Monday, 16 April 2012

Tourism Decline - Lost Attractions

Look at these "Major Places of Tourism Interest" from the 1994 Perry's Guide and be amazed how many have gone since!

Now take a look at the Tourist Attractions section of the yellow pages - a pitifully small number of entries!

Looking through the old map gave me a nostalgia trip, and although I haven't a hope of documenting the hundreds of changes, I took a trip up to the North-West to show just a few of the changes....

The ruins of Plemont Holiday Camp are the best example of Jersey's tourism decay.

Thankfully the eyesore is only visible for a short stretch of main road, or to cliff path walkers or Plemont beachgoers.

.. to get there, go past what used to be a corner shop and Plemont Candlecraft.

Even the pub La Forge has gone - this is all that remains.

Also up North, at Greve de Lecq the hotel above the tower is to become appartments, there's only 1 cafe on the pier where 2 used to compete, a bar has vanished near the barracks, and of course...

.. there are houses where Caesar's Palace used to be.

Taking a quick diversion eastwards but staying coastal - back in the 1980s you could follow a path down the cliffside and visit Wolf's Caves, with a bar/restaurant at the top to help you to recover afterwards. The cliff path is now overgrown and barriered off, and the building and car park here? Now a building site. For houses. Astonishingly some road signs still point the tourists to here, where they'll find nothing of interest! It's on a current tourist map too, along with a couple of other closed attractions :)

Back in St.Ouen, Bleu Soleil camping ...

.. has a kind of closed look to it. (UPDATE 2013 - it has re-opened under new management as Daisy Cottage Campsite)

St. Brelade's Camp Site may have become Reg's Garden (website), but time is limited with that one too, as he's giving up.

And the Shell Garden isn't opening this year, due to illness.

"Wayside Crafts" (later the Snow Goose) at St.Ouen's Village - now more houses.

Bouchet Pottery and Agateware in the village...

.. boarded up.

St.Peter's Bunker? Just a small hint of it remains - and the car museum next to it is just a furniture shop now.

The Fantastic Tropical Gardens made for a good summer day out, but they vanished some years ago.

Nothing left of the Butterfly Farm and its tea room. Or the tea room at Anne Port/Jeffrey's Leap.

And afternoon tea at the Sylvania Guest House won't refresh you on the walk from Bel Royal to St.Aubin - it's a building site too.

And as for Jersey Pottery, there's a building site barrier here now...

.. so you won't be seeing this again...

.. or going for a drive-in BBQ.

Oops, I got side-tracked. Back to the west... and forget about the shop, aviary, sand-sculptures and cafe at Sunset Nursery - it's closed and that'll be more housing too.

L'Etacq makes for a great illustration of the decline. You could have a great weekend break here, on just 2 pages of the 58 page map...

The Bal Tabarin, later Adrian's, The Ranch, finally a Diamond place along the lines of the Gold and Pearl places - now returned to nature (with a wasted chance for a safe small gyratory system rather than risk the fun of meeting a coach in the narrow lane!)

You can't drive along the old pathways at Les Landes any more, you vill stick to ze one track!

The Lobster Pot hotel and restaurant has gone. Housing.

The old hotel / restaurant (Marina?) is self-catering.

The Relais pub is more... you've guessed.. housing.

.. and although the Milano went years ago, at least it provided a useful car park. Until they recently tried to chain it off!

The map shows L'Etacq Woodcraft, Pottery, Leatherland - but there's housing now in the old quarry, and I'm not sure Treasures of the Earth is still going to open any more. The public carpark is now tarmac goodness instead of gravel, but there's no reason for an ice-cream van these days.

The Goldsmiths replaced the old New Med (revolving bar etc) and then became Jersey Pearl (est. 1985) after a move from St.John's village - the Goldsmiths taking over Retreat Farm. Over the road we have the Channel Islands Military Museum in a bunker which is moderately recent, but the Chateau is a tatty relic now. It was a Shopping Experience but that's shut up shop, and there's currently just an Art place where the incredible Microworld once was.
Winston's restaurant is also just a memory, at what's now a scout center.

