Thursday, 13 November 2014

Jersey in the 1980s - BBC, Tourism, and Demographics

I’ve just been enjoying perusing Domesday Reloaded.

The picture above is the “Liberation Anniversary Arch”. It was at the entrance to The Battle of Flowers Arena on Victoria Ave. In 1985 it was also used to celebrate the 40th Anniversary of the Liberation.

Back in 1986, the BBC decided to celebrate the 900th Anniversary of the Domesday book by getting groups of people to submit pictures and observations about the places they lived. Information was collated via BBC Microcomputers, and early floppy disks. Other material included colour photos, statistical data, videos and "virtual walks".

It was put on laser discs, but of course the technology changes made that rapidly become out of date, and so it rested, moribund, until it was revived in 2011 into a web based format. It is fascinating, because this is a work where the most sophisticated computer which most people came across (outside of businesses) was the BBC Micro.

It was an era with three and then four TV channels – and that was all! No mobile phones, except large clunky cell phones which looked like bricks. Even in businesses, computers were just starting to gain inroads, and the photocopier was beginning to replace carbon copies in typewriters. Fax machines were gradually becoming more common, but the telex machine was still often a part of the business equipment for communicating across the world.

And BBC Radio Jersey was just starting up. It was largely news story based, and not broadcasting continuously through the entire day as it does now. Here is a piece about it, and about Rediffusion, a cable TV channel, now long defunct (in 1988):

“Local B.B.C. Radio Jersey is situated in Rouge Bouillon and was set up in 1982. It broadcasts on the same wavelength as Radio Two. It has a manager and a producer and a number of free-lance reporters. Its broadcasts cover local news, emergencies and weather forecasts. It also broadcasts local entertainment programmes, local interests and outside broadcasts on special occasions. “

“Rediffusion Electronics Works. There are 2 works on this site. Rediffusion Channel Islands was opened in 1976. It repairs Rediffusion TVs, videos, radios and other electrical equipment. It also installs cable television facilities and has done so since 1984. Rediffusion Reditronics is a factory which makes amplifiers and background music systems. It employs around 100 people, mainly local women.”

The tourism season was slowing down by the end of the 1980s, but in 1986 there was still a substantial industry. This piece looks at the kind of tourists one might expect to see. The small private hotels and guest houses have largely gone, turned into flats or lodging houses. And there is not much nightlife left either!

“In our area there are lots of small private hotels and guest houses. We thought we would do a survey to find out about accommodation used by holiday makers, the length of their holiday, where they lived and why so many of them chose Jersey for their holidays. ”

“We prepared a questionnaire which we used to record the answers of fifty holiday makers. We found that most visitors were staying in small hotels. The average length of holiday was one to two weeks. Most visitors were from the Midlands and the south of England. They had chosen to come to Jersey for their holidays because they thought that Jersey had a lot of attractions such as better weather than England, good beaches, plenty of nightlife. Everyone we spoke to said that they were enjoying their holidays. “

And finally, this survey of employment of parents from St Clement’s school gives an interesting demographic.

“We found out what is the most popular job of parents in St Clement's School. We started off in the Infants and worked our way up to Junior 4 “

Building Trade = 53 Parents
Finance = 35 Parents
Tourism = 19 Parents
Sales People = 16 Parents
Working with children = 12 Parents
Agriculture = 11 Parents
Cleaners = 11 Parents
Health Workers = 9 Parents
Other Jobs = 23 Parents

“The most popular is the Building Trade because there are so many buildings being built in the Island. Finance is the second most popular job because lots of people work in Banking which is one of Jersey's main employers. Tourism is third because Jersey is a Tourist Island.”

One has to also remember that the demographic of the Island’s private schools, as now, would probably have been very different with a larger proportion in finance and the legal profession.


Murray Norton adds:

Tony, the report was slightly inaccurate in that BBC Radio Jersey did not broadcast on the same wavelength as Radio 2 but on its own at 88.8FM & 292 MW. It did have a limited schedule in the early days. It rebroadcast Radio 2 when not delivering it's news. So in and out of Ray Moore, Terry Wogan, Jimmy Young, Gloria Hunniford & John Dunne it was mainly news at breakfast, lunchtime & Jersey at Five. By 1984 the station has grown into programmes with a two hour breakfast show with Ros Forrester, Lunchbreak with Richard Johnson & Jersey at Five with me. Station manager was Mike Warr, news editor was Mike Vibert.

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