Archive pictures of the week - 2017

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Archive pictures of the week - 2017

9 January 2017

Busy Weighbridge

Having ended 2016 with a picture of seasonal workers recruited to lift potatoes, it seem appropriate to start our new year of feature pictures with two superb images of the next stage in the process - weighing them ready for export. These two pictures were taken in the 1910s, a peak period for the island's new potato industry. The upper picture, taken from the top of the New North Quay, shows horse-drawn potato vans passing through the public weighbridge. Merchants and growers, all wearing suits and hats, can be seen discussing the progress of the crop. On the other side of the weighbridge the Pomme d'Or Hotel can be viewed. The picture below, probably taken from the top of the top of one of the merchants' stores on the Esplanade shows the vans having passed through the 'bridge and queuing before loading their valuable crop on to waiting ships. In the background is the row of warehouses along Commercial Buildings. It is noteworthy that the row is by no means complete with the three-storey buildings which can be seen along its entire length today. On the left a motley collection of single-storey buildings has not yet given way to the stores now occupied by Norman's, whose buildings are not nearly as old as some people believe them to be

16 January 2017

100 years ago in Val Plaisant

A large quantity of old advertisements have been processed for inclusion in Jerripedia pages in recent weeks, among them this for the Franklin Pension in Val Plaisant. Almanacs of the time show that Franklin House, a Pension de Famille, was at 31 Val Plaisant, on the corner of Windsor Road. Reference to Google Earth shows that the property is still there today, very little changed from a century ago. In the early decades of the 20th century this was still a relatively quiet and prosperous area of St Helier - today it is a busy arterial road carrying traffic from the north of the island to the centre of town. The building has the appearance of being constructed in the Victorian era, but it may have been a little later. Certainly there is no evidence of its being used as a hotel before about 1910. It is interesting that the striking original portico which formed the front entrance to the building has been retained, although it is now encased in a 1960s ground-floor extension, and the only access to the building is from the side door in Windsor Road. Doubtless the interior has been changed as much as the facade of the building and what was a very attractive building which would undoubtedly have been listed had it survived unchanged into the 21st century, has now lost most of its original architectural features and is so bland that it has the appearance of a building which could have been constructed at any time since the Second World War. Old advertisements are a very valuable source of historical information about the island in which our ancestors lived, and the large collection, dating back to 1855, which we have recently processed, we are still in the process of adding to relevant family pages and those covering the history of the streets of St Helier

23 January 2017

Albert Pier in 1893

Our weekly feature picture is usually new to the site, but here's one from our archives. This photograph of the steamer Gazelle is said to have been taken in St Helier Harbour in 1893, but given the progress which has been made on the widening of the New North Quay in the background, we think it might be a little later. It was undoubtedly taken in the last decade of the 19th century, and what a marvellous evocation it is of that era - so much quieter and more genteel than later years. The Gazelle was one of three new vessels built for Great Western Railway in 1888-89 when they decided to take over the Weymouth-Channel Island service. The other two vessels were the Antelope and Lynx. They were 609-ton twin screw steamers built of steel by Laird Brothers, of Birkenhead. All three vessels entered service in 1889 and Gazelle remained on the Channel Island route until 1908, when she was converted to carry cargo

30 January 2017

New hotel gardens in the 1860s

This is the view you would have had if you had stayed at the newly opened Imperial Hotel in St Helier in 1866, or soon after. The picture is part of a stereo pair. These cards, with two very slightly offset side-by-side images were sold by stationers and fancy goods outlets in the days when photography was still very much in its infancy and the postcard was yet to be introduced to provide holiday souvenirs. The stereo images were designed to be looked at through a viewer which created a 3D effect. Although the exact date of this photograph is uncertain, it has to have been taken between 1866, when the hotel opened, and 1873, when the photographer, Henry Mullins, retired. Given that the architect, A W Maberly, of London and Gloucester, is credited on the front of the stereo pair, we think it likely that it was taken soon after the hotel opened. The photograph shows the newly laid-out hotel gardens, with St Mark's Road behind, running straight towards the centre of the town, past the spire of St Mark's Church which is visible in the distance. Part of Stopford Road, which runs parallel with St Mark's Road, can just be made out on the left of the picture. As our history of the hotel shows, the Imperial was never a success, and it was sold in 1880 to the Jesuits, who established a seminary there are renamed the property Maison St Louis. It was requisitioned by the Germans during the Occupation, and reopened as a hotel after the war, renamed the Hotel de France. It is still in business today as one of the island's largest hotels. The gardens shown in this photograph have long been built over. We are in the process of creating a page of a collection of Victorian stereo photographs taken in Jersey by a number of different photographers who were in business during the 1870s and '80s, and recently offered for sale on an online auction site

6 February 2017

Trinity Hill

Normally our weekly feature picture is full of detail, but this simple image of Trinity Hill in the late 19th century is none the less fascinating. It is immediately obvious that the picture was taken long before Jersey's roads were coated in tarmacadam, but what is interesting is that there was a pavement on one side of what at the time was a relatively quiet country road from St Helier to Trinity, but some way out of the town. The picture below of the scene today was taken from the same position and shows that what was an entrance on the right to a grand mansion called Elysee House, now provides access to Oak Tree Gardens, a recent housing development which replaced Elysee Estate, built earlier on the site of the house and its extensive gardens

13 February 2017

Harbour - 1875

This picture of St Helier Harbour was taken in about 1875. It is by no means the oldest picture we have of the harbour, but it is still very old. It shows very clearly the three main stages in the development of the harbour. In the foreground is the English Harbour, which was probably constructed after the French Harbour, to its left, beyond the buildings known as La Folie. The original harbour was protected only by what came to be known as the South Pier. That is the structure immediately behind La Folie and the three masts of the sailing ship moored against the jetty in the English Harbour. The next stage in the enlargement of the harbour was the construction of the quay financed by St Helier's merchants, which became known as Commercial Buildings, out of the picture to the right. This was then protected by the construction of the north pier, the end of which can be seen jutting out from the centre right of the picture. It can be seen that at this stage the pier was very thin. The harbour was further enlarged in the middle of the 19th century by the construction of a new south pier, whose end can be seen on the left, behind the South Pier. The new pier was named Victoria Pier in honour of the visit to Jersey of Queen Victoria. Then the harbour was extended further towards Elizabeth Castle with the construction of what became known as the Albert Pier, which can be seen with its original large slipway, which has long since disappeared. A further enlargement of the harbour in the 1870s saw a large pier built out from Elizabeth castle, linking with the Hermitage rock, which can be made out as a dark mass towards the top left of the picture, and then beyond, to link up with a second pier running out from La Collette. This pier was damaged during construction in winter storms and the project was abandoned.

