Archive pictures of the week - 2018

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Archive pictures of the week - 2018

1 January 2018

St Helier Harbour

We start another year with a very old photograph of St Helier Harbour, although exactly how old is open to debate. The photograph was offered for sale recently dated 1880s, but we believe it to be considerably earlier. The image shows the end of the North Quay, as it was then known, and the Old Harbour stretching across to Commercial Buildings. It was taken from the end of the South Pier, which appears to have suffered some damage, perhaps being hit by one of these paddle steamers at high tide. The almost identical picture below has been in our St Helier Harbour gallery since June 2017, and the painting at the bottom, which is clearly based on the top picture, has been in our collection since 2011. Our first thought when the new picture arrived was that it showed the full extent of the harbour at the time, with no Albert Pier and Harbour to the left of the north quay. That would date it to before 1853. However, the painting shows small boats outside the North Quay, suggesting that the Albert Pier had been built. We still do not think the photographs were taken as late as the 1880s, and identification of the paddle steamer in the background as possibly the Aquila suggests that they were taken in the late 1850s or 1860s

8 January 2018

Royal Square

Our feature picture this week, which comes to us courtesy of the Facebook group Jersey Temps Passe, is of the Royal Square, taken in the first half of the 1880s. We can be that precise because the photograph contains several clues. The date 1876 can be made out above the window on the ground floor of the four-storey building behind the statue of George II, if the photograph is magnified. A search of almanacs reveals that in 1880 George Brett, a publican, was living at No 18 in the corner, and his name can be seen on the front of the building. However, John Cooms was licensee of the Central Hotel at the time, and also when the 1881 census was held, so it must have been later than this. Both George Brett and John Cooms were Jerseymen. Our 1886 almanac shows F Vincent at the Central, and Mr Brett departed from the corner hotel, whose name we have been unable to discover, and replaced by T Parris, so it must have been earlier than that. The various groups of well-dressed gentlemen suggest to us that they might have been States Members, pictured before or after a sitting of the states in the building out of shot to the right of the photograph. The ground floor of the four-storey building to the right of the Central Hotel was occupied by printer and newspaper editor George Perrot. It would later become the offices of the Jersey Chamber of Commerce.

22 January 2018

Barracks parade

Most photographs of St Peter's Barracks were taken from the air, because its position on the perimeter of Jersey Airport meant that it showed in many aerial photographs of the airfield, which was officially opened in 1937. Apart from occasional photographs of individual buildings in the barracks complex, this is the only one we have seen which shows activity at the barracks, which were home to the West Battalion of the Royal Militia Island of Jersey early in the 20th century. This superb photograph was taken at about the time of the Great War, and many of those on parade here would have fought in the conflict, and not a few would have lost their lives. We are not sure if these men are all from the West Battalion, but they may well have been. We estimate that there are well over 600 men on parade here. The actual barracks are out of view - the photographer was probably positioned high up on one of the buildings. They were unused for a period after the First World War, and then they were taken over and extensively developed by the British Army and used as a training establishment, which had to close abruptly in the lead-up to the German Occupation

29 January 2018

Back on the beach

There are many tricks to determining the date when a photograph was taken, and, as far as picture postcards are concerned, a postmark with a clear date is usually a good guide. But it is not infallible. Although one can state with absolute certainty that a photograph cannot have been taken after the postmark date, it may well have been taken a year or more earlier. Here we have a classic example, showing a crowded beach in front of the bathing pool at Havre des Pas on a postcard which was sent from Jersey to England in August 1945. But although islanders may well have enjoyed using their beaches again after they had been prevented by the Germans during five years of Occupation from going anywhere near them, it is unlikely that they would have been there in such numbers only three months after the end of the Second World War, and that new postcards would have become available so quickly for them to send messages to friends and family in England and elsewhere. So we must assume that this postcard dates to the late 1930s, before the start of the war, and that it was one of many which had been kept by islanders or remained in stock with retailers over the period when sending cards out of the island was impossible. Whenever it was taken, the photograph shows a busy beach and a crowded pool building behind. Click on the image twice to view it at full size and see just how many people were standing on the various pool terraces

5 February 2018

1906 postcard

This picture could almost have been taken yesterday, but it is actually over 100 years old. We are unsure of which of Jersey's valleys is shown here, but we suspect that a photograph from the same spot would show that the scene has changed very little. This was one of a number of postcards sent to Monsieur and Madame Margantin in August 1906 by a friend who was on holiday in Jersey, staying at the Hotel de l'Europe in Mulcaster Street. It will be seen that other views which were sent to the Margantins have changed significantly in 112 years - particularly the view of St Helier Harbour - but some country and coastal locations are surprisingly little altered. This picture shows an unidentified farmhouse with Jersey cattle grazing the meadow in the foreground. Today the meadow would probably be empty, because even if this is still a working farm, such enterprises no longer have small herds of cattle. But the cotils behind are more than likely still being cultivate, because these sloping fields are the most valuable farmland in the island, used for producing the earliest crops of Jersey Royal new potatoes


Further research and much discussion on the Facebook Jersey Temps Passe group appears to have narrowed the search for the location of the granite property to St Peter's Valley. Various suggested locations in Grouville, St Clement and St Martin were ruled out because either the house did not match the properties standing today which were put forward as possibilities, or the lie of the land behind the properties was entirely different.

Then a property in St Peter's Valley, down the road from the Vic in the Valley public house, itself also suggested as a possible match for the 1906 property, which was very similar to it, was suggested, but although it is difficult to make out on Google Earth exactly what lies behind, it does not seem to match the picture.

