The Olympia

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Entertainment venue


This superb picture was taken at the Olympia roller skating rink in 1905

The Olympia was at the western end of the Esplanade, next to the Bristol Hotel, which is on the opposite corner of Kensington Place to the Grand Hotel. In the late 1900s and early 20th century the Olympia was the foremost venue in Jersey for entertainment of all types, exhibitions and roller skating.

The Bristol Hotel, which was only recently demolished to make way for a steel and glass office block, was acquired by Lewis Marks on 20 June 1896 from Jane Le Feuvre, nee Le Gros, and was described as being 35 feet wide along its southern edge towards the Esplanade. In the same contract he acquired a separate parcel of land 58 ft 6in wide alongside the hotel for £1,642.

On 23 November 1907 he transferred the entire site via a third party to a newly formed company The Bristol Hotel Company Limited and he appeared in Court to pass the contract as the company’s Governing Director. He was described as ‘son of Benjamin’ and was married to Theresa Leibman Leopold.

The Olympia is the building on the right in the background of this picture. Behind it is the Grand Hotel. As can be clearly seen in this early 20th century postcard, the Esplanade promenade between the sea wall and the railway track was a popular venue in the late Victorian and Edwardian era for town residents to stroll in the sunshine or sit on one of the benches and watch the world go by

The Leopolds have already featured in Jerripedia because in 1871 Sigmund Liebmann Leopold, Theresa’s brother, traded at No 46 King Street as a tobacconist, before moving in 1877 to No 13 King Street, which was bought by his wife. He remained there until his death in 1903. The Leopolds were sons and daughters of Isaac Leibman Leopold and the family first appeared in Jersey in 1864 when Lewis Leibman Leopold acquired the Albion Hotel, 10 Mulcaster Street.

Lewis Marks also later owned the Don Inn in the Parade, so the whole family appears to have been in the hospitality business, as it is now known.

Mr Marks died at the Bristol Hotel at the age of 43 on 27 November 1916, and 18 months later, on 27 July 1918, the Bristol Hotel Company sold the Olympia to Reginald John Blampied for #3,700 while retaining the hotel. The Olympia site wrapped around the rear of the Bristol Hotel and joined on to Kensington Place as well. On 14 May 1923 Reginald Blampied sold Olympia to Sir Jesse Boot, by then Baron Trent. It was sold by his attorneys, as it appears that Mr Blampied was probably insolvent and the attorneys had taken over his real and personal estate. The sale was for £6000. Jesse Boot’s four daughters later sold their shares in 70 Esplanade (still referred to as Olympia) in 1987.

Miss A Blight was the roller skating instructor in 1900
This photograph of the skating rink staff indicates what a major attraction it was
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