King Street traders in 1880

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Hamon's still trading today in the same position on the south side of King Street. The shop opposite has always been listed under New Street, with which it makes the corner

The 1880 British Press and Times Almanac is the first to give lists of occupants of all properties in St Helier. Although it is possible to build up a picture of the occupancy of King Street in earlier years from commercial directories in which traders are indexed by occupation rather than address, 1880 is the first year for which a full list of occupants of St Helier's main shopping street can be found.

Follow the blue street number links to articles on the individual properties in King Street, the businesses which have occupied them and the families who have owned and lived in them.

South side, odd numbers

The mix of businesses in 1880 was very different from what it is today, dominated then by men's and women's outfitters, drapers, chemists, tobacconists, public houses, confectioners, perfumers, grocers and confectioners. This was a typical high street of 130 years ago, occupied by businesses which largely bore their owners' names, few of which, with some notable exceptions, are still in existence.

Let us start our tour at the eastern end of the street, now a vehicle-free pedestrian precinct, but in 1880 open in both directions to horse-drawn traffic. With one exception, the properties on the southern side of the street bear odd numbers, starting on the corner of Halkett Place with No 1, and it is there that our journey begins in 1880 at the premises of J Collenette, 'fancy repository'. Joseph Collenette is recorded in the 1861 census and appears to have been a jeweller who crossed with his family from Guernsey to Jersey, so despite the lovely description of his business in an 1880 almanac we shall have to list him as a jeweller, whose business was to be acquired at the turn of the century by the Hettich family, who still trade there over a century later.

But more of that later, because we move along the south side of the street to the only even-numbered property on this side, No 2, occupied in 1880 by J Keefe, tobacconist. The numbering of this short stretch of the street from Halkett Place to Peirson Place is somewhat confusing, because here we also find a back-door to the Peirson public house (No 1a). Today No 2 seems to have vanished, perhaps incorporated into No 1 or No 3, which, in 1880 was home to shoe maker Edward Gellender, one of the signatories to an 1871 petition by merchants calling on the States to improve St Helier's harbour.

At No 5 on the opposite corner of Peirson Place, leading through to the Royal Square we find T Tibbles' Pierson Photographic Studio (listed in the almanac as stationer and photographer), and apparently operating there over the relatively short period from 1876 to 1880.

Next door, at No 7, we find Dicks and Co, bootmakers, followed by another tobacconist, E Jones, at No 9, grocer C & G Renouf at No 11, and S Leopold tobacconist at No 13. Next door at No 15 was N Hollock's fancy repository, and then we come to a succession of drapers: Henry V Coutanche (No 17), P Le Sueur (No 19 and 21, draper and tailor), P Garnier (No 23), Colley and Remon (No 25 and 27), before the attention turns to shoppers' feed with J Queree, bootmaker at No 19 and John Pallot, hosier at No 31. Back to clothes with P Pallot, clothier at No 33, Mrs Grigry, outfitter at No 35 and then we reach Hamon's, renowned drapers and shirtmakers, and one of the earliest King Street establishments still trading today, occupying Nos 37 and 39.

J Mallet, watchmaker, broke the chain of drapers and outfitters at No 41, but we find F H Le Rossignol, draper, at No 43, P Hamon, draper at No 45, J Guille, draper, at No 47, Charles Norman, tailor, at No 49, and then, at No 51, boot and shoe makers N Beghin and Son, also still trading today. H Miller, the chemist was at No 53, followed at No 55 by W W Rose, stationer and agent for the Liquor Tea Company. E Becquet's paraffin lamp and oil depot was at No 55½, and No 57 and 59 appear to have been vacant in 1880.

At No 61 we find W Netton, a general outfitter. No 63 is vacant and widow Adele Beilvert had her grocery at No 65. No 67 was vacant, and at No 69 we find J Hunt, gunsmith, followed at No 71 by R Hunt, hairdresser. A Alder's fancy repository was at No 73, C Allen ran a public house at No 75, E Gaudin a linen draper's at No 77 and the last premises on this side of the street, No 79, were vacant.

