Gorey photo gallery

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Gorey land reclamation

The major land reclamation schemes around St Helier Harbour which started in the last quarter of the 20th century and are still in progress had their origins in the need to find places to dump much of the rubble and other solid waste which the island produces on a daily basis, but they were by no means the first efforts at land reclamation. In the early part of the 19th century, perhaps even earlier, land was reclaimed at what is now the innermost part of St Helier Harbour, the area now known as the Weighbridge, which was previously sand dunes washed by high tides. And in the 1870s, after the shipbuilding yards which lined the coast at Gorey had ceased to operate, a large section of beach was reclaimed to create a coastal road, and, in due course, an extension of the railway line from Gorey Village to the pier. The picture below shows what this area was like before reclamation started. Four-storey buildings, probably some of the tallest houses in the island at the time, backed directly on to the beach and were supported by wooden struts. Washing lines stretched across the sand and the high tide lapped at the exterior walls of the houses. The route from the pier to the village was on higher ground behind these buildings. The picture above shows work in process to reclaim this section of foreshore, the position of the new sea wall indicating just how much land which today is covered in gardens, the coast road and another line of buildings, was reclaimed from the sea

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A new set of pictures of Gorey Harbour from a French collection

Jersey Heritage presentation

This set of pictures, some of them duplicated below, is taken from a Jersey Heritage presentation on the history of Gorey Harbour in 2020

General views

Early 19th century sketch by Henry Irwin
An 1841 drawing of Gorey
A 21st century photograph
A photograph taken from Grouville Mill in 1980
A woman and children on the rocks at the edge of the harbour. Behind them, even after the sea wall was built, people still hung their washing out to dry on the beach
Ernest Baudoux photograph from 1879
A Leon and Levy photograph from 1900, before the era of LL postcards

The harbour

A busy harbour in the 1860s
By Louis de Kock

The pier

If the date of 1860, which has been attributed to this picture, is correct, it is one of the highest quality among the oldest surviving outdoor photographs taken in Jersey. We have pictures of Vinchelez which are believed to date from 1860, and we have recently discovered a photograph of the Weighbridge and St Helier Harbour which was probably taken in the 1850s, and one of Gorey Harbour which was a picture of the week and dates from the late 1840s or early 1850s. However, none of these are of such outstanding quality as this image. Bear in mind that if the date is correct, it is now over 150 years old. We are by no means certain that this is the case, but even if the 1860 date is accurate, there are certainly older photographs in the gallery on this page. August 2017 update: A further copy of this photograph has emerged as a stereoview pair, and we now know that it was taken by Philip Godfray. That does not assist us much in establishing the age of the photograph because he was in business in Jersey from 1858 to 1898. So it could have been taken in 1860, and stereoview photographs were certainly very popular at that time. We are currently researching the history of the pier in some detail, and in the course of this work we will reassess the dates given to some of the images below
This very early print shows Gorey pier before many buildings had been constructed in a line under the castle
A very early photograph of properties on Gorey Pier

The coast


Mont Orgueil Castle

Visitors to the castle pause for a photograph in 1893

It is not at all clear why this set of photographs was taken by Hamilton Toovey. The appear to suggest that Mont Orgueil was home to a group of monks, but that is a total fiction

A bus leaves Gorey along the coast road in 1930
The start of the pier many years before these properties became smart hotels and restaurants
A train pulls out of Gorey along the narrow track built on reclaimed land sandwiched by a pedestrian promenade and the road
Who would recognise this as Mont Orgueil? A perpendicular view from a drone flying above the castle in 2018 has produced a remarkable perspective. The picture was first published in the Jersey Evening Post
... and try comparing this plan showing the outlines of the castle in 1680 and 1755 with the photograph

The Village

The village shop run by the Le Cocq family

Aerial and birdseye views

A view of the jetty from the castle above
This painting of Gorey is by Richard Principal Leitch (1826-1882), who was the son of the royal watercolour tutor William Leighton Leitch, who taught Queen Victoria, her daughters and her daughter-in-law Princess Alexandra for almost twenty years. The watercolour, dated 1860, was one of three views of Jersey and Guernsey by Leitch painted "according to the Queen's requests".

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Further photographs of the Gorey area can be found in the following pages:

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