The British Press and Jersey Times was the second longest-running English-language newspaper in the history of publishing in the island, beaten only by the Evening Post/Jersey Evening Post. It commenced publishing in 1860 and folded 50 years later. However, it was created from a merger between the British Press which launched in 1822, and the Jersey Times and Naval and Military Chronicle, which started ten years later, so it could be said to have been in existence for 88 years in total.
Henry had come up in the world from modest beginnings, having been born in 1809, the illegitimate son of Marie Fauvel. There were several Marie Fauvels born within a few years of each other, each of whom could have been Henry's mother, so it is impossible to trace his ancestry any further.
Henry was apparently an affluent man, as evidenced by the portrait of his wife Rosamond, a professor of music, with whom he had eight children, but in 1860 his newspaper merged with the Jersey Times and by the following year's census the Fauvel family had left 13 Broad Street, where Mary Smith, a widow at the age of 27, was living with her one-year-old daughter Florence and trading as a stationer.
It appears that Henry did not do well out of the merger of his newspaper with the Jersey Times. He and his family left Broad Street and moved to 26 Simon Place, where Henry was listed in the 1861 census as a clerk. His wife was still a music teacher. Ten years later they were in Great Union Road - probably a step back up the social ladder - and Henry, aged 61, was described as an annuitant. Their daughter Emmeline, and a granddaughter Emily, were living with Henry and Rosamond. In 1881 Henry, Rosamond and Emmeline were at Hope Lodge, Chevalier Road, and Henry was described as a retired professor of languages. The family had moved again by 1891, to 40 Midvale Road, and Emmeline, aged 50, was still living with her parents.
In 1860 another new newspaper, the Jersey Express and Channel Islands Advertiser was launched, but although it would later be published at 13 Broad Street, it does not appear to have been printed there at the outset.
The proprietor of the British Press and Jersey Times in 1871 was George Wardley, a 45-year-old Irishman, living at 29 Halkett Place, and described in the 1871 census as publisher of the British Rep. There was no newspaper with this title, but other records show that the British Press and Jersey Times had its offices at 29½ Halkett Place. George’s two sons worked for their father's newspaper as compositors.
The family had left by 1881, but the new occupant of No 29, Philip Esnouf, is also described as a publisher, ‘employing 33 men and boys’, and living at No 29 with his wife Louisa and two young sons.
It is not clear whether the newspaper moved after this because in 1891 the new occupants of No 29 were the Hennequin family, railway carpenter John, his wife Ann, son John and three daughters, and there is no mention of a newspaper or press employees.
In common with many of the newspapers at the time the British Press and Jersey Times was published twice a week, on Tuesdays and Fridays. Unlike today when the island has a solitary newspaper, in the mid-19th century there were several in competition at any time - A Dictionary of Printers and Printing for 1839 lists nine, five in English and four in French, all of them published on Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday.
In 1871 George Wardley, who was born in Dublin, was 45, and married to Mary Woodman (38) and living with them were six of George's children and Florence Smith, who was Mary's daughter by a previous marriage. Also in the household was Mary's 25-year-old sister Ann Woodman.
George had certainly gone up in the world. In 1851, as a 24-year-old he was described in the 1851 census as a printer/compositor and was living in his mother-in-law's home. By 1861 he had his own household in Library Place and was described as 'publisher's clerk' of the Jersey Times. How he made the step up from this position to publisher ten years later is not known.
St Helier baptism records show that he was married twice - in 1861 his wife was Sarah Hayter, from Woolwich, who was a year older than him. George had 13 children in total, seven with his first wife and six with his second. The first, George William, was born in 1851 and had left home by the time of the 1871 census. He was followed by Elvina Sarah (1853), Henry (1855), Hayter William (1857), Louisa Jane (1858), another Louisa Jane (1861), and Eliza Jane in 1862.
He appears to have been divorced from Sarah because her death is believed to have occurred in 1871 and by 1866 George had started his second family with Mary. Their first child was Matilda Mary (1866), followed by Thomas Woodman (1867), Harriet Fanny (1869), William Herbert (1870), Emily (1873) and Ernest Abraham (1874).
All the children were born in Jersey, but some time after the birth of Ernest Abraham the family moved to England and by the time of the 1881 census George, Mary, Thomas, Harriet, William, Emily and Ernest were living in Nottingham. George is still a publisher. He died some time between 1881 and 1991, when the census showed his widow Mary living as a lodging house keeper in Greenwich with Harriet, William, Emily and Ernest.
Philip Esnouf, who followed George Wardley as publisher of the British Press and Jersey Times was born in 1850, the son of Francis Esnouf and Ann Bisson. In 1893, by which time he had moved to London, he married Julia Douglas and they had four children.
Jersey's newspapers were inextricably linked with politics in the 19th century, when the Laurel and Rose Parties were bitter opponents. Le Constitutionnel was founded in 1920 by Attorney-General John William Dupre and five friends specifically as the organ of the Laurel Party. Although strongly politically biased, it was among the more moderate of the competing newspapers.
It must have come as some surprise when the Jersey Times and British Press merged because at one stage the editor of the former described his counterpart as 'mercenary, libeller and shuffling coward'.