20 February 2017

Pontac Hotel

Unfortunately this image, taken from a tinted postcard, is not of the best quality, but we chose it as our feature picture because it illustrates an important time in the island's social history. This was the greenhouse (probably called an 'orangery') at the Chalet Hotel, Pontac, on Jersey's south-east coast. This was a very popular venue in the late 19th and early 20th century for afternoon teas, entertainment, and generally for an escape from town for those St Helier residents affluent enough to travel by train, but not with their own carriages. We have had a history of the hotels at Pontac on the site for some time. There were three of them, and they are often confused because of the similarity of this names and frequent changes - Pontac House, Pontac Hotel, Old Pontac Hotel, New Pontac Hotel, Tallis's Pontac Hotel, and Pontac Chalet Hotel, which was previously Old Pontac Hotel, given its new name some time after 1883. The hotel had extensive gardens, including this orangery, full of exotic plants, and a bandstand for outdoor entertainment. The presence of the hotels, particular this one, made Pontac Station an important stop on the Jersey Eastern Railway, and the decline in the hotel's business in the 1920s was probably a major factor in the decline of the railway. The arrival of the motor car, and motorised buses, giving town dwellers access to venues across the whole island, rather than just the east and south coasts served by the railways, probably had a lot to do with the drop in business at Pontac.
The railway line passed immediately in front of the Pontac Hotel

27 February 2017

On the beach

We have had a copy of this photograph on the site for some time, but the receipt of a larger and better quality version prompted its choice as our weekly feature picture. This was the beach at West Park, long before it became virtually inaccessible because of a constant coating of sea lettuce. The problems of the 21st century were not foreseen when the photograph was taken in 1908 or slightly earlier, and this stretch of beach was one of the island's most popular, because it was the closest to the centres of population in the west and middle of the town of St Helier. Beach tents could be rented by those seeking to bathe in relative privacy, and children could play safely over the wide area of sand. Is notable that the majority of the children who were gathered for the photographer's benefit were fully clothed, most of them wearing hats, although one youn lad towards the centre of the front row seems to have been presaging fashions of years still to come

6 March 2017

St John's Village

This picture of St John's Church and neighbouring buildings has been on this site for some time, but we have never had an accurate date for it. We still don't, because, although the picture is described as c1905 on the site on which it is currently being auctioned, it cannot be that early, because on the right of the picture stands St John's Parish Hall, and that was not built until 1912. The picture is, therefore, a perfect example of how one should never trust information supplied with a photograph. We suspect that the photograph, which was taken by prominent early 20th century Jersey photographer Albert Smith was probably taken to show the view shortly after the parish hall was completed. As the photgraph of the scene today (below) illustrates, little has changed in the intervening century. Such changes as there have been in the village are largely hidden behind the trees surrounding the parish church. If the old photograph does date to 1912, one thing it does is to confirm that the Great Eastern Hotel which stood to the photographer's side of the parish hall, had been demolished by then

13 March 2017

Former tourist attraction

20 March 2017

St Helier Harbour

Yes, we have selected another shot of St Helier Harbour as our weekly feature picture, but we make no apologies, because, although it is well over 100 years old, it is of such high quality. It is a bit difficult to be absolutely certain about the date when this photograph was taken, but we think it was within five years either way of the start of the 20th century. It is an original photograph, not a postcard, and it shows that the widening of the New North Quay in the centre of the picture has been completed. Every picture tells a story, and this is no exception. What is most surprising is how quiet the harbour appears. There are no steamships in the port and very little sign of any activity either on the New North Quay or the Albert Pier behind. Given that it is only about 20 years since an ambitious plan to enlarge what was said to be an unacceptably small harbour, by creating outer piers from Elizabeth Castle and La Collette, foundered in winter storms, there seems to be very little activity in the existing harbour, whose cargo and passenger handling capacity has been considerably increased by tripling the width of the New North Quay and providing moorings on either side. The Albert Pier, in the background, is also quiet, with only a couple of sailing vessels moored at the top in front of the island's abattoir. Perhaps it was Christmas Day, or another public holiday - there is nothing to tell us

27 March 2017

Jersey Swimming Club officers

We are frequently sent old pictures from family albums, all of which help bring our family pages to life, but usually the details accompanying the photographs are fairly sketchy - perhaps names and dates, sometimes just a family name. This is an exception. The picture was sent to us by a great-granddaughter of John Pope Genge, who is standing in the centre at the back. We have come across him before: He featured in Picture of the Week as recently as last December, or at least his shop on the corner of Halkett Place and Waterloo Street did. Mr Genge was a silversmith and was in business in Halkett Place from 1884 to 1899. In addition to being a successful businessman, John Pope Genge was also a well respected member of the St Helier community. He was President of the Jersey Commercial Association in 1890, and he was President of the Jersey Swimming Club. The club was formed in 1865 and Mr Genge, who had been a member from the outset, was its president from 1892 until his death at 1899. This photograph is not of the Genge family but shows the executive of the club, and the men are seen wearing the badge of the club. It was during Mr Genge's presidency that the club's new swimming pool at Havre des Pas was opened in 1895

3 April 2017

19th century portrait

Apologies if we are a little late in updating the weekly feature picture, but our editor has been involved in his annual migration from Spain to France, and concerned to continue the process of updating our family pages with baptism listings including the most recent additions to our database. In the course of this he has encountered the many wonderful historical pictures of Jersey family members which are included in our collection, and has chosen this image of an unknown Mrs Guillaume from the 19th century to represent them. We now have over 1,000 family pages, most of them including similar historical photographs and links to comprehensive information about the history of these families in Jersey

10 April 2017

St Brelade's Bay jetty

This jetty, or breakwater as it is often called, appears in many of the photographs on our St Brelade's Bay page. What is particularly interesting about this image is the caption which was included when it was published as a postcard in the early 1900s - it was posted in 1907. The caption identified the breakwater as a Norman structure, and suggested that it was used by 'early Norman fishermen' for mooring their boats while they attended services in St Brelade's Parish Church or the adjacent Fishermen's Chapel. The postcard, shown below in its original form before retouching, was published by JWS. We have no idea whether this caption is accurate, and just how 'early' were the 'Normans' who supposedly used it, but it does suggest that the structure has been present in the bay, close to the church, which can be seen in the background, for a very long time. It is still there today, but rebuilt as a somewhat straighter and more substatial jetty. It is used now to moor small pleasure craft, while others slightly larger enjoy the protection of the more modern and more substantial jetty on which the photographer would have stood to take this photograph. Other photographs of this area of the bay suggest that the work of rebuilding the old breakwater had not been undertaken before 1940. We doubt that it was the work of the Germans during the Occupation, so the changes must have been made some time in the second half of the 20th century

17 April 2017

Queen Victoria

This wonderfully clear photograph of the statue of Queen Victoria, erected at the Weighbridge next to St Helier Harbour, which we discovered for sale in France, was probably taken a short time after the statue was unveiled in 1890, a belated celebration of the monarch's golden jubilee in 1887. Behind the statue to the left is the Royal Yacht Hotel, which first opened there in the 1820s. Next door was a boarding house, the name of which is not certain, and further to the right was the depot of de Veulle and Co, wine and spirits merchants. The 1890 almanac showed W A Sarchet and P Cleret between the hotel and de Veulle's, all of these premises being listed under Caledonia Place.