Then the postcard below of a granite property in St Peter's Valley, believed to be further up the road from what was the Victoria Hotel, appeared on EBay, and we are reasonably certain that this is the same location as the 1906 postcard. Either the original house has been extended, on both sides, or the property partly hidden to its left in the trees could be the original house.

What is most compelling is that, allowing for a slight variation in viewpoint, the lie of the land immediately behind the houses - sloping from left to right, with rocky outcrops - and on the distant skyline, seems to be a very close match. And today there is a group of houses in this position, two of which are a good match for the pair in the postcard shown below.

The only nagging doubt is that the photograph for the lower card could not have been taken after 1914, because J Welch and Sons, who published it, were only in business from the turn of the century to the First World War. Could the property have been extended at both ends, as it must have been if the house on the right is a match, between 1906 and 1914.

Of course, it is possible that the photograph for the 1906 postcard was taken some years before it was published, allowing more time for such a major development to have happened.

The later postcard, probably, but not certainly, showing the same property

12 February 2018

Airport on the beach

There is no shortage of pictures of aircraft on the beach at West Park, which served as Jersey's airport in the mid-1930s, and there is one in our picture gallery showing all eight De Havilland biplanes operated by Jersey Airways on the sand at the same time. This one is new to us, however. It was probably taken in 1935 or 1936 and it shows seven aircraft out of the fleet of eight. Not only is it a superb image, but it is worthy of note that it was taken only 80 years ago - a reminder of the dramatic advances in technology over such a short period of time. Shortly after this Jersey's new airport at St Peter opened, and the picture below shows one of the aircraft pictured above on final approach from the east of the island before landing on one of the grass runways. [Editor's note: Since we posted this picture doubt has been cast on whether the aircraft was flying over Jersey. The land appears to stretch too far beyond the aircraft for it to be on final approach to St Peter]. If you are interested in aircraft and have not already done so, take the time to visit all our historical aviation galleries

19 February 2018

The Halt

This week's picture is something of a mystery. We know that it was taken in August 1924, and we know that the location was called The Halt, but that's all we know. We assume that The Halt was a guest house or small hotel, and that this was one of the photographs of guests which were so fashionable in this era. A group photograph outside visitor accommodation was almost mandatory up to the outbreak of the Second World War, and there are many of them in our Tourism picture gallery. The clothes worn by those in the photograph are so evocative of the time, and many more will be found in our fashion gallery. We wish we knew where The Halt was. The name suggests that it was close to a station or halt on the Jersey Eastern Railway or Jersey Western Railway. Perhaps one of our regular visitors knows more and will let us know.

26 February 2018

Open all Hours


We have two feature pictures this week, which at first sight have no obvious connection, except that they are both superb pictures of interiors of shops in days gone by. Indeed, that is exactly what they are, but the further connection is that both these establishments were managed by a Mr Bisson from Jersey. It goes a little further, in that both establishments were on the other side of the Atlantic from the island which is at the core of this website, and the upper picture has a particular connection to Jerripedia, because the store pictured was in Leon, the second largest city of Nicaragua, and it was managed in the 1930s by Roy Le Cras Bisson, father of Jerripedia editor Mike Bisson. Mike has very little detail to add: "This photograph is among my personal family archives, measuring a mere 8x5.5 cm. It was taken in 1937, according to the calendar attached to one of the pillars. All that is written on the back is 'Our emporium, chief on right', but it is not in my father's handwriting and I do not believe that he is the man on the right. He is certainly not one of those behind the counter." Mike adds that perhaps his father took the photograph.

The sign above the number '7' in the centre appears to read L Ahern and Co, and this is the only other clue to the identify of this establishment. "It gives the appearance of being part of a retail complex, rather than a self-contained store, but all I know is that my father, who emigrated from Jersey to Nicaragua in the mid-1930s, told me that he 'ran' a general store in Leon. My mother joined him there after the end of the Second World War, during which she served in the WAAF in Bomber Command, and they married in 1947, honeymooning in neighbouring Costa Rica. I was born in 1949 in Managua, capital of Nicaragua, and have two birth certificates, one from the Nicaraguan authorities, and one from the British Embassy, carrying the number 1." Mike, who left Nicaragua for Jersey with his parents a few months after his birth, has never returned, but the discovery of this photograph among other family archives has prompted him to make renewed efforts to discover more about Leon in the 1930-40s.

The photograph below has no connections to Mike's immediate family, but it does have Bisson connections. This is a store in Rossland, in the mountains of British Columbia, founded by George Agnew, and taken over in 1913 by his son-in-law Oswald Bisson. Oswald was born in St John, Jersey, in 1878, the son of Daniel and Amelie, nee Baudains. He emigrated to America, arriving in New York in 1895, and moved to British Columbia in the west of Canada shortly after. He joined the Rocky Mountain Rangers in 1902, and the following year he married Georgina May Agnew, daughter of George and Mary Ann Webster. Eleven years later he took over George's store, and was photographed around this time by an itinerant professional photographer.

Oswald's story is just one of a number of additions in the past week to our Bisson family page, including several new and revised family trees.


4 March 2018

Beach cafe

We don't have a date for this photograph of St Brelade's Bay, showing Brown's Cafe, but it looks as if it was taken in the 1930s. Brown's Cafe was situated at the eastern end of the bay and its position can be estimated from the rocky outcrop on the left of the picture, which is still there in the bay. We believe that it was situated where the Zanzibar Restaurant was located. A proposal to demolish the restaurant and replace it with a house in the early 2010s was just one of a number of controversial plans for development along the seafront in the bay. The restaurant went, replaced by a ten-bedroom house.

