Guernsey Stamps 2019: John Wilson, Architect


13 February 2019
This month Guernsey Stamps features the work of one of the island’s best-loved architects, whose work is little-known outside the Channel Islands.

Born on 6 June 1781, John Wilson was a Clerk of Works for the Board of Ordnance and went on to become one of the most celebrated architects in Guernsey for the buildings he designed there between 1813 and 1831.

The eight stamps from Guernsey Post feature landmark Wilson buildings, ranging from a regency villa to a meat market.

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Bonamy House (94p) was designed for John Collings in 1817. The flight of semi-circular steps leading up to and the four Ionic half pillars flanking the front door and windows are attractive features.

With a basic plan in place for St James’ Church (46p), Wilson took over with the architectural features, the design of the tower and the internal fittings before the building opened in 1818. 

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The Regency villa, Roseneath (85p), was built around 1820 at a cost of £2,400 for an English incomer to Guernsey. The porch beneath the wrought iron balcony was a later addition. 

The Meat Market (£1.54) depicts the date 1822 along with the inscription J. Wilson  Architecte, French being the official language of Guernsey at the time. Les Arcades (62p) adjoins the Meat Market to the right and Fountain Street beyond.

Castle Carey (£2.31) was constructed to a Wilson design in 1822 for John Carey and Matilda Priaulx in the Gothic-revival style. The top of the building is surrounded by a battlement to create the appearance of it being fortified.

Wilson drew up plans for St George (76p) for the Guille family, which was completed in 1823. He was keen on using render on his buildings but in this instance the dressed stone is apparent, complete with attractive semi-circular steps at the entrance.

Elizabeth College, depicted on the presentation pack cover, was opened in 1829 and dominates the St Peter Port skyline with St James and Castle Carey. The College’s gatehouse (63p) is battlemented above a double-centred pointed arch.

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