Friday, 10 May 2013

Jersey's Royal Square

First, a map, courtesy of MS Bing, for those unfamiliar with the Royal Square...

The Google Streetview Car couldn't drive through the square, so I've taken some snaps to show you around. The view looking back to here (Streetview). This was the start of Royal Court Road (now closed and paved over) with #19 on the left, and the States Chamber on the right. The Members' Entrance in on the right, and we plebs get to see them come in and out on States Sittings Days. This is where many TV interviews happen, as the reporters hang around here waiting to catch their prey.

Turning around to look farther along the old road, and on the left is the entrance to the Royal Court (high risk prisoners are whisked in the back entrance in Hill St) - there has been a courtroom here since the mid 1700s. This is where you don't mind going to buy a house but would rather not go for any other reason :)

The appearance of a mythical creature like a unicorn just about sums up many low opinions of the place :)

These bulky steps protruded out into the road once it was paved over, after the Library closed and moved up to Halkett Place. 1886 appears over the doorway. It now houses the Greffe and offices of Very Important People.

The western end of The States Buildings, and the end of the old Royal Court Road emerges here (Streetview) to join Church St by the Town Church. The doorway facing the church is in many couples' wedding photos as the Registry Office used to be inside this end of the building.

I believe the Bailiff's Chambers at the end here (as seen on Streetview) were built in 1931 if I've read and decoded MCMXXXI correctly.

Next, we have the United Club looking down at us, from the 1st Floors and up, with their entrance in Church St. The Ground Floor is address #10 Royal Square, the present Registry Office...

.. with the entrance in this route to Library Place (and onwards to Broad St - here looking back from Lib.Pl. on Streetview) and prior to that it was a trust company with all those little company registered office brass plates at the doorway. In the 1933 almanac it was the Public Health Office. Going back even earlier, it was the Corn Market from the 1600s.

Across the passageway from the current scene of wedding photos, we have #11, a former Guardhouse (until the mid 1920s) called Piquet House.

This stone gives more history. In almanacs from 1933 onwards it was used by the National Provincial Bank, later known as Nat.West, and finally Roy West  in the 1980s. The Chamber of Commerce had its base here for a while back in the 1930s, and before that (1890,1901,1910) the "Nouvelle Chronique".

An old Police Alarm box in the wall at #11...
.. a close-up of the details.
A lamp is another old Police feature...
.. and a nice sundial.
One of the entrances to #11 presently says "Home Affairs Department".
The view from here into the Square.
There doesn't seem to have been a number 12, the first property in Vine Street is right next to #13.
Vine St is another place Google didn't reach, this is as far as they went (Streetview) - looking up from the other end. Here #3 Vine St on the left is the St.Helier Registrar, and on the Even Numbered side of the street things start at #2, currently the rear of HSBC. Before that it was Collins and a useful passageway through to King St - sorely missed.

#6 Vine St and along - some good old Jersey architecture here on the way down to Jack Wills (formerly CT Maine's Jewellers) at #18 (also taking up part of Brook St and around into to King St.)

Back to the Square, and #13 (Slomans Estate Agents at present) has had a busy past, being Guardian R.E. Insurance in 1988's almanac, a number occupiers before that, and was the A.G.'s office in 1920. And back in 1879 it was the Uruguay Consulate!

#14 is currently the back of Cath Kidston, formerly Evans, Au Caprice back in 1988, many and various offices before that.

 #15 is currently "Le Petit Greek" cafe (here looking down Vine St in the distance) with a past including Royal Insurance in 1988's almanac, the Judicial Greffe and Defence Committee in 1964's, and from the 1920 issue and back to 1890 at least, the American Consulate.

#16 is at the end of this block before Peirson Place, and has been home to Gallichan Jewellers since way back in 1845! The Royal Trust of Canada was upstairs in the 1978 issue, and Norwich Union in 1964.

That golden statue is of George II (all mileages from St.Helier are measured from here), erected in the square in 1751 in gratitude for his gift of £200 towards the construction of a new harbour - this also being the origin of the name Royal Square.

From King Street, Peirson Place is a short stretch of where we used to be able to drive from Vine St around this corner, into the end of King St (here in Streetview) and emerge in Halkett Place facing Queen St (Streetview)... before it was paved over too. Not a bad decision - the area is much nicer now.

#1 Peirson Place. You've probably heard of 1781 and all that.

#2 is on the doorway at The Peirson, and there's a #4 on the side entrance to

To finish our look at Royal Square JE2 4WA addresses, the Peirson Pub is #17, there is a passageway between here and #18, to Halkett Place, going behind the King St Jewellers Hettich (emerging here on Streetview).

The Peirson's neighbouring pub the Cock and Bottle (formerly the Cosy Corner) is #18, and the adjacent property (next to the States Chamber) is #19 - former home to the Chamber of Commerce, Healey and Baker, and Ermitage Management (1988 almanac), R.A. Rossborough (1978 almanac), Norwich Union (1964), Le Masurier & Co (1933 and 1920 copies), the "Chronique de Jersey" in 1910, back to 1873 etc.

The history of the States Buildings block probably deserves a book of its own, having a wide variety of interesting entries in the old almanacs from the days before the whole lot became our dear government.
Old Royal Square addresses have even gone up to #21 or more, most confusingly! The middle of the block appears to be around #4 in some almanacs. I'll keep an eye out for any history of the place if it crops up, but that's the end of my research here for now.


Anonymous said...

Many thanks for posting these pictures. They are unavailable on Google Maps Streetview as Royal Square is a pedestrianised area and Streetview images are mostly captured by motorised transport. - A visitor from Ireland

crapaudmatic said...

Thanks for commenting, I was wondering if anyone finally would!

Yes, I realise the Google Car (often spotted in window reflections) wouldn't be allowed to drive through the precincts - shame they didn't seek out permission to do so, early in the morning, on Sunday, etc.

Maybe they'll send one of their more recent backpacker crew over, to do the precincts and footpaths, one day?

There are also quite a number of roads they missed out. A friend of mine is really keen on maps and has been busy helping to sort out the errors recently, since they allowed contributions to the UK maps. The Jersey part of Google Maps is already looking a LOT more accurate in the last few weeks than it used to. I wonder if anyone has noticed?

Anonymous said...

In other parts of towns and cities with pedestrianised areas, Google have used a large tricycle to transport their cameras. Are bicycles or trikes banned from pedestrian areas in Jersey, I wonder? - A visitor from Ireland

crapaudmatic said...

Yes, if the police catch you cycling in the precincts they will certainly have a word with you.. or more :)

David Chatel said...

Brilliant set of images of the Royal Square and the Piquet House, which I was researching, thank you.