Friday, 19 February 2016

Guide Book: St. Helier's and its Various Institutions – Part 2

Another section from the Guide Book of 1834.

The so-called Druidical Temple mentioned by the guide book was actually a Neolithic stone circle, which was given to Governor Conway and is now a listed site in England. Like the Elgin marbles, it is lost from its homeland and is never likely to be repatriated, which is a shame, as it was certainly quite spectacular.

The Theatre mentioned is Jersey's previous main theatre, the Theatre Royal in Royal Crescent, Saint Helier, which burnt down on 31 July 1863. It had only opened a few years before the guide book, on 5 May 1828. After it was burnt down, it took two years for a new theatre to be built: Henry Cornwall opened the Royal Amphitheatre in Gloucester Street - our current "Opera House" on 17 April 1865.

Notice the Post Office in St Helier was in Minden Place. Anthony Trollope was sent to the Channel Islands in 1851, and he introduced pillar boxes for posting letters, first in Jersey and Guernsey as a pilot scheme. Up until then, you could take mail to a post office (when it was open), and a postman could collect your mail when he delivered it, but there was no indirect means of posting mail. For more details on how pillar boxes were introduced see my posting here:

Gallows Hill is mentioned in the book. Until the 19th century, hangings were carried out on Westmount or Mont-Patibulaire (gallows hill) [Jèrriais: Mont ès Pendus (hill of the hanged men)] in Saint Helier. The last such execution was carried out on 3 October 1829, when Phillipe Jolin was hanged for murder, just five years before the guide book was written! After than public executions took place outside the prison in Saint Helier until 1905. Capital punishment was abolished by the Homicide (Jersey) Law 1986 in relation to the offence of murder and by the Genocide (Amendment) (Jersey) Law 1987 in relation to the offence of genocide.

There are a good many lodges! Some functioned as friendly societies whereby for a monthly due, payment for visits to doctor's surgeries or call outs would be taken care off. The British Unity Society Sick Club no longer exists, but the Oddfellows is still going strong, and anyone in good health can join and make monthly payments for free doctor's surgery visits. It is surprising that more people don't know about it.

Details can be found at:

The St Helier Fire Brigade was inaugurated on 1 January 1902 and originally consisted of Chief Officer, Captain Howard Eady, a second officer, foreman and 12 firemen - all volunteers. Before that, as can be seen in this Guide Book, Town Fire Engines are kept at the Engine House, near the Town Church and keys to them held by the Constable and Centeniers of St Helier. This would have been horse drawn, and manned by manual pumping action!

The Jersey Militia was very strong, as we see here - "Every inhabitant, from the age of seventeen to sixty-five, bears arms, either as an officer or a private". In the First World War, 6,292 Jerseymen who had Militia training went to fight in the trenches.

Compulsory schooling was into introduced around 1900, so the many Sunday schools mentioned here not only taught their faith, but also reading and writing.

Guide Book: St. Helier's and its Various Institutions – Part 2

Fort Regent, Mont de la Ville, or the Town Hill, rises more than one hundred and fifty feet above high-water mark, at the South end of St. Helier.

When it was private property, there were gardens to its summit; it was purchased by Government for the sum of eleven thousand, two hundred and eighty-six pounds sterling, as a site of a fortress which was finished about the year one thousand eight hundred and fifteen, and deemed impregnable.

It is built of granite, is bomb proof and covers more than four acres of ground. It is affirmed that the most powerful fleet would be annihilated by its guns. There is room within its walls for five thousand men; all that human art and strength could do, appear to have been called into service, to render this fortification inaccessible.

Store houses are hewn out in the solid rock for the ammunition ; —the well, from which the Garrison is supplied with water, is two hundred and thirty-three feet deep, one hundred and ninety-five feet of which is bored through the solid stone. A dozen men can raise the water into cisterns, by means of a forcing pump, and they can bring up about six thousand gallons per day.

This Citadel is said to have cost upwards of a million sterling; the prospect from it, seaward, is magnificent, and includes a vast labyrinth of rocks, called the Violet Bank, which runs round the South-East corner of the Island. In such scenes as these the enthusiasm of the Poet cannot but be awakened.

As on the ocean's shelvy shore,
He listens to its solemn roar;
Beset with awful wonders round.
Whilst sea-birds scream with grating sound;
And then the moon bursts from a cloud,
Majestic, fair, sublime and proud.

