No 5 Library Place

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Historic Jersey buildings

5 Library Place, St Helier


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Library H Draper 1859.jpg

Property name

5 Library Place

Other names

Old Library


Library Place, St Helier

Type of property

18th century former public library


The property remains in public ownership and was last leased, for nine years, in 2014

Families, businesses and States departments associated with the property

Census returns

  • 1841: Janes Quesnel, silversmith, and family
  • 1861: John Falle (52), bookbinder
  • 1871: Clement du Parcq (47), librarian, with wife Mary and six children

Almanac listings

  • 1874-1886: Clement du Parcq, accountant
  • 1890-1930: Superintendent Registrar, States Treasurer
  • 1935: Safety Coach Service
  • 1940: Motor Traffic Office, Social Assurance Committee
  • 1950-1960: Motor Traffic Office, Education Office
  • 1965: Education Office
  • 1970: Rent Tribunal, Housing Committee
  • 2018: Alliance Francaise [1]


  • PF 1736 - For Philippe Falle

Historic Environment Record entry

Listed building An early building with unique features for Jersey and a rare survival of an early 18th century building in the town.

The building is also significant for being an early example of a public library, possibly the first in the British Isles.

Shown on the Richmond Map of 1795. Begun 1736; finished by 1742. Top storey said to have been added 1820, but this seems improbable as the staircase seems contemporary with the rainwater heads dated 1736. Yet de la Croix (1845) says firmly il a ete exhausse d'un etage.

An unusually early example of a public library. Terrace on to street, three-storey, three-bay. Slate roof, single small box dormer in centre. Rendered chimneys. Cast iron gutter with lion head mouldings. Cast iron hopper head on either side. Ground floor forms a granite plinth for the upper floors which are brick detailed with burnt headers. Granite quoins and string course between first and second floors. Double doors with three panels each in centre of elevation. Stone threshold step with iron mud scrapers cut into the granite on either side.

Old Jersey Houses

This is one of the few St Helier town centre properties to be featured in either volume. This is the entry in Vol Two:

"We have here a building with claims to our attention on both historical and architectural grounds. It must be one of the very first buildings in Jersey to be made of brick.
"The cistern heads are embossed with PF 1736, for the Rev Philippe Falle (1656-1742) who devoted much time and money to establishing a public library in the island. He first made his offer of a library and books in 1729, but the building was not begun until 1737, being completed in 1742 shortly after the death of the benefactor.
"The staircase is particularly fine. The main first floor room, which was the original library, is very fine, with typical Georgian woodwork, a high pediment and entablature over the fireplace.
"The window sashes with their thin glazing bars are not original, dating probably from 1830 when the attics became a third story, to accommodate more books. Above this there are attics with dormers, invisible from the road.
"The ground floor was intended as living quarters for the librarian, who from 1791 to 1821 was the noted silversmith Jacques Quesnel.
"A few years ago Falle's Library was in imminent danger of demolition, but the various pressure societies in the island persuaded the States to retain it, as being something which had been given for the use of the public in perpetuity."

Notes, references and further reading

  1. The Alliance Française de Jersey is a registered charity whose aim is to advance the education of the public of Jersey in the French language and to promote a better knowledge of French and Francophone cultures. It was created in 1996 and is part of a worldwide network of 850 Alliances Françaises
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