7 January 2019
Less than a week of the new year has passed, and we have already uploaded more than 150 new pictures to Jerripedia. There are some exceptional images among them which are in the queue for this page. Our editor, Mike Bisson, was particularly impressed by these three because, having been in Spain for the past couple of months, and suffered delays of a fortnight or more in mail reaching there from Jersey and France, and the same in the opposite direction, he was more than a little impressed by, and jealous of, the pace of the postal service in the 1850s. As the postmarks on these envelopes addressed to Mary Ann Robertson in Clarendon Road clearly show, despite all the advances seen over the past 170 years, the post was much faster in the decade after the postage stamp was introduced. In 1852 and 1853 it took just 48 hours for a letter posted in Paris to reach Jersey via Calais and London. Unfortunately things were going downhill by 1856, when it took three days for a letter to follow the same route! Any guesses as to how long it would take today?
14 January 2019
Although not in itself particularly noteworthy, this excellent quality photograph of the Weighbridge in the 1890s has been chosen as our feature picture because it comes from an album assembled in 1899 of photographs of Jersey, Guernsey, Sark, Saint Malo, Dinard, Dinan, Mont St Michel, Granville and Paris. We have included over 60 photographs from the album in a new gallery - An album of pictures of Jersey and France in 1899
. The majority of the images in the album are of similar quality to this one, and provide a fascinating insight into the life of the Channel Islands and nearby French towns, as well as the French capital. Such is the quality of these images that it is difficult to believe that they were taken 120 years ago. By way of comparison, the picture below shows the same area from a higher viewpoint in 1975. The beautiful gardens surrounding the statue of Queen Victoria, with carriages available for hire, replaced by a bus station, and every conceivable open space filled with cars. The single storey railway terminus to the left of the upper picture was not replaced by the two-storey granite building in the centre of the lower picture, which still stands today, until 1901.
28 January 2019
We apologise for the week's gap without a feature picture, but much has been going on behind the scenes in recent days and this is the first Picture of the Week which will be shared with Jerripedia's new Facebook
group, which launched a few days ago. The new group will provide an extra shop window for the website's content and also offer a new interactive forum for those seeking information about any aspect of Jersey's history and the families who lived in the island. The picture we have chosen to mark this occasion was taken by Francis Foot
, who was an enthusiastic amateur photographer in Jersey in the 1900s and 1910s. He is perhaps better remembered for working in the family shop in Pitt Street, which sold some of the earliest gramophones and recordings, under the HMV banner. The HMV logo on the Dumaresq Street
face of the building was restored last year, along with the shop itself, and adjoining properties, having been empty and nearly derelict for many years. Francis Foot left behind a collection of many photographs of his own family, and of other Jersey families, possibly on commission, or possibly without charge to friends. He also took many images, which survive, of island locations, including this one of West Park
, probably taken around 1910, and showing the promenade, build behind a new sea wall on reclaimed land, the railway line, separated only by a few strands of wire, West Park Station, and the Grand Hotel
4 February 2019
We rarely struggle to find a new picture worthy of this page; sometimes there are several challengers to choose between, and sometimes the picture just chooses itself. And this week is an example of the latter ... just. Because this wonderful picture of the Cooke family children in front of the portico of Sion Hall
, is actually one of several sent to us by a descendant of the family, which show this magnificent mansion at its best, when the Cookes were living there early in the 20th century. In the photograph are Arthur, Dorothy, May, Wilfred and Olive, with their governess. We already had a page about the St Clement property when we were sent a set of pictures of the Cookes' time there. It started out as a splendid mansion, was a school for a period, then a family home again. Our page contains a link to the Occupation memories of Reg Langlois, whose family owned it at that time. Then it became L'Emeraude Hotel, and today it is used as accommodation for seasonal workers
11 February 2019
Havre des Pas Pool
With over 56,000 images in Jerripedia, it is easy to lose track of some of the wonderful photographs numbered among them. We were checking our Havre des Pas Pool gallery to see if a new picture was already included, and decided that although it was worth adding to the site, there was another much more worthy of our picture of the week slot. This photograph was taken, probably in 1933, at the pool's cafeteria. The pool and its surrounding beach, daily attracted people from all over the capital town of St Helier, both visitors and islanders alike, much as it had done since it first opened at the end of the 19th century. But as the years went by, it became much more than a safe place to go bathing, and for several decades was an integral part of the social life of the town