12 March 2018

Illustrations of St Helier

This illustration of the town of St Helier, viewed from the west in 1709, is from a book by John Sullivan. It is a number of book illustrations of St Helier which we have brought together in a new gallery. This drawing by an unknown artist shows just how small the island's capital town was three centuries ago. The majority of the land stretching from West Park to the western edge of the town, which was then at Charing Cross, where the island's prison constructed some 30 years earlier, formed a gateway to the town, was wild sand dunes stretching down to the sea where the Esplanade would be built some 150 years later. The dunes were relatively flat, unlike those in St Ouen's bay on the far western side of the island

19 March 2018

Great War shipwreck

As editor Mike Bisson takes a break from Jerripedia work to concentrate on his Normandy garden, acting editor Sally chooses as her first weekly feature picture a photograph of the steamer ss South-Western approaching St Helier Harbour in the 1910s. The image is taken from an LL postcard and has been on the site for some time. It's choice now is particularly poignant because it is 100 years since the vessel, previously a regular on the St Malo-Channel Islands route, and operating out of Southampton to the French port on the night of 16 March 1918, was attacked by the German U-boat UB59 and, at the second attempt, sunk by a torpedo fired by the submarine. Twenty-four of the 29 crew and passengers drowned, among them Jerseyman Able Seaman Christopher Fielding

26 March 2018

Easter outing

As it is Easter next weekend we thought that this Evening Post picture of motorists enjoying an outing to St Ouen's Bay at Easter in 1951 was a highly appropriate choice for our feature picture. Our editor Mike Bisson, who was two years old at the time, recalls outings at times like this. "I don't claim to remember one in 1951, but this was a regular destination for the Bisson family at weekends during the 1950s and early '60s. Although the Five Mile Road, as this is known to islanders, is nowhere near five miles long, the drive from La Pulente to L'Etacq in such a wide open space was as great an attraction for us then as it is for those who now live on a much more crowded island."

So much has changed, but apart from the cars, there is little to distinguish the 1951 Easter outing from those which will be made by hundreds, perhaps thousands, next weekend. One difference is that cars are no longer allowed to circulate on the dunes. Our picture shows a car emerging on the right, where today there is an official car park. In the 1950s there was no segregation of dunes and motorists, although as one of our regular contributors points out, it was very easy to get stuck in the sand unless you had a reliable 4-wheel-drive vehicle

2 April 2018


Last month we featured an early artist's view of Jersey's capital town, St Helier from the west, showing the area of sand dunes and beach which would eventually be reclaimed from the sea to allow the construction of the Esplanade. This wide road was originally built along the seafront, with work starting in 1829 at the Weighbridge end, reaching Patriotic Street six years later. In 1858 work commenced on widening the road and extending it to West Park. For many years, as we see in this photograph, the Esplanade was shared by pedestrians, trains and road vehicles, inwards from the sea wall in that order. To begin with the road section was occupied by horses and carts, eventually giving way to the motor car. That in turn would eventually see the demise of the railway, which ran from the Weighbridge to St Aubin, and eventually La Corbiere. This photograph was probably taken in the first decade of the 20th century as a train passed the recently constructed Grand Hotel at the West Park end of the Esplanade. It is high tide, but the sea would soon have retreated to uncover the closest stretch of fine, sandy beach to the western side of St Helier. This made it a popular venue for locals and holidaymakers alike, and when they were not enjoying themselves on the beach, they liked to stroll along the promenade in their best outfits, to see and be seen

9 April 2018

1905 farm

This delightful farmyard picture was taken in 1905. It is a typical view of a small Jersey farm, but we doubt that there is a farmer left today who would have four cattle to pose with in front of his farmhouse. All that remain are a few very large herds, which move en masse, straight from an automated milking parlour to their pasture and back. The picture is described as Anne Port Farm, and there was a property of this name listed in the 1901 census, so perhaps the gentleman in the picture is the occupant of the farm, Thomas Le Seelleur, who would have been 59 at the time. He was a bachelor and lived with his widowed mother Mary, his sister Jane, nephew Thomas Perchard and two servants.

Descendants of Jehan Le Scelleur - a new family tree tracing Thomas Le Seelleur's ancestry

16 April 2018

Occupation images

It is remarkable that 73 years after Jersey was liberated from occupation by German troops, previously unseen pictures taken by the soldiers, sailors and airmen of the German forces continue to emerge, offered for sale privately or on public auction sites. All too often these important records of a traumatic time in the island's history are snapped up by private collectors, once again to be hidden from public view. Whenever possible we digitise the photographs before they are sold and add them to our expanding collection. This set is interesting because it includes a portrait taken by Star Snaps, of Charing Cross, of a German soldier, Willi Hollman, sent to a friend back home, perhaps together with the pictures of German soldiers on board a naval vessel, and a line of three minesweepers in harbour. We initially assumed that the vessels were moored on the Albert Pier with Elizabeth Castle in the background, but soon realised that they were actually photographed in Guernsey's St Peter Port Harbour, with Castle Cornet in the background.These prints all have the same deckled edge as the portrait, so perhaps the photographs were taken by Willi Hollman and printed for him by Star Snaps.