A signal-post, which communicates with others in the Island, gives information of every vessel which arrives.

In levelling the surface of the Town Hill, in 1785, a Druidical Temple was discovered, which the States presented to Marshal Conway, who removed it to his seat, at Park-place, in Berkshire.

Theatre.—This edifice has been lately erected at the East end of the Town, and stands in the centre of a crescent, a row of buildings very ornamental to the upper part of the Town, which for internal accommodation and external appearance, is surpassed .;in very few places, of the like magnitude, in England.

The Stage should he to life a faithful glass,
Reflecting modes and manners as they pass;
If these appear extravagant to view,
Blame not the Drama, the reflection's true.

The Literary And Scientific Institution was established in 1831, and now consists of between fifty and sixty members. It meets in its own hall every Tuesday evening, when a Lecture is given, and discussion on the subject of it follows. By a recent law, there are four Public Meetings in the year, besides the Anniversary; and by a still more recent bye-law, the Lecturer for the evening is allowed the disposal (if he pleases) of twenty-five tickets. The Society has a rising museum and apparatus. Last summer, under its direction, an exhibition of paintings, ancient and modern, was opened in the hall. The present office-bearers of the Society are

Mr. SINGER, President. Mr. INGLIS, Vice-President. Col. TOUZEL, Treasurer. Mr. SAUNDERS, Secretary.


On either hand,
Like a long wintry forest, groves of masts
Shot up their spires ; the bellying sheet between
Possess'd the breezy void.
The boat, light skimming, stretch'd its oary wings,
The roaring vessel rushed into the main.'

Harbour.—Beneath the Fort, on the South-West side, is a spacious Harbour, more than a quarter of a mile in length. It has a convenient Quay on each side, and will hold from three to four hundred vessels; it is unfortunately dry at low water; the tide rises at times, at the mouth, to from forty to: fifty feet.

A spacious Quay has been recently erected, at an enormous expense, running from the upper end of the Pier, near the Town, in a straight line along the water, towards Mont Patibulaire, or Gallows Hill. This commodious Quay is one of the most delightful Promenades in the Island, possessing an admirable marine Southerly view. It is intended to erect Houses or Warehouses along its line.

Post Office—Mr. G. W. Le Geyt, Post Master, appointed by the Post Master General.—The Office is situated in Minden Place, is open every day in the week from nine in the morning until nine in the evening, excepting the hours of Divine Service on Sundays.

The Mails are conveyed by His Majesty's Post Office Steam Packets, and arrive every Sunday and Thursday; are made up Monday and Friday evenings, and depart Tuesday and Saturday mornings. The box is shut at nine, but Papers are admitted for a penny, letters for two pence, and the mail entirely closed at eleven o'clock.

Delivery of Papers for public Offices, Clubs, Reading Rooms, and Letters on the public service, half an hour, and all others, an hour and a half after the arrival of the bags at the Office. Papers and Letters are delivered in Town gratis, but in the Country are charged one penny each.

Papers from England come free, as likewise Letters franked by Ministers of the Crown :—but the franking privilege of Parliament does not extend to the Islands, hence such Letters are chargeable with full postage from the place at which they are deposited ; nor will Petitions, addressed to either House, go to the Members of Parliament free of postage.

Letters cannot be franked from the Island. Papers are free to and from Guernsey, but to any part of Great Britain and Ireland they are charged three pence, and to the Colonies one penny half-penny.

The Clerks of the Foreign Post Office charge ten shillings and sixpence per quarter for forwarding Jersey Papers to France, the United Netherlands, Brazil, Monte Video, Buenos Ayres, Chile and Peru.

The Royal Court of Jersey has no jurisdiction over His Majesty's Post Office, although Letters containing money have been attached for debt by its Sheriffs. By a warrant from one of the principal Secretaries of State, Letters may be detained and opened; but if any person shall wilfully detain or open a Letter delivered to the' Post Office, without such authority, he shall forfeit twenty pounds, and be incapable of having any future employment in the Post Office. All complaints must be addressed to the Secretary, Sir Francis Freeling.

Lodges—Mechanical Lodge—Held at Miller's Royal Yacht Club Hotel and New London Tavern, every month.

Farmer's Lodge—Held at Godfrey's Kent Coffee House, Halkett-street, first Monday evening, every month.

