Thursday, 12 February 2015

Street Names of St Helier – Part 4

The final section 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 As I stated before, the author of this piece is not named, but I suspect on stylistic grounds, it was probably unpublished writings left by G.R. Balleine who had died some years before.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 three other parts are here:

Street Names of St Helier – Part 4: Modern Times (continued)

Some streets received the names of big-wigs, whom the town desired to honour.

First the Royalties: King Street and Queen Street from George III and Queen Charlotte, and Regent Road from the Prince of Wales, the future George IV, who acted as Regent during his father's madness.

In 1817 the Duke of Gloucester, nephew of George III, visited Jersey, the first Royalty to do so since Charles 11, and the Rue de l'Hopital (Hospital Street), was renamed Gloucester Street in his honour. Clarence Road got its name from the Duke of Clarence, who became William IV; and the old Rue de la Planque Billot became York Street as a compliment to his brother, the Duke of York.

When the young Queen Victoria came to the Island with Prince Albert in 1849, the memory of that visit was enshrined in Victoria College, the Victoria and Albert Piers, Victoria Street, Albert Street, and Queen's Road. The Victoria Avenue was given its name at the time of the old Queen's Jubilee.

Other streets bear the names of popular Governors or Lieutenant-Governors. Don Road, which is part of the new road from St Helier's to Gorey, was named by a special Act of the States in 1806, "seeing that this improvement is the first of its kind to be carried out in the Island, and that its utility is recognized by all, the States desire Posterity as well as our Contemporaries to know to whom it is due. It is therefore ordered that this road be called Don Road' . Don Street was part of another suggestion made by General Don to cut a direct road from the town to the Town Mill. It was begun in 1812, but never carried further than Vauxhall; and eventually New Street and Val Plaisant became the desired thoroughfare.

Halkett Place was a road made when the New Markets were built. At first it was called the Rue du Nouveau Marche. When General Gordon, the Lieut.-Governor, left in 18211, it was proposed to call it Gordon Street. But his successor, :Sir Colin Halkett, became so popular that his friends urged that it should be called by his name. It is mentioned in advertisements as "Gordon Street or Halkett Place" or the Rue du Marche, "which some individuals have recently named Halkett Place". An attempt was made to buy off the Halkett supporters by giving them Halkett Street, but this did not content them, and eventually they captured Halkett Place also.

Lord Beresford, the Governor (Halkett was only his Lieutenant), visited Jersey in 1821, and the newly-built Beresford Street was given his name. Conway Street bears the name of General Conway, the builder of our Martello towers; Norcott Road of Sir William Norcott, who became Lieut.-Governor in 1873.

The latest road to be named in this way is Mount Bingham. About 1917 Mr E. T. Nicolle propounded a scheme for regarding Grosvenor Street, La Motte Street, Queen Street, and King Street as a single thoroughfare, and calling it after Sir Walter Raleigh, who was Governor in Elizabeth's reign. The parish authorities would not consent to such a drastic alteration. 

But about the same time the property owners of Almorah Road petitioned the Roads Committee to free them from a name that had become associated with funerals. (As a matter of fact, the road had. that name before the cemetery was thoughts of. The builder chose it because his wife had been born in Almorah, a hill town in India.) So, when this petition was read, somebody said "here is one group wanting a road named after Raleigh and another wanting to get rid of the name Almorah. Let us call Almorah Road, Raleigh Avenue. Then everyone should be satisfied."

Other celebrities honoured in this way are Major Peirson (the street where he fell is Peirson Place, and Peirson Road faces Gallows Hill, where he mustered his troops), and Captain Mulcaster, who refused to surrender Elizabeth Castle, though ordered to do so by the Governor.

National leaders receive a tribute of respect in Pitt Street, Nelson Street, Peel Road, and Wellington Road,

But it is strange that this compliment has never been paid to a single Jerseyman- In any French town the street-names provide a list of its eminent citizens, Rue Antoine Quidam and Rue Alphonse Le Tel. But one looks in vain for this in Jersey. Philippe Baudains nearly had his name given to Victoria Avenue, but the Jubilee robbed him of his chance. And Mont Pinel has no connection. It is the name sometimes asserted with the late Judge Pinel. It is the ancient name of the hill, which has recently been revived.

Much more might have been said. Some names have been switched in an odd way from one street to another.

The original Wellington Road lay between the Parade and the sea. The original Oxford Road was what we now call Stopford Road and Victoria Street,

Some queer names have disappeared altogether. No more can you prowl round Tinkers' Court or down Sweeps' Lane. Limpet Lane and Winkle Alley have passed unmourned from the map. No longer do landlords preach to their tenants by making them live in Abstain Cottages or Fay-as-you-go Court

But one curious fact must be noted. St Helier must be almost the only town in Great Britain that does not possess a High Street!

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