Formerly known as Sion Hall Hotel, Hotel l'Emeraude in Rue St Thomas, a quiet country lane in St Saviour, is no longer in business, like so many of the historic hotels featured on this site.
50 years a hotel
It was a hotel for 50 years, since it was acquired by Mr and Mrs D Humphreys in 1961. They bought it from James Ferdinand Charles Langlois, who had run it as a guest house for a number of years.
As can be seen from the old picture the centre portion of the building retains the facade of the old house, although what lies behind was substantially rebuilt after its acquisition by Mr and Mrs Humphreys. They demolished the old buildings on either side and started on the substantial enlargement of the hotel as it is today. This process was continued by Gordon Heynes, who bought the hotel in 1968 and transformed it into a 1st Register hotel, changing the name from Sion Hall to l'Emeraude.
Like several other hotels in Jersey, l'Emeraude started life as a private house, built in 1802, and then became a school. Sion House was turned into a school by Elias Neel in 1825. At a time when private schools were springing up throughout the island to cater for families newly arrived from England, and the gradual transition from a French-speaking to an English-speaking community was under way, Mr Neel followed the opposite course and advertised that his school would conduct its lessons in French.
He became a leading member of the community and was elected a Jurat in 1860. He was largely responsible for the development of the Jersey Home for Boys, which became Haut de la Garenne. However, he never recovered his standing after the collapse in 1873 of the Jersey Joint Bank, of which he was a director.
Although he was acquitted of fraud after an Assize Court trial in 1874, his reputation was in tatters after being accused of 'an incomprehensible lack of business ability', and he left the island and died in England at the age of 92.
Sion Hall was acquired by Nicholas Joseph Vivian and reverted to its original use as a private house. He was as a fuse salesman, (mining dynamite) mine captain, and mine owner in successive censuses ending in Jersey as 'gent'. He lived at Sion House as landlord and tenant with a friend from Cornwall William Cooke.
Vivian and Cooke families
Unmarried, he left everything to William’s son Percy, who received his bequest at 18. William was married to Jane Neel, the grand-daughter, or grand-neice, of Elias Neel, who sold the family home to Nicholas Vivian. Information received from a descendant whose father was born in Sion House suggests that Nicholas Vivian may initially have been a tenant of the Neels and when the banks foreclosed on Elias, he obtained the property and the landlord/tenant relationship reversed.
The descendant also speculates that Percy Vivian Cooke was actually the child of Nicholas Vivian, whose surname has been perpetuated down the generations in family forenames.
He added that When Dorothy Cooke moved house in the 1970s she burnt all of Nicholas Vivian’s diaries.
- "I suspect 30 or 40 years worth in grannies garden. Granny Olive rescued 1862, 3, 4, 5 and 7 and 1884 from the bonfire while Dorothy was not watching. I now have these. Every day is filled in, every detail of his finances and his domestic accounts are noted. Missing, however, is anything to do with work/profession. Or for that matter thoughts and feelings. The important couple of years in the 1870s when Percy was born are sadly missing/burnt. Not to mention the year when he moved to Jersey."
- A revised Neel family tree, including Elias and Jane
- Cooke family tree, revised and corrected in 2019
- Langlois family tree