Once upon a time there was a filling station here, and a chance to buy a drink or ice-cream on a sweltering summer walk when the others nearby seemed a long way off...

.. and that's presently becoming a whole new house. The eco homes nearby replaced the old bar Sable d'Or.

Also on these 2 map pages, the Shire Horse Farm has gone.

And the Battle of Flowers Museum - I believe she said she was giving up, but maybe she's giving it one more season. Have a look before it's gone - they don't get coachloads of tourists any more so be quick!
(UPDATE 2013 - Sadly the owner passed away later in 2012, so count this as a past attraction too)

The bay's "interpretation centre" used to give us a chance to look around Kempt Martello Tower, but that's closed now, like the short-lived (too little too late) Discovery Pier exhibit at the end of Gorey Pier.

What else are we missing? I could reminisce about Belle Vue Pleasure Park, or even that the Airport used to be a friendly place to visit. The parking wasn't such a rip-off, there was a restaurant above Arrivals, and open viewing decks to watch the planes. Even when the new Departures first arrived, it was open to all for some shopping, a cafe, kids play area, etc. All gone or closed off to checked-in passengers only.

And it used to be one of the busiest airports in the world, with movements every few minutes. Nowadays the planespotters can get bored waiting for something to happen, ironically now that the place is more expensively over-developed than it ever was! Yes, raise the fees, that'll encourage visitors... like all the other ways Jersey priced itself out of the market.

Portelet could have a blog entry of its own, with all the hotels, holiday village, beach cafe and Janvrin's Farm all gone. See for the latest disgrace.

Fort Regent warrants a website of its own for memories, these days what's left in use is almost totally for sport, leaving gardens unloved and areas of past amusements deserted. Visitors are still recommended to pay a visit on a windless day to enjoy the views from the ramparts and to make sense of what remains visible of the impressive Napoleonic Fort - but that seems to play second fiddle to the money grabbing developers who would rather see it all become luxury housing (as usual), a hotel, casino, etc. See it while you can... :)

Luckily we still have other Forts and Castles to enjoy, because it's not the done thing to build on those. Visitors can enjoy the excellent day out to Elizabeth Castle (which can still be seen from at least half of the bay now) or the easier to reach one at Gorey, also impressive. Jersey Heritage also run the NT(J)'s Hamptonne (open this year from June to Sept) as a country farm museum, and the excellent La Hougue Bie dolmen / museum, in addition to the Pier Road Museum and Art Gallery, and Maritime Museum and Occupation Tapestry Gallery. A private enterprise runs The Pallot Steam, Motor & General Museum (website) which is also worth a look if that appeals.

And there's still the spectacularly beautiful Zoo (called a "Durrell" now), but even they have ominously warned of the possibility of closing if their visitor numbers dwindle further, which really would be the final nail in the coffin.

There's the Living Legend (while it's still open - they have mentioned possible closure so see it while you can) where the Strawberry Farm once stood, providing an 'experience' show, shopping, Crazy Golf, Go-Karting, cafe, etc. (website).

The Amaizin Maze is actually a new adventure park since I was little - well done them - and the Golf Course and Country Club at Les Mielles has branched out into Segways, laser clay pigeon shooting, bungee trampolines, mini golf and more to amuse the kids in their 'Fun Zone'. Also, amongst many sports at Les Ormes there's now a Creepy Valley adventure centre to give the kids a good time. Or you can go bowling if it's raining, hardly a unique attraction to Jersey but worth having anyway.

Some attractions that were around in 1994 are still going. The Jersey War Tunnels (website) once known as the Underground Hospital. There's La Mare Wine Estate (website), and the Orchid Foundation (website) - not exactly mass-appeal IMHO, even if relatively unique to Jersey in their own way. There are those brown Tourist Attraction roadsigns pointing to Catherine Best's Jewellery at the old Windmill (St. Ouen) - new since the 1994 guide - but surely it's just a shop? If it was in town amongst everything else, how many would bother to venture inside? I also have trouble regarding Samares Manor Gardens (website) and Jersey Lavender (shop and cafe) (website) as must-see Jersey attractions, whatever their undoubted charms.