King Street in Edwardian times. The shops on the right are the corner of Don Street, then Nos 20 and 22, occupied respectively by drapers and milliners Walter Colebrook and bootmakers Tyler and Sons

North side, even numbers

We now turn around and turn our attention to the even-numbered properties on the north side of the street. Immediately we face a conundrum because the property which makes the corner of Pitt Street and King Street and is shown as No 78 King Street in recent street listings (it is now occupied by Mothercare) was listed under Charing Cross in most early almanacs. No 76 appears never to have existed, so our return journey starts at No 74, occupied in 1880 by tailor Edward Romeril.

Next door at No 72 was a public house, run in 1880 by A Campbell. It is not clear if No 70 ever existed. It was not listed in 1880, although it does make a brief appearance in 1960s almanacs, associated with No 72, but then disappears again. No 68 is not listed until 1912, but there was a No 66½ until the first decade of the 20th century, occupied in 1880 by confectioner Tamzin Waldron.

Draper J Stevens occupied No 66 and milliner Mary Ann Gruchy was at No 64 with her daughters Julia and Alice, trading as Mesdames Gruchy. Another draper, J E Hamling was at No 62, a property which was soon to become the Grand Hotel du Palais de Crystal. Clement Metivier, whose family gave its name to the narrow lane between No 62 and No 60 was trading as a draper at the latter premises in 1880, and next door at No 58 was another public house run by Alfred Caplin and his Cornish wife Katherine.

Frederick Goodread ran a hairdressers and tobacconist at No 56 and Charles Le Sueur and his wife Mary ran a drapery and tailors at No 54 trading as Le Sueur and Le Seelleur. We now come to the long-established King Street business A de Gruchy and Co, established by Abraham de Gruchy in 1835 at 33 Broad Street before moving four years later to 52 King Street. By 1880 it had spread to occupy No 50, and it was to move progressively along the street to encompass Nos 46 and 48 by 1885.

However, in 1880 Dr John Fixott lived with his family at No 48, and apparently had a surgery there, and No 46 was occupied by Louis Leon Le Maistre and his wife Louise Blanchet. They are shown in the 1880 almanac as patissiers, but the following year's census indicates that they were 'dealers in cooked meats'. The census also shows Polydor Amalries, from Villefranche, France, living at No 46 with his wife Louise and apparently running a French bazaar there.

There was a No 44½ occupied by James Potter, shoemaker, in 1880, although no occupants are shown in the following year's census. Next door at No 44 James Dupre ran a perfumery with his wife, although the business is listed as G Luce, Eau de Cologne manufacturer. At No 42 we find confectioner Mark Saunders, further proof that the occupants of the north-side shops operated a much greater diversity of businesses than those on the opposite side of the street.

At No 40 on the corner with New Street, we find J F Gaudin's china and glass warehouse. The opposite corner should be No 38 King Street, but the various shops to have occupied this substantial frontage on the main street have strangely always been listed as part of New Street.

Next door at No 36 in 1880 we find Arabella Whetton and her daughters Jessie and Arabella running a public house. Ignatius D'Orellana ran a pharmacy at No 34 and E H Bulbeck was in business as a confectioner at No 32. Which brings us to Nos 24 to 30, occupied by another of the streets longest-established businesses, Voisin's, founded by Francis Voisin at No 26 in 1837.

No 22 was to become synonymous with shoe retailers from 1890, but in 1880 it was occupied by William H Cobb, according to the following year's census a 'dealer in fancy goods', but shown as running a 'toy warehouse' in the 1880 almanac. At Nos 18 and 20 we find the more familiar King Street drapery establishments. W E Colebrook and Son (Walter and Arthur) were at No 20, although the family did not live 'over the shop' and A Aubin was at No 18.

Dispensing chemist Daniel Le Brocq was at No 16 trading as Wellman and Finney and C J and W Bisson were drapers and tailors at No 14. This business opened at Halkett House in 1754 and was to move to No 6 King Street by 1885, when F J Le Riche took over at No 14 for a short time before the property was absorbed into a much larger drapery business, Noel and Porter, which in 1880 already occupied Nos 8, 10 and 12. Another draper, P Le Maistre, was at No 6, which did not succumb to Noel and Porter's advance, but eventually became Woolworth.

As we have seen, No 2 King Street is on the opposite side of the street, so No 4 makes the corner with Halkett Place at the eastern end of the north side. In 1880 it was a pharmacy run by John Ereaut.

This completes our walk along King Street in 1880, but please follow the links above to articles on individual properties which will be added progressively in the weeks to come.

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