24 April 2017

Edwardian cyclists

This is one of our favourite Jerripedia photographs. It has been on the site since 2011 and is one of the rotating images on our main page. It shows pupils at Jersey Ladies College with their bicycles in 1905, and just typifies the elegance of the Edwardian era, as well as demonstrating the affluence of these girls' parents, because cycles were not a cheap item at this time. This week we came across the postcard below, which dates from 1903 and shows that cycles were already the 'must have' possession for girls at the school
We do not know anything more about Agnes than her first name, but we wonder whether the Mrs Le Sueur mentioned in her message to her friend, Miss J E Le Boutillier, of Grouville, was related to the Le Sueur brothers, who opened a cycle shop in Halkett Place in 1906. Unfortunately the Grouville baptisms published so far stop at 1871, so we have not been able to discover any more about the card's recipient, to whom Agnes wrote:"What do I hear that you have a bicycle. Oh my! What next. Are the roads wide enough in Grouville? You can expect me round one of these days, so look out. We are in the holidays now. Yesterday morning I went for a long run with Maud Burger. We went to the Convent at St Mary. She has been a weekly boarder there for a year and a half. One of the nuns showed me ‘Les Alentours’ [The neighbourhood]. From there we went down to St Peter’s Valley and up a very steep hill and back to St Lawrence Church. It was a lovely ride. Today I’m going to Lucille and to town tonight. I think it is quite the fashion to get cycles now. They have another at Lucille’s and Claire (my Claire) has one as well. She has her aunt’s, Mrs Le Sueur’s. I went to spend the afternoon with her (Mrs Le Sueur) yesterday. On Thursday I’m going to spend the day at St Brelade. Have you many new PC? My coll is slowly increasing. I have about 40 now. With much love to all" - Agnes
Collecting postcards in the early 1900s was a very popular hobby for both young people such as Agnes, and their elders. They were still very much a novelty, the first one to be sent from Jersey having been posted in 1895, and anything earlier than the turn of the century would have been very collectable at the time and is now very rare. We have added a page of 1901 postcards to the site this week, which were sent from Jersey to a collector in Luxembourg

1 May 2017

Vraic collecting

This photograph shows vraic (seaweed) being brought ashore on the slipway at the bottom of Green Street, which marks the boundary between the districts of Havre des Pas and La Collette. The picture was published as a postcard in the early years of the 20th century by Henry George Allix. Allix was not a photographer - he ran tobacconist and fancy goods shops in St Helier - but he was quick to realise the potential of postcards when they first began to appear in the last decade of the 19th century, and published a set of commissioned views of island scenes and life. He was credited on the images as editeur. At this time there was farmland much closer to the coast here than there is today, and the beach was an important source of the vraic, with which farmers covered their land in winter to fertilise the soil. It was also dried and used as a household fuel. The road leading upwards on the right of the picture is Mount Bingham, leading to South Hill. As the Google Streetview picture below shows, the scene has changed somewhat during the last century. The buildings on the right of Mount Bingham have lost their Victorian balconies but are otherwise much as they were on the postcard. The upper picture shows the military barracks and coastal tower on the skyline. They are still there, the former now occupied by Jersey's Territorial Army unit, but the skyline is now dominated by a power station chimney and refuse incinerator.

8 May 2017

L'Etacq Hotel

L'Etacq is about as far as one can go by road from St Helier and pictures of the hotels there are much less common than those at other popular locations, such as Greve de Lecq. This photograph, probably taken in the last decade of the 19th century, shows the gable end of what was then known as Le Cappelain's Queens Hotel. Other photographs in our hotels gallery show that in 1890 this was called Williams Queens Hotel (there should undoubtedly have been some apostrophes in the name, but they do not appear in the hotel's signs). The other photographs show that the hotel stretched in a straight line away from the camera, and consisted of three adjoining sections, probably built at different times. That's as much as we know about Queens Hotel. The building in the foreground on the left of the photograph is not part of Queens Hotel. It is the British Star Hotel, which other photographs in our collection show to have been in business as early as 1870. Once again we have shown that when a photograph over 120 years old arrives on our picture desk posing a number of questions, they are most likely to be answered within the pages of Jerripedia itself

15 May 2017

Beach theatre

We know the place: The beach at Havre des Pas, next to the bridge from the shore to Havre des Pas Pool, described here as the Jersey Swimming Club's 'bathing establishment'. We know the time: September 1908. We know the event: A performance by Le Theatre de Sable. And that's about all we know. It is not clear whether Le Theatre de Sable was a local group or a visiting French troupe, but we suspect the latter. There are organisations active in France today with the same name, but none of them over a century old, and our research on line for more information has drawn a complete blank. The 'bathing establishment' was still very much a ladies' reserve at this time, although mixed bathing had been permitted for a short period every morning from 1904. The beach, the closest to the centre of St Helier, was a major attraction in the Edwardian era, and many events were held in and around the pool.

22 May 2017

Militia camp

In the early years of the 19th century the annual Militia camps were important events in the island's calendar. All men of military age were required to serve in the Militia and participate in weekly drills, in addition to attendance at annual camps. These camps were held in various locations, most notably the grassy areas adjoining Fort Regent, the racecourse at Les Quennevais and Grouville Common. Not only were the camps an important part of the training of members of the Royal Militia Island of Jersey, but they are also significant social events. At certain times the camps were open to the mens' families and friends, the officers entertained on a grand scale, and generally a good time was had by all. Professional photographers would have access to the camp at these times, and also while training was under way, and the photographs they took were sold to the men as postcards. For some reason the 1906 camp at Fort Regent has proved to be one of the most productive of these photographs and we have had a selection in a Jerripedia page since 2012. Additional postcards have recently been sent to us and, because we could not decide which of them to feature here, we have decided to include them all. Just click on the smaller images below to see larger versions.

29 May 2017

Railway terminus

With approaching 50,000 photographs and other images in our collection, it is perhaps inevitable that one or two get lost from time to time, and that is what happened to this week's feature pictures. They were added to the site in late 2016 and earmarked for our weekly feature picture page, but somehow never made it here and were left in limbo, not linked to any other page. And that's a shame, because they are both such excellent photographs of the St Helier terminus of the Jersey Western Railway. So here they are. We can't put a date on the upper picture of a group of passengers standing on the platform at the St Helier terminus, although their clothes strongly suggest late 1910s-early '20s. The engine alongside them is the St Aubins. The lower photograph shows a bird's-eye view taken from Fort Regent, with the terminal in the centre of the picture, and what appears to be a newly-surfaced Esplanade running towards West Park, in the distance. This is an oft-repeated view, but what makes this stand out from so many others is the sheer quality of the photograph. It maust have been taken after 1895, because that is when the circular garden with a statue of Queen Victoria in the centre was opened. If the Esplanade has been given an asphalt coating, as it appears so black, that would probably date the photograph to about the same period as that above.

