Stanley is the capital of the Falkland Islands. It is located on the island of East Falkland, on a north-facing slope in one of the wettest parts of the islands. At the 2012 census, the town had a population of 2,121 The entire population of the Falkland Island was 2,841 on Census Day on 15 April 2012.
Stanley is represented by five members of the Legislative Assembly of the Falkland Islands.
Stanley is the main shopping centre on the islands and the hub of East Falkland’s road network. Attractions include the Falkland Islands Museum, Government House – built in 1845 and home to the Governor of the Falkland Islands – and a golf course, as well as a whalebone arch, a totem pole, several war memorials and the shipwrecks in its harbour. The Falkland Islands Company owns several shops and a hotel. Stanley has four pubs, eleven hotels and guesthouses, three restaurants, a fish and chip shop and the main tourist office. There are three churches, including the Anglican Christ Church Cathedral, the southernmost cathedral in the world. A bomb disposal unit in the town is a legacy of the Falklands War.
The town hall serves as a post office, philatelic bureau, law court and dance hall. The police station also contains the islands’ only prison, with a capacity of thirteen in the cells.
The community centre includes a swimming pool (the only public one in the islands), a sports centre, library, and school. A grass football pitch is located by the community centre and hosts regular games.
Stanley Racecourse, located on the west side of Stanley, holds a two-day horse racing meeting every year on 26 and 27 December. The Christmas races have been held here for over one hundred years.
Stanley Golf Course has an 18 hole course and a club house. It is also located to the west of Stanley.
King Edward VII Memorial Hospital is the islands’ main hospital, with doctors’ practice and surgery, radiology department, dental surgery and emergency facilities.
Several bus and taxi companies operate out of Stanley.
Stanley is also home to the Falkland Islands Radio Station (FIRS), the Stanley office of the British Antarctic Survey, and the office of the weekly Penguin News newspaper.
A nursery and garden centre is also here, in whose greenhouses some of the islands’ vegetables are grown.
Stanley is twinned with Whitby in North Yorkshire, United Kingdom.
The original capital of the islands was at Port Louis to the north of the present site of Stanley, on Berkeley Sound. Captains Francis Crozier and James Clark Ross were recruited by Governor Richard Moody in his quest to find a new capital for The Falklands. Both Crozier and Ross (who are remembered in Crozier Place and Ross Road in Stanley) were among the Royal Navy’s most distinguished seafarers. They spent 5 months in the islands with their ships Terror and Erebus. Governor Moody (after whom Moody Brook is named) however, decided to move the capital to Port Jackson, which was renamed “Stanley Harbour”, after a survey. Stanley Harbour was considered to have a deeper anchorage for visiting ships. Not all the inhabitants were happy with the change, notably one JW Whitington is recorded as saying, “Of all the miserable bog holes, I believe that Mr Moody has selected one of the worst for the site of his town.”
Work on the settlement began in 1843 and it became the capital in July 1845. It was named after Lord Stanley, Secretary of State for War and the Colonies at the time.
In 1849, thirty married Chelsea Pensioners were settled there to help with the defence of the islands and to develop the new settlement.
The settlement soon grew as a deep-water port, specialising at first in ship repairs; indeed, before the construction of the Panama Canal, Port Stanley was a major repair stop for boats travelling through the Straits of Magellan. The rough waters and intense storms found at the tip of the continent forced many ships to Stanley Harbour, and the ship repair industry helped to drive the island economy. Later it became a base for whaling and sealing in the South Atlantic and Antarctic.
Later still it was an important coaling station for the Royal Navy. This led to ships based here being involved in the Battle of the Falkland Islands in the First World War, and the Battle of the River Plate in the Second World War.
Landslides (peatslips), caused by excessive peat cutting, destroyed part of the town in 1879 and 1886, the second landslide killing two people.
