The Priaulx Library contains the island’s principal collection of local history and family histories. The collection was originally created by Osmond de Beauvoir Priaulx (1805-91) in 1871 and opened in 1889. He was a considerable host and a friend of William Makepeace Thackeray and Erasmus Darwin. Priaulx’s uncle Thomas had founded Guernsey’s first bank so he was a rich man. He bought the house from his brother in 1830, without ever living there, though when he married the widow of the publisher, Thomas Nelson, in later life, she used to hold seances there. He was one of the first people to be cremated and his ashes are contained in a fine urn, on display behind a grill in Candie House.
The library contains works on European, classical and oriental literature. Extended to cover Guernsey history, it is a primary source for researchers and genealogists. The collection contains every kind of document from maps to family records, photographs, books and local newspapers.
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