I also have mixed opinions on the glorified shopping experience of the Goldsmith's Lion Park (website) which replaced the Retreat Farm glasshouses visit - but at least it opened up the gardens to us.
(UPDATE 2013 - the Lion Park closed early this year too)

But that's about it - if you're lucky you might catch a National Trust property open (like Quetivel Mill, Grève de Lecq Barracks or the newly refurbished town house), or maybe some German bunkers opened up for viewing by the CIOS.

I still think it's all a big step down from what we used to have. All the attractions and amenities go one by one and we hardly notice - but when you actually stop and look back you realise what we've lost.

Hotels, restaurants and nightclubs too numerous to mention, all gone. The Esplanade is a prime example of somewhere that would amaze a visitor who last came here before the 1990s. It's almost unrecognisable all the way from the Pav / Inn on the Park (now apartments) to the Weighbridge, including numerous missing hotels (several in Gloucester Street too - Sandringham and Chelsea) and nightclubs (Thackery's, Swanson's), restaurants (Broadway), Funland, etc.

Obviously St.Helier, as a living town, naturally changes over time - but the Esplanade's changes are just incredible, quite apart from the land reclamation. Also Colomberie is just a shadow of its former self, killed off by mad traffic diversions and hotel closures.

Like a walk in scenic Queen's Valley before it was flooded, you'd also be hard pressed to visit Gorey's Secret Garden, the Harvest Barn in Vallee Des Vaux, St.Clement's Priory Inn, La Moye bar, Zanzibar in St. Brelade's Bay, La Folie pub, The Argilston at Mont Nicolle, Bistros at La Rocque and Rozel (Frere), Bistro Centrale, Apple Cottage at Rozel, Ramsbottom's, The Drive-In, Central Park...  and so many hotels lost (see later blog posting for hundreds!)
Likewise there are so many pubs and corner shops now lost to the mists of time. And cinemas.
Having done some web-searching for missing places I'd forgotten about, I'll admit I got some of the above from the "Missing memories" thread at this Jersey Forum - perhaps if you have any comments and don't fancy making them here, you could try there.

It's sad to see just how much we've lost, as we've lost focus on Tourism and pursued Finance to the detriment of nearly all else. It used to be so much nicer to live here. There was indeed a buzz to the place, tourists all around town in the evenings, which is all gone now. It's hard to believe just how much it has changed, and difficult to explain to anyone who wasn't here.

So, as Jersey continues to slowly turn itself into one giant sprawling luxury housing estate with gated enclaves to keep out the wrong riff-raff sorts from the other half of the divided community torn by mass unemployment, what do we have left to offer?

Countryside with scenic lanes, all twee and micro-managed, but not particularly different to anything the average Brit or European would be familiar with from the nicer parts of their own countries - save for the odd granite farmhouse. Jersey cows if you can find what's left of the herd.

A town also micro-managed to an absurd degree that makes motorists feel unwelcome, with the same shops that Brits will be familiar with, just in a different arrangement.

A range of old military installations for the history buffs to explore - mostly likely to appeal only to one half of the average couple and not so much to kids, apart from the two castles that usually appeal to all.

A pleasant (sometimes stunning) coastline, with great peaceful walks along the north coast and fascinating diversions such as Devil's Hole. But it's increasingly being blighted by the spreading pox of intrusive luxury housing. And along the avenue you have to pay to park for the beach!

Maybe it's not so bad, there's still plenty to do - but not as much as we used to have :(


Anonymous said...

Wow, that's a depressing post! And on Friday the 13th, no less.

You do make some good points. It's clear traditional family holidays to Jersey are in decline, and have been for years.

I am hopeful that Jersey gets its economy going strong soon. It's just a matter of time really. I do agree that too much focus on Finance (or any one sector) is a mistake. Switching from loads of tourists to loads of banks bought us time, but didn't fix the underlying lack of diversity. Finance is good, Finance + something else is better.