11 June 2017

We apologise for the absence of a weekly feature picture last week, following problems with our internet connection. To make up for that we feature several pictures which have been received during the past week - a fascinating picture of potato loading at St Helier Harbour during the 1926 General Strike, and a set of photographs of early Jersey Battle of Flowers entrants.

General Strike

This picture has a handwritten caption on the reverse stating 'Special constables loading potatoes in Jersey during strike - May 1926'. This is a fascinating suggestion because, as far as we know, Jersey was not involved in the United Kingdom's General Strike, which lasted for nine days that month. We are also not aware of 'special constables' ever being appointed in the island, which has its 12 parochial Honorary Police forces to supplement the States Police. The policing arrangement was the same in 1926 as it is today, although the Honorary Police were much stronger and had a more important role at that time. This photograph, which shows barrels of potatoes being hoisted by a crane on the New North Quay, appears to have been taken by an amateur, rather than being a newspaper picture. Further research, or some help from our site visitors, may reveal that Jersey dockers, often among the more militant of union members, did join the strike in support of their UK colleagues. But would Special Constables have been appointed to take over their duties at the height of the potato export season, or would the work have been undertaken by members of the Honorary Police? We look forward to discovering more

Early Battle of Flowers participants

The Jersey Battle of Flowers started in 1902 as a celebration of the Coronation of Edward VII, and continued on an annual basis until interrupted by the Great War. There are many photographs in existence of early events, and we have a comprehensive selection in our picture gallery. Most of the early images, taken by professional photographers, show the busy, often chaotic, arena on Victoria Avenue. We have recently received this selection, some of which appear to have been taken by amateurs, and some by professionals such as Albert Smith, or one of his team. We have no names to identify the young ladies, who seemed less than joyful at having to dress up in their Sunday best to push their doll in a pram around the arena, but perhaps someone will recognise their ancestors in these photographs and let us know.

19 June 2017

St Aubin over the years

We have two pictures of St Aubin this week, the upper one a 1902 Welch postcard and the lower one a 1978 Gallie postcard. Although the two photographs have been taken from different positions, the area of the town which can be identified in both has changed surprisingly little over the intervening three-quarters of the 20th century. The same buildings are in the same places, although some have had extensions added which create changes to the roof line. Much the same would be true today. Modern planning controls ensure that the integrity of St Aubin is maintained, and the lack of any remaining open areas mean that there is little or no opportunity for the creation of new buildings, nor has there been for most of the last 100 years.

26 June 2017

Edwardian leisure

These images are not new to the site, but they were sent to us by a regular visitor to the site as part of a batch with the comment 'How times have changed!'. These two coastal locations on either side of the town of St Helier have certainly changed in the last 100 or so years since the photographs were taken, but that is not our reason for choosing to feature them here. It is the change in the years before they were taken which is so significant. Until the Victorian era the concept of leisure time was virtually unknown for the vast majority of the island's population. Previously there had been just three classes of people - the land-owning gentry, who certainly had time on their hands, but spent it largely in the privacy of their estates, perhaps venturing out occasionally on horseback; their tenant farmers, and the labourers who worked for them, all of whom worked from dawn to dusk, seven days a week, in a struggle to keep their families fed. The lifestyle of those living and working in the countryside changed little as the 19th century advanced, but an influx of affluent retired people from England, who settled in the rapidly expanding town of St Helier, had an entirely different approach to life. For them the island's beaches were not places to fish and gather vraic, but places to relax and meet their friends. The construction of the Esplanade from the Weighbridge to West Park made the beautiful sandy beach there readily accessible and it became fashionable to stroll along the promenade in their finest outfits and take their children, always smartly dressed, to play on the beach. Another attraction was Olympia, on the right of the picture above, next to the Grand Hotel. For many years this was the town's main venue for exhibitions, evening entertaiment, roller skating and other activities. Those living on the east side of the town might prefer to head for the closest beach at Havre des Pas, particularly after the bathing pool had been opened. This stretch of coast soon developed into a fashionable seaside resort, a growing number of hotels and boarding houses catering for early holidaymakers who wanted to stay at the seaside but within easy reach to the town centre. But into the 20th century the eastern end of the bay remained to be developed. This is where some of the busiest shipyards had operated until the 1880s. These yards had straddled the high water mark, but the third picture shows that by the early 20th century a granite sea wall had been constructed, allowing some land to be reclaimed, on which a promenade was constructed. Behind it the former shipyards remained boarded up and the hotels which would eventually occupy this prime coastal location had yet to be built. The most popular stretch of beach was some way distant from the slipway pictured at the bottom of Green Street, but a small sandy area here which remained uncovered except at very high tides, was a popular spot for mothers and governesses to relax while their children played safely. We have added the bottom picture, a rare photograph showing the same stretch of coast soon after the last ships were built there, and the rows of cottages which housed those working in the shipyards.

2 July 2017

Wartime transport

Two pictures this week with no obvious link, except that they were both vehicles photographed on Jersey roads. They were sent to us as part of a batch from a regular contributor of superb quality pictures which have not previously been published elsewhere. His speciality is transport, and here we have a bus (below) which was driven off the road by a tank (above). Not literally, but when the Germans invaded Jersey in 1940 the buses of Jersey Motor Transport would not operate normal services for very long, and soon small tanks such as this one, which was captured in France, were patrolling island roads. It’s one of about 800 Renault R35s which were captured, and many had these bigger turrets with an anti-tank gun fitted. A large number of them were deployed to Jersey and Guernsey. Many of the original R35 turrets were used in fortifications, including in Jersey. One is mounted on the bunker housing the Channel Islands Military Museum at St Ouen. The tank, strictly a mobile anti-tank gun, one of 11 sent to Jersey, is rounding Bel Royal Corner, which, after the war, would become better known as a vantage point for photographers during the Jersey International Road Races, when the cars rounded the corner in the opposite direction. This is probably a still from a film produced just after the Liberation. The bus is a Leyland Lion which was used by the JMT between 1929 and 1954. This picture was taken at the Weighbridge terminus in 1931. The bus was seemingly too old to be commandeered by the Germans, yet young enough to be pressed back into service in the post-Liberation austerity years

10 July 2017

Steamship passengers

This picture is not new to the site, but we have three reasons for choosing to feature it this week. First: although we have received an excellent selection of new pictures in the past few weeks, we have not had time to process others which would be worthy weekly feature pictures. Second: It is one of the best images in the LL series of postcards, all surviving parts of which have been included in a special Jerripedia section for some years. Third, and most important, it is such a lovely image, dating from the first decade of the 20th century, when travel to and from the island was a much more elegant and leisurely experience than it is today. This is the Great Western Railway's terminus at the bottom end of the recently widened New North Quay, and a very smartly dressed family have just arrived to board the Reindeer, probably bound for Weymouth, via Guernsey. It is most unlikely that the family would have walked the length of the quay - they have probably just alighted from a horse-drawn carriage. One of the reasons why the LL postcards were so popular in their day, and remain so now, is that although some followed the pattern established at the turn of the century, as sending cards became fashionable, of featuring broad landscape views of Jersey's most attractive coastal and countryside locations, others, particularly those showing the Harbour and town of St Helier, included people, going about their daily business, thus providing a valuable historical record of island life over a century ago

