Halkett Place

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What's your street's story? - Halkett Place


Halkett-Place1840.jpg
Halkett Place in 1840


This article is based on a 2010 Jersey Archive Street Story presentation


They don't make shopfronts like they used to. This is Edgar Brothers' jewellers and silversmiths, which was situated at 43 Halkett Place, on the corner with Waterloo Street. The photograph was taken in the first decade of the 20th century, possibly as early as 1901 when the business became established there. The brothers after whom the business was named were the sons of Albert Edgar. He came to Jersey from England, where he was born in 1829, and was initially employed by local silversmith John Le Gallais, before setting up in business on his own in 1874. His business was initially at 14 Vine Street, where he was listed in a 1880 almanac as a watchmaker. He had moved to 6 Library Place by 1890. A 1900 almanac shows his son Charles there, but by the following year's census, Charles (1869- ),is younger Brother Arthur (1875- ) and their elder sister Alice (1861- ) are show living at 43 Halkett Place, with Charles as head of household, and shown as a watchmaker. Their other brother Alfred (1872- ) was living at 3 New Street with his wife Georgina and two-year-old daughter Violet. Alfred is also listed as a watchmaker. There is no mention of father Albert in the census. How long Charles and Arthur remained in business in Halkett Place is uncertain. It is recorded in the 1910 Evening Post almanac, but after that date the almanacs show individuals resident at the premises rather than the business operating there. Frederick Cohen and Nicholas du Quesne Bird's book Silver in the Channel Islands which is reproduced in full in Jerripedia, notes that Albert Edgar was known for overstriking his own mark on older silver items manufactured by silversmiths in Jersey and England
Click to see Halkett Place today

Named after Sir Colin Halkett, who was Lieut-Governor from 1821 to 1830, Halkett Place was the first main street to be constructed leading north off King Street. It was officially opened on 6 August 1825.

The name now covers the stretch of street from the former Wesley Grove Church, beyond Burrard Street, formerly called Grove Place, to Hill Street, and it is a wide thoroughfare along its entire length. Previously, however, the short section from King Street to Hill Street, which was much earlier, was very narrow and known as Morier Lane.

Rural area

It is an indication of how slow St Helier was to develop as a town that Halkett Place did not make an appearance until the third decade of the 19th century. In the late 18th century the area around what would become Halkett Place was still rural. The Richmond map of 1795 shows that the edge of St Helier had not quite extended as far as the current street. The map shows properties facing King Street but no buildings between New Street and Bath Street. In contrast the Le Gros Map of 1834 shows buildings along both sides of the length of what was then called Halkett Place, from King Street to Burrard Street, and also in Grove Place the other side of Burrard Streeet.

Jersey Archive holds the 1800 plan for the original Governor’s residence, which shows the house, stables and gardens, together with a meadow. The property made the corner of Halkett Place and King Street, where Burton’s and the former Woolworths were built.

The Governors’ letter books show that Halkett complained that his official residence was unhealthy and that the gardens flooded in the winter. Finally he was allowed to move to Belmont on St Saviours Hill, a higher, healthier and much drier position.

The final demolition of buildings which made the Morier Lane section much narrower

Market

Halkett Place started life as a private road under the name La Rue de Nouveau Marche'. In 1800 the States decided that noise and congestion on market days in the Royal Square meant that the time had come to build a new market, and it opened its present site in 1803. The structure was roofed on three sides for goods such as vegetables and dairy produce, with covered butcher’s stalls in the middle. The larger covered market that we now know was not opened until 1882.

Wesley Grove

Another landmark of the area is Wesley Grove Methodist Church, now called St Helier Methodist Centre, which encloses one end of Halkett Place and effectively defines the end of the street. It was built in 1847 and designed by Philippe Bree. The church’s sheer size is a testament to the power of Methodism in Jersey as it was originally built to hold over 1,000 people and could accommodate up to 30 preachers at one time.

Halkett Place in the late 19th century. The market is on the left

Traders at No 9

Jersey Archive records can trace the occupation of 9 Halkett Place from the 1820s to the present day. The property was sold by Louis Poignand to Marie Falle in 1823 but evidence of occupiers shows that Marie probably leased the property to traders.

A dispute over a bill for millinery, between Madame de Carteret of St Ouen and draper Jean Nicolle of 9 Halkett Place, is early evidence of the use of the property. The original bill dating from 1828 is for £3 7s 11½ d and includes an account for ribbons bows and silks, as well as other trimmings.

The property changed tenants many times after Jean Nicolle moved in. In 1841 it was the home and business of an auctioneer named Henry Moser Millard. Fire insurance registers show that he was paying premiums from 1835.

In 1851 the premises was occupied by William Ward, a grocer. From 1861 to 1881 it was in the possession of Thomas Le Breton a paper-hanger who, by 1891, had passed the business to his son, also called Thomas.

The name Morier Lane was no longer used after 1900 and what was 9 Halkett Place became number 19. During the 20th century number 19 was owned by the British and Argentine Meat Company and eventually became Savills Estate Agents.

Halkett Place in 1905

Trading street

By the 1840s Halkett Place was establishing itself as a prominent street for trade.

The 1841 census shows that among the services available were two chemists, four hairdressers, an optician, a dancing teacher, two artists, several bonnet and dressmakers, a printer, a coach maker and a currier.

By 1861 the choice of services available had increased still further with tallow chandlers, tea merchants, music sellers and coin dealers.

Several women were earning an independent living from the retail trade. Rachel Pallot who lived at number 36 was recorded as a retired shoe manufacturer in the 1861 census. By this date her son, Samuel, had taken over the expanding business and it employed 22 men and two boys.

In the same year Nancy Le Touzel ran a confectioners at number 27 and Fanny Huet at number 7 was recorded as a retired perfumier.

A large crowd gathered in a flag-bedecked Halkett Place, probably at the time of the Coronation of Edward VII. Note that Queen Street leading off to the right is still cobbled

States printer

One resident of Halkett Place who prospered was Chadwick Le Lievre, of number 13. In 1861 Chadwick was a printer and bookseller employing eight men, two boys and one female, Emma Stickland. He was also the proprietor of the Constitutionnel Newspaper. By 1871 he was employing ten men, five boys and Emma.

Chadwick became a Centenier of St Helier in 1870 as well a printer for the States of Jersey. Many of the official volumes now held at the Jersey Archive have his label attached to the back cover.

He died unmarried in 1897. In his will he left Emma £500 for being his faithful assistant for more than 30 years. This was a considerable sum of money and she was able to retire to Rouge Bouillon as a lady of independent means.

When it was decided in 1959 to demolish properties in Morier Lane to make the street the same width as Halkett Place, the Constable of St Helier hit upon a novel idea for getting the work done cheaply

Fishermen riot

Halkett Place’s proximity to the Royal Square and States Chamber has also influenced events in the street. In 1837 there was a riot in Halkett Place when disappointed oyster fishermen stormed the street after their petition protesting at the re-election of Lieutenant Spark as Inspector of Oyster Fisheries was rejected in the States by 1 vote.

The rioters attacked a member from St Martin who had voted against them. Reports indicate that officers managed to lock one of the protesters into the French Café in Halkett Place, but he smashed every pane of glass in an effort to escape. The ringleader Elias Aubin was arrested. Prudent shopkeepers boarded up their premises against damage and a white flag of truce was hung from what is now the Cock and Bottle. Elias Aubin and George Messervy were bailed on the charge of riotous behaviour.

Picture gallery

Halkett Place in 1950

Click on image to see larger picture

The old General Post Office was at the top end of Halkett Place
How the street looked in 1840

A set of pictures taken for the planning department in 1968

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