Do try to support local shops, and talk to shopkeepers and give them a chance to barter and make a sale. Mention the price online, and see how close they get. I pay a bit more if they get close. Some shops are better than others (JEC Powerhouse I'm looking at you and your £99 HDMI cables, check the dust on the packaging).

I've been here only three years, so I don't remember any of those places you mention. I do see a beautiful Island with a lot of potential ahead though.

Awesome post, btw. This one took a ton of research and effort. I'm glad you did it even though it is a bit dark.

crapaudmatic said...

Thank you for commenting Tom. I am dismayed just how much the island has lost its way.

I was hoping to get people chipping in with more, but as usual it's a stony silence!

Never mind, I still enjoy what I do here, from time to time :)

Anonymous said...

Well I appreciated your posting and wasn't inclined to make a comment. Some blogs have a "like" button or some other way of showing that the creator's effort is appreciated.

crapaudmatic said...

Thanks for finally writing something :)

I did briefly try the Ratings option on this blog but no-one bothered with that either! Besides, "Likes" aren't especially more gratifying than the page hits count... it's actual comments that show that people appreciate my contributions to the web.

If someone has passed the time here pleasantly and can spend a few moments to say something in return that makes all the difference.


Anonymous said...

Sorry crapaudmatic, had no idea that you felt that way. Hubby & I talked about your last post for hours. We left Jersey over 20 years ago but still like to keep an eye on the place which is where blogs like yours are a godsend. Your post certainly did bring back a lot of memories and I'm sorry if you feel it was not appreciated.

crapaudmatic said...

Thanks, but no need to apologise.
I don't feel bad when I get few comments, it's not the prime reason I do all this, but getting some certainly makes it all worthwhile!

Richard Chapman said...

Hi, Just stumbled across this blog when looking to see if there was any mention online of L'Etacq Pottery which I used to run from 1987 - 1992. I too remember all those places and since coming to Jersey in 1979 nearly everything out West seems to have closed, whether shops, tourist attractions, petrol stations etc etc.
In the 1980's at Jersey Pottery where I worked from 1981 - 1987 and later at L'Etacq the coach drivers used to bring herds of tourists, especially on wet days, on Island tours. The coach drivers always wanted a back-hander of some kind, either cash or vouchers, as they had so many places to choose from they could easily miss you out if you didn't pay up!
I really enjoyed your well-researched article and it brought back so many memories so thank you!
Kind Regards

Janet said...

Hi there, Like the previous reader I just stumbled across your blog whilst trying to find out any updates on the sad demise of the Milano Bars.
I, too worked at L'Etacq - actually at the Milano in the early 70's. My memories are many and happy of those days!
Apart from all the lovely friends we made - Paul & Mary, John-John & Lyn, Mary & Gordon, Ollie the organist . . .(I wonder where they all are now??)L'Etacq was so far removed from the 'highlife' of St Helier for two 18 year olds, it was almost like living on our own remote island. We had no car in those days, so we were a bit liked caged animals, never going anywhere or seeing anyone other than the regulars that used to come to us every night.
We too used to get the coaches pulling up as part of their tours, and the buzz that we felt when it was all hands on deck to get everybody served (always looking after the drivers of course, otherwise they wouldn't have brought them our way again!)in the short time they were there before moving on to the next stop of their 'mystery tours'. And seeing all those happy holiday-maker faces. Everybody just out to enjoy themselves and have a bit of a sing-song!
I can remember the anticipation of waiting for that bus to take us into town on Mondays, our one day off a week! We used to spend all day in town - even if we'd run out of money - and would not get a bus back any earlier than the last one which left town at 10 past 6. Then it was back to the Milano and our little 'Jersey family'. Oh, such happy days!
I can remember the thrill I got whilst watching an episode of Bergerac many years later and there he was chasing somebody all over the Milano . . .up the fire exit . . .into my little bedroom and out the window!!! Fame at last!
I had been holidaying in Jersey since the late 60's - even taking my first holiday without mum & dad there! It was just the most idyllic island! The stuff dreams were made of.
I carried on returning to Jersey up until the early 80's but sadly could see the rot setting in each time I returned. I last came out in 2002 and brought a friend who had never been before. He had, however spent many hours listening to me singing its praises! It was so sad to see the decline of such a beautiful island. I suppose its no different to whats happened to every other holiday resort - you just somehow expected that 'magic' that Jersey held to go on forever. I'm so pleased that I was one of the lucky ones that saw Jersey at its very unspoilt best. I will come back one day I'm sure, but that magical, beautiful island that was Jersey is now just a memory.
I'm so pleased that I came across your wonderful blog. I notice that there has been nothing written since 2012, I hope you haven't stopped. The memories you evoked were wonderful so thank-you for that.
I'll definitely been popping back to read any updates.
Thanks again