17 July 2017

Harbour corner

Last week we had a view of a busy New North Quay in what was then the centre of St Helier Harbour. This week's feature picture shows a somewhat forgotten area at the southern end of the harbour, between the Victoria Pier and South Pier, sometimes known as the London Bay, for reasons which are obscure. The picture, taken about 1880, shows that the cliff face behind the harbour had been extensively quarried, perhaps to provide stone for the aborted attempt to create a substantially larger port by constructing a pier from La Collette towards Elizabeth Castle. Today, as the street level photograph below shows, the granite wall has been extended beyond the entrance to a tunnel in the cliff face (just visible at the left side of the photograph below, for about 100 metres, to where a new road was constructed from the end of the Victoria Pier to link up with the route from Pier Road to Mount Bingham above. This corner of the harbour is still largely neglected, used by sea cadets and rowing clubs as a convenient point to launch their small craft across the gently sloping shingle beach, but otherwise more or less ignored

24 July 2017

Greve de Lecq pier

We are sent many pictures every week by Jerripedia users, some from personal collections, some from those who monitor auction sites for us. Every now and again we receive an absolute gem, and the picture here which we received this week is one of the best of them all. It hangs on the wall of the A'Court family's Jersey home and shows the James Harmer, the first vessel ever to moor alongside the newly completed Greve de Lecq pier in June 1876. Within ten years the pier had all but vanished, having been damaged by successive winter storms. Pictures of the completed pier before it was damaged are very rare, and although we have two or three in our Greve de Lecq gallery, we have never seen an image like this, close-up and with a vessel moored alongside the pier. Thanks to a number of friends of Jerripedia in Jersey we have managed to put together a detailed history of the pier's construction and subsequent demise, as well as information about the James Harmer, which can be found on a new page - The construction and destruction of Greve de Lecq pier

31 July 2017

Fire engine exercise

We retain a maritime theme of sorts this week, and return to the same corner of St Helier harbour we featured two weeks back. The picture dates from 1955 and shows the St Helier Fire Brigade's Dennis Light Four pump ladder, with New World-style bodywork, which was delivered in May 1940, shortly before the Occupation. The lower picture shows it on arrival, parked in the yard of the then fire station at what had been the old Town Arsenal in Nelson Street. Because it was wartime, the appliance was delivered with a blackout hood on the nearside headlamp. Presumably the bulb was removed from the other headlamp. The new fire engine would soon see action attending fires caused by the Luftwaffe, which bombed parts of the island before the occupying forces arrived. The style of body, allowing the fire crew to sit inside the vehicle, was increasingly adopted during the 1930s in response to demands for a safer design, firemen being at risk of being thrown off appliances when they sat facing outwards. It was still an open vehicle, but it was among the last appliances with open bodywork. The top picture shows the engine still in service in December 1955, taking part in a fire-fighting exercise at the new fuel depot at the harbour, which had been built the previous year. Much later, the depot was relocated. The Dennis appears to have had a radio installed. The substantial box put in place behind the driver has an aerial on top, and may include the radio equipment. The bonnet is opened to aid cooling while the engine runs the pump. In 2001 the Dennis was featured in a set of stamps issued by Jersey Post Office, described as a Dennis Ace.

7 August 2017

Silver Bat

This is Silver Bat, parked on the beach at St Brelade in the summer of 1930. The picture, one of three similar ones which came up for sale recently, is a previously unseen image of perhaps the most important aircraft in the history of flying in Jersey. It was the first aircraft ever to be based in the island and to operate commercial services from its island home. A Saunders Roe Cutty Sark, it was owned and operated by former RAF pilot Siegfried Stanley Kirsten and his partner R B Mace, The forerunner of a famous family of Saunders Roe flying boats and amphibians, this, the prototype model, may have been piloted on its test flight by Jersey resident Kirsten, known as Stanley or Bill, presumably to conceal his German ancestry. He and his partner then bought the aircraft and operated it from Jersey for three months in 1930, offering return flights to Southampton as well as joyflights around the island and excursions to France. It is known to have operated both from the beach at St Brelade and West Park, and while parked at the former it attracted the attention of this lady who posed with it for the 1930s equivalent of a 'selfie'. See full story.

14 August 2017

Battle of Flowers

It was quite appropriate that this photograph should arrive this week, because Jersey has just held its annual Battle of Flowers. This picture was taken 104 years ago, during the 1913 Battle, and is one of many which have been offered for sale in the past couple of weeks, no doubt trying to capitalise on the anniversary week. This is a particularly good quality image and also features a variation on the usual theme at the time of a flower-bedecked horse-drawn carriage, because this time the carriage is being pulled by boy sailors. The photographer was Percival Dunham, the island's first true photojournalist, who had an eye for something different. It's not clear whether these were genuine boy sailors, or just dressed as such, but the uniform of the man leading them seems somewhat incongruous. If they were, some would undoubtedly have been in uniform for real the following year, when the Great War broke out. Among other careers which would be cut short by the conflict was Dunham's own as a staff photographer with the Jersey Illustrated Weekly and Morning News. He left Jersey in 1914 to serve as a gunner in 503 Siege Battery of the Royal Garrison Artillery, and although he is believed to have survived the war, he did not return to his previous work in Jersey. We have a page dedicated to a substantial collection of his work.

21 August 2017

Gorey, no station

We have seen many photographs of Gorey before land was reclaimed along the waterfront to allow the Jersey Eastern Railway to be extended from the Village to the Pier, but they were mostly taken from the sea side. This image was taken from a viewpoint which has proved very popular with photographers over many years, showing the bottom of Gorey Hill, the tearooms and hotels which lined the pier, and Mont Orgueil Castle towering above. We have had a couple of copies of this image in our Gorey photo gallery for some time, but they are not of anywhere near the quality of this one. It must have been taken some time before 1888, when the reclamation of land behind a new sea wall around the corner to the right was completed, ready for the construction of the railway terminus, which opened for business in 1891 as the line finally reached its intended destination. The picture below, taken in the 1890s, shows the change clearly. The upper picture appears to have been taken before the reclamation process was complete, while the only road access to the pier was down Gorey Hill where the photographer was standing. To the left of both pictures the public weighbridge can clearly be seen. This was presumably present to allow for the weighing of shipments of produce from the harbour to ports on the Normandy coast. Unfortunatley we have no information on when the weighbridge was installed, and how long it lasted.

