legacies' archives. Find nearly 200 tales from around the country in our collection.

Read more >
Internet Links
History of Guernsey French
St Peter Port Town Hospital Records
Genuki: Guernsey
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Web sites.
Northants
Steel works
Related Stories
Sussex exports to Australia
Discover the rise and fall of the Lithuanian community in central Scotland
Planters, chiefs and hollowed out cheese




About the BBC | Help | Terms of Use | Privacy & Cookies Policy