A 1691 map of the centre of St Helier

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This is one of the earliest surviving maps of St Helier, drawn in 1691. It is only a section of the whole map which we have included in a history of the town of St Helier, albeit as a much poorer quality image, and is reproduced again below. This section shows the area centred on Grande Rue, now known as Broad Street. Immediately to the south is La Muraille de la Ville, the town wall. This tall, granite wall was built to keep sand from the dunes outside being blown into the street. The map shows clearly how the sea came right up to the walls of the town churchyard in the bottom right-hand corner. In the centre right part of the market square can be seen with the courthouse one of the few buildings around it. The main concentration of buildings is along the north side of the square and Grande Rue, and behind them is Rue de Derriere (the back street) which is now the town's main shopping precinct - King Street. There was only a scattering of town houses to the north of King Street, with gardens and marshland beyond them. At the eastern end of Grande Rue, the prison, which straddled the road, marked the town boundary, and beyond that just two narrow lanes headed north into the countryside. The route west along the coast towards St Aubin was probably passable only across the sands at low tide, because beyond the town boundary were rough dunes. On the shoreline below the parish church, in a position which land reclamation in the 19th and 20th centuries has left some distance from the sea, stood the Moulin a Foulon, a 'fulling mill', for the beating and cleaning of cloth. It is not clear whether it was driven by one of the town brooks, or whether it was a windmill. Next to it was La Foire, the cattle market.
This extended version of the map shows little in the way of buildings beyond the market square. There are a few buildings on both sides of Rue du Haut, now Queen Street and an extension of the shopping precinct, and also some buildings on the south side of Colomberie and Hill Street, close to the Snow Hill junction. La Motte Street is open countryside. The eastern side of Rue des Trois Pigeons, now Hill Street, underneath the cliff face of Mont de la Ville, has yet to be widened to allow for the town houses which were built there much later.
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