23 April 2018

Gorey land reclamation

The image above is a remarkable photograph of Gorey Harbour from the ramparts of Mont Orgueil Castle taken as the construction of a new sea wall had been completed, in about 1888-1890, prior to the infilling of the land behind to allow for the construction of a new pedestrian promenade, railway track and road, in that sequence, from the wall inwards. Previously the sea had lapped up to the houses in the foreground on a high spring tide, and ships had been built and launched from the yards along the foreshore. We have had images of this area, at the time the land was reclaimed, on the site for some time, but they are all taken from the opposite direction and are far from clear. This 120-year-old picture is of remarkable quality. The original image we obtained was a hand-tinted lantern slide, and of poor quality, so we have removed the colouring and digitally enhanced what is a picture of significant historical importance. The picture below was undoubtedly taken at the same time and we have retained the hand colouration, primitive though it is, because it lends a certain charm to the view of Mont Orgueil and the hotels and other buildings below, from the bottom of Gorey Hill. A pile of rubble can be seen where the harbour terminus of the Jersey Eastern Railway was shortly afterwards constructed. It would remain there from the opening of the extension of the line from Gorey Village in 1891 until the railway closed in 1929. The States then bought the station for a knock-down price of £300 and ... ... duly knocked it down. During the Occupation the Germans built a large bunker there, and in the 1970s, the States ... ... knocked it down, to provide extra parking spaces for coaches. Jerripedia editor Mike Bisson, who discovered these images on an auction site, said:"I have been fascinated for some time by the land reclamation carried out at Gorey in the 1880s and the impact it had on some of the adjacent properties - ground floors became basements. I have been preparing a Jerripedia article on this very subject but have lacked some important details, which are now provided by these images. It is part of the ethos of Jerripedia that we track down information on important points in the development of the island and preserve them for ever".

30 April 2018

Jewell's Hotel

Jewell's Hotel, on the Esplanade at West Park, was one of Jersey's finest hotels in 1876 when this advertisement was published, yet only 14 years later it was demolished, and a new hotel, the Grand, was built in its place. The Grand Hotel has survived somewhat longer, and is still there today, still one of the island's most luxurious hotels

7 May 2018

Methodist Ministers

Although not quite as clear as might be wished, this photograph of Ministers of the Methodist French Circuit is remarkable, because it was taken in September 1867. The picture was taken by Asplett and Green a year after they set up in business at 18½ Beresford Street. The picture was sent to us, together with a family tree by a descendant of Philippe Amy who is seated third from the left. The photograph also includes P Tourgis, P Le Gresley, Thomas J Desprès, P Norman, Mr Ahier, Mr Benest, P Garnier, Mr Hamon, D Bisson, G Le Masurier, Abraham Pallot, J Syvret, P G Adair, G Skelton, T Binet, T Billot, Mr Vautier, E de Carteret, W Le Duc, T Lucas, H Collas and J Le Cornu, a fine collection of old Jersey family names. Regrettably we do not know the identity of the house in the photograph

Methodist Ministers

Although not quite as clear as might be wished, this photograph of Ministers of the Methodist French Circuit is remarkable, because it was taken in September 1867. The picture was taken by Asplett and Green a year after they set up in business at 18½ Beresford Street. The picture was sent to us, together with a family tree by a descendant of Philippe Amy who is seated third from the left. The photograph also includes P Tourgis, P Le Gresley, Thomas J Desprès, P Norman, Mr Ahier, Mr Benest, P Garnier, Mr Hamon, D Bisson, G Le Masurier, Abraham Pallot, J Syvret, P G Adair, G Skelton, T Binet, T Billot, Mr Vautier, E de Carteret, W Le Duc, T Lucas, H Collas and J Le Cornu, a fine collection of old Jersey family names. Regrettably we do not know the identity of the house in the photograph

14 May 2018

Early Esplanade view

A view of the Weighbridge and Esplanade very similar to this is claimed by some to be the earliest surviving photograph of St Helier. It came from a stereo pair in the collection of La Société Jersiaise and attributed to George Bashford, with a date of 1866. Perhaps it depends on how one defines a 'photograph of St Helier', but the Bashford image is predated by several photographs of St Helier Harbour, included in Jerripedia's collection, and also photographs taken by French exile Victor Hugo and his son in the parish more than a decade earlier. Our feature picture today is of similar vintage to the Bashford photograph, and shows more or less exactly the same view, although much sharper and clearer. And it was almost certainly taken earlier, probably in 1863, just after the completion of the Harbour Office, the two-storey building at the front of the 'island site' group of buildings between the Harbour and the Esplanade. The Esplanade had not been completed all the way between the Weighbridge and West Park, at this stage. Nor had the seawall which protected the pedestrian promenade and roadway, and the railway line which would follow. One thing which can be made out clearly in an enlarged version of the photograph is the structure at West Park which many, relying on the fuzzy Bashford image, believed to be a bridge structure of some sort. It is now clear that there was no bridge, but an optical illusion created by the shadows of what is now known as the Lower Park, behind the Clarke shipyard on the shore opposite where the Grand Hotel would be built some 30 years later.

21 May 2018

St Brelade's Bay

Looking down on St Brelade's Bay, probably in the 1930s. On the far right, almost hidden behind a tree, is Tam's, more formally Tam's Pantry and Hotel, combining accommodation and beach cafe services for many years. The car park opposite was known as Tam's Car Park. The next building to the left is the Beau Rivage Hotel, still in business today, adjoining the Golden Sands Hotel, which just goes to show how much development there has been since World War Two in this area of the bay. There are still some private houses on the coast here, but further left can be found Midbay Cafe and then the ever-expanding Hotel l'Horizon, among the trees to the left of this photograph

4 June 2018

Harbour extension

Organised chaos at the back of Elizabeth Castle in 1872? This picture was taken to show the progress of work on the new breakwater, the foundation stone for which had been laid earlier in the year. We have actually had a slightly better quality copy of this image on a page giving the history of what was planned as a major extension of St Helier harbour, but was never completed because the other breakwater from La Collette kept getting washed away by winter storms. However, that picture has never perhaps been given the prominence it deserves so we could not resist featuring this sepia-toned version here