28 August 2017

Val Plaisant

Our feature picture this week shows a stretch of Val Plaisant, one of the main streets running north from the centre of St Helier, meeting what today is the ring road, and then continuing north as Trinity Road and Trinity Hill. The date of this picture is uncertain, but it must have been taken after 1887, when St Thomas' Church, on the left of the picture below, opened, and judging by a few other clues in the picture, probably not very long after that date. The identity of the low building is something of a mystery. It is clearly a shop, perhaps a grocer's, but the name above is very difficult to read and may not relate to the shop. Manipulation of the picture in Photoshop has not helped very much, but we are inclined to the view that the sign reads 'Mechanics'. Was this the original home of the Jersey Mechanics Institute? This billiards and snooker club, which has been at its current premises in Halkett Place since 1909, was founded in 1864. Did it start out in Val Plaisant? We have been studying almanac street directories for Val Plaisant from 1890 onwards and they have proved little help in identifying the occupants of the shop. Street listings in this era tended to concentrate on the names of those living on the premises, rather than businesses operating from them. Although it is clear exactly where these properties are, it is difficult to establish how they were numbered at the end of the 19th century. St Thomas' Church swallowed a row of properties, the numbers of which were extinguished. To the left of the three-storey building next to the shop is Windsor Road, and the property on the other corner was, and remains No 35, although a succession of almanacs suggest that it was No 33. The three-storey building has vanished, along with the shop, and there is now a green open space with a block of flats behind. The building which was Pension de Famille Francaise still stands, and we believe that to be No 37. Although properties have odd numbers on this side of the road and even numbers opposite, a succession of almanacs suggests that No 36 was on the 'wrong side' of the road, between Nos 35 and 37, and that the mystery shop would, therefore, have been No 36, which was occupied by Mrs T Millais in 1890. See 11 September below for more information.

4 September 2017

Havre des Pas

No mystery buildings this week: Just a rather charming 1936 postcard of a Havre des Pas hotel, The Fort D'Auvergne, which is still in business today as part of the Morvan family's hotel group, was built on the site of a former military installation. La Garde du Havre des Pas was constructed in about 1756 and formed part of the increased fortification of the Island’s coastline. It was renamed Fort d'Auvergne in about 1833 in honour of Major-General James d'Auvergne. It consisted of a boulevard, powder magazine and two guns. Later in the 19th century it became privately owned by the Allix family and was used as lodgings for workers in their Havre des Pas shipyards. In a 1920 almanac the property is listed as Fort d'Auvergne House and cottages. It was sold by the Allix family to George Thomas Day in the mid-1820s. He appears to have opened the hotel in 1925 and to have sold it as a going concern to to Arthur Cabeldu in 1930. As this postcard shows, the property was rebuilt on a much grander scale by 1836. One of its attractions, according to the postcard, was Felix - the fishing cat of Fort d'Auvergne.
An enlarged view of the picture of the hotel in 1925

11 September 2017

Val Plaisant

If this looks familiar, it is. This was our feature picture only two weeks ago, showing a stretch of Val Plaisant, one of the main streets running north from the centre of St Helier, meeting what today is the ring road, and then continuing north as Trinity Road and Trinity Hill. The date of this picture was, and remains, uncertain, but it must have been taken after 1887, when St Thomas' Church, on the left of the picture below, opened, and judging by a few other clues in the picture, probably not very long after that date. The identity of the low building was the main mystery, as was the numbering of the various properties shown. We thought that the sign above the low building might have read 'Mechanics', suggesting that this could have been an early home for the Jersey Mechanics Institute. We were wrong! The Mechanics Institute, which has been at its current premises in Halkett Place since 1909, was founded in 1864, but it started out in Union Street, or at least it was there in the 1870s and '80s, at No 20½, known as Alexandra Hall. Almanac street directories for Val Plaisant from 1890 onwards proved rather confusing when it came to identifying the various properties in our photograph. To the left of the three-storey building next to the shop is Windsor Road, and the property on the other corner was, and remains No 31, despite what many almanacs have suggested. Our most recent almanac suggests that Windsor Road is between Nos 33 and 35, but that is wrong. What is now Lucerne Lodging House, on the opposite corner of Windsor Road and Val Plaisant, and was originally Franklin House, turned into Franklin Pension in about 1910, as shown in our Picture of the week slot in January this year, is No 31. It is the three-storey building which can just be seen on the right of the two two-storey buildings on the left side of the picture. The opposite corner is, by coincidence, both No 33 Val Plaisant and No 33 Windsor Road. The building which was Pension de Famille Francaise still stands, and is No 35. Although properties have odd numbers on this side of the road and even numbers opposite, the next building, our of shot on the right is No 36 followed by No 37, now the headquarters of Jersey Age Concern. So what was the low building? The answer became clear when a contributor to one of the Facebook history groups on which this picture has been featured suggested that the wording above the shop(s) was Bristol Place. An 1874 almanac street listing - the earliest in our collection - shows the property divided into three units, with a grocery run by S Hallett at No 1, tinsmith J Brown at No 2 and dairyman P Grandin at No 3. By 1880 Thomas Glass was running a grocery at No 2 and dairyman Mr Grandin was still at No 3. No 1 was not listed. Successive almancs show various occupants of the three premises. By 1920 Bristol Cottages have made an appearance, divided into four units. These were still there in 1930 and 1940, but in 1950 there is no mention of Bristol Place or Bristol Cottages, and those with long memories think that for many years after the German Occupation this was an empty site used for car parking. Today the site of Bristol Place and the Windsor Road corner property are open space in front of Caesarea Court. All that remains for us it to identify when the photgraph was taken. We think it was before the end of the 19th century, but we will keep trying to find the actual year.

18 September 2017

Holiday snaps

This delightful holiday snap from 1937 is in a family album which recently came up for sale. As do many of the other pictures in the album, this photograph perfectly captures the carefree atmosphere of a holiday island only three years before it was to be invaded and occupied by German forces. We find it strange that an album like this should be sold at auction rather than be retained by family descendants, but perhaps the owners had no room for it. The vast majority of images in Jerripedia come to us as digital copies of photographic prints, and it is a sobering thought that the photograph on paper is virtually non-existent today in an age of digital cameras and smart phones. But what will happen to today's images in the future? How many people discard their old phones without attempting to copy and archive the images on them, or wipe images from a memory card to create space when it fills up? Family photographs may be easier and cheaper to take than in the '30s, but will they be as long-lasting?

