The building of St Aubin's Bay Seawall

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This picture, attributed to Albert Smith is dated 1900-1910, but it must be considerably earlier, because it shows the seawall between West Park and First Tower before the building of Victoria Avenue started in 1895. The picture, which shows a unit of the Royal Jersey Artillery exercising behind the wall, shows clearly where the land level was before the wall was built, and then infill took place to allow the road to be built. The tracks are probably in their original position, where they would have been at the mercy of the waves on high tides. When the road was constructed the track must have been moved much closer to the seawall, where the promenade was built after the railway closed

The States gave permission for the construction of a railway to run between St Helier and St Aubin on 22 October 1869.

Railway company

On 16 December 1869 an offer by a Mr Pickering of the Jersey Railway Company to construct a seawall from West Park to St Aubin for the sum of £30,000 was duly considered, and later agreed, by the States of Jersey. The company’s intention was to backfill the area behind the new wall for a distance of 90 feet, 30 feet of which would be used by the proposed railway and the remaining 60 feet for the construction of a new carriageway and promenade. The construction of the seawall was important to the railway as the tracks would run very close to the high tide and would be in danger of being washed away in a storm.

Unfortunately the company decided four years later, in 1873, that it could not afford the £30,000 cost of the wall and decided to abandon the seawall project as it would cause them a heavy loss.

The matter was left until 1879, when the States Committee of Defence commenced the construction work themselves, having decided that the project was of great overall benefit to the public.

It would be another 15 years before the States decided, in 1894, to take advantage of the newly reclaimed land and authorised the construction of Victoria Avenue from West Park to Bel Royal.

Jersey Archive has an Act of the Roads Committee, dated 6 May 1898, regarding the cession to the States of land between Millbrook and St Aubin for the purpose of building a further protective seawall.

Crown cession of coastline

On 19 November 1898 The Crown ceded to the Public of the Island, without guarantee of title, a stretch of coastline running from Millbrook to St Aubin's Harbour. The purpose of this transfer was to facilitate the construction of further coastal protection measures, to create a boulevard and to facilitate the construction of a section of railway track running from Millbrook to St Aubin's Station. In this deed, the Public were charged to transfer to the railway company all and such land that it may require in order to facilitate the construction of this section of the railway track.

Some years later the railway company ran into financial difficulties, resulting in its assets being sold off to the States of Jersey by the Royal Court on 23 December 1937.

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