Colomberie

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Colomberie in 1965

Colomberie is one of the longest streets in St Helier, stretching from Snow Hill to the gates of the Howard Davis Park. It has never been one of the most important shopping streets, although for much of its length it was, and remains, lined with mainly small retail outlets.

Tourist trade

It was once a street which catered strongly for the tourist trade, because there were a number of hotels at its eastern end, including the Ritz, which has suffered the same fate as many of St Helier's town centre hotels, being demolished to make way for blocks of apartments.

Not only would hotel guests walk from there along the length of Colomberie, on their way into the centre of the town, but others staying on the seafront at Havre des Pas would walk up Green Street and Grenville Street to join Colomberie and head towards the main shopping areas.

The street has long been an important traffic artery, with the traffic flow from east to west since it was restricted to one direction in the 1950s. In an attempt to revitalise the street, that flow was interrupted in the 1990s in the centre, with southbound traffic forced to turn either into Francis Street to head anti-clockwise around the town's ring road, or left into the top end of Green Street towards Route du Fort.

Pedestrian area

A pedestrianised section was created here, but further along traffic again joins Colomberie at the Grenville Street junction, being able to turn along the western section of Colomberie, or in the other direction along the start of Don Street to head east or around the town ring road.

The result of these changes has been that today the street is very much one of two parts, the western end from Snow Hill to Grenville Street remaining a shopping area, the central pedestrianised section having become somewhat sterile, and the upper eastern end retaining a number of shops but having become increasingly isolated from the town centre.

History

Very little has been recorded about the history of this important throughfare. In the 18th century no road existed here and a house with its frontage on La Motte Street, called Maison Colombier, probably gave the name to the road which was eventually built behind. On Peter Meadow's 1737 survey of the Bay of St Helier the surrounding land is shown as an orchard.

La Colomberie gets only a passing mention in Edmund Nicolle's history The Town of St Helier, which notes that it was part of the fief de la Motte. Although 20th century traffic management made it an important gateway to the town from the east, La Motte Street was earlier the inner part of the main route from the town centre to the east, leading to Don Road.

ColomberieJunction.jpg

Colomberie businesses

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