St Helier Harbour - pictures from World War 2 to today

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Arrival of a mailboat in 1952 - Picture Evening Post. At first sight it looks as if the vessel is on its way out of the harbour, but it is more likely that it was heading stern-first for its berth, otherwise the crowd would have dispersed

High and low tides in 1979 and 1980

Jersey has a remarkable tidal range. The difference between high and low water on a spring tide can be over 40 feet/12 metres. The actual height of the tide on any particular day will be influenced by atmospheric pressure and weather conditions: high pressure reduces the height of a high tide but makes the water go out even further at low tide; low pressure does the reverse, and if accompanied by strong winds, can lead to extensive flooding on a high tide. These pictures were taken by Jersey Evening Post photographer Glenn Rankine on 18 March 1980 and show the extreme range of the tide on that day. The tide tables which predicted the heights of low and high water in advance forecast high water of 40.4 feet at 7.27 am and low water of -0.1 feet at 2.16 pm, the figures relating to mean sea level. These pictures suggest that high tide was pretty much as predicted, the water lapping over the top of the harbour walls, which were built at 40 feet

Similar views in January 1979

... and in 2019
This aerial photograph of St Helier Harbour, taken some time in the 1990s, is not of the best quality, but it vividly indicates how the island's main port has grown over the years. The original harbour, bounded by Commercial buildings, La Folie, South Pier and the New North Quay, is in the left centre of the photograph. This section of the port dries out completely at low tide and contains the original English and French Harbours and what is now known as the Old Harbour. Today these harbours are used exclusively for leisure craft. Moving out towards the camera we see the Albert and Victoria Piers, built during the 19th century and for over 100 years the outer limits of the harbour. In the late 20th century there was further expansion to create Elizabeth Harbour, a roll-on roll-off terminal in the left foreground, which is today the main centre of activity for both cargo vessels and passenger and car ferries. To the right is the slightly earlier marina, with an industrial complex behind on reclaimed land. Out of shot on the right is the berth specially for tankers delivering fuel to the island.
This magnificent image of St Helier Harbour probably dates from the 1950s, taken as so many have been over the years, looking down from Fort Regent. Although the English Harbour in the foreground is full of leisure craft, the Old Harbour to the right seems strangely empty. There is a mailboat, probably Isle of Jersey, berthed on the Albert Pier in the background, and a single cargo vessel on the New North Quay. In the foreground is La Folie Inn. Close examination of other areas reveals a harbour almost totally lacking in activity, which leads us to believe that the photograph must have been taken very early in the 'fifties, or possibly in the late 1940s
This picture shows St Helier Harbour in the 1960s, with car ferry Duchesse de Normandie in the foreground, berthed on the Albert Pier. It's not difficult to see why the vessel was known to islanders as Sooty. She could often be seen belching out dark grey smoke (at times, much more than in this photograph) and she was blamed, probably unfairly, because most of the damage had been done years before, for turning the granite walls of the old abattoir building at the landward end of the pier (on the right of the photograph) black. The Duchesse operated between Jersey and St Malo, and occasionally to Granville, and was much loved by islanders who, after a period of reliance on cargo vessels, could once again travel with their cars on the way to a Continental motoring holiday. Sooty was eventually joined by another vessel, Duchesse de Bretagne, but this was the beginning of the end for another operator which failed to make money out of a route which simply did not carry enough traffic to justify the presence of two ships. Berthed behind the Duchesse is Trentonia, a cargo vessel which operated regularly to Jersey in the 1960s. On the skyline overlooking the town of St Helier in the background is Almorah Crescent.
The exact date of this outstanding aerial picture of the harbour is not known, but it is believed to be in the late 1940s or early 1950s, soon after the German Occupation
No 13 crane, installed in 1949, and now subject to a preservation order
An aerial view of the harbour and Fort Regent in 1960

21st century

Small boats moored close to La Folie, with the Sealink mailboat Sarnia in the background
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