18 June 2018

Seaside parking

A very simple picture this week (with apologies for the fortnight gap between feature pictures: we have been very busy processing a large batch of new family photos). This is the seaside promenade at La Collette - little changed today if you ignore the incinerator and power station chimney , but then, you can't really ignore them.There is still a car park, somewhat busier than it was in the 1930s/30s when the photograph was taken, and a seaside shelter. The railings are exactly as they were in days gone by. Apart from the eyesores on the skyline, it is the single car which gives the greatest clue to how Jersey has changed over the past century. It would be difficult to find a seaside parking spot, certainly in St Helier, with so many available spaces, at any time of the day, in 2018

25 June 2018

Royal Square

This is the Royal Square in the centre of the town of St Helier. It has also been very much at the centre of island life for centuries. Originally the island's marketplace, known as Place du Marché, it was the scene of the main engagement in the Battle of Jersey in 1781. This photograph was taken in the 1930s, on an altogether much quieter day

1 July 2018

Fort band

Unfortunately this picture is not of very good quality, nor very large, but it is very unusual in that it shows a band marching on the ramparts at Fort Regent in 1907. There are numerous surviving photographs of bands parading on the square below the ramparts, but they were largely taken by professional photographers,invited to the Fort on a special occasion. This photograph appears to be an amateur snapshot, presumably taken by a colleague of the men in the picture

9 July 2018

St Aubin railway track

This is an unusual view of St Aubin, taken in the early years of the 20th century and published as a postcard. It shows Mont Les Vaux leading up past the parish school from the centre of the picture and, in the foreground, the railway track of the Jersey Western Railway, on it's way to Les Quennevais and La Corbiere. Today this is a pedestrian walkway, and, as Google's 3D satellite view below shows us, there has been some redevelopment of the buildings between the road and the track, and the addition of a few more across the road

16 July 2018

Military parade on the beach

The information received with this painting of a Militia parade on the beach suggests that it was painted by an artist called De La Taste and that the location is Bel Royal. The second part of this is easily confirmed, because this is undoubtedly Bel Royal, at the centre of St Aubin's Bay on Jersey's south coast. The coastal tower, which stood there until demolished by the Germans during the war, is next to a windmill, whose ultimate fate is not known. As to the artist, we are less certain about his identity. The painting, or a photograph of it (we are not sure which) is in the collection of La Société Jersiaise, and a search of their photographic archive reveals that the artist is 'believed to be' E de La Taste. The well-known painting of bread riots at the Robin Hood Tavern in 1847 is said to be signed De La Taste, but the signature is far from clear, and it has been suggested that the artist was Mellish de la Taste. The definitive tree of the de La Taste family in Jersey includes an Edouard and an Edward who could possibly be the artist, but his identity is far from certain. Mellish was Edward's nephew. The family was very active in the Militia during the 18th and 19th centuries. Edward de la Taste was appointed Lieut-Colonel in 1850, meaning that he was its most senior officer. This could possibly confirm his identity as the artist of this painting, or might suggest that he was, instead, one of its subjects, perhaps the officer astride the horse in the centre, below the tower. Mellish's brother, John James, followed their uncle as Militia commander by 1888

23 July 2018


Gorey Harbour, with Mont Orgueil Castle towering above it, is undoubtedly the most photographed location in Jersey. And this view along the jetty towards the houses and commercial properties which line the pier below the castle, has always been one of the most popular. This photograph was taken in 1896 and is of excellent quality. It comes from an extensive album of images of France, the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg and Jersey by a French amateur photographer. There is some confusion about who this photographer was. The images appear on the website, which features collections in many European museums and archives, including the principal Dutch museum, the Rijksmuseum in Amsterday. names the photographer as Claude Francois Tachet; but the Rijksmuseum's own website says that they are 'attributed to Delizy'. Whichever is the correct attribution, we have been able to find no other references to either Mr Tachet or Delizy. The full set of Jersey photographs can be found in A new page added to the site at the weekend. We particularly like this image of the pier because it shows the properties when they were excellent condition, just five years after the Jersey Eastern Railway was extended to the harbour, bringing with it a tremendous boost in trade. The harbour was effectively a station on the main railway line from St Helier to Paris, a short sea crossing intervening. Photographs taken in earlier years show many of these properties in a very run-down state,

A sequence of photographs of the same view from the mid-19th century onwards. The dates are believed to be accurate, but we were initially puzzled that the third property from the right has a smart shopfront in the 1896 view above, also shown in the 1897 picture below. But in 1905 the property had smaller ground-floor windows (this picture could not have been taken earlier because there is a motor car parked on the jetty), still there in 1921, but, if the date of a further picture supposedly taken 'in the 1930s' was to be believed, replaced again by a shopfront later in the decade. Further research led to the suggestion in the Jersey Heritage What's Your Street's Story? book that the picture was taken 'circa 1870'. However, the image is one from an album of G W Macdougal's holiday to Jersey, which the Jersey Heritage website says is 'undated - possibly 1910'. Other pictures in the album include one of the ss Roebuck en route from Jersey to Weymouth. This vessel did not enter service until 1897, which, assuming that all the pictures in the album were taken in the same year, narrows down the timeframe. The close-up view does look very similar to the view in the picture below which we can date to 1897, so we suspect that they were taken at about the same time - shortly after our main feature picture.

30 July 2018

King Street corsets

This was the King Street drapery of Henry Vincent Coutanche. The business appears to have been started by his father, also Henry, certainly by 1874, and possibly earlier. It was continued by Henry Vincent until at least 1920, and probably further into the decade, making it one of the longest-lived drapery businesses on the south side of the street. As the picture shows, Henry Coutanche specialised in ladies' corsets, confirmed by the business stamp on the back of the picture, which described it as 'General and fancy draper - corsets a speciality'. Henry snr was born in 1838, the son of another Henry, from St John, and Jeanne Vincent, of St Peter, who had married the previous year in St Helier. There is no record of a baptism of Henry Vincent, who was born in about 1866, but he is known to have married Elizabeth Jane Romeril (1869- ) in St Helier in 1892. He was educated at Oxenford House school in St Lawrence

6 August 2018

Cheap booze!

