Charing Cross

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Charing Cross


CharingXCross.jpg


La Croix de la Reine was erected at Charing Cross to commemorate the Queen's Silver Jubilee in 1977. It takes the form of an abstracted four-armed cross carved, almost encrusted, with views and symbols of St Helier. The granite stones for the new cross were lifted into place by crane on 3 March 1978 and the cross was unveiled on the 19th.

Cyril Warren, former Public Works engineer, was in charged of research and the design of the cross and Louis Chataignère, a French stone-engraver, was given the task of carving it. Having completed his task he retired. It took him at least 240 hours to carve just one of its panels.


John Chevalier Bisson's fruit and veg shop at 3 Charing Cross in the late 19th century. Mr Bisson, great-grandfather of Jerripedia founder and editor Mike Bisson, was a tailor and it is likely that both shops were run by his wife, although it was his name which appeared on the shopfronts
Mr Bisson's earlier shop at 16 Charing Cross on the opposite side of the road

Charing Cross is the western gateway to the centre of St Helier, and until the early 19th century it was literally a gateway, with a narrow tunnel passing under the prison, which then straddled the wide road. But it had to go, partly because it was in an appalling condition, and partly because of the Lieut-Governor, General Don's road-building programme. He wanted to be sure to be able to move troops and equipment quickly around the island in times of emergency, and his guns would not pass through the tunnel under the prison.

The location of the prison gave Charing Cross its original name La Rue de la Prison. It was also known as La Pompe du Bas, because one of two town pumps, providing residents with fresh water, was located there.

To the west of Charing Cross was undeveloped sandy land, stretching down to the sea. The old town wall ran from here to the south of Broad Street, which was known as La Grande Rue, because it was the main thoroughfare to the Royal Square. The other street leading into the town from Charing Cross, King Street, barely existed in the early days of the development of St Helier. Today it is the island's main shopping street; then it was a back street, appropriately known as Rue de Derrière.

Prison

The prison was built Between 1688 and 1697. Before then all prisoners had to be held at Mont Orgueil Castle, and brought from there to town for trials at the Royal Court. It is believed that the design of the prison may have been because it was intended to represent a city gate, but it may also have been a copy of old Temple Bar in London. It was demolished in 1811.

Picture gallery

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The junction with King Street and Broad Street in the early 1950s
The junction with King Street and Broad Street early in the 20th century
Decorations in 1897 for Queen Victoria's golden jubilee - picture courtesy of Jersey Temps Passe

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A painting showing a celebration arch for the centenary of the Battle of Jersey in 1881
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