Street History - Halkett Place, Part 1
The censuses conducted every ten years from 1841 onwards paint a detailed picture of the life of every area of the island, and together with almanacs, which from late in the 19th century onwards gave lists of property occupants, allow us to chart the progress of town streets such as Halkett Place.
These listings can sometimes be misleading, because the occupants of a property, shown in the censuses with their occupations, may not necessarily have been in business at the address where they are shown to be living.
Properties which appear to have been unoccupied may have housed a thriving business, but with nobody ‘living above the shop’.
The numbering of premises in Halkett Place changed between the 1891 and 1901 censuses after Morier Lane, as the road between Hill Street and the Halkett Place junction with King Street and Queen Street was previously known, was incorporated into Halkett Place.
Touzel’s, at what was previously No 18, became No 32, and several of the other low even-numbered properties on the east side of the street had 14 added to their numbers. But the corner of King Street and the west side of Halkett Place, now Burton’s, only jumped from 1 to 11, whereas further up this side of the street what is now La Capannina Restaurant jumped 24 numbers from 41 and 43 to 65-67.
Back across the road the situation is further confused because of the even numbers which are skipped along the length of the Market. The Evangelical Church, which does not appear in any census return, because nobody has lived there, was once No 40 and today is No 64, or 66, or both.
It also appears from some census returns that the rule of odd-number properties on the west and even-numbered on the right was not universally followed, and residential annexes of odd-numbered commercial properties are sometimes encountered on the west side.
So, bearing these complications in mind, join us in a long stroll along Halkett Place taking in the 70 years from 1841 to 1911, and starting, as the street then did, at the junction with King Street and Queen Street.
Corner shop pharmacy
In 1841 20-year-old James Aubin was in business as a pharmacist at the corner shop, No 1. Also listed as a resident was Mark Burman (60) a tobacco dealer. Across the street at No 2 we find Thomas Aubin (25) a draper, with his 30-year-old wife Elizabeth.
Ten years later James Aubin is still in business at No 1 with his younger brother Alfred as his apprentice and servant Elizabeth Lempriere also in residence. Mark Burman is now shown as a tobacconist at No 2.
In 1861, 1871 and 1881 James Aubin was still trading as a chemist and druggist at No 1 with Elizabeth Lempriere as his servant in the first two censuses but Sophie Le Cerf in the same role in 1881. In 1891 no occupants were shown for either 1 or 3 Halkett Place, but by 1886 the pharmacy had been taken over by Piquet and sons, who ran it through to the 1930s. Other sources also identify a George Cole trading as a pharmacist at the corner shop around 1890, but this is a mistake - he ran the next-door shop, No 4 King Street.
James Aubin was the son of Jean Aubin and Rachel Vautier. Jean, of St Helier, and Rachel, of St Ouen, were married in St Helier in 1917 and James was born the following year. James' younger brother Alfred, born in 1838, is shown as a 13-year-old in the 1851 census, living with James and working for him as an apprentice. Living with them was servant Elizabeth Lempriere, who was still with James in 1861, although Alfred had left by then. Elizabeth is recorded as James' servant in 1871 as well, but ten years later she has either left, or passed away, because Sophie Le Cerf is now shown as the resident servant.
Jean Vautier (1796- ) was the son of Jean and Esther Romeril, both of St Helier, who married in the parish in 1795.
Across the road No 2 was shown in successive censuses as unoccupied, until 1881 when ‘hotel keeper’ John Mallet (40), his wife Amelia and son John, together with boarders and a waitress servant were recorded as living there. We have no record of the premises being used as a hotel, however, and these people may just have lived there. Confusingly, in the 1881 census it is noted that No 1 and No 2 Halkett Place formed one shop, but this is believed to be an error, because No 2 was on the other side of the road.
Returning to the west side of the street, we find hairdresser Charles Huet (1792- ) at No 3 in 1841 with his wife Fanny, nee Deslandes, and two daughters in their 20s. Charles was the son of Charles Pierre Huet and Jeanne Le Cras. Ten years later the daughters have left home and Charles is now Inspector of Markets. Charles and Fanny, also known as Elizabeth, had five daughters: Betsey (1811- ), Jane (1813- ), Fanny Marie (1816- ), Mary (1817- ) and Elizabeth (1818- ).