An advertisement from an 1850 almanac, and just look at those prices! Oporto and Cadiz, the 'wine, spirit, ale and porter' company advertised the full range of their drinks in the 1850 British Press and Royal Almanac. Among them can be seen Cognac, at 5s a gallon, 'very good' claret at 9s a dozen, and Plymouth gin at a shilling a bottle, or 4s 6d for a whole gallon. However cheap they seem, these are prices which could only be afforded by Oporto and Cadiz's wealthy clientele, although doubtless many a pint of Guinness was consumed at the Trafalgar Hotel, St Aubin, by ordinary working men. This is just one of a remarkable selection of almanac advertisements from the 1830s, '40s and 50s which have come our way recently and will soon be added to the site on a special new page, as well as family pages and street pages, as appropriate

13 August 2018

Changing face of St Helier

20 August 2018

Royal Visit

27 August 2018

Bisson family photograph

This superb family photograph is a perfect example of how information shared with Jerripedia can help people all over the world with tracing their ancestry. We were sent the picture of a Bisson family in Canada by the granddaughter of Henrietta Bisson, the young lady at the left of the top row. The couple, photographed in about 1893, are Daniel Bisson and his first wife Annie Cuthbert, nee Montgomery, with the eight of their twelve children who survived infancy. Daniel was born in Gaspe in 1851, the son of another Daniel, born in Jersey in 1822, who married Mary Caroline Le Gallais in Paspebiac, after emigrating from Jersey. Although they are not part of his own tree, Jerripedia editor Mike Bisson recognised the names and quickly discovered that Daniel's father Benjamin was shown in an existing Jerripedia family tree - Descendants of Jean Bisson. This enabled him to fill in ten generations of Henrietta's ancestors, going back to the 1500s. The tree shows that the Daniel who emigrated had a first cousin, also called Daniel, and also born in 1822, who emigrated to Quebec six years earlier. So far Mike has not been able to discover whether the cousins emigrated together

3 September 2018

Canadian store

Our new feature picture is linked to last week's, which showed a Bisson family in Canada. This week's picture was sent to us by the same Bisson descendant in Canada and shows Jerseyman John Francis Le Gresley outside a Robin Jones and Whitman general store in Cape Cove, Gaspe, Quebec. He was born in 1880 in Jersey and died on 12 June 1918 in Cape Cove. He was married to Henrietta Kate Bisson, daughter of Daniel Bisson and Annie Montgomery, all three of whom were in last week's picture. Robin, Jones and Whitman was the eventual name of a substantial Canadian business founded in the 18th century by brothers John, Charles and Philip Robin from Jersey. A new history of the company has been added to Jerripedia in the past week

10 September 2018

Hunt meetings

There are no foxes in Jersey (despite some suggestions to the contrary in newspaper articles in the 21st century) but drag hunting has long proved a popular alternative, and a very elitist one in the first half of the 20th century. The hunt would meet a posh country houses, but also at more public locations, such as the Weighbridge and country public houses. We have two new photographs of the hunt this week, both of which have been in Jerripedia for some time, but these are larger and better quality images, from a private collection of pictures taken by prolific photographer Albert Smith, or possibly one of his employees. The top picture shows the hunt meeting at Petit Menage, Rue De La Maitrerie, St Martin. We love this photograph, both for the line of horses and pack of hounds, but also for the onlookers on the left, and the three servants standing on the balcony. The house has changed somewhat since this photograph was taken, probably in the 1920s. There is no balcony now above the front door - just a shallow portico supported by a pair of pillars. The house was offered to rent at £2,400 a month in 2017. St John's Hotel in the picture below has changed even more, having been completely rebuilt in the late 20th century. It is now known simply as St John's Inn

17 September 2018

Battle of Flowers

This week we feature two superb old photographs of entries in the Jersey Battle of Flowers. The first is a delightful shot of a mother-and-son entry with a decorated bicycle and trailer. This picture was taken at the 1905 event, the fourth Battle of Flowers. It was sent to us having been discovered in a family album, but unfortunately the names of the individuals are not known. The picture below appears to have been taken a quarter of a century later, when the Battle had moved from Victoria Avenue to Springfield Stadium and photographs were frequently taken in nearby streets of entries making their way to the arena, but the outfits being worn by the women and children on the cart suggest that this might be misleading, and the picture could also date from Edwardian times. The horse and cart appear to have just emerged from open gates on the left. Perhaps they were on their way to Victoria Avenue and not Springfield. Either way, this is an important historical image, because not only does it show a typical family entry of the early Battles - a decorated cart pulled by a faithful horse - but it shows an excellent view of the location, at the Robin Hood junction of Val Plaisant, Rouge Bouillon, Trinity Road and Springfield Road (clockwise from the foreground). In 1940 the railings and wall in front of the Old Robin Hood Hotel were demolished and pushed back several feet for road widening along Rouge Bouillon. The hotel, now just a public house, is still on the corner today, but otherwise the junction is much changed from whenever the picture was taken, as can be seen in the Google Streetview picture below. Don't be misled by the Opera House sign in the old photograph. The building was not there; this was an advertising poster for the venue. This picture is one of a number of Battle pictures sent to us by a Jerripedia friend who found them in a family album in her attic. The other photographs were definitely taken at Springfield, which was partly why we initially assumed the same for this one.