18 February 2019
The appearance on a Channel Island Facebook group last week of a photograph of St Catherine, before the breakwater was built, caused considerable controversy. It was rapidly identified as a fake - a very crude effort, using image manipulation software to erase the breakwater from the horizon. Even had the forgery been undertaken more professionally, it would still have been the subject of serious doubt, because it would have predated the oldest known surviving outdoor photographs of Jersey by some five years. Work did not start on the breakwater until 1847, and the earliest known outdoor photographic images, with confirmed dates, were taken in Jersey in 1852 or 1853. These were the work of refugee French poet and author Victor Hugo, or more likely his son Charles, and Auguste Vacquerie, another member of his entourage during his time in Jersey. Many have survived in French national collections in Paris, and although most are portraits of Victor Hugo and his wife by Charles, there are photographs of various locations in Jersey, including Victoria College
in 1853, three years after it opened, the coast of St Clement and its countryside, Snow Hill, stone quarrying at La Collette, Elizabeth Castle
and Mont Orgueil
, and this image of Mont Mado quarry. Although there are a number of photographs, notably of St Helier Harbour, which might have been taken in the 1850s, and one of Gorey which has been found in an album alongside other images taken elsewhere in 1851, the Hugo family photographs are the only ones which can be dated with a considerable degree of certainty. A substantial collection can be seen on our Victor Hugo
page and another page contains more photographs which may be of the same vintage, or slightly earlier
25 February 2019
King Street family
It's amazing what you can find on Ancestry. Our editor, Mike Bisson, has done no work on his own family tree since he started Jerripedia nine years ago, but the addition of a recent tree by Guy Dixon, which took Mike's 'secondary' Bisson line back five generations in Trinity, prompted him to find his family tree program on a back-up drive and check the links. At the same time he looked at Ancestry for trees containing his maternal grandfather's Rimington lineage and discovered that two further generations had been confirmed since he last did any research. He also found this photograph, attached to a distant cousin's tree. It shows his grandfather Jimmy Rimington
, grandmother Constance, nee Smith, and their adopted daughter Doris Rimington, Jimmy's niece, emerging from the door to their home at No 13 King Street
. "Doris was adopted at the age of 13, three years after Jimmy and Connie married, when her mother died in Leeds, a few years after her father. It would be another three years before the first of their own children - my mother - was born," says Mike. "The Rimingtons were a large family, and although I don't know what brought my grandfather to Jersey, adopting Doris was simply his way of repaying the favour of having been brought up by his teenage sister when their mother died when he was only nine
4 March 2019
This is the cover of part of the military plans for the recapture of the Channel Islands from the Germans in 1945. The top secret plans for Operation Nestegg began to be drawn up in November 1944, and this section relates to the plan for Naval operations. It covers the arrangements for the Royal Navy flotilla to assemble at Plymouth to transport Force 135 to the islands, and such supplementary activities as minesweeping. The document makes fascinating reading for anybody interested in this period of the islands' history, or in military history in general. We have added six pages of details to the Liberation
section of the website, but they are only part of some 50 pages covering all aspects of Operation Nestegg, which are apparently now available on a DVD - unfortunately we have no information on how it can be obtained. Our friend Google is singularly unhelpful in this respect, yielding information about Operation Nest Egg, a New Zealand project to save the kiwi!
11 March 2019
It can be very difficult to date Victorian portrait photographs. Rarely is the date they were taken added on the back of the print, and finding a subject's name is even more unlikely. But there are always clues, which can help narrow down the range of dates between which photographs were taken. This is true of this pair of portraits from the studio of the prolific late 18th-century Jersey photographer Thomas Price. Although he took thousands of commissioned portraits, very little is known about him.
He was in business at 2 and 4 Peter Street from 1869, so the back of the portrait on the left might suggest that it was taken in 1889, or soon after. There is further confirmation for this when it is known that from 1891 his son, also joined him in the business, as T Price and Son.
But the 20th anniversary is misleading, because Thomas Price, born at St Pancras in 1840, was first in business in 1862 in London, before moving to Jersey with his wife Louisa and setting up his portraiture business in Peter Street seven years later. Their son, Thomas, was born the following year, and the couple went on to have three daughters, Louisa, Rosa and Mary Emma in the 1870s.
