Stopford Road was created as the town of St Helier grew in the first half of the 19th century. The land that the road now occupies can be seen as fields on the Le Gros map of 1834 and the 1849 Godfray map shows the current road joining David Place on the west and St Saviour's Road on the east.
Many of the properties which line the road were built in the 18402 and 50s. The St Helier Parish Assembly minutes give some clues to the development of the area.
The minutes for 16 April 1848 record that the Roads Committee examined Stopford Road as part of a number of road enlargement and improvement schemes taking place at the time. The committee received a letter from the owners and beneficiaries of the road agreeing to give up their rights to the parish for enlargement works.
Stopford Road appears to have acquired its name in the 1840s and is believed to have been named after Admiral Sir Robert Stopford. He was a distinguished officer in the Royal Navy whose career spanned 60 years, from the French Revolutionary Wars to the Syrian War. He died in June 1847.
Stopford Road is primarily a residential area, but during its history has been home to schools, a post office, bakery, public house, government offices, garages, the Jersey District Nursing Association and the Jersey Masonic Temple.
The history of education in Stopford Road centres on No 33 - the location until recently of St Christopher's School, which still owns the property. It was also the location of the Jersey High School during the mid-20th century.
Jersey High School
The Jersey High School opened in September 1933 with only four pupils. By the spring of the following year it was flourishing and had increased its pupil numbers to 20. The school was established by Miss Estelle Le Riche and moved to 33 Stopford Road in the summer term of 1934. The school's records show that during this term 'the school thoroughly enjoyed its first hike, which was to Gorey - the party was so exhausted that the only means of returning was by bus'.
An advertisement in the Evening Post of January 1934 announced the full opening of Jersey High School, with F Audleyt Harman as the principal and Estelle Le Riche as director of the preparatory department. The newspaper recorded that the school aspired to provide 'a good sound education, at moderate fees, at once conforming to the generally accepted educational principles and adapting itself particularly to local requirements'.
No 33 was renumbered as 31 Stopford Road in the 1920-30s. Census records show that the premises were listed as a Boarding House for College Students in 1861, under the management of Jane Hartung, a widow of 46 with two sons, both listed as scholars.
Mrs Hartung had ten other boys living with her, ranging in age from nine to 16. They were born in locations as far apart as Ceylon, the Cape of Good Hope, India and England, reflecting the size of the British Empire at that time.
The number of young students lodging in the area could sometimes lead to trouble. In 1877 newspapers reported the 'lamp smashing case' in Stopford Road. Court reports show that on the night of Thursday 24 May the Hon Thomas Cochrane, Follett Synge, Arthur Nettleship, Walter Savile and William Menzies, described as five young gentlemen, broke a lamp near the Masonic Temple in Stopford Road, insulted Mr E Bree, and upset a cart of gravel in Oxford Road, at the property of G J Benest.
The notes of the case show that the young men involved had just passed their examinations as candidates for commissions in the army. Their advocate said that 'perhaps they had eaten and drunk a little too profusely' and asked that the court 'gives a little latitude'.
Six years later, in 1883, court records show that another young man was in trouble. The records describe a robbery at the home of Charles Cumberland Broderick, at 4 Vimiera Place, Stopford Road.
He reported the theft of a cash box containing £60 to £70 from the property Originally the domestic, Madame Mason, was suspected, but after innocence was proved, suspicion fell on William Nicolle, aged 12, who was in the service of Broderick.
Under interrogation it emerged that he had stolen the box and money and hidden the box in the stream that crossed Walter Lane. He was sentenced to ten days hard labour for his crime and on entry and exit from the prison received six lashes.
The decision to construct the Masonic Temple was taken at a special meeting of the Provincial Grand Lodge on 15 May 1851. The foundation stone was laid in December 1862 with a grand ceremony and the first meeting in the new temple was held on 11 August 1864. The temple included accommodation for a guardian or caretaker. During the Occupation these positions were occupied by Francis Alfred Le Sueur and his wife Gertrude. Before the war William Henry Hambly had been caretaker, living at the temple with his wife Janet, and their children, William, Alice and Jessie, all of who whom were born at the temple.
The temple closed in 1940 and in January 1941 it was ransacked by German troops and many of the contents were burned or shipped to Berlin. During the war years the temple was used as a store for items such as wine bottles and radio sets which had been confiscated from the civilian population. It was returned to the Masonic Management Committee after the Liberation and a restoration fund was established.
Gloucester Lodge is located at the top end of Stopford Road. This area was largely residential and many of the houses were large properties with wealthy owners who employed servants. In 1933 the Lodge was sold to the Jersey District Nursing Association for £2,000. District nursing in Jersey began early in the 20th century, with many parishes establishing their own associations. By 1928 there were five associations in the island affiliated to the Queen's Nursing Institute and by 1839, at the outbreak of war, there were 16 Queen's Nurses working in the Channel Islands.
The 1946 annual report of the JDNA gives an idea of the range of work carried out by the district nurses at the time. They dealt with 100 attendances at their ante-natal clinic, 1,668 patients at the minor ailment clinic for children of school age, 7,500 nursing visits to patients and 444 children were given diphtheria vaccinations.