During World War II, a hulk in Stanley Harbour was used for interning the British Fascist and Mosleyite Jeffrey Hamm (ref: The European; PRO HO). Something of a minor player in the BUF due to his youth, Hamm moved to the Falkland Islands in 1939 to work as a teacher. He was arrested there in 1940 for his BUF membership (under Defence Regulation 18B) and later transferred to a camp in South Africa. Released in 1941 he was later called up to the Royal Armoured Corps and served until his discharge in 1944.
Stanley Airport is used by internal flights and provides connections to British bases in Antarctica. It was opened by the Argentine Air Force on 15 November 1972 (previously, international flights were by seaplane from Comodoro Rivadavia). Flights to Argentina ended after the 1982 conflict. A weekly flight to Punta Arenas in Chile commenced in 1993, which now operates out of Mount Pleasant Airbase (RAF Mount Pleasant). Scheduled passenger flights between the Mount Pleasant airfield and the U.K. are also operated twice a week by a civilian airline contractor on behalf of the Royal Air Force.
Stanley was occupied by Argentine troops for about ten weeks during the Falklands War in 1982. The Argentines renamed the town Puerto Argentino, and although Spanish names for places in the Falklands were historically accepted as alternatives, this one is considered to be extremely offensive by many islanders. It has however gained some support in Spanish-speaking countries, though its acceptance is far from unanimous. Stanley suffered considerable damage during the war, from both the Argentine occupation and the British naval shelling of the town, which killed three civilians. After the British secured the high ground around the town the Argentines surrendered with no fighting in the town itself. The beaches and land around it were heavily mined and some areas remain marked minefields.
Since the Falklands War, Stanley has benefited from the growth of the fishing and tourism industries in the Islands. Stanley itself has developed greatly in that time, with the building of a large amount of residential housing, particularly to the east of the town centre. Stanley is now more than a third bigger than it was in 1982.
A number of variants of the town’s name have appeared in both English and Spanish. Stanley Harbour was originally known as “Port Jackson”, and this name would have applied to the area before the town was built, although it could just as easily have been called Sapper Hill. Although the town is officially known as “Stanley”, one frequently hears it still referred to as “Port Stanley”, especially in British reports about the Falklands War. This is in line with various other settlements around the islands, e.g. Port Howard and Port Stephens. However, “Stanley” without the “Port” prefix was established long before the war, and on 2 August 1956, the Officer Administering the Government of the Falkland Islands reported to the Secretary of State for the Colonies in London as follows:
There is some difficulty over the correct name of the capital. Early despatches contain reference to both Port Stanley and Stanley. Port Stanley was accepted by the Naming Commission set up in 1943 to consider the names then being included on the War Office maps. Local opinion differs on the matter, though there is no doubt that Stanley is now common usage and has been for some considerable time. The capital is defined as Stanley in the Interpretation and General Law Ordinance. In the circumstances I would advise that the correct name for the capital is Stanley.
Falklanders often refer to it simply as “Town”.
The climate of Stanley is classified as a tundra climate (ET), due to cool summer temperatures (the mean temperature is less than 10 °C (50 °F) in the warmest month) and closely borders on a subpolar oceanic climate (Cfc).
It is characterised, like the rest of the archipelago, by more or less even temperatures through the year and strong westerlies. Precipitation, averaging 544mm (21.4 in) a year, is nonetheless relatively low, and evenly spread throughout the year. Typically, at least 1mm (0.04 in) of rain will be recorded on 125.2 days of the year.
The islands receive 36.3% of possible sunshine, or around 1500–1600 hours a year, a level similar to Southern parts of England. Daytime temperatures are similar to the Northern Isles of Scotland, though nights tend to be somewhat cooler, with frost occurring on more than 1 in 3 nights (128.4 nights). Snow occurs in the winter.
Temperature extremes at Stanley vary from −11.1 °C (12.0 °F) to 26.1 °C (79.0 °F) for the period 1961-90. More recently, on 23 January 1992, nearby Mount Pleasant Airport recorded 29.2 °C (84.6 °F).
The Falkland Islands have displayed a warming trend in recent years. The mean daily January maximum for Mount Pleasant for the years 1991–2011 is 16.5 °C (61.7 °F) compared to Stanley’s 1961–90 average of 14.1 °C (57.4 °F).
