What's your street's story? - Clearview Street
Clearview, Clairvale and Columbus streets are today in the heart of St Helier, part of the urban environment surrounded by other streets and buildings, but 180 years ago this was not the case.
The Le Gros map of 1834 shows this to be a rural area of ploughed fields and orchards, with a few houses but no major development.
Military construction projects completed during the Napoleonic Wars gave Jersey an improved road network, allowing easier transport of goods to the Harbour. Improvements in shipping technology further increased the market for Jersey produce and fuelled the growth of building in St Helier.
[Editor's note: It was not the demand for Jersey produce but the rapid growth in the island's population, fuelled by immigrants from England and France, which was the main factor behind the growth of building in St Helier, as referred to later in the article]
Edouard Nicolle, who was twice Constable of St Helier, began to sell off development land for housing in the 1820s. The area around Clearview, Clairvale and Columbus streets was designed as housing for the respectable working classes, who would provide services for the larger houses in the newly developed Rouge Bouillon area.
Mr Nicolle encouraged speculative development and did not constrain the style of properties built, which has contributed to its unique character. Developers who contributed to the area include two clergymen, the Revs Cornelius Traveller and Thomas Jarvis, as well as larger concerns headed by brickmakers Nathaniel Westaway and Robert Brown.
Brown and Westaway prospered greatly from the enterprise, but smaller builders such as Jarvis and Traveller, did not find the same financial success.
Records held at Jersey Archive show that in 1842 Thomas Jarvis was detained in the debtors' prison by multiple creditors and had to sell his furniture to meet his debts.
Constable Nicolle, a prominent Rose Party supporter, is said to have come to blows with his rival Laurel Party supporter, Nathaniel Westaway, over the latter's trespass when taking a short-cut to his brickfields on Mont Cantel, Records show that the political rivals clashed on more than one occasion over access to land.
By the time of the 1841 census, just seven years after the publication of the Le Gros map, Clearview and Columbus Streets were recorded and Clairvale Road was under construction and was recorded as the area known as New Town. A comparison of the area in the 1834 map and the 1849 Godfray map shows how rapidly this area was developing.
The completion of Great Union Road linked the new area to the rest of town and made it a desirable place to live. The first residents were often tradesmen who had come to the island in the hope of employment during Jersey's boom years and lived in the area surrounding their work.
Columbus Street attracted many retired military men, including William Harrison, a retired seaman who was a veteran of the Battle of Trafalgar.
Another retired military man who lived in the area in 1841 was Ignatius Antonio d'Orellana, a Spanish officer on half pay who lived in Dorset Street. His daughter Dora is famous for being the mother of ten children with extraordinary names. One of her daughters was named Mabel Helmingham Ethel Huntingtower Beatrice Blazonberrie Evangeline Vise de Lou de Orellana Plantagenet Toedmag Saxon Tollemache-Tollemache.
The developed area required services to meet the demands of a growing population. These included shops, several pubs and schools for both primary age and older pupile.
The Dorset Tavern makes the corner with Clearview Street. In 1853 it was acquired by Thomas Hall, a Yorkshireman, who named it the Leeds and Selby Inn. After his death in 1864 his wife Sarah continued to run the premises as a pub and grocery.
In 1872 St Mark's Boys' School separated from the Girls' and Infants' Schools, and relocated to Clearview Street. Surviving logbooks from this period show that discipline in the school was strict and that academic standards were high. Pupils who played truant were caned, but they also had to make up the educational time they had lost in their lunch hour or after school.
Bright students were encouraged to take examinations and apply for scholarships. George Plymen, a pupil at the school in the late 19th century, became a teacher and later lectured in science at Chelsea Polytechnic in the 1920s.
In 1889 Alfred and Louisa Green lived at 24 Clearview Street with their two young children. In September that year Mrs Green gave birth to triplets and was granted the Queen's Bounty, a special payment of £1 per child for multiple births of more than two. To qualify for the bounty a family had to meet strict moral criteria and to prove that the money was needed.
The 1891 census records that the Greens and their four children, including George and Louisa, the surviving triplets, were sharing the house with six other families. Many properties in this area contained several households, each occupying a room and sharing facilities. In the Victoria era multi-occupany of property was the norm for many working families.
Growth in this area of town continued sporadically throughout the 19th century and into the 20th. The 1871 census records that several reserved building plots were still awaiting development.
Air raid precatuions
Before the German Occupation the residents of this area, along with many others, were subject to civil defence training in preparation for war. In 1940 Mr Treihou, of Columbus Street, was awarded a first-class certificate from the Air Raid Precautions School at Fort Regent.
The school, which was started in 1938, gave training in first aid and other aspects of civil defence against air raids and gas attacks. Leaflets produced at the time included one on how to wear a gas mask and another on how to prepare a refuge room in your home.
Mr and Mrs Harben who were residents of Kroonstadt in Clairvale Road, fell victim to the Occupation fuel crisis and awaok one morning to find that the street was missing all its fence posts.
Businesses in the area included at least two bakeries: Le Brun's, and the Clearview Bakery, owned by W B Ralph. At 22 Clairvale Road there was a crisp and snack factory owned by Winner Ltd. It supplied catering goods from the early 1950s to the 1970s.
The area around Clearview, Clairvale and Columbus Streets has been subjected to change and development for almost 200 years. Many of the dwellings in this area which were originally designed for respectable working-class accommodation are now listed as being of historical significance and serve as good examples of Victorian architecture.
The much larger houses that they were built to service have either been replaced, or converted into smaller affordable units for today's working population.