The 20th anniversary commemorated on the back of his photographs refers to the original business in London, and the design shown here is known to have been in use only from 1882 to 1883, before some very minor changes were introduced.
So, the first portrait on the left can be accurately dated to those two years.
The horizontal design of the back of photographs taken once Thomas Jnr had joined his father's business was introduced in 1893. By 1896 the design had reverted to a vertical format, so the second portrait can be placed within that three-year timeframe.
If only we knew the names of these ladies!
Thomas Price Jnr continued in business until 1920, moving to a more prominent position in Queen Street in later years.
- Click on any of these images to see a larger version!
25 March 2019
Work on the ongoing review of our church records database has meant that our small editorial team has had little time to spare recently to upload newly-acquired photographs to the site, and we missed an update for this page a week ago. It was tempting to keep this week's feature picture back until later in the year, but we decided to share it with our users now. It speaks for itself as a Christmas card sent out by the management of Jersey Airport, and it had to have been produced for Christmas 1837, '38 or '39, because the new Airport opened for business in 1937 and the start of the German Occupation
of the island and their takeover of the Airport as a Luftwaffe base, would have meant that no such card could have been produced after 1939. We have previously identified this photograph of a De Havilland biplane on the airport apron at night as having been taken in 1938, which suggests that this was a card from the same year
7 April 2019
On the beach
Apologies for this feature becoming more like 'Picture of the fortnight' of late, but so much effort is currently going into the project to check and correct all family records and family trees before the site's 10th anniversary next February that other work inevitably gets sidelined. But editor Mike Bisson had cause to check our Plemont picture gallery and decided that this photograph, which has been there for two years, should be given greater prominence. So, here we have two ladies strolling along the beach at Plemont, clearly with no intention of paddling in the sea like those behind them.It is difficult to date the picture, but the long black skirts and white blouses suggest that it was probably Edwardian rather than Victorian, and therefore some time in the first decade of the 20th century. That would also fit with the seemingly relaxed attitude to paddling on the water's edge and swimming further out. Plemont is not known to have had bathing machines, probably because it was impossible to get the contraptions down to the beach, where there would have been no dry area to store them at high tide. It is notable that, from close inspection of the original, it appears that members of the group in the water are all females: Mixed bathing was presumably still far from common
14 April 2019
There are many pictures in existence of military parades at Fort Regent
but this is one of the best we have seen. It is dated to 1911 and was offered for sale recently together with images of the Concours musicale
in the same year, and described as part of the Concours proceedings (an annual competition for bands from Jersey and France in the early years of the 20th century). That it clearly was not. 1911 was the year of King George V's coronation, and it is tempting to believe that this parade may have been connected to that event. That is only supposition, however, and it may just have been a parade either to mark the departure of the 2nd Battalion King's Own Royal Lancaster Regiment, which was the regiment garrisoned at the Fort from 1908 to 1911, or the arrival of their successors, the 1st Battalion Devonshire Regiment, which was stationed at the Fort from 1911 to 1914. It would appear that the photograph shows the Lieut-Governor, Sir Alexander Nelson Rochfort (1910 - 1916) taking the salute and not only were the great and the good accommodated on the parade ground itself, but others can be seen watching the ceremony from the ramparts. The second photograph below, which unfortunately is not nearly so clear, shows a slightly different view of the parade
15 September 2019
Now you see it ...
Our Picture of the week feature makes a welcome return after a five-month gap. Jerripedia's editorial team may not have been idle over the spring and summer months, but some regular features have been suspended to give them more free time than they have been used to. The new feature picture shows St Aubin's Harbour, viewed from the top of Rue du Croquet, otherwise known as the High Street, or Market Hill. But there is something missing, compared with the many photographs taken from a similar viewpoint over many years. The Jersey Railway terminus building at the back of the terminus hotel, now St Brelade's Parish Hall, has gone. This dates the photograph to after October 1836, when fire swept through the St Aubin station and carriage shed, destroying all the rolling stock stored there for the winter and ensuring that the service, already operating at a considerable loss, would not be restarted the following year. Soon after, the charred remains of the building were demolished and the track from St Aubin to St Helier was removed, creating the now popular pedestrian and cycle track along the coast, and much-needed car parking spaces at St Aubin.
