What's your street's story?
- St Saviour's Road and Hill
St Saviour’s Hill, which starts at St Saviour’s Church, next to which St Saviour's Hotel was formerly located, becomes St Saviour’s Road as it flattens out at its junction with Springfield Road, and continues to La Motte Street.
There are two substantial properties on one side of the hill, Government House and the adjoining Steephill.
The 1795 Duke of Richmond map shows that a number of properties have already been built alongside the route, but it was not until Lieut-Governor General Don embarked on his road building programme at the beginning of the 19th century that the route was properly opened up as a major route into St Helier from St Saviour.
Maps from the mid 19th century show that St Saviour’s Hill was originally called Roque Mollet with the upper part of the road being called Le Coie - ‘the quiet place’.
On the 1795 map one of the prominent properties on St Saviour’s Hill was on the site of d’Hautrée School. At the 1861 census d’Hautrée was occupied by Helier Touzel, aged 82, an Army general, and his daughter Jane Touzel, aged 55.
Further along St Saviour’s Road, the Le Bas Centre was the Island’s Maternity Hospital for much of the second half of the 20th century. The property was originally the site of the Jersey Dispensary and Infirmary, which was founded in 1860 by a small group of people led by the Bailiff, Jean Hammond.
The original dispensary was established at 51 Bath Street under the direction of Dr R Batho, who was the first resident medical officer. In 1867 the establishment moved to larger premises next door and the infirmary came into being in 1868 with the support of a legacy. 1887 saw the purchase of a house in Aquila Road and In 1914 Mr Charles Godfray Le Bas donated a building site in St Saviour's Road to the Infirmary and bequeathed £10,000 towards building costs on his death in 1922. The new building was opened on 2 September1925.
The new infirmary consisted of 3 private wards, two 12 bed wards, a children's ward, staff accommodation, an X-ray unit, electro-medical department and operating theatre. The Dispensary and Infirmary continued throughout the 1930s and by July 1940 had become a maternity hospital.
St Saviour’s Road encompasses many aspects of Jersey’s history. Including religion, tourism, education, health and charitable institutions.
Soap and candle manufacturer
In the early years of its development the road was in a predominantly residential area, and remained that way until the tourism boom of the 20th century. Other than the odd grocery shop or inn, there were few other industries or trades along the road. Records do show that there was a soap and candle making factory on the site of Liberation Court.
The 1881 census records Philip Le Rossignol as a soap manufacturer employing four men at 22 St Saviour’s Road. Philip had inherited the business by a contract dated 1869, as the eldest son of Capt Philip Le Rossignol.
He received a house or houses for the manufacture of chandelles and savon (candles and soap) with all the tools and machinery for the business. Earlier contracts show that the soap factory had been on this site since at least 1798, when the Journeaux family were the owners.
The Le Rossignol family kept the business running into the early 1900s, but by 1928 the factory had closed and the house on the site was sold to Florence McDermott, who opened a small hotel there called the Continental.
This was not the first hotel on the road. The Imperial Hotel was opened much earlier, in 1866, built on the site of a house called La Fregonniere, owned by property developer George Ingouville.
The Jersey Imperial Hotel Company built the large hotel, which according to newspaper reports was designed by Medland and Maberly Architects and constructed and furnished by reputable English companies. A report in the London City Press dated June 1863 reads:”The Iersey Imperial Hotel Company is formed for the purpose of construction of a first-class houtel at St Helier, the hotel accommodation being very inadequate in the island, and not adapted for the better class of visitor. The nominal capital is £40,000 in shares of £10 each.”
The venture was a financial disaster and despite attempts by various companies to save the hotel, it was sold at a fraction of its outlay to an exiled French Jesuit order for use as a seminary, and renamed Maison St Louis.
In 1941 the German authorities requisitioned the building for their own use and the seminary was moved back to France. The Jesuit order sold the property to Major J Reynolds in 1953, who restored the property to a hotel named Hotel de France.