The Stanley Infant & Junior School (IJS) is located along John Street at the intersection with Villiers Street in Stanley. The school first opened in 1955 and has about 250 students between the ages of 4 and 11. The Falkland Island Community School (FICS) is located on Reservoir Road in Stanley. It has approximately 150 students between 11 and 16.
Places of worship
Christ Church Cathedral
Christ Church Cathedral on Ross Road, in Stanley, Falkland Islands, is the southernmost cathedral in the world, consecrated in 1892.
It is known for its whalebone arch, made from the jaws of two blue whales, which was raised in 1933. The Rector of the Cathedral reports directly to the Archbishop of Canterbury.
An image of the church is featured on the reverse side of all Falkland Islands pound banknotes.
Christ Church has some beautiful stained glass and an attractive wooden chancel screen.
The structure is of naturally coloured stone, red brick and corrugated iron. There is a bell tower containing five bells which are rung before each main Sunday service. The interior bears a number of reminders, in the form of plaques and flags, of the events of 1982 and of the “liberation” of the Falklands from Argentina by British forces. The recently refurbished parish hall adjoining the church building is an attractive facility used by church and community alike.
Just outside stands the Whalebone Arch. This symbol of Stanley was constructed in 1933 from the jawbones of two blue whales to commemorate the centenary of continuous British administration in the Falklands.
The Anglican Church in the Falkland Islands is known formally as “the Episcopal Jurisdiction of the Falkland Islands” and, since 1977, has come under the Metropolitical jurisdiction of the Archbishop of Canterbury. Christ Church Cathedral in Stanley is the parish church for the Falkland Islands, South Georgia, the South Sandwich Islands, and the British Antarctic Territory.
Services held every Sunday at –
8am – Holy Communion
10am – Morning service
7pm – Evening Service
Details tel +500 21100
St Mary’s Catholic Church
The foundation stone for St. Mary’s was laid on 12 February 1899. It was for the fifth Catholic Church to be built in the Falkland Islands. The earlier ones were those at Port Louis (1767 and 1801), the one on Pump Green (1873), and what is now St Mary’s Hall (1866).
The present interior of St. Mary’s replaces a more elaborate arrangement. The crucifix and the statue of the Virgin Mary were carved in the Tyrol. The altar, lectern and pews were made in Ormskirk (UK) and the tabernacles of the Blessed Sacrament came from Belgium. The stained glass windows have been saved from a demolished church (St. Mark’s) in Southampton.
They were designed by Henry Holiday in about 1910. On the west wall you will find a “pictorial history” of the Catholic Church in these Islands by the local artist James Peck.
St. Mary’s is a wooden prefabricated building, made in England in 1898 and erected in Stanley in 1899. It was blessed the same year by Father Patrick O’Grady SDB, under the patronage of Mr Louis Baillon, a West Falkland farmer and a major contributor to the project.
Teresa’s in Barrack Street, was a Salesian Presbytery, home of Father Mario Migone. He was the priest-in-charge for almost 40 years and during this time he made a lasting contribution to the life of the whole community.
He kept meteorological records, introduced electricity, ran the first cinema, and brought the Salesian Sisters to Stanley to run St. Mary’s School.
Services held every Sunday at –
9am weekdays – Mass
5pm Saturday – Mass
10am Sunday – Mass
Details tel +500 21204
Tabernacle United Free Church
The Tabernacle United Free Church is an evangelical church. It was established in 1899.
The building was sent to the Falkland Islands by the famous Victorian Baptist preacher, C.H. Spurgeon, and is named after his church, the Metropolitan Tabernacle, in London.
The church is situated on Barrack Street; this blue and white church is a short walk up the hill from the western end of the Post Office.
Services held every Sunday at –
10am – Morning Service
7pm – Evening Service
Details tel +500 21506
Other faith groups are also represented in the Islands.
The Bahá’í Faith has an active local community. Information on meetings is available at www.bahai.fk or tel. +500 21393+500 21393 / 21031.