An incredible feat of engineering


14 September 2022
Guernsey Post is commemorating the 175th anniversary of the construction of Alderney’s harbour breakwater with a set of stamps and a souvenir sheet

The new stamps and sheet have been designed by Robin Carter.  

The Alderney Breakwater, which is now part of Braye Harbour,  was designed by Victorian engineer Thomas Jackson. At that time, between 1847 and 1860, the British Admirality wanted to protect British ships from the French fleet harboured in Calais.

Although Jackson was a highly experienced engineer who had spent a decade creating railway and canal works, it’s believed that the Alderney Breakwater presented him with the greatest challenge of his career, as the island provided only sand and stone, which meant all the other materials had to be imported. Furthermore, there was no accommodation available on the island for his workforce. 

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Prepatory work began in 1847, and by 1856 the Breakwater had reached 2,700 feet from the shore. Contruction ceased for ten years, but rubble for the bank continued to be placed, and by 1860 it was 4,800 feet. About a third was destroyed by storms after its completion.

In 2018 the Alderney Breakwater was named as one of the 200 most influential engineering projects in the world. 

Issue date 24 August 2022