24 September 2018

Gorey shipyard

This is an enlarged section of a drawing of the coast at Gorey, published in a book in 1875. We don't know the title of the book, but the image is one of a number in the collection of the British Library. We suspect that the drawing was made some time before the date of publication, because it shows Grouville No 8 coastal tower, which had been demolished by then, and whose fate is shrouded in mystery - What happened to the St Martin tower? This picture does not assist in solving the mystery, but it does show very clearly the construction of the tower and its position on a granite base, the edge of which is still visible as part of the sea wall. It is also particularly interesting - and this is why we are showing an enlargement of a section, rather than the whole drawing - because a shipyard can clearly be seen behind the tower, roughly in the place where there is a slipway to the beach today, with two vessels in the course of construction.

1 October 2018

Postcard error

Postcards, particularly those published in the early years of the 20th century, before photographs began to appear in newspapers and magazines, provide us with a very important reference of the past, and thousands can be found among the historical images in Jerripedia. But just occasionally they can be misleading, as it the case with this one from the extensive LL series of cards. It has been in the site for some time, but having come across it while carrying out some research into the Parish of St Lawrence, we thought it deserved elevating to this week's feature picture slot. This is not, as suggested on the card, the Parish Church of St Lawrence, but the parish hall, the building next door to the church. Unfortunately publishers of postcards do not have the same facility to collect their errors as do website editors today, and their mistakes live on for ever in numerous collections. It is also noteworthy that the use of the French name Saint Laurent for the parish conflicts with the Saint Laurens usually found in local documents

8 October 2018

New arrivals

As a change from our normal policy of showing a single, or perhaps a set, of pictures new to the site, we have decided this week to provide a selection of images we have received in recent days, to illustrate the variety of what our researchers uncover, or what is sent to us, over a short period. You can click on any of these images to see a larger, higher resolution, copy. We acknowledge the Facebook group page Jersey Temps Passe as the source of some of these photographs

And the most fascinating of all our new arrivals: something of which we were not previously aware. A display in 1905 commemorating the centenary of the Battle of Trafalgar. The background of the photograph identifies the location as Green Street, although the exact position in the street is somewhat uncertain

15 October 2018

Harbour area

Just two pictures this week, both of areas on the edge of St Helier Harbour, and probably taken at about the same time, possibly by the same photographer. We frequently say that a picture can sometimes be dated not by what is in it, but by what is missing, and that's true of the upper picture which shows what were known as Yards One, Two and Three, on the west of what came to be known as the 'island site' at the top of the Albert Harbour. The island's first abattoir, the outer wall of which remains today, would be built here in 1888, and the fact that work has not started indicates a date for the photograph earlier than that. It's difficult to be certain but it appears that the breakwater from the Hermitage which was to have formed one arm of an enlarged harbour is not quite complete. The area between Elizabeth Castle and the Hermitage where concrete blocks were constructed can just be made out. This suggests a date of 1874-75 for the photograph. It is very similar to one which we have had in our Harbour picture gallery for some time, but this image, obtained from the Facebook group Jersey Temps Passe is of far superior quality, and appears to have been taken within minutes of the other one. Yet another Jerripedia image of these harbour yards in the 1870s shows that the building to the left of the open yards was occupied by timber and cement merchant T Le Rougetel and Co. The picture below of the nearby Weighbridge area can be dated by what is there, rather than what is not. It was dated 1882 and the photographer is named as Philip Godfray. He was certainly taking photographs of the Harbour area at that time, but this one is earlier, because it shows the original public weighbridge next to the Southampton Hotel. It was demolished in 1877 and replaced by a new, larger structure, out of the picture to the left. All of this leads us to suspect that both photographs may have been taken by Philip Godfray in about 1875

22 October 2018

1920s holidaymakers

Photographs of holidaymakers in Jersey over the decades often come up for sale on auction websites, and many of them provide a fascinating view of the past. Not least these, taken by Happy Snaps, we believe in the 1920s. It is apparent from the short shadows that these were taken in the middle of summer, but just look at the outfits being worn by the men and women!

Greve de Lecq

29 October 2018

Victorian farmhouse

This superb picture of a typical Jersey farmhouse of the time is dated to approximately 1890 and taken from a Victorian lantern slide. We were not able to identify the location of the property, or establish whether it is still standing today, at the time this picture was added to the site, but it has subsequently been identified as a farm on Mont Sohier, St Brelade's Bay. We are still trying to discover more information about the property

5 November 2018

Animal Shelter fundraising

The recent news that the finances of the Jersey Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, which runs the island's Animal Shelter, are in dire straits, suggests a need for a successor to Nell. As shown in this photograph, Nell was the champion 'dog collector' for the Shelter in 1932. Other photographs from the time suggest that she was also involved in other fund-raising activities in the island. We have not been able to identify her masterand fellow fund-raiser

11 November 2018

Great War

There could be no other choice of picture this week than this iconic view of the Ibex departing from the New North Quay in St Helier Harbour in 1915, carrying the members of the Jersey Contingent, known as the Pals, off to war. They left behind families and friends who had followed them from a parade in the Royal Square to the Harbour, where they massed on every vantage point to say 'goodbye' many of them for the last time. This is one of dozens of new Great War photographs which we have received in recent days, and they will be added to the site as soon as possible, together with many stories of heroism on the part of Jersey servicemen.

