Corn Market

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Historic Jersey buildings


Corn Market, St Helier


CornMarket.jpg





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RoyalSquare1859-1900.jpg

Property name

Corn Market, 10 Royal Square

Other names

  • United Club
  • Registry Office

Location

Royal Square, St Helier

Type of property

The ground floor of the imposing building at the western end of the Royal Square was originally an open, arched corn market.

Today it houses the island's Registry Office, once the only location where civil marriage ceremonies were conducted (various locations throughout the island are now licenced for marriages). It also houses the centralised records of births, marriages and deaths since 1842, and as such is a magnet for those researching their family history.

The arches of the original corn market can still be seen, but the building was extended outwards into the square in the late 18th or early 19th century, ruining the lines of the building in many people's eyes, but creating a terrace at first-floor level. The original structure dates back to the middle of the 17th century. Suzanne Dumaresq, then Dame de La Haule, was given permission in 1669 to build the Halle à blé (corn market) at her own expense, in exchange for the right to build her own town house above. This was a time when a house on the Royal Square was highly fashionable.

The building was completed in 1672 and a large room, known as the Long Room, was later let out for public meetings. John Wesley preached there in 1787 and it was also used to stage some of Jersey's first theatrical performances. As can be seen in the small picture below, which dates from 1831, the building was much more modest at this time, but already had the ground floor extension hiding the corn market arches. Today the first floor is occupied by a private gentlemen's club, the United Club, which owns the building and sub-lets the ground floor for the Registry Office.

Families and activities associated with the property

  • Dumaresq
  • The property does not appear in any census returns, presumably because nobody lived here at the relevant times

Almanac listings

  • Kerby An 1837 commercial directory shows E Kerby, silversmiths, trading from here
  • 1874 - J Damer, watchmaker
  • 1886 - J W Payne, engraver
  • 1890 - J J D'Autereau
  • 1930 - Major J D Godfray
  • 1935- - United Club
The back of the building makes the corner with Church Street, which, because its entrance is here, means that the United Club is usually shown as being in Church Street. At the far end of the building is the shopfront of estate agents Broadlands, which occupies the ground floor around the other side of the building, backing on to the Registry Office. This building is located at 1 Library Place

Historic Environment Record entry

Listed building

A 19th century building with a distinguished frontage, incorporating the 17th century Corn Market, and providing one of the key sides to the Royal Square at the heart of St Helier. The building incorporates the old Corn Market (Halle a Ble) with rooms above, that was built by the Dame de la Haule in 1668.

Shown on the Peter Meade Map 1737, and Le Gros Map 1834. Early photographs show 1825 [1]on pediment - the likely date that the original 17th century building was redesigned with a classical façade.

Heraldry and coat of arms at centre flanked by scrolls.

Parts of the old corn market are incorporated into the current building, including massive granite arches at ground floor - supporting the upper floors. A pair of impressive granite fireplaces in traditional style, although not original to the building.

Old Jersey Houses

The entry in the first volume quotes E T Nicolle's Town of St Helier

"The corn Market, originally a wooden shed constructed early in the 16th century, was situated at the bottom of the Square. In 1668 the States proposed to erect a more commodious building and as a portion of the old shed had been built on ground belonging at that time to one Susanne Dumaresq, Dame de la Haule, a curious agreement was arrived at between the States and this lady, whereby she agreed to construct the Market on the condition that she be permitted to build on the roof thereof for her own use and that of her heirs. In order to support the building she intended to erect on the market roof she set up the fine and massive granite arches, which are still to be seen and were brought to light in 1900."

Notes and references

  1. More likely 1823
W20UnitedClubRoyalSquare.jpg
In 1962 the ground floor of the building was occupied by a branch of the National Provincial Bank (later National Westminster) and the picture shows vividly what a typical banking office looked like in those days, with rows of desks with typewriters, as opposed to the banks of computer screens which would be seen today.
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