Statues and monuments
Given its rich and varied history and the affluence of the island, Jersey has relatively few public statues, monuments and sculptures. Perhaps this has much to do with the negative impact which many of those which do exist have had on the community and visitors to the island. The prominent statue of King George II in the Royal Square and the obelisk in Broad Street commemorating one of St Helier's favourite sons, Constable Peter Le Sueur, are cases in point.
King George II
A fine gilded lead statue of George II stands in the Royal Square in the centre of St Helier. It was created in 1751 by John Cheere and stands on a granite plinth close to where the old market cross stood until the Reformation.
All distances in the island are measured from this statue. Laws are promulgated by the Viscount from a stone at the western side of the plinth and the Proclamation of Accession of a new Monarch is read from a platform erected in front of the statue.
A statue of Queen Victoria formerly stood in the centre of a circular garden in the middle of the Weighbridge bus station. In 1976 the statue was moved to the Triangle Park alongside the Grand Hotel at West Park. The park was officially renamed Victoria Park but islanders have steadfastly remained true to the original name of this triangular area of grass.
At the time the statue was removed a promise was made in the States of Jersey that it was a temporary arrangement and the statue would be returned to its former position once the redevelopment of the Weighbridge had been undertaken. Thirty-four years later the bus station has now been moved to a new location nearby, but the redevelopment of the Weighbridge has yet to start and Queen Victoria remains in her 'temporary' home.
The statue stands 7 feet high on a plinth of La Moye granite which is carved with the Queen's monogram surrounded by a crown. The inscription "Erigé par le peuple" (erected by the people) is at the base and the two sides bear the dates 1837 and 1887 to signify Victoria's Golden Jubilee.
The monarch's Diamond Jubilee is remembered by a granite monument in the form of a pedestal surmounted by a crown on a cushion in sight of the statue's current location at the southern end of Victoria Avenue.
The Liberation Sculpture, which forms the centrepiece of a new square created on St Helier's waterfront to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Liberation in 1995, was certainly the most important, and probably the most controversial work of public art erected in Jersey in the 20th Century. The £150,000 design changed radically in response to fierce public criticism.
When the design was first revealed by the Occupation and Liberation Committee of the States of Jersey, public opinion was generally one of astonishment that a line of figures were shown releasing a number of doves of peace. The Committee explained that they had decided to change the brief to commemorate 50 years of peace, but islanders had been anticipating a sculpture to represent 50 years since the Liberation and many remarked that if any doves had been around at the end of the Occupation, they would probably have been caught and eaten by the hungry population, rather than released.
Many commented that there was no recognition of the military aspect of the Occupation and a subtle serviceman in battledress and boots was added to the group. The original design did not allow interaction, but the revised version allowed members of the public to walk through and join the figures. The artist, Philip Jackson, revealed that his original idea had been to have the figures waving a flag - much more in tune with the public's understanding of the experience of Liberation - but the Committee had decided to change the brief to one of "peace", and so a dove motif had been introduced. Much to the relief of all concerned the revised design incorporated a giant Union Flag.
La Croix de la Reine
La Croix de la Reine is situated at Charing Cross in St Helier. Erected to commemorate the Silver Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II in 1977, it takes the form of a four-armed cross carved with views and symbols of St Helier.
The Procureurs du Bien Public of St Helier's Vingtaine de la Ville, Mr Leslie Sinel and Mr George Croad, who were heavily involved in the design of the cross, thought that it should have panels depicting something of the town's history. They helped to choose some of the subjects for the panels, and indicated that the Vingtaine de la Ville would contribute towards the cost.
It was created by Louis Chataignère, a French stone-engraver. It took him at least 240 hours to carve just one of its panels, depicting historical buildings and events connected with St Helier.
The Constable of St Helier, Mr Peter Baker, performed the official unveiling ceremony, and said that it was unlikely that Jersey would see this quality of workmanship again. Before the unveiling ceremony, the Dean, the very Reverend Tom Goss, conducted a special service at St Helier's Parish Church, then led a procession along King Street to Charing Cross.
Two statues by Caroline Vincent were erected in the centre of St Helier in the 1990s by the Jersey Public Sculpture Trust. The first, Les Jongleurs, is a granite sculpture of two musicians in the pedestrian precinct at Snow Hill. It was erected in 1996. Working in Concert, another stone sculpture of musicians, stands nearby outside La Motte Chambers, the offices of Abacus, who sponsored the work in 1999.
Another sculpture, in bronze, by Philip Jackson, who was responsible for the Liberation Sculpture, this stands in the water maze in Jardins de la Mer.
General DonSir George Don, Jersey's Lieut-Governor from 1806 to 1814, is commemorated by a large monument in Parade Gardens. Responsible for starting work on the majority of the island's main roads, Don had previously commanded the 59th Regiment in Jersey as a Lieut-Colonel. Frustrated by the absence of any proper roads for moving his men about the island, he set about remedying the situation as soon as he returned with greater authority.