crapaudmatic said...

Thanks Jan for your wonderful memories, it really does give me a boost!

Richard Chapman said...

Hi again

Glad to see you're still going - a couple of updates: Florence Bechelet at the Battle of Flowers Museum has sadly died so no idea what's happening with that place...Jersey Gold now pulled out of Retreat Farm/Lion Park and maybe amalgamated with Jersey Pearl on Five Mile Road.
all very sad!

elsdon said...


For anyone who wants a keepsake of L'ECTAQ woodcraft I have a small wooden box very plain that I could part with for a modest fee - It has ended up in Nottingham
elsdon ward

Ali said...

Thanks for this, I was planning a holiday with our young family, to revisit the places I knew so well while working Summer seasons in the late 1980's. I'm now a little more prepared and won't be so shocked when cycling to remote cafes and bays.

crapaudmatic said...

Nice to hear from you Ali, I hope you have a wonderful visit... cycling around should still be a treat - if we ever get any weather worth writing home about!

Toby said...

Thank you for sharing all these wonderful Jersey memories, our family had some fantastic times in your beautiful island during the 1970's, 80's. We have been back a few times in more recent years and now struggle to find enough tourist attarctions to last for a weeks visit. I well remember L'Etacq woodcraft s, the lucky pieces of wood that went with your month of birth, like little matches of pine, elm, mahogany, etc, does anyone else rember them? Also the Fantastic Tropical Gardens were great, had a really enjoyable full day out, visiting the different countries of the world and watching the performing parrots on their bikes on a tightrope.
The Zoo was good, as was the Jersey Potteries where there was afine restaurant. Jersey Lavender, Retreat Farm which I think where flying flowers carnations were based. The shire horse centre was good, Living Legend was good when it first opened, but we thought it had declined on our last visit sadly. I really sincerely hope tourism takes off big time in Jersey, it is such a fantastic beautiful place, would love to see it back to its full glory.
Incidentally, have just watched the entire Bergerac series from start to finish (over a few weeks) which bought back a lot of happy memories, wish we could turn the clock back to the glory days. At least there are many unspoilt beaches and walks to do. Look forward to visiting again soon and dining at the wonderful restaurants on the island.

crapaudmatic said...

Thanks Toby, wishing you many happy holidays here!

Samantha said...

I just wanted to say how much I am enjoying your blog. I first came to Jersey in the early 80s and ended up moving over to live and work for a while. Jersey was such a wonderful place for me, I loved the people, the scenery, the coastline and the multitude of things to do and see. I always sent flowers home from Sunset Nurseries, have several wooden boxes and even a Jersey cow I bought for my Mum from L'Etacq Woodcrafts, plus several of the little pieces of wood to commemorate my birthday month, great meals at the Lobster Pot, visiting the Shire Horse Farm and the Fantastic Gardens - all gone now. I have friends and relatives on Jersey so I will always be back - in fact I'm over for a short break next month - I will never get the island out of my system but wish I could turn back the clock to better times. It is so sad to see the island completely dominated by finance and luxury housing. Thanks again and keep the blog coming! Samantha

500va said...

Crapaudmatic - thank you for that wonderful trip down memory lane. I have been visiting Jersey for 30 years, virtually every year. Jersey killed tourism deliberately and all by itself as it favoured the financial sector. No evidence found for The Council of Ministers supporting those wonderful attractions you mention. thankfully, Jersey is my "filler" holiday. As for a tourist location, it is effectively DEAD.

