Industries and businesses

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Commerce and industry

Today Jersey's principal industry is finance, but the island has pursued several profitable activities over the years. For centuries the main industry was farming, but whereas Jersey's early 20th century prosperity was founded on the export of new potatoes and the island's unique breed of cattle, earlier money-spinners included cider. Not surprisingly for a small community surrounded by the sea, maritime activities have often proved very successful, but although fishing in local waters for oysters provided a 19th century boost to the economy, the cod trade on the other side of the North Atlantic proved much more important and longer-lasting.

During the Victorian era and into the 20th Century, Jersey developed all the public services essential to a growing community, including a public water supply, gas and electricity, post and telephones.


Gorey Shipbuilding.jpg

For a few decades in the 19th century Jersey was among the most important ship building centres in the British Isles. Shipyards sprang up all along St Aubin's Bay, from St Aubin Bulwarks to West Park; at Havre des Pas; at Gorey and the southern end of Grouville Bay; from the back of Mont Orgueil Castle along the northern end of the bay; and at St Catherine.

Many of the vessels built in these yards were relatively small, designed to be used by local fishermen and in Gorey's oyster industry, but others were intended to cross the Atlantic to participate in the cod fishing industry. The largest vessels sailed as far as Australia to bring wool back to Europe. Jerripedia traces the decline and fall of this important industry.

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