The monument, created by Pierre Alfred Robinet, consists of a group of three statues of cast iron on a platform of granite, approached by steps and flanked by old cannons. Don stands on the central plinth, with the figures of Commerce and Industry on either side of him.
Robinet was a French sculptor, born in Paris in 1814. He died there in 1878, having moved to Jersey in 1870.
Le Sueur Obelisk
Widely acknowledged as irredeemably ugly, the monument to five-time St Helier Constable Pierre Le Sueur is an obelisk standing on an island in the centre of the eastern end of Broad Street in St Helier.
In his 1863 Gossiping Guide to Jersey, author and genealogist J Bertram Payne expressed his dislike of the memorial as follows:
- The monument itself is a sad blot on the good taste of the island, and is merely an exaggeration of those spa toys one buys at Sandown or Clifton. At each side of its square base are lions' heads, pierced for fountains. The water, however, has never been forthcoming, so the lions look like hapless sea-voyagers - retching without effect. We do not know who designed this thing - this cross between a pillar and a post. We wish we did, for his name ought to go down to posterity, encircled with the halo that should belong to the inventor of the ugliest bit of pillo-pyramidical construction in the world.
It is perhaps a little surprising, given that he decided that the Channel Islands could not be defended against the onslaught of Hitler's Germany and should be demilitarised, that Winston Churchill should be held in such high esteem within the islands. Perhaps his famous speech of May 1945 announcing that "Our dear Channel Islands are also to be free" forgave all. Nevertheless Britains wartime leader is commemorated by a memorial park bearing his name in St Breland's Bay, Jersey.
There stands a rough-hewn block of grey granite bearing a bronze relief portrait of Sir Winston's head and shoulders with an appropriate inscription.
Another St Helier Constable, Philippe Baudains, who served 15 years from 1881 to 1896, and then a further six years from 1899, is commemorated by a granite pedestal surrounded by iron railings in the western section of Parade Gardens. A thousand subscribers raised £330 for its construction a year after his retirement from office.
Le Vesconte Monument
Built in 1910, the Le Vesconte memorial, a granite obelisk in Trinity, is constructed to form an obelisk at a crossroads that commemorates Philippe Le Vesconte, (1837-1909), who was elected as Constable ten times between 1868 and 1877 and again in 1890 to 1909.
Le Cronier Memorial
Only one member of Jersey's Honorary Police is known to have lost his life in the course of his duties. This was Centenier George Le Cronier, who in 1846 died from knife wounds received while attending a "house of ill repute" in Patriotic Street, St Helier. He was attacked by Marie Le Gendre, who was subsequently found guilty of "voluntary homicide" and banished from the island. A 25-foot high granite memorial was erected in his memory in Green Street Cemetery.
Jersey's War Memorial was created by Charles de Gruchy in 1923 and erected at the eastern end of Parade Gardens in St Helier. It is the focus for the annual Remembrance Day celebrations when those who lost their lives in the service of the country in the two World Wars and subsequent conflicts are remembered.
A life-size statue of Sir Galahad stands on a granite plinth in the quadrangle of Victoria College as a memory to former pupils who lost their lives in the two World Wars.
The Harvey Memorial at the foot of Mount Bingham is a granite obelisk erected in 1871 in memory of Captain Henry Beckford Harvey and the crew of the Normandy which collided with the Mary in dense fog off the Needles on 17 Mar 1870 and sank, with the loss of the captain, 14 crew members and 16 passengers.
Howard Davis Park
One of Jersey's major statues is often overlooked because it lies just inside the main gates of Howard Davis Park and cannot be seen when driving past. It is a bronze statue of King George V, a friend of T B Davis, who commissioned the statue and gave the park to the island in memory of his son Howard, who was killed in World War One. More details.
Also to be found in the park is a cemetery containing the graves of British and Allied servicemen from World War 2
The Westaway Memorial, created by Pierre Robinet in 1875 stands beside the Harvey Memorial to commemorate the gallantry of John Westaway, a passenger on the Normandy who showed great courage when it sank.
A symbolic granite ship's keel in seaside gardens at Gorey recalls the days when busy shipyards stood there.
A bronze sculpture of birds erected in Library Place in memory of Keith Baal, Constable of St Helier 1968-1973
AirportJersey Airport in 1997. A bronze sculpture of geese by Les Jackson stands in the departure hall of the Airport.
La Vaque dé Jèrri
A bronze sculpture of life-size Jersey cattle by John McKenna, designed as a tribute to the Island breed and a commemoration of the 50th anniversary of The World Jersey Cattle Bureau was unveiled in West's Centre by Bailiff Sir Philip Bailhache on 29 September 2001.
Millennium stones and crosses
To celebrate the start of the third millennium, granite crosses and stones were erected in each of the island's 12 parishes in the year 2000. More detail
- St Helier sculpture trail - a Jersey Heritage article on sculptures in St Helier
Click on image to see larger picture