One hundred views of St Helier

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One hundred views

of St Helier


The imposing King Street entrance to de Gruchy's Arcade - the acceptable face of St Helier ...


... and the unacceptable - a giant mural on the gable wall of a building in what is now Rue de Funchal

Jerripedia editor Mike Bisson, on one of his infrequent visits to the island he left 20 years earlier, took his camera on a tour of St Helier in August 2018 to view some of its older buildings and see what remains relatively unchanged after decades of redevelopment and rebuilding. He took several hundred photographs and has chosen 100 of them to illustrate his very personal views on Jersey's capital town

There is no denying that St Helier has changed over the years; but so has any town of comparable size in virtually any part of Europe, and further afield. In recent years the most dramatic changes have been on the town's south-west waterfront, which has moved some distance seawards following the reclamation of large tracts of land during the 1970s, leaving behind a landlocked Weighbridge and Esplanade, whose old granite buildings have largely been demolished and replaced by concrete and glass.

Much of that has happened since I moved permanently from the island to settle in France at the turn of the century, after a few years moving backwards and forwards between Jersey and the French mainland. My return visits have been few and far between, most of them very brief, just long enough to confirm in my mind that I made the right decision when I abandoned the island where I was brought up, educated and spent most of my working life.

Walk through the heart of town

During a very brief stay in August 2018 I decided to take my camera with me on a walk through the retail and residential heart of the town, ignoring the waterfront, which would only have depressed me, to see how much of the St Helier I knew and loved remains relatively unchanged.

I found much, even if it was necessary for much of the time to point my camera upwards and view old buildings at first floor level and above.

References in the captions to 'Brett' are to the National Trust for Jersey's review of St Helier's buildings, written for them in 1976-77 by C E B Brett. Brett was an Ulsterman, a solicitor by profession, and apparently something of an enthusiast for buildings as a sideline. His work had little impact at the time, and given the number of important town buildings which he either ignored, or gave only a passing mention, has unsurprisingly proved of only passing interest to historians and much less to town planners.

References to 'Stevens' are to Joan Stevens' two volumes of Old Jersey Houses.

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