Ghost said...

I really appreciated this entry, I was going to say enjoyed but that wouldn't actually be accurate.
Jersey was the first family holiday we ever had in 1990, it was far enough that it seems a little foreign and warm compared to Northern Ireland but without the worried of a too long first flight, foreign language and food with picky kids.
We loved it and returned in 92 and 94 before deciding we had done everything and going further afield in my fathers quest for hotter sun to bake under and slightly less picky about food children.

We came back in 2004 and my sister and I were depressed to realise just how much of our beloved childhood memories had all gone; the Shire Horse Farm, the Fantasic Tropical Garden both used to occupy an entire day in the holidays, the big sea pool at St Helier had gone, slightly odd to think that the inflatable rings we used in it have actually out lasted the pool....
Even the stables were we learned to ride seemed to have closed up shop but as I still see it listed on activity sites so maybe we drove past on a bad day....

I actually came across the "passports" from 2 years of Fantasic Tropical Garden visits the other day which kicked off me googling various things until I hit your blog.

From your post I can see still more has been lost which make me sad.

crapaudmatic said...

Thanks for the comments, all appreciated, it's good to hear what other people think about Jersey's tourism decline. It's not all doom and gloom because there's still plenty to see and enjoy, just a lot fewer organised attractions and I just don't feel the 'buzz' any more - maybe that's just my age!

Anonymous said...

What a superb piece, but at the same time it makes my heart sink reading about the decline of such a beautiful and special place to me personally.

I'm in my mid/late twenties and visited Jersey frequently right from childhood until my late teens (the Chelsea hotel and pontins camps hold very fond memories!), but I suppose I'm as guilty as all tourists when I say I've not returned for 6/7 years.. After reading your work, it would appear that the island has lost a lot of its charm that made my childhood memories.

Jersey is a beautiful place to be, and whilst I'm tempted to return to see exactly how it's changed, I fear that too much has and that it would ruin precious memories, but I'm sure I will return in the not so distant future.

The beauty of Corbière at dusk is something I'd like to experience again.. But hopefully the walk ways aren't closed to prevent that. That would be a huge travesty.

Michael Ferns said...

Do you know anything about the Crucible Witches Museum? I saw it on an earlier edition of the perry's guide map but didn't know where exactly it was. It was even featured in an old guide about Jersey (circa 1980) including some pictures. Really curious to know.

crapaudmatic said...

Hi Michael, sorry that doesn't ring any bells here, possibly might have been at the 'Chateau'? Maybe another reader can help you? If I ever find out where it was I'll come back to this blog entry and comment!

Thanks for visiting.

Anonymous said...

Saddened to read that so many of Jersey's wonderful special places have now gone. I visited in the late 60's and early 70's with my parents it was thehighlight of our year. Visiting with my husband in the summer to visit some familiar places......but maybe not. Time doesn't stand still anywhere it remains to be seen what we will now find but are still looking forward to returning after so many years. My memories are treasured of a beautiful island and have many lovely photos to remind me. Thanks for reminding me of places long since forgotten. Jayne H.

Eric said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Eric said...

The Crucible Witches Museum was on top of the Le Relais Pub at l'etacq it closed in the late 90s,I worked for the company that owned the property at that time.I have an old perry's guide (1997) that show's it's position on the map

crapaudmatic said...

Thanks Eric, very kind of you to solve that mini-mystery for us! Cheers

rod james said...

Crapaudmatic, I have read both of your blogs, the hotels and the tourist attraction decline, and I mirror just about every word, infact I couldn't have put it better myself! I visited literally hundreds of times during the 1980's, 90's and more recently, the transformation of this once magical holiday island is startling! perhaps for me my biggest changes are st helier, and the airport, st helier now resembles a scaled down canary wharf, and the airport is a shadow of its former self, I vividly remember the days of erecting marquee's to handle the overspill of departing passengers! sadly all a distant memory now, its a lovely big terminal with a handful of people passing through, it all makes me sad as jersey was once close to my heart as a destination, and I feel like it has died, these things you never get back, I now take weekend breaks on the isle of wight, much more to see and do, although of course, its bigger.

debra howells said...

