Thursday, 5 February 2015

Street Names of St Helier – Part 3

More on street names from the Pilot of 1972. As I stated before, the author of this piece is not named, but I suspect on stylistic grounds, it was probably unpublished writings left by G.R. Balleine who had died some years before.

The two other parts are here:

Street Names of St Helier – Part 3: Modern Times

For the first half of the nineteenth century the growth of the town was prodigious. When Falle wrote in 1734 the population was about 2,000. By 1800 it had quadrupled to 8,000. By 1831 this had doubled again, and become 16,000. By 1841 it was 24,000, by 1851 30,000. All these newcomers had to be housed. Jersey was a builder's paradise. New streets sprang up like mushrooms, and for each a new name had to be found.

Some took their names from a building in them. The Public Library, till it moved to its present premises in 1886, was in Library Place, Bath Street had public baths opened in 1827 with "baths hot or cold, fresh or salt, Bristol, Harrogate or Cheltenham".

Museum Street gained its name from a museum started in 1836 with "an Exhibition of Egyptian, Grecian, and Roman relics, collected by the late John Gosset, Esq., including a mummy, numerous papyri and amulets found in tombs at Thebes, specimens of the arts of the South Sea Islands, China, America, etc., liberally lent for the purpose of establishing a National Museum". Unfortunately on the first free day so much damage was done that the museum had to be closed, and nothing remained but the name which clung to the house and street.

St James's Church, built in 1829, gave its name not only to St James's Street, St James's Place, New St James's Place, and St James's Cottages but also to Chapel Lane, for in early days the church was known as St James's Chapel of Ease.

Before St Mark's Church was finished in 1844, St Mark's Road had borrowed its name. And Wesley Street takes its title from the Wesleyan Chapel.

Many a street is called after some private house in, it; Hilgrove Street, for example, after Hilgrove House, the home of the Hilgrove family, a large mansion which stood on the bank of the Grand Douet, near the point where the present Hilgrove Street meets Halkett Place. Its spacious fish-pond occupied the site of what is now the Market, and, till its later years, it looked out north and east over nothing but green fields. It was pulled down in 1845.

Plaisance Road got its name from plaisance, the home of Jurat Falle; and many other of our street names, such as Bagatelle Road and Belvedere Hill, can be explained in the same way.

Other streets preserve the name of a landowner, Mont Cochon, like the Rue es Porcqs, has nothing to do with pigs, but belonged to the Couchon family. In early deeds it was generally called Mont Couchon.

Burrard Street was a gift to the town from Sir Harry Burrard, the General who superseded Wellington in the Peninsular War. His mother was a Durell, and he was born at St Ouen's. The Gazette de Cesaree announced in 1812: "Lieut-Gen. Sir Harry Burrard is about to give a new proof of the lively interest he takes in his native land by opening a road from New Street to the New Markets. This road will be called Burrard Street after its generous donor."

In the Visite des Chemins of 1699 Hue Street is called "the road which passes the house of Mr Helier Hue"; and permission is given to Matthew Le Geyt ' to widen the street beside his house" (the present Le Geyt Street).

A contract of 1770 describes Dumaresq Street as "the street which Guillaume Dumaresq caused to be made". Lemprière Street in the Town Plan of 1800 is a long private tree-lined avenue, leading up to the large house of the St Helier's branch of the Lemprieres.

Jean Seaton was an auctioneer who sold his goods on an open space facing the sands, which he called the Seatonnerie. Here a little later Seaton Place was built.

Byron Road and Byron Lane have nothing to do with the poet. They were built on land that was called the Bironnerie long before the poet was born, a name obviously derived from the Jersey family of Biron.

Haguais Street (how many readers can say where that is? It is the `short cut from Broad Street to King Street opposite the Post Office) gets its name from another old island family, the Haguais.

The military authorities also have left their mark. The Parade was a wilderness of rough sand hills, till General Don levelled it to be the parade-ground of the Militia. At the corner of Cannon Street the building can be seen where the cannon of the Artillery were stored. And Dauvergne Lane gets its name from Fort Dauvergne (called after the Prince of Bouillon), which stood on the seafront at the end of the lane.

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