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On the coast


The tower before the breakwater was built

Archirondel is a bay on Jersey's north-east coast. It was to have been the start of the southern arm of a deep water harbour for the English Navy Channel Fleet, but the project was abandoned shortly after work started

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Archirondel is a pretty cove on Jersey's north-east coast which is of historical interest more for what might have been there than for what is there today.

Because Archirondel was to have been one end of a giant harbour which would have provided protection for vessels of the English Navy's Channel fleet, and other shipping, at a time when they were vulnerable to attack from the French Navy during the middle of the 19th century.

Long jetty

Work started on a long jetty which was to have met a second arm out to see beyond St Catherine's Point, but the project was abandoned, and all that remains today is a truncated arm, gradually crumbling into the sea.

England and France were at peace in 1847 when the UK Government decided on the project, alarmed at the growth of the French naval station at Cherbourg and fortifications in other places along the French coast adjacent to Jersey. There were to have been two naval stations, one at St Catherine and the other at Alderney. Neither was to be completed because the threat of war diminished and the replacement of sailing ships by steam-powered naval vessels meant that the danger of becoming stranded away from the safety of English ports in adverse weather conditions had also been removed.

The project has started with the linking of the martello tower on an offshore rock at Archirondel to the shore with a granite wall, and that wall was then being continued out to sea when the decision was taken to switch to the construction of the northern arm from St Catherine, known as Verclut Breakwater, but today called St Catherine's Breakwater by islanders. But this was rounded off when it had reached 640 metres from shore, instead of sweeping round to meet the second arm, and the project was abandoned.

Stone for the project was quarried on site from the rock known as Gibraltar which dominates the coastline at St Catherine.

Archirondel, with its coastal tower and uncompleted harbour arm, with St Catherine's breakwater in the background

Telephone cable

Archirondel is also the location where the island's under-sea telephone cable to France was first brought ashore, and more recently the terminal for under-sea cables which carry Jersey's electricity supply from France.

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