Tuesday, 5 July 2011

Hints for Visitors and Rainy Days

Ward Lock & Co's "The Channel Islands and Parts of Brittany and Normandy" (1932-1933) is always fun to dip into. Here are some of their "Hints for Visitors" - and some still are worth taking note of, while others are interesting from a historical perspective.

The warning about the tides is still as valid, while the "not plentiful" hotels and inns in outlying areas is sadly becoming more true with each passing year, and each closure of a former hotel or inn.

Hints for Visitors.

1. The Tides have a large range in the Channel Islands and rise very quickly indeed. Explorers of caves are cautioned to use every care in this respect. Always carry in the pocket a tide-table, which can be cut from a local paper. The tide-table will be of special use when visiting the north coast, as some of the most interesting spots can be seen to advantage only at low tide.

2. There are few restrictions as to bathing. Lovers of a dip should take towel and costume even when making distant motor or cycle excursions, for there is nearly always an opportunity for a bathe somewhere.

3. Always carry time-tables of the train and bus services.

4. Hotels and inns are not plentiful in the outlying districts. Most of the hotels are connected with town by telephone, and lunch can be ordered in advance. Telephone call-offices are frequently seen.

5. Cyclists and pedestrians, and all who wish to view the lovely coast scenes in quiet, are advised to get away from the town well in advance of the excursion vehicles. In August especially, the contemplative holiday-maker will do well to time his visits to the better-known spots in such away as to dodge the invariable midday invasion.

But what if it is raining? Then we have the delightful hints about what to do:

How to Spend a Wet Day in Jersey.

Even in Sunny Jersey a day occurs occasionally when the weather is not propitious for venturing far from headquarters. The following hints are intended merely as suggestions for visitors whose headquarters are at or near St. Helier.

Visitors evidently were directed to more cultural pursuits, although I could happily spend all day if I was back in the 1930s on the St Aubin Railway!

I still remember the old museum mentioned here, which has happily had its middle and upper floors restored to the merchant's house that it once was. Back in the 1970s, before the new museum was built next door, this was the place to go to see display cabinets full of military regalia and medals, lots of rocks in the geology section, arrowheads in the archeology section, and downstairs, all those jars holding what appeared to be pickled fish, which seemed quite extraordinarily bizarre, and was largely how Jersey marine life was presented! Very Victorian!

If you want to see a lot of pickled fish, of the kind that Jersey had, there are masses on display in Berlin, and this site gives the flavour of this kind of display. Berlin now boasts what is probably the most modern storage site for alcohol-preserved natural exhibits in the world, the museum said. It contains some 1 million objects stored in 276,000 jars, containing a total of 81,880 liters (21,600 gallons) of alcohol and lined up on 12.6 kilometers (7.8 miles) of shelves:


Everything in the old Jersey museum was collected and labeled, but there was not really any narrative linking all the different artifacts together, and putting them in geological and historical context, and while I personally enjoyed visiting on a rainy day (I have strange tastes), the modern visitor would have probably found it as interesting as browsing a Stanley Gibbons stamp collection.

There was an interesting mock up of a Jersey kitchen in the outside courtyard, which has sadly gone, because that would appeal to visitors today, and it is a pity no one could put that back, perhaps at Hougue Bie.

I like the way in which other sites for a rainy day included "the police court". I can just imagine the visitor sitting there, enjoying the court cases, as a kind of vicarious vulture. I believe there are still voyeurs who enjoy that kind of thing with the new magistrates court, and I remember Bob Bisson (of the bible verse painted house) who used to indulge in that, no doubt so he could say "there but for the grace of God...".

(a) A visit to the States Chamber, Royal Square
(b) A visit to the Royal Court House, Royal Square
(c) A visit to the Library, Royal Square
(d) A visit to St. Helier's Church, Royal Square
(e) The Hotel de Ville and Police Court
(f) The Markets, and Beresford Street.
(g) The Roman Catholic Church, Val Plaisant
(h) A trip on the St. Aubin Railway
(i) A visit to the Opera House, Gloucester Street, or to one of the cinemas
or other places of entertainment.
(j) The interesting Museum of the Société Jersiaise

The advertisement columns of the local papers will often suggest a mode of passing time.


James said...

Of course, the daughter of the gardien of the Museum at the time of Ward Lock's guide (Mr Bill Clements) is still alive.

Mr Clements' brother Frank was gardien at La Hougue Bie then (and right up to 1960), and his granddaughter now lives in Jersey too.

Tom Gruchy said...

Not relevant to this posting but the D R Congo case was listed for the RC Samedi Division again last week.
Don't know if it was heard or what but might be a case to test the new public access to judgments with.