April saw the official opening of the Victoria Tower observatory. This was a facility available to all schools in Jersey through the Victoria Tower Astronomical Society, which itself, as the name implies, had close links with the College.
Here is an example of a true Martello Tower, such as are seen on the south coast of England, where about 150 of them were built. Eight were constructed in Jersey. All after 1800, and this one bears a stone over the main door with VR 1837. It has a narrow dry moat and is in a very commanding position above St Catherine's Bay. It is built in granite, and unlike some of the other examples, is not plastered.
Seen in the background is the breakwater, the result of anxiety over the activities of the French on the opposite coast. It was started in 1847; in 1852, when only one arm of the proposed deep water harbour was complete, work ceased. The advent of steam made it unnecessary, as shipping was no longer dependent on wind, but doubtless political events. and a rapprochement with France under Napoleon III, as well as the colossal cost of the project, also influenced the decision. The great breakwater in Alderney had the same history, but in our case the one arm was completed and so does not constitute a danger to shipping as does the unfinished arm in Alderney.
The white dome on the top of the tower is a housing over the telescope used by the Victoria College Astronomical Group, the tower offering an excellent observatory, and their activities being an equally good use for a tower which no longer has a defensive role to play.