Guernsey, 3rd Day, the Little Chapel
Guernsey's Little Chapel is not far from the Underground Hospital and so we drove straight over there after emerging into the light. In retrospect the two things did not sit happily next to each other. After the dank morbid presence of the tunnels the Chapel seemed mere frippery. Although it certainly is pretty kitsch. But it was a labour of love and it is easy to critisise.
This little chapel was built by Brother Déodat and is the third he constructed on the site. His vision was a miniature version of the grotto at Lourdes. He seemed not to have taken criticism well, as the first, built in 1914, he tore down when someone made an adverse remark. The second, built later in the same year survived until 1923, when the Bishop of Portsmouth unfortunately could not fit through the door, and occasioned the building of the third and final version.
The chapel was made famous by an article in the Daily Mirror which prompted visitors to bring broken glass and pottery for the further embellishment of the structure.
Brother Déodat continued to decorate his chapel until 1939 when he returned to France due to ill health. The job of further improvement and care was left to a Brother Cephas who retired from the position in 1965. It is now in care of Blancheland College who have their work cut out as it looks in a perilous state.
The light, on an already sombre day, was going by the time we got there.