22 September 2019
Four horsepower plough
These pictures, which were found as negative glass plates on an American auction site, are undated, but were probably taken in the 19th century.Very few farmers could afford four horses to pull a plough, but sometimes neighbours pooled their resources to create a large team capable of working quickly to turn over heavy soil. Sadly the pictures are not as sharp as we would have hoped (even after a degree of digital manipulation) but it is very rare to come across a set of photographs like this of a large ploughing team in action in the island
29 September 2019
St Aubin's Road
This is a very old picture of St Aubin's Road
, taken in about 1870, which makes it some 150 years old. It took us a little while to work out exactly what is what in the photograph, which has been in the site for eight years, but a much smaller image of poor quality. We are now satisfied that the picture shows the road from Millbrook
towards First Tower
, and the property on the far right is Seafield
, or Seafield House, which was built some 60 years before this photograph was taken, from somewhere on Mont Felard. To its left, across the road, is Halfway House, on the corner of Waterworks Valley
, or Chemin des Moulins, to give it its proper name. Immediately above the chimney of that property is what became known as the Circus Field, now developed as Seafield Avenue
6 October 2019
Ship building at Gorey
This is not a picture which is new to the website; we came across it while researching a series of articles on Jersey's coast, and then realised that we already had a copy in our collection (that happens quite frequently; it's difficult to remember all 60,000-plus). It certainly deserves another airing because it is one of the clearest images surviving of shipbuilding on the coast close to Gorey. The nearly complete vessel in the foreground was by no means the largest built during the island's ship building boom in second half of the 19th century, but it was still a substantial schooner. This photograph was taken in about 1875 by Philip Morel Laurens in the shipyard of Philippe Bellot
13 October 2019
Old photographs of Oxford Road are very rare - it has never been a particularly photogenic street, at least not at this end. It now opens on to the Millennium Park, although when the picture was taken in 1905 the gas works was there behind a high wall, as confirmed by the gasholder in the background. It is possible to compare the view today with that shown here. The low walls with railings are still there in front of the houses towards the end of the road on the right. Part of the granite wall, which appears to have stood at the end of the garden of a house set back from the others, is still there, but two rows of garages have since been built next to the road, and a large opening created in the wall. The house on the right, above the woman with the long skirt, is still there, tastefully restored apart from the somewhat incongruous dormer window which is a feature of so many town properties. The photograph was taken from more-or-less outside the Masonic Temple, which makes the corner of Stopford Road and Oxford Road. The latter then crosses the former and continues for some distance, crossing Byron Lane and St Mark's Road, before turning left to run parallel with them to Byron Road
20 October 2019
These two photographs of a property called Woodlands have been sitting in our 'pending tray' for some months, awaiting identification of the propeprty. After a few hours on the Jerripedia Facebook page, it was identified as a property still bearing the same name - or at least it did in the 2018 Almanac - in Rue de la Hague, St Peter, just down the road from St George's School, in what was La Hague Manor. Apparently Woodlands is now known as La Hague House. Quite why new owners feel the need to change the name of a house from what it has been called for a century and a half, or more, is beyond us. Identification of the property, and the Du Val family who lived there in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, has enable us to identify the people in the photograph. They are (almost certainly) farmer John du Val and wife Anna, with daughter Alice on the horse. The picture was taken by Tynan Brothers, supposedly in 1890, but Alice, who was recorded as aged 25 in the 1901 census looks a little younger than 14 here. Tynan Brothers started their photographic portrait business in 1885, so the pictures could be a little earlier than 1890
27 October 2019
Most photographs of the steamship Roebuck
show her stranded on the beach in St Brelade's Bay after hitting rocks a short distance into a journey from St Helier to St Peter Port. That was in 1911. This photograph, taken in happier times in 1905, shows Roebuck
leaving her berth on the Victoria Pier, doubtless also heading for Guernsey and then Weymouth
4 November 2019
This superb painting of the paddle steamer Cygnus
is the work of one of the greatest marine artists of the 19th century, Jersey-born Philip Ouless
. We have added a large number of Ouless works to the website this week, and this view of Cygnus
at sea is a fitting choice to fill our weekly feature picture slot because we have also been working on adding reports from 19th century newspapers of incidents involving this paddle steamer, and many of the other vessels which served on routes linking Jersey and Guernsey to the south coast of England and nearby French ports
