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The Story of the Guernsey Met Office


The Beginning

It was as long ago as 1777 that Elisha Dobree (Douzenier and Constable of St. Peter Port) started a local weather journal. This was the beginning of a regular weather record for the Island that has continued, virtually unbroken, to the present time.


From one enthusiast to another..

Old Elisha maintained his journal for a staggering 67 years until his death in 1844. Fortunately for Guernsey, another dedicated enthusiast, Dr. Samuel Hoskins FRS had started recording weather in an organised data format in 1842 and kept up the good work until he handed over the reins to Mr. A Collenette in 1880.


First Paid Worker

In 1902, the States of Guernsey decided that reliable weather records for Guernsey were necessary and started to put the whole process on a more formal footing. They agreed to pay Mr. Collenette £50 per annum to maintain his record on a daily basis.

During the First World War it became increasingly obvious that keeping a comprehensive weather record was not just a fancy of the eccentric. Guernsey’s unique geographical position in the English Channel meant that reliable local weather reports were considered crucial to the developing forecasting service in the UK.


A Growing Demand

As demand grew, the States of Guernsey made the decision to create a Meteorological Committee, led by Mr Collenette.  A small team was soon in place and continued to record weather data from a private property in Fort Road. This was a rented property, and when Mr. Collenette was given notice as tenant, a new site had to be found - this was the opportunity for a purpose built observatory behind Lukis House in the Grange. 


 Changes in the Office

Sadly Mr. Collenette died soon after the move was completed, and Mr. Miles was promoted to Senior Observer. Over the next few years a number of assistants were appointed and two of these were due to serve the Office for many years. The first, “Dougie” Sackett joined the Office in 1922 and was promoted to Senior Observer in 1935, eventually retiring in 1967 after 45 years service.


Move to Guernsey Airport

The next significant relocation came in 1946, when following the Second World War the Met Office was moved to the Airport, after which the Lukis House Observatory was closed down. The office was initially housed on the first floor of the Airport Terminal Building, but increasing demands from aviation and the public prompted a move to a more accessible ground floor office alongside the Flight Briefing Unit.


Move to Current Location

In 1977 a new Technical Block was completed to the west of the Airport Terminal and so another short move was made to our present accommodation on the first floor of this new building. For the first time since the Lukis House days, the office had been specifically designed for the job in hand. Senior Observer Mike Lillington had played a big part in the planning of this new office and during his reign he was also to witness a steady growth in the public demand for weather related services.


Last 20 Years

Mike left the Office in 1986 after 27 years service and John Phillips – another long serving officer who joined in 1966 – took over as Senior Observer. Tim Lillington, succeeded John in 1997, followed by Martin Crozier in 2007 up until Peter De La Mare took over the reigns in 2018 following Martin's retirement.


21st Century Met Office

In the last 20 years the Met Office has undergone many changes. Advances in electronic sensing equipment, and the introduction of the computer into every facet of the operation has meant that the Observer now has control over far more data than was ever thought possible in Elisha’s day.

Guernsey has also been the subject of published literature.  For further research on the histroy of Guernsey, Tim Lillington published an article in the  Royal Meteorological Society which can be read here.  In addition, Dr Andrew Casebow published "Planet Guernsey" - local context to the global issue of Climate Change.

It is important that weather conditions are monitored continuously, and in order to achieve this the Office is manned by a team of six dedicated professionals throughout the 24 hours on every day of the year. This has been the case since the Airport Observatory was opened in 1946, and it is a credit to the foresight of the States of Guernsey in those early years that we can now call on an unbroken weather record spanning much of the last century.

Present Day


So what actually happens in a modern Met Office? These days our “Raison d’être” is, of course, the provision of current and reliable information to Air Traffic Control in particular and aviation in general. However, we continue to maintain Guernsey’s weather record with a comprehensive hour-by-hour analysis of the local weather. Apart from adding to the historical archive, the data we record is supplied to a growing number of customers either in the form of individual summaries or monthly and annual weather reports.

We also form part of a worldwide family of observing stations that feed a constant stream of information into the (UK) Met Office Headquarters computer at Exeter. This information helps the experts to understand weather patterns more thoroughly, and therefore develop more accurate forecasts. 

The early pioneers could not have foreseen all those years ago that such major world issues as climate change, and its associated physical, biological and economical effects along with the increasing impacts of extreme weather related phenomena would feature so prominently in our daily news. Furthermore, that Guernsey’s meteorological archive would be playing its small but important part in the scientific community’s endeavours to try to work out “what happens next?”!