People's Park

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People's Park


People's Park on the left, with the Triangle Park
at the bottom rightcc

People's Park, a large grassy expanse on the extreme western edge of the town of St Helier, has a long history.

The park was created in the mid-19th century on land ceded to and acquired by the Parish of St Helier, starting as the 1857 newspaper report below indicates, with the planting of a large number of trees around its circumference.

Eventually the park was created and it has since been the venue for an enormous variety of public activities, including military parades, anniversary celebrations of the Liberation at the end of World War Two, fetes and fayres.

During the German Occupation it had a much darker purpose as the site of the headquarters of the German Organisation Todt.

Before the park was created

From the Jersey Independent 1 April 1857

Town improvements

We had occasion to pass the other day through Cheapside, as far as Mr Clarke's ship building yard [1]. We observed that our worthy Constable (Mr Marett) [2] had exerted all his skill in the improvement of that part of the town.

The pieces of land lately conceded by the Tenants of Meleches to the Parish on both sides of the road are planted with trees – a double row on the site of Gallows Hill. The road towards the Stranger's Cemetery is also studded with trees as well as the road branching off along side of the Esplanade Distillery. The trees planted exceed two hundred.

In the course of time this part of the town will certainly become valuable and increase the value of the surrounding property. We would recommend strongly to our worthy Constable the propriety of purchasing that flat piece of land lying between the road and Gallows Hill and have it planted and laid out as a Public Promenade. The Parish and States should subscribe a portion of the outlay, the remainder being by a public subscription. To return to our brief notice we must give credit to Mr Marett for this improvement. The road works were under the superintendence of Mr Thomas Gallichan, the able civil engineer. The trees are in excellent condition and have been furnished by Mr C B Saunders.[3]

Gymnastics display by the 2nd Battalion of the King's Own Regiment in 1908
A celebration arch in the park, occasion unknown

Remembrance celebrations

Notes and references

  1. On the coast at West Park
  2. Robert Pipon Marett, only Constable for a short time, later Attorney-General and Bailiff. During his time in municipal office he was responsible for laying out the Parade, formerly a military parade area, as public gardens
  3. This was praise indeed from the Independent. Although professing to have no allegiance to either of the political parties which dominated the States at the time, the newspaper was strongly anti-establishment and rarely lavished such praise on one of its prominent members
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