Irish Lodge—Held at Strout's Navy and Friends, Waterloo-street, first Tuesday evening, every month.

Odd Fellows Lodge—Held at Godfrey's Kent Coffee House, Halkett-street, every Tuesday.

British Unity Society Sick Club—Held at Strout's Navy and Friends, every first Thursday in the month.

Banks—Old Bank—Messrs. Godfrey & Co., Royal-Square. Commercial Bank—Janvrin, Durell, De Veulle and Co. Jersey Banking Company—Messrs. Nicolle, De Sainte Croix, D'Auvergne, Le Quesne and Co., Broad-street.

Country Bank—Messrs. Gibaut, Falla, Alexandre, Le Quesne and Co., 60, New-street.: Their Notes are payable only in the Island, and its currency—These Banks drawn on London and Paris. The rate of exchange varies according to circumstances; it is usually on London from seven to eight per cent.

There are several smaller Banks in the Island which issue Notes equally guaranteed, agreeably to an Act of the States. —Bills are discounted by usurers according to risk, at from 1\ to 5 per Month I As the only interest of money recognized by law is 5 per cent per annum, borrowers may be discharged from their liabilities, by compelling lenders to action them before the Court for payment.

National School.—Patron—His Ex. Maj. Gen. Thornton.
President—Right Rev. Charles Rd. Lord Bishop of Winchester.
Acting President—The Very Rev. the Dean of Jersey.
Treasurer—Clement De Quetteville, Esq.
Secretary—Thomas Lempriere, Esq.

St. Helier's Parochial Sunday School.—Patron— The Right Reverend, the Lord Bishop of Winchester.
President—The Very Reverend, the Dean of Jersey.
Acting President—The Rev. the Rector of St. Helier's.
Treasurer—Thomas Lempriere, Esq.
Church Missionary Association—(Jersey District)— Ph. Marrett, jun., Esq., Treasurer; Rev. P. Filled, Secretary. St. Rubin's Branch, formed July, 1824.
Rev. P. Filleul, President; Ph. Marrett, jun., Esq., Treasurer; J. Gallichan, Esq., R. N., Secretary.

St. Helier's Ladies' Branch, formed 25th August, 1824.
Mrs. Verner,' Secretary; Mrs. J. Le Couteur, Treasurer.

District Committee Of The Society For Promoting Christian Knowledge.—Patron—The Right Reverend the Lord Bishop of Winchester.
President—His Excellency Major General Thornton, C. B.
Treasurer—Thomas Lempriere, Esq.
Secretary—Rev. Edward Falle.

Female Auxiliary Bible Society—Patron—Right Honourable Lord Teignmouth.—Patroness—Lady Teignmouth. —President—Mrs. General Le Couteur.—Treasurer—H. Goron.—Secretaries—C. E. Bedford and C. Pipon.

Benevolent Society.—Treasurer—Mr. Peter Pequin of Sand-street.—Secretaries—Messrs. J. Anthoine, Francis Guiton, jun., and A. Giffard.

Philanthropic Society.—Patron—His Excellency Major General Thornton, C. B.—President—Sir Thomas Le Breton, Knt.—Vice-Presidents—The Very Rev. Dr. Hue, Dean, and Philip R. Lempriere, Esq.—Treasurer—Thomas Lempriere, Esq.—Physicians—Drs. Hooper and Brohier.—Secretaries— Messrs. M. Tate, New-street, and W. Saunders, Druggist, King-street.

Seaman's Friend Society And Bethel Union.—President—Capt. George Le Geyt, R. N.—Treasurer—Lieutenant Sainthill, R. N.—Secretary—Mr. J. Robertson, R. N.

We have now mentioned many of the charitable Institutions, we cannot avoid stating that that useful Establishment the National School consists of about two hundred boys and one hundred and fifty girls, who are taught to read and write, and the first elements of arithmetic, with the addition in the female department, of plain needle work.

The Parochial Sunday School contains three hundred boys and girls. There is also an Infant School into which children are admitted from two to six years of age.

She feeds yon almshouse, neat, but void of state,
Where age and want Bit smiling at the gate;
Her portioned maids, apprenticed orphans blest,
The young who labour, and the old who rest.
Is any sick ?—her hospital relieves,
Prescribes, attends, the med'cine makes and gives.