The growth of the tourism industry in Jersey in the mid-20th century saw the transformation of many private residences in St Saviour’s Road into hotels and guest houses. The Jersey Tourism official accommodation list for 1961 contains 25 hotels or guest houses, ranging from hotels with 50 rooms, such as the Continental Hotel, Woodville Hotel and Mayfair Hotel, down to smaller bed-and-breakfast accommodation such as The Franklyn, La Reserve and Pentland Lodge.
Many of the larger hotels in St Saviour’s Road were requisitioned by the German forces during the Occupation. The Continental Hotel was used as the billet for many of the German soldiers who worked at the Feldkommandantur at College House.
The Mayfair Hotel became the first Soldatenheim, or soldiers’ home, to open in the island on 5 July 1941.The Mayfair had first opened in 1930 when Arthur Woodhall and his wife Emily bought 46 St Saviour’s Road. This house had been in the Nicolle family since 1876, when Francis Bertram gifted it to his grandson.
In 1934 the Woodhalls purchased 38 St Saviour’s Road to expand their hotel. The family evacuated before the Occupation and left the hotel in the hands of Arthur’s brother, Frederick. The German forces allowed him and his Austrian wife Marie Schneider to remain in a flat on top of the Mayfair ballroom. The couple reportedly used this accommodation to provide sanctuary for two escaped Russian slave workers from 1944 onwards.
Education has had, and still has, a great presence in the St Saviour’s Road area, with Beaulieu, De La Salle, Highlands College and Hautlieu all in the vicinity. There were also a number of small private schools generally operated by well-educated daughters of upper-class families, in private houses, catering for local day students and boarders from the colonies.
Elysian House School
The largest of these was a school for ladies called Elysian House School, which operated from 13, 15 and 17 St Saviour’s Road, part of a terrace of four properties called Elysian Terrace. It was built by Henry Le Vavasseur dit Durell, a merchant, on land which he purchased in 1942 from Edouard Le Couteur.
Sisters Florence and Ada Stevens opened the school in 1899, renting the three adjoining properties. The school remained open until 1912 and Jersey Archive holds a wonderful collection of school yearbooks containing writings, paintings and photographs which give a fascinating insight into the students’ lives.
Jersey Animals Shelter, one of the best-known charitable organisations in the island, has its headquarters in St Saviour’s Road. The first evidence of a home for animals is recorded on the 1911 census, in which Harold Hurley is listed at No 89 as a kennel man, working in the Home for Dogs. It was reportedly founded in 1913 by Miss Frances Elizabeth ilsn, the daughter of the Rev John Alexander Wilson.
In 1924 Frances and her sister Charlotte bought No 95 together and in 1928 gifted the property to the Jersey Animals Shelter. The contract stated that it was to be used exclusively by the institution to maintain and develop the work begun by the two sisters as a temporary shelter for abandoned, sick, injured and stray domestic animals, a place where animals could be put to sleep, if necessary, without pain, and a place to generally encourage the good treatment of all domestic animals.
In 1931 the Animals Shelter purchased 89 St Saviour’s Road, known as Coie Manor Farm, a much larger property, with extensive grounds bordering Beaulieu, the Woodville Hotel and Coie House. This property dates back to the 18th century and is the current home of the Shelter.
The Jersey Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and the Jersey Animals Shelter were amalgamated in 1936 and in 1937 No 89 was transferred to the JSPCA. Frances Wilson continued to live at No 95 until her death in 1937 and Charlotte at Coie House until her death in 1959.
The Animals Shelter was of vital importance during the Occupation and had the unenviable task of putting to sleep the loved animals of those owners who evacuated just before the German forces arrived.
Records show that over the course of four days in June 1940 more than 6,000 cats and dogs were humanely put to sleep. The shelter also provided meat rations from horse meat and offal that had been previously dumped, and there were often long queues on a Saturday, with owners desperate to obtain food for their pets.
- A history of St Saviour's Road
- A history of St Saviour's Church and the surrounding area Added 2019
- Women of St Saviour's Road Added 2019
Click on any image to see a full-size version