18 November 2019
To make up for not having a picture of the week last week (we have been rather busy with other things) here is something special. This is a slide show of tinted postcards produced by the French company LL in the first decade of the 20th century. LL postcards are readily available today (at least, most of the series are), although the tinted versions are somewhat rarer. We have added over 50 to our LL postcards
page, and this is but a selection of those. LL cards are often mistakenly attributed (even by dealers who really ought to know better) to Louis Levy, but no such individual ever existed. LL stood for Moyse Leon
and his son-in-law Georges Levy
. By the time the business was creating postcards for sale in Jersey the partnership had undergone a number of name changes, and 'LL' had been registered as a business name. LL cards were published in many countries, and they were particularly popular in the company's native France, and the Channel Islands. Our page for the cards contains over 400 different monochrome views, plus the recently added tinted versions. Together they provide a fascinating picture of the island at the beginning of the last century
1 December 2019
Not only have we never seen a ship's passport before; we cannot find any online reference to their ever having been issued in Jersey, save for a single reference in the website passport-collector.com, where we found this image. Apparently ships' passports became fairly common in the United States towards the end of the 18th century, but we have not been able to find any record of their being issued in the British Isles, other than this single example from Jersey. It was issued at Elizabeth Castle by Col William Deane, who was the Lieut-Governor in 1753, and the seal it bears is said to be his personal seal. It was issued to Louis Malouin, master of Le Conde for a voyage to Guernsey and back in August of that year, and was valid for the vessel and crew of four. William Deane became Governor of Upnor Castle in 1758 and rose to the rank of Major General in 1770. He is said to have had dinner on one occasion with Benjamin Franklin
8 December 2019
This is what St Helier Harbour
was intended to look like when a major project to create an outer harbour, which would be accessible at all states of the tide, was embarked on in the 1870s. Sir John Coode's plan was chosen from 42 submitted to States in 1870 and two years later work started on the new southern pier from Elizabeth Castle, in the bottom of this drawing. This section was completed successfully but after work started on the L-shaped pier from La Collette
, large sections were washed away in successive winter storms and eventually the States lost their appetite for what had always been a controversial project and it was abandoned. The Elizabeth Castle
arm remains to this day and the area south of La Collette has been reclaimed from the sea and includes a marina and tanker berth. There are many articles which explain in detail the construction methods and problems encountered with storm damage, but nothing appears to explain what it was proposed to do with the area in the upper left, between the Esplanade
and the Castle, which would have been dry for much of the day when the tide was out, and no use for shipping. Perhaps it was intended to reclaim it - as has happened since
15 December 2019
A special Honours list was published in a supplement to the London Gazette on 11 December, containing the names of those Channel Islanders honoured for their service during the German Occupation, which had ended seven months earlier. There were three Knighthoods, for Guernsey and Jersey Bailiffs Victor Carey and Alexander Coutanche; and Jurat the Rev John Leale, who took over the presidency of Guernsey's Controlling Committee. King George VI honoured a total of 25 islanders, from senior politicians and civil servants, to postman Thomas Camp, of Gorey, and Miss Jessie Fraser, who ran the communal restaurant in St Helier
22 December 2019
Today we take it for granted that we can drive along the coastline all the way from St Aubin to Gorey, but it was not always so. Most of the coastal route has been built on reclaimed land, now protected by substantial seawalls, some built by the States, some during the Occupation by the Germans. The only access to the harbour at Gorey used to be through Gorey Village and down the hill, as shown in the upper picture. It was not possible to turn right at the bottom of the hill and head along the coast, as it is today. This picture probably dates from the 1870s, or possibly earlier. Gorey was an important commercial port at the time, and there was a public weighbridge just to the right of the earth bank, where produce could be weighed before being taken along the muddy surface of the pier to ships which would carry it to France. The weighbridge shows more clearly in the later photograph below, from the 1890s. The railway was extended from Gorey Village to the Pier in 1891 and the terminus can be seen to the right. It was the extension of the railway line which was the impetus for the land reclamation which created space for the track, a road and a pedestrian promenade.