25 September 2017

19th century Weighbridge


It's a strange coincidence that two very old and very similar images of the Weighbridge should surface within days of each other. The information provided with the pictures suggests that the top one is 20-30 years older than the bottom, but we are not so sure. It is suggested that the top picture dates from the 1870s or '80s, and the lower one from the 1850s. We think that they are much closer in age, although slight variations in the sign-writing and other features of prominent buildings suggest that they are separated by a number of years. Although we have hundreds of photographs of the area now known as the Weighbridge, many taken from this direction from the mid-19th century onwards, we have previously only had two showing a small part of the Britannia Hotel, alongside the Royal Yacht. We have found no reference to it in census returns or street directories at this time. Although census returns and street directories did not always identify businesses, the Royal Yacht Club Hotel was consistently identifed as such, its address from the 1851 census onwards being 1 Pier. The Weighbridge was not a term used to describe the area, even though the structure shown in these pictures in front of the Royal Yacht Club and Britannia Hotels was constructed in 1825. It was replaced by a new building, closer to where the photographers stood to take these pictures, in 1877, so that is the latest possible date for our images. One of our pictures showing part of the Britannia Hotel sign is dated to 1866, and the Royal Yacht is identified as Chase's Royal Yacht Club Hotel, as it is in the top picture here, and probably in the lower one. So we believe that both images date from the 1860s, and that the lifetime of the Britannia Hotel must have been quite short. By 1871, No 3 Weighbridge, which is certainly the same property, was occupied by W Pugsley, shipbroker, as it was in the 1880 street directory shown here, and would be for many years. But in 1861 it was listed in the census as occupied by James Pugsley, hotel keeper, so perhaps he ran the Britannia Hotel, but decided to convert his premises to other uses. A final point worth mentioning is how many properties in this area were public houses, serving the crewmen and others who were part of the life of a busy port

2 October 2017

Les Casquets

Our weekly feature picture is almost invariably of somewhere in Jersey, but this week we travel as far as it is possible to from the island while remaining in the Channel Islands. This is the tiny group of rocks known as Les Casquets, situated 13 kilometres west of Alderney in the far north-west of the Channel Islands. It has been uninhabited since 1990 when the lighthouse which marks a major turning point in the English Channel was automated. The first lighthouses started operation on 30 October 1724, and there were three towers lit by coal fires called St Peter, St Thomas and Dungeon. Three stone towers were built to give the lights a distinctive appearance which would not be confused with lighthouses on nearby France. They were built by Thomas Le Cocq, owner of the rocks, under licence from Trinity House and who was paid a halfpenny per ton of ship when vessels passed the rocks and in turn he paid Trinity House 50 pounds per year for the right to run the lighthouses. The lighthouses reverted back to Trinity House in 1785. They were converted to oil lamps with metal reflectors, first used on 25 November 1790; and upgraded again with apparatus to rotate a beam of light in 1818. This had a clockwork mechanism which was wound up every hour and a half and gave one flash every 15 seconds. The lighthouses were badly damaged and the lanterns smashed in a severe storm on 31 October 1823. The towers were raised by a further 30 feet in 1854, and equipped with 184,000 candlepower lamps which gave three slow flashes every half minute. In 1877 the north west tower was raised again and the lights in the other two towers discontinued. Conversion to electric light took place in 1954, with the installation of a 2,830,000 candle-power lamp. The lamp is unusual in that it rotates counter-clockwise. At the same time, the other two towers were reduced in height. The current light in the 23 metre north West tower is 37 metres above mean sea level and can be seen for around 24 sea miles in clear weather. There is also a fog signal which has a nominal range of three miles. The lighthouse complex was automated in 1990 and is monitored and controlled from the Trinity House Operations Control Centre in Harwich. The east tower has a fog signal and the south west tower has a helipad. One reason for choosing this as our feature picture was to draw attention to our revised Channel Islands page, which is bringing together links to articles about all the islands and rock groups which make up the Bailiwicks of Jersey and Guernsey. The page is very much a work-in-progress at the moment, but it already contains all the main links

9 October 2017

Family portrait

What a super family portrait. Unfortunately we do not know the name of the family, but the front of this carte de visite indicates that it was taken by T Price and Son, and a very feint serial number on the back enables us to date it to 1899. The portrait is absolutely typical of its period. Father and mother both dressed in very formal, dark clothing, as they would have worn when entertaining at home or visiting friends. Women were more likely to wear white dresses when on a carriage ride to visit a seaside location and perhaps a tearoom, but dark clothing was the fashion indoors. The couple's three sons are all wearing sailor suits, which came into fashion in the 1870s, and were popular, both for special occasions and family photographs, to the end of the century. Thomas Price, son of plasterer John, was born in St Pancras, London in 1840 and set up in business as a photographer in the capital in 1862. It is not known what brought him to Jersey, but he apparently did not immediately go into business in the island. He married Louisa Lawrence, daughter of carpenter John, in St Helier on 5 August 1867, and was described as a photographer in the marriage register. He is known to have set up in business at 2 Peter Street in 1869, later expanding into No 4 next door, and opening a studio at 15 Queen Street some time after 1890, remaining there until 1920. 15 Queen Street seems to have provided photography studios for a succession of professionals, although they never seem to appear in census or street directory listings. Bennett and Davey were shown operating there in 1866, followed by W T Davey from 1865 to 1875, W F Burman in 1874, W W Gregory, C Bennetts in 1890, and then T Price. Thomas was joined in business by his son in 1891. This was another Thomas, born in 1870. Thomas and Louisa also had a son John, who died a few weeks after his birth in 1869, and three daughters, Louisa, Rosa and Mary Emma. Thomas snr died at home in Peter Street in May 1909 and the business was carried on by his son for another 11 years.

16 October 2017

A family's war

There is a tradition in the Foster family of having 'one for the road' when going out for a drink. It can be traced back to 28 June 1940, when the practice saved Frank Foster's life. He left his treasured MG outside the Royal Yacht Hotel at the Weighbridge, St Helier, while he was having a drink inside, and as he was about to leave, he was persuaded to stay for that fateful 'one for the road'. At that moment three German aircraft flew overhead and dropped bombs over the Harbour and Weighbridge, one scoring a direct hit on Frank's car. This was the prelude to the German Occupation, which started two days later, when the first of the occupying forces arrived. Ironically only five weeks earlier Frank Foster had written to his son Norman, who was serving with the 18th Signals, that he did not think the Germans would invade the Channel Islands

23 October 2017

Old market

This is St Helier's Halkett Place market, photographed in about 1870 by Philip Godfray. It was Jersey's first purpose-built market, built between 1803 and 1806 and financed by seven lotteries. Halkett Place did not exist at the time and the new market was constructed on open fields, close to the Royal Square, which had long served as the town's marketplace. The States decided to transfer public markets from the Royal Square to the present sites on 10 May 1800. The new market was an open-air affair, with roofs on hefty pillars of local granite forming an arcade surrounding the gated compound. It was modelled on the market in the City of Bath and remained in use until 1880, when it was demolished to make way for a new covered market, as part of the celebrations of the centenary of the Battle of Jersey the following year. We believe that the new market, which is still in use today, actually opened in 1882. This is the only photograph we have seen of the interior of the old market, although earlier photographs are in existence inside the fish market, which was a separate building not far away between what would become Beresford Street and Minden Place. Philip Godfray was one of the most eminent Jersey photographers of the 19th century, in business at various locations from 1858 to 1898. He took many photographs of island views which were printed for sale to islanders and visitors in the days before postcards were introduced, and examples frequently come up for sale today. We have recently been sent a number of digital copies of Godfray photographs by a collector and have added them to a new page featuring Godfray's work. La Société Jersiaise possess a model of the old market, photographs of which are included on our markets page, but it is confusingly described in their photographic archive as 'a model of the market' and 'a model of the old cattle market'. It is definitely not the old cattle market, which was in Minden Place, where today's multi-storey car park was eventually constructed. The buildings which can be seen behind the arcade on the left of the photograph correspond to the upper part of properties still standing on the opposite side of Beresford Street.

