One of Jersey’s more unusual buildings is the Barge Aground on the seafront of St Ouen’s Bay, also known as the Seagull. Commissioned by Lionel Cox in about 1935, it is not known who designed the boat-shaped building, but it was built by Mark Amy Limited.
The Barge Aground was requisitioned by the German occupying forces in 1941 and used as a canteen by Machine Gun Battalion 16. The building was painted with camouflage. Many of the original contents were looted and shipped to Germany.
After the war, Lionel Cox returned to the Barge Aground and the building was restored as a beach chalet. He left the building to the Jersey Scouts Association in his will in 1955.
It was leased to a William Chalmers Kerr until 1971. Mr Kerr was a research psychologist from Glasgow University who specialised in speech disorders, particularly stuttering. The property was used as a clinic, with patients visiting from all around the world.
The site was used in the 1970s and 80s by the Scouts as a base for camping, in connection with the Westward Ho site on the opposite side of the road. It was then sold by the Jersey Scouts Association to the Public of the Island in 1997, who then let it to the Scouts Association for a time. The building was restored and refurbished as a holiday let by Jersey Heritage in around 2005.
The Barge Aground is the single surviving example of the beach chalets that once lined St Ouen’s Bay and is illustrative of the inter-war fashion for building places of fun.