Town Fire Engines are kept at the Engine House, near the Town Church. Keys are kept, one by the Constable, one by each of the Centeniers, one at the Guard House, and one at Mr. James Bosdet's, Vine-street.

Custom House.—This building is a private house, situated well for the interests of commerce, being contiguous to the Quay, in the central part of Bond-street. It is neither! remarkable for external appearance nor internal arrangements Its officers are :—J. Durell, Esq., Principal; Mr. Joseph Ridder, Comptroller; Mr. H. Warne, Waiter, Searcher, and Surveyor of British Shipping; James Hardy and Joseph Beaton, Boatmen.

Harbour Masters.—Mr. J. Lerrier, for St. Helier's; Mr F.J. Luce, St. Aubin's, and Mr. Philip Bertram, Mont Orgueil

Foreign Vice-consuls.—Matthew Amiraux, Esq., for Sweden and Norway; Mr. P. J. Simon, for France; Nicholas Le Quesne, Esq., for Portugal; Mr. John Moisson, jun., for the Netherlands and Spain ; A. De Ste.-Croix, Esq., for Prussia; J. De Ste.-Croix, Esq., for Hanover.

Agent For Lloyds.—Thomas Mallet, Esq., Colomberie.
Royal Greenwich Hospital.—Mr. P. Warne, Receiver.
His Majesty's Receivers.—H. Touzel and Matthew Amiraux, Esqrs.

Collectors Of Duties On Wines And Spirits.— Messrs. Edward Nicolle and Ph. Le Geyt—Auditor—Mr. Peter Warne.

Inspector Of Strangers And Granter Of Passports. —Colonel Touzel, Government office, St. Saviour's.

Agents To The Fire And Life Assurance Companies. —Sun, Fire and Life office, Mr. J. Le Ber, 18, Royal Square.—Royal Exchange office, J. Benest, Esq., 5, Bond street.—Alliance office, P. Godfray, Esq., 25, Royal Square. —Phoenix, Fire and Life office, Mr. M. Tate, New-street.— Norwich Union office, Mr. P. Durell, 61, New-street.—West of England office, Mr. C. Kernot, 25, Halkett-place.—County Fire office, and Provident Life office, Mr. N. Westaway, 24, Don-street.—British Life office, Mr. D. Vonberg, Broad-street, —British Commercial Life office, Mr. C. Thoreau, jour.—Promoter, Life office, E. Marrett, Esq., Church

European, Life office, Mr. M. Amy, Queen-street.—Eagle, Life office, Mr. J. Blampied, Broad-street.

Staff.—His Excellency Major General Thornton, C. B.; Colonel Touzel, Military Secretary; Major Fraser, Fort Major and Adjutant.

Ordnance Department.—Commanding Royal Engineers, Lieut-Col. Lewis; Commanding Officer Royal Artillery; Captain Haultain ; Clerk of the works, Mr. John R. Mills; Clerk, Mr. Bethel ; Overseer, Mr. John Le Sueur; Storekeeper, J. Hammond, Esq.; Master Gunner of Elizabeth Castle, Mr. Buckley; Master Gunner of Fort Regent, Mr. K. Fowler; Master Armourer, Mr. J. Tait; Surgeon, R. Cooke, Esq., M. D.; Barrack Master, Captain R. Treeve.

Royal Jersey Militia.—The Royal Jersey Militia consists of five regiments of Infantry, formed into six battalions. To each battalion is attached a company of Artillery. The Artillery companies are, upon occasions of exercise, formed into a battalion, which is armed with 24-pounders light, divided into six batteries. The whole is armed and clothed in uniform by Government, but do not receive pay.

Every inhabitant, from the age of seventeen to sixty-five, bears arms, either as an officer or a private.

The Militia Staff consists of an Inspector and assistant Inspectors, who are the Adjutants of their respective corps; the whole Island force is under strict regulations, but though the Governor or Lieutenant-Governor appoints the officers, and has this force entirely under his own command, yet all complaints against individuals are judged and punished by the Royal Court.

Shipping.—The commerce of the Island has increased in so great a degree since the peace, that it now employs upwards of two hundred and twenty vessels of various dimensions, belonging to the merchants and inhabitants of Jersey, calculated at between twenty and twenty-five thousand tons, besides upwards of sixty thousand tons of English and Foreign vessels, that annually enter the harbours of the Island.

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