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Ex-Guernsey States HQ could be transformed into Victor Hugo Centre

Ex-Guernsey States HQ could be transformed into Victor Hugo Centre

Thursday 08 September 2022

Ex-Guernsey States HQ could be transformed into Victor Hugo Centre

Thursday 08 September 2022

Guernsey's former States headquarters could be converted into a centre dedicated to the celebrated writer of Les Misèrables.

The President of the island's Economic Development Committee, Neil Inder, revealed yesterday that discussions were underway to turn the "iconic" building into a Victor Hugo Centre.

"While it’s early days and I don’t want to prejudge where the discussions will take us, this looks like an exciting opportunity with the potential to develop a new, high-quality tourist attraction that celebrates the life and works of Victor Hugo in the form of a Victor Hugo Centre in Guernsey," he said. 

"The former States' office building is an iconic one, in a central town location that would appeal to residents as well as visitors and will provide opportunities to attract more French and international visitors."


Pictured: The States are in discussions about whether to turn the old States' offices at North Esplanade into a Victor Hugo Centre.

The discussions came about following an approach from the Victor Hugo Centre Working Group, which is part of the Victor Hugo in Guernsey Society. The Society promotes appreciation of the life and works of the renowned French writer, who lived at Hauteville House in Guernsey between 1856 and 1870 while he was in exile from France. 

If it is decided that the project will go ahead, the Working Group will be expected to privately fundraise the development costs of the project.

Among the proposals the group hopes to take forward are: a flexible exhibition; meeting and performance space that could be used to showcase local talent and for official functions; an exhibition of Victor Hugo’s work, life and interests and his artwork; an education and study space that could be used by schools for visits and for visiting students and visiting scholars.

Its Chair, Larry Malcic, welcomed the States' openness to discussions.

"Victor Hugo praised Guernsey as a rock of hospitality and freedom. We’re excited to begin discussing with the States how a Victor Hugo Centre in a prominent building could help tell the story of his relationship with his island home, celebrate his works and inspire future generations of islanders and visitors to advance their creative talents," he said.

Earlier this year, Deputy Inder's Committee rejected a request to invest in local production of a film version of Victor Hugo's Toilers of the Sea.

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