Hi my parents came to Jersey for honeymoon in 1960s and stayed at I think it was chateau pete del a mer ? It's now their 50th wedding anniversary and I'd like help with info or pictures or whether the hotel still stands . All their wedding photos got lost during a big move and lost every picture except from two . The place was in st heliers? Any info I would be most grateful as I want to make a special album for them . My dad has dimentia so he be over the moon . Any info please contact me on . I'd be most grateful . X Debra

Geoff Wood said...

Just came across this when, watching an old episode of Bergerac, mention was made of the Secret Garden Cafe, where my wife and I spent many happy hours on our honeymoon and with our children when they were young (1986 - 1990). If the island is as depicted it is a sorry state of affairs. We ate in the Lobster Pot on a night when the common caught fire and had to wait ages for our taxi to take us back to the Grouville Bay hotel, which I believe has also shut down.
Even on our last visit, the night clubs we went to and even won a massive stuffed dog in a raffle that we took back to the hotel late at night, seemed to already be in decline and disappearing. Having read everything mentioned above it is unlikely we will come back in the near future.Geoff Wood

Anonymous said...

This is, unfortunately, a fantastic record of how Jersey was allowed to so drastically decline in so relatively few years.

A great post, and one of which I hope current and future generations will take note.

Godders ( Oxford) said...

I first came to the island in 1962, sea, sun, Swansons, cheap booze and fags. Fabulous !
I returned in 1964 on honeymoon, enough said !
Then again in 1986 with children, there were some changes but we had a terrific time, sea and sun and lots of attractions. ( booze and fags were low on the agenda )
Now I'm here in 2014 all I recognise are the gorgeous beaches and Elizabeth Castle. Those grubby developers have a lot to answer for !

Keith Webster said...

Found this blog by accident while googling Argilston restaurant, boy does this bring back some memories. I came to Jersey in 88 and caught the tail end of the great times. Work was abundant, accommodation less so, the economy was thriving and during the summer the horror cars were everywhere, tourism still had some foothold.

I stayed for 25 years, the best of which by far were the early years late 80's early 90's going out down Bath Street, Wine Bar, Churchills and La Buvette followed by ( if I could still walk and get past the bouncers ) Raffles nightclub to enjoy the delights of Breaker Night 50p a can, this on a Wednesday night with work the next day!

I’d hire a car at the weekend and explore, I remember finding Plemont and walking through the caves. Walking down the footpath at Wolfs Caves, Devils Hole and having a fabulous Sunday lunch at The Lobster Pot, they had a separate vegetarian menu with around 6 items all of which were fantastic. Spending weekends sunbathing in the sand dunes at St. Ouen, it was an absolutely brilliant time of my life.

The change was gradual but certainly by the time the Polish had arrived the decline had become noticeable, Finance starting withdrawing and by the time of the financial crisis in 2008 the glory days were well and truly gone. I left in 2012 and returned to England, I remember just before I left coming to town for a meal with a friend who was visiting he remarked that no one was speaking English anymore, he was right and I’d hardly noticed the demographic had changed irreversibly.

Everything is massively cheaper here in England and I recall we were always complaining about the price of things locally but the grass is always greener. I could phone my GP and have an appointment the same day, here it’s a 3 week wait by the time you get to see the GP you are either better or dead. Yes you pay for GP services in Jersey but the GP’s are top notch frankly I think the UK could learn from the Jersey system. If I had a problem with a utility provider I could call them direct and speak to them, here I have to pay a premium rate to navigate an automated phone system at 25 pence a minute at the end of which if I’m not cut off I get to speak to someone in a call centre in Mumbai.

Jersey was a fantastic place, whether anything could be done to halt the decline of tourism I’m not sure, but as much as we used to complain about the bloody tourists we sure miss em now.

crapaudmatic said...