18 November 2018

Mystery West Park structure

This picture shows the view from Fort Regent across St Helier Harbour, the Weighbridge, the Esplanade towards West Park and St Aubin's Bay beyond. It was taken in the mid-1860s. The photograph has been dated to 1865 or 1866. The photographic archive of La Société Jersiaise says that it was taken by George Bashford on 14 September 1866. However, 1863-1864 is probably more likely, given the progress of work on extending the Esplanade and the sea wall protecting it towards West Park. This image is a much better quality scan than has hitherto been made of one half of a stereo pair taken by Mr Bashford. Previous copies have given rise to considerable debate about the nature of the structure apparently straddling the coastline at West Park. Some have doubted that it was even a structure, believing that the differing shades of grey and black were lines across the Lower Park. Jerripedia editor Mike Bisson admits to having been among the doubters, but he was among the first to identify the left side of the structure as part of the Clarke shipyard which was located there, while still doubting that it was connected by a form of bridge to a position further inland. Now that the new scan, and the enlargement below, have been made available by postcard and photograph collector Bob Mallet, the details of the remarkable shipyard structure at West Park have become clear, as have other other yards on either side. There is a row of cottages in front of what was not a bridge, but a large roof across what would become the entrance to Victoria Avenue. There is a low wall as the road in front of the Marine and Baths Hotel (It became Jewell's in the 1870s, and was demolished to build the Grand Hotel in 1890) turns sharply right, towards what became Triangle Park, and a tall chimney behind the hotel can be made out. Mike says:'I have had another look at a painting made at about the same time showing the view from the opposite direction and can now see that the three or four-bay roof over the shipyard is much longer than I had previously appreciated and appears to be a good match for the photograph. What is also very interesting is the extent to which the Patriotic Place shipyard (the metal framework on the right of the image) stretches behind the Esplanade. Presumably that had to close when the Esplanade was extended to West Park, work which appears to be in progress when the photograph was taken. And the size of the Le Vesconte and Deslandes yards in the distance can also be appreciated'. The photograph has often been described as the earliest surviving of St Helier. That may be true of this view looking west from Fort Regent, but there are a number of earlier photographs of the Royal Square and other parts of the town and, particularly, St Helier Harbour in Jerripedia. What is undeniable is that this is one of the most remarkably detailed surviving photographs of Jersey taken over 150 years ago.

3 December 2018

Bathing machines

We deliberately left the superb picture of the Weighbridge and Esplanade in the 1860s in place for two weeks, and now we have two images for the price of one, from a similar era. When sea bathing became popular in Victorian Britain there was no question of ladies and gentlemen changing into their costumes on the open beach, shielded from public gaze with only a towel. They were expected to rent a beach tent, or bathing machine, inside which they could dress and undress in privacy, before venturing into the relatively shallow water to be found on Jersey's south coast, for a paddle rather than a swim. Some of these structures were lightweight tents, easily moved as the tide ebbed and flowed, but the 'bathing machines' were much heavier structures, requiring the assistance of a horse to move them up and down the beach. The photograph above shows very substantial beach huts at Greve d'Azette, to the east of the town, with two horses employed to move one to the right of the picture. Below there is a row of somewhat smaller huts on the edge of the Victoria Marine Lake on the other side of St Helier at West Park. Our beach huts page contains a fascinating selection of further pictures.

10 December 2018

Vintage hotel photographs

No fewer than three linked pictures this week, all showing hotels in Jersey in bygone days. The top picture shows the dining room of the Pension Marina, which was situated on the seafront at Havre des Pas. The building had previously housed the an aquarium and marine biological station which opened in 1893, but did not prove to be a financial success and was turned into a hotel after a few years. Although having the somewhat modest title of 'pension', the Marina was an up-market hotel in a very popular location. As the photograph shows, it boasted a very posh dining room, replete with a fine collection of aspidistras, the fashionable plant of the early 20th century. The photographs below show two popular hotels in the 1930s. The tennis court was a very popular feature of the Aberfeldy Hotel on Old St John's Road and tournaments for the guests were assured of a large audience. The bottom picture shows the comfortable guests' lounge at the Bay View Hotel which was in a commanding position below Westmount, overlooking St Aubin's Bay. None of these three hotels exists any longer, all three having been demolished to make way for blocks of flats. Follow the blue links to see more photographs of each establishment in its heyday.

17 December 2018

Grouville common

This picture was the subject of some debate online after it surfaced in November 2018. At first sight it appears to show the road which cuts through Grouville Common with what is now the golf course on the right. But the motor car in the picture is clearly of early 20th century vintage and our research established that the road across the common was not created until 1938, following the route previously occupied by the railway, which closed at the end of the previous decade. This stretch of road leads into Gorey Village, and was the main route to Gorey Harbour until 1938, when an existing track was widened to create a new road, linking up at the northern end of the village with the road created in parallel with the railway line between the Harbour and Gorey Village Station when land was reclaimed in the 1880s. The railway ran to the right of the road in this photograph, which appears to date from about 1905, only a few years after the first motor car appeared on Jersey's roads

24 December 2018

Gorey land reclamation

We are back at Gorey this week for our last feature pictures of the year. We have several images in Jerripedia of the land reclamation on the Gorey coast which was needed before the Jersey Eastern Railway line could be extended from Gorey Village to the pier, but this is one of the clearest. It shows work still in progress, with the new sea wall not yet completed, and the reclaimed land behind it not yet filled in to the level needed to accommodate the railway track, new coastal road and a promenade for pedestrians. The picture shows clearly how the ground floors of the houses just out of the picture on the left became basements. Previously the eastern walls of these properties were at beach level. The picture below shows the railway terminal which was built on the reclaimed land in front of the tearooms which lined this section of the pier in the 1880s and 'nineties. Sadly the railway never proved profitable and the station was demolished after it closed in 1929. The Germans built a large bunker in its place during the Occupation, and after its removal, the land was used as a coach park
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