6 November 2017

A busy beach at West Park

Apologies to those who visited this page over the last week expecting to find this picture of bathing machines and vraic collecting at West Park. There was a glitch in the upload procedure to change the page's content, and the previous week's piciture remained on show for an unexpected extra seven days. Never mind, here is the intended picture, and for good measure, below it is the picture we had always intended to use this week. Although vraic could be collected by farmers from any of the island's beaches, West Park would not have been a popular choice because there were no farms close by (the nearest would have been to the north of the town of St Helier) and seaweed did not collect in large quantities there (unlike today when the beach is covered in a carpet of green sea lettuce, but that's another story). West Park was much more popular as a beach for residents and visitors to frequent to soak up the sun and relax, and the bathing machines which can be seen behind the horse and cart were available to rent when the tide came in. Picture courtesy of Jersey Temps Passe, Facebook group

On the farm

We had chosen to show you this picture this week, partly because it is superb view of the Richard family's farm, a property which eventually became the hostelry, L'Auberge du Nord, and also to showcase our entire collection of photographs taken on Jersey farms over the past 150 years or so. Our farming picture gallery contains so many hundreds of photographs that we recently sub-divided them into a number of separate galleries, but those that remained in the miscellaneous gallery were not sorted by subject. This work has now been undertaken and we encourage those who want to get a glimpse of what life was like on Jersey farms in the past - possibly your ancestors will have lived and worked on a farm - to visit these galleries and see for themselves

13 November 2017

Town Church

This is a very old photograph of St Helier Parish Church, familiarly known as the Town Church. We know that it was taken before 1868, because that is when a major restoration of the church was completed. The presence of a pile of stones in the foreground suggests that the restoration had probably started, which means that the photograph was taken in or after 1864. This restoration was ordered by the Rector, Philippe Filleul. He was appointed in 1850, and unlike his two predecessors, Francis Jeune and James Hemery, he was not the Island's Dean. That position was taken by William Corbet Le Breton, famous among other things for being the father of Lillie, who became notorious as Lillie Langtry. Perhaps being able to concentrate on his parish and its church enabled Philippe Filleul to make progress with the essential restoration of a building which had been sadly neglected over a long period. As can be seen in the photograph, the church was covered in large areas of ivy, and the graveyard in the foreground gives the impression of further neglect. Dean Jeune, who found during his period as Rector from 1838 to 1844 that the church was too small to meet the needs of a rapidly growing population of the town of St Helier, had proposed pulling it down and building a new church. Fortunately the oldest building in the parish escaped this fate. Philippe Filleul had seven galleries that had been built to provide extra seats demolished. A new south transept and a lengthening of the nave replaced the lost pews. Old high box pews were replaced by modern seating. The main extension was added to the gable end nearest the camera on the right of the building. Little else has been recorded of the restoration work, but Filleul is said to have left the church much as it is today. The same cannot be said for the cemetery. The graves in the foreground have all disappeared, partly covered in a new church hall, which replaced the 19th century one in the 1970s. The entire area around the church is now covered in tarmac and given over to limited parking by church officers. We believe the building on the left edge of the photograph to be the Grand Hotel du Calvados, one of St Helier's finest hotels until it was severely damaged by fire in November 1885. The site is now occupied by the States Buildings

20 November 2017

North coast

We have two superb pictures of Jersey's north coast this week, courtesy of Chris Brookes, who is recognised as the foremost drone photographer in the island. This comparatively recent means of taking aerial photographs - the closest anybody came before were those using cameras attached to kites - enable us to see views of coastal locations from a unique perspective. The upper photograph is of Fort Leicester, a 16th century military edifice named after the Earl of Leicester, a favourite of Queen Elizabeth I. The Fort sits on the cliffside above Bouley Bay and has been restored to enable it to be let as self-catering accommodation. The Fort housed single cannon when it was built nearly 50 years after an invasion attempt on Jersey from France. Another half a century later a boulevard and battery platform was installed as part of Jersey’s northern defence plan, but was deemed inadequate by the Island’s Lieut-Governor, who ordered the battery to be enlarged as a fort. Numerous guns were located at the fort, which housed around 30 militia men. The lower picture shows a dramatically different aspect of the north coast. This is Ronez Quarry, the largest operating quarry in the island, and this view shows dramatically what an enormous chunk of the coast has been lost since the quarry opened in 1869. Although the photographs in Jerripedia are predominantly historical, we are delighted to have permission from Chris Brookes to use his drone pictures when they help illustrate an important aspect of the island. Chris Brookes' Facebook page

11 December 2017


Our popular Picture of the Week feature resumes after a fortnight's unavoidable gap with an image which is almost 149 years old. We know this because, most unusually for pictures which have survived from the mid-19th century, this one has valuable information on the back, shown below. We should really say 'two pictures' because this is what was known as a stereo pair, designed to provide a three-dimensional effect when looked at through a special viewer. The inscription below tells us that the photographs were taken in Jersey's fish marked on 29 December 1858, by S Poulton. This was almost certainly Samuel Poulton, a professional portraitist popular with Victorian society in London. The National Portrait Gallery contains a collection of his work in the 1860s, including portraits of the future King Edward VII and author Charles Dickens. He is not previously recorded as having worked in Jersey, and whether he was in the island in a professional capacity in 1858 is uncertain. Although stereo photography dates back to the 1840s, it was not popular with serious professional photographers until the mid 1850s, so this is a very early example. It is not the earliest surviving photograph of Jersey market women, however, because several exist taken by William Collie a decade earlier than this and form part of the Jerripedia collection

18 December 2017

Victorian picnic

There were numerous contenders for this week's feature picture, but there could only be one winner - this delightful picture described as a 19th century picnic at l'Etacq. There is no sign of the picnic itself, and we suspect that this group of undoubtedly 'upper class' islanders had actually enjoyed their picnic (or were about to) at one of the establishments just behind the rocky outcrop to the left of the photograph. The details accompanying this photograph indicate that the picnic was organised by Mrs McLaren and Mrs Bailey, and judging by the outfits worn by the ladies and gentlemen, they were undoubtedly 'well heeled', as might have been said at the time. It's perhaps unlikely that they sat on the rocks to eat their sandwiches. It's more likely that they went for a stroll, before or after a picnic tea at one of the establishments round the corner: These were the British Star Hotel, Le Cappelain's Queen's Hotel and Fowlers Picnic Room. The style of dress indicates that Mrs Mc Claren, Mrs Bailey and their friends were very affluent. Only the very upper class gentlemen would have worn top hats and morning coats. Normally the ladies would all have dressed in white in this era, but three of them have dresses of the same very distinctive pattern. Fancy going to a posh event such as this in your new gown, only to find somebody else wearing the identical model. Or perhaps they were sisters. It did cross our minds that Mrs McLaren and Mrs Bailey were sisters, but we can't find any marriage records to support that.
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