Saint Helier

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Saint Helier

Saint Helier is Jersey's capital town and the most populous of its 12 parishes. It is home to the States Chamber, where the island's parliament meets, the Royal Court building and most major administrative departments. It also has the island's main port, public markets, a number of major public parks, most of the important public monuments and statues. Although for some time before the development of St Helier Harbour, Saint Aubin was arguably the most important town in the island, St Helier has always been the capital, and since the early 19th century it has grown into a bustling town and commercial centre and, until the advent of air travel in the mid-20th century, the island's principal gateway. This page provides direct access to a number of important Jerripedia articles on the fascinating history of St Helier.

Main subjects

The parish

Not only is St Helier home to most of the departments of Jersey's island government, but it is an important administrative area in its own right, and the parochial government, based largely on a system of honorary service, is responsible for the infrastructure of the parish and also for a large element of its policing. This section of Jerripedia looks at various aspects of parochial life and the history of the parish.

Street histories

Did your ancestors live and work in the commercial centre of St Helier?

King Street is the heart of St Helier and its main shopping area. This was not always the case, because it was once a back street (Rue de derrière) with open marshland behind. Today it is a thriving commercial precinct, its Victorian properties commanding substantial rents. We have completed a detailed examination of the history of the street and individual properties, and the people who lived in them through the 19th century and into the 20th, as well as many more fascinating insights into the history of the street.

This has now been followed by a similar examination of the history of Halkett Place, another major town centre shopping centre, and we are now embarking on our latest project in this series, looking at Queen Street, the eastern extension of King Street.

Fort Regent

The skyline of St Helier is dominated by Fort Regent, built on the top of Mont de la Ville, the large hill to the south of the town. A fundamental part of the island's defences against the threat of French invasion during the Napoleonic Wars of the early 19th century, the fort has never fired a shot in anger, and in the late 20th century was transformed into a multi-purpose leisure centre, complete with white-domed roof. Sadly it has never been a great success in its new role and its future is once more in the melting-pot. But, as Jerripedia's series of articles on the construction of the fort reveal, it was a major military establishment of its time and retains many extremely important historical elements.

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