Regent Road

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Regent Road is unusual in that it starts with a striking L-shaped flight of granite steps leading up from Snow Hill to a level looking down on the car park in the cutting which was once the start of the Jersey Eastern Railway line to Gorey.

This end of the street did not impress C E B Brett when he visited in 1976 to prepare his work Buildings in the Town and Parish of St Helier. He wrote:"The hillside falls, with a resounding thud, to end in the ugly housing of the apparatus for the cable car up to Fort Regent (now discontinued); and the dreadful dreary backside of the block of flats which some sardonic developer has named, of all things, 'Regency House'.

The cutting below Regent Road was originally excavated to protect the north-eastern flank of Fort Regent, and was enlarged when Snow Hill railway station was built in 1874. Most of the older houses along the road have their backs to the street and cutting, and whereas they originally had large, steep gardens sloping down to La Chasse, much of this land has been built on to create more blocks of flats, the houses themselves also converted to flats.

"Nevertheless, the area still has a most distinctive hilly charm in what is generally rather a flat town," wrote Brett.

He inquires which Irishman built Lismore, "an attractive house on an attractive site", and had harps carved on his granite gate pillars.

Lilian Grandin

Lilian Grandin (1876-1924), Jersey's first female doctor, was born at 16 Regent Road, which became Magnolia Flats. A plaque erected by the Vingtaine de la Ville commemorates this event.

"She was born here and educated at the Jersey Ladies College. In 1896 she asked the United Methodist Church if she could join their West China Mission as a doctor. For this she left Jersey to study medicine and chemistry in Edinburgh, midwifery in Dublin and tropical and eye diseases in London. Once qualified, she went to Yunnan Province in China where she also trained Chinese women as nurses and started a leper colony. In 1912 she married Edwin J Dingle, author of The Chinese Revolution and other books on China. She died in Yunnan in 1924 of typhus and had 'A Beloved Physician' as her epitaph."

Beau Regard

RegentRoadMural.jpg

Next to No 16 is an 1831 gateway, which has been purchased and restored by the Vingtaine de la Ville. The gateway was part of a property known as Beau Regard, built and owned by Jean Geffrard. The Latin over the gateway reads Hic terrarum mihi praeter omnis angulus ridet (this corner of the world beyond all others smiles upon me) recalling that in 1831 there was an unimpeded view from here of both the sea and the countryside, giving the property its name, which translates as 'beautiful view'. In 2000 the Vingtaine commissioned local artist Jane Gilly to research and paint a mural that would give an impression of the view that would have been seen from the gateway in the early part of the 19th century.

At the far left of the mural St Jame's Church can be seen but Victoria College, built in 1852 is not there yet. The large house is typical of those that would have existed in La Chasse in the early 1800s. Just the top two storeys are visible. To the right of the house can be seen the orchards and fields that would have been there at the time. Roseville Street can also be seen. In the far right of the mural in the centre of the bay is what is now the White horse Inn at what wass to become Le Dicq. Lower down the bay and further right is the Fort D'Auvergne.

Until 1964 the property was run as a womens home, before it closed and moved to Glanville, St Marks Road. The photograph of the gateway (see gallery below) taken in about 1964 shows urns on the top of the wall, a light over the gateway and a poor box to the left of the gateway. These are no longer there. However a very similar poor box is present beside the entrance to the main house in Regent Road but it is not clear if there were two of these boxes or whether the box from the gateway was moved at some time.

Continuation

At its southern end Regent Road turns downhill to join Green Street. The road also continues across a bridge over the entrance to the cutting, becoming Rue de l'Est, although it is incorrectly shown on Google Maps as Regent Road. This narrows into a narrow track for pedestrians only alongside a granite retaining wall at the base of Fort Regent, and eventually emerges on to a grassy area at South Hill.

Gallery

Click on any image to see a full-size version

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