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19th century advertisement
Beghin's King Street shop window in 1953 promoting the Battle of Flowers

Beghin's, the shoe shop which ceased trading in 2019 in premises between King Street and Broad Street, was founded in 1842 on part of the site now occupied by the Victoria Club in Beresford Street. It quickly became very popular and profitable, thanks to its close proximity to the markets, which attracted people from throughout the island to buy and sell on Saturdays.

Immigrant family

The founders were Paul Beghin, and his son Napoleon, immigrants from France in the early 19th century. Early business was so good that Paul and Napoleon opened a second shop in Broad Street in 1845, managed by the father. At this time Broad Street was a much more important shopping street than King Street, which would have merely afforded a back entry to the shop.

Napoleon's son Leon was sent back to France in 1864 to work in a boot factory at Fougeres and learn this side of the family business. He was so successful that he became manager of the factory, before a slump in business led to his return to Jersey in 1870.

From 1880 to 1900 the business was listed as N Beghin and Son, when it changed to Leon Beghin. From 1940 onwards it was known simply as Beghin's.

The family had a large house at Greve d'Azette which eventually became the Greve d'Azette Hotel. Leon took over the reins of the business and extended the shop into King Street, which was becoming an increasingly important thoroughfare. A further shop was opened at 69 and 71 Halkett Place.

In 1892 Leon Beghin placed the following advertisement in the Jersey Times and British Press Almanac:

"This old established house has gained the reputation of selling a good article cheap'.

The business continued to expand both its size and reputation and in 1921 an advertisement in the Evening Post gave its addresses as 8 and 10 Broad Street, 51 King Street and 69 and 71 Halkett Place.

Louis Jackson joined the business in 1924 and a limited liability company was formed. He was to be in charge until his retirement at the end of 1969. By 1940 the business had also expanded to take over No 53 King Street

In 1955 the company was bought out by Norvic, a Norwich undertaking. They in turn sold out to A Jones and Son, of Eastbourne in 1972. The Halkett Place business was then sold and the company continued to trade from King Street and Broad Street, at Red Houses, St Brelade, and in Guernsey.

Napoleon Beghin, who lived with his family at No 33 Halkett Place in the mid-19th century, and some time later opened a shop on the corner with Burrard Street, then numbered 71


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