In subsequent censuses there is no record of any occupants for this property, which was eventually incorporated into the Burton’s building in the 1930s.
In 1841 the occupants of No 4 on the east side were Francis Le Breton, a paperhanger, and optician Moses Abraham, but it is not clear whether either was trading from the premises. Ten years lalter Thomas Le Breton, and his son Thomas, both master paperhangers, are living there and Thomas’s wife Mary and daughter Mary are shown as shopkeepers, so perhaps the family did operate a shop linked to the paperhanging trade. By 1861 the family had moved across the road to No 9, and No 4 is occupied by bookseller and stationer Susan Gosset. By 1871 this business had been taken over by Caroline Slater, who, together with her husband William, had previously been in business at No 56 King Street. From 1891 onwards the shop was occupied by prominent photographer Philip Morel Laurens. This suggests that he took over the Slaters' business, because they were two of Jersey's earliest photographers.
Draper Philip Nicolle was trading at No 5 in 1841 and 1851, by then assisted by his son Philip. Ten years later cigar manufacturer George Gates was listed as the propeprty’s occupant. He was a 35-year-old widower, born in England, and living with his mother Mary, sister Hannah, brother Thomas and sister Mary. He employed three men and three boys and also had a retail outlet in Queen Street.
He was still at No 5 in 1871 and 1881, assisted by his sisters Mary and Hannah, but by ten years later he must have died because Hannah (61) is the head of household, shown as a tobacconist, assisted by her 55-year-old sister Mary Jane. By 1901 Hannah is of independent means and living as a visitor at 92 Great Union Road, the home of plumber Henry Le Cras.
Chadwick Le Lievre
At No 6 in 1841 we find printer Chadwick Le Lievre, who was born in Guernsey about 1795. His family moved to Jersey in the early 1800s and he married Esther Vibert of St Mary on 1 August 1824. His brother Richard had married Jane Le Gros in 1921 and another brother William married Jane Guille in 1826. These brothers appear to have returned to Guernsey but Chadwick remained in Jersey and he and Esther had a son, also Chadwick, in 1926.
There is no sign of Chadwick jnr and his mother in the 1841 census. Chadwick snr (45) is living with three sons and a 25-year-old ‘companion’ Mary Langlois and servant Caroline Gould (15). By 1851 father and son were working together in the printing business, but ten years later the son was established in his own printing business at 13 Halkett Place, living with his mother, aunt and younger brother.
Chadwick jnr had become a very successful businessman at the age of 35 (according to his baptism record, although he is shown as 32 in the census return) and has a staff of 11. Not only is he a printer and bookseller, but also proprietor of Le Constitutionnel newspaper. The newspaper was founded in 1820 and outlived all but two of the French language newspapers of the 19th century, finally closing in 1876.
Chadwick Le Lievre was also the enumerator for the 1861 census in District 27 of St Helier, which included his home in Halkett Place.
It is not entirely clear how the newspaper was run, but it appears that although Chadwick Le Lievre was shown in the census as its proprietor in 1861 and again in 1871, and was presumably also its printer, he may not have been involved on the editorial side. Indeed, in the advertisement from a contemporary almanac, the newspaper appears as the final element of his business, accorded far less prominence than his bookselling and library activities.
Prominent Laurel Party politician Advocate Francois Godfray, who was Constable of St Helier, St Martin and St Saviour, is described as having ‘controlled’ Le Constitutionnel for 30 years, which would coincide with the period when Le Lievre is shown as ‘proprietor’.
By 1881 the newspaper has folded, but Chadwick Le Lievre is still in business at 13 Halkett Place as a printer and stationer, but his staff has dropped from ten men and five boys a decade earlier to six men and a boy.
In 1891 Chadwick, who never married, was still trading at No 13, but by 1901 the property is shown as empty for census purposes.