Brilliant comments Keith, thank you! I agree with your timings on the decline as well. The over-crowding is very noticeable now, we have the levels of traffic all year around that we used to complain about during the summers back then :(

Nikki Biscuits said...

Hi there, I was reading your blog which I found while searching for something on google and was hoping maybe you could help me.

I worked in Jersey for 4/5 years around 2000-2005 and I got a weekend job in a small restaurant which I seem to remember was on Le Colomberie. For some reason I seem to think it was a Mexican restaurant as I remember chimmachungas being on the menu. It was a fairly small restaurant with seating upstairs. I am hoping someone can help me remember the name of it?


Joe said...

Hi Nikki, does this look familiar?

I'd have to look up the name and get back to you!

Ruth M Gunstone said...


I stumbled upon this blog while trying to discover what happened to Caesar’s Palace!

I worked there in 1981, and can honestly say it was one of the nicest times of my life! Having all day to explore Jersey's delights, and one or two evenings every week to enjoy the nightlife in other parts of the island. Pure bliss!

As part of a charity drive, I walked the entire coastline (over a number of weeks!) and was amazed at the diversity of things to see. It was wonderful. Fantastic memories.

A friend of mine worked at the Watersplash - producing the summer shows for at least 3 years. I suspect this is no more, also?

It's inevitable that things move on, but nonetheless sad.

Thank-you Jersey, for giving me such a wonderful time - and may your time come again :-)

Ruth M Gunstone said...


I stumbled upon this blog while trying to discover what happened to Caesar’s Palace!

I worked there in 1981, and can honestly say it was one of the nicest times of my life! Having all day to explore Jersey's delights, and one or two evenings every week to enjoy the nightlife in other parts of the island. Pure bliss!

As part of a charity drive, I walked the entire coastline (over a number of weeks!) and was amazed at the diversity of things to see. It was wonderful. Fantastic memories.

A friend of mine worked at the Watersplash - producing the summer shows for at least 3 years. I suspect this is no more, also?

It's inevitable that things move on, but nonetheless sad.

Thank-you Jersey, for giving me such a wonderful time - and may your time come again :-)

Rick said...

Came by this whilst trying to find anything about the Lobster Pot, where I took a girl for a romantic dinner one Christmas in the early 90's. Brought tears to my eyes! The four years I spent on the island were the best time of my life and even though reading about the decline of tourism on the island is so distressing, it still brought back many cherished memories. Working at the Windmill Hotel, karaoke nights at Le Dauphin in St Brelade, La Marquanderie, great nights at the Porthole (I think that was its name) in St Aubin, even working for a while at the airport was a happy time and so many more. Sad to read, but at least I am ready for the shock when I return to Jersey for the first time in twenty years in the Spring next year!
Great piece!

Unknown said...

Hi, anyone know if the le etacqurel guest house is still going, it was opposite the lobster pot. I worked there in 1997, the chap who owned it was called David Lamay.

Alastair Spencer said...

We still have a colouring book from Heatherbrae Farm somewhere, another long gone attraction. We first came to Jersey on holiday about 1988 and most years thereafter until about 2009 by which time all the things we used to enjoy were gone. British Midland, Air Uk, British Air Ferries and British Airways all flew there with much bigger aircraft than the Flybe Dash 8 I went on last time. The roads were full of H suffix Metros, Fiestas and Clios. Tantivy, Blue Coach, Pioneer, Mascot Motors and Waverley Tours all competed for passengers.
I noticed that our favourite restaurant, La Barca in St Aubin has even closed down along with the tomato farm we sometimes stayed at. All the interesting and unique shops have gone.
Bring back the good old days.

Anonymous said...

I remember many of those attractions when we visited many times in the 90s when I was growing up. Shame that so much has gone.

Anonymous said...

4 years ago Michael asked if anyone remembered The Crucible witchcraft museum at L'Etaq - well I was just browsing my old photos from July 1988 and I found a photo of a 'witch hanging'(dummy of course!)under which I had written 'Crucible Witch Museum, L'Etaq'. No idea where exactly it was but it was definitely there!