Sacré Coeur Orphanage

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Sacre Coeur Orphanage


The Sacré Coeur Orphanage in Rouge Bouillon was founded in the early 20th century. Father Leon Le Grand, rector of St Thomas, who had came to Jersey in 1899, was very concerned with the social struggle in St Helier for poorer, working parents and saw the need to establish a Catholic run day care for children and fund an orphanage for catholic orphans.

The chapel

Father Le Grand established the Sacré Coeur Orphanage in 1901 in Midvale Road, but it soon became apparent that this site was inadequate and a larger property in Rouge Bouillon, called Summerland House, was purchased. Work began immediately to construct a large building adjoining the house for the orphanage, with the intention that the original house be kept as a convent. Père Le Grand then purchased a property adjacent to the orphanage - St Mary’s House (formerly the Jersey Modern School), on behalf of the parish, to accommodate the older boys.

By December 1904 there were 78 primary age children, 13 babies and nine sisters living at the orphanage. The older boys at St Mary’s House either worked as apprentices in town or in the extensive grounds learning horticultural and gardening skills. For the older girls a textile factory was opened in 1905 in a neighbouring building to provide lessons in housekeeping, sewing and knitting. These skills became a means of employment for the girls when master tailor, Louis Jules Sangan, formed a commercial partnership with the orphanage, creating the Summerland Manufacturing Company.

In 1910 when the factory opened its doors to other girls from the parish it was employing about 60 workers, many of who were not from the orphanage. The history of this successful company is well documented, but they were particularly important during the Occupation for the manufacture of clothing and footwear when there were terrible shortages on the island. Their wooden clogs became known as Summerland Clogs.

By the 1960s the need for an orphanage had declined and due to financial difficulties the sisters were forced to sell off part of the properties. St Mary’s House was sold to the States of Jersey in the early 1980s and became the site for the ambulance station and a car park for the police station and houses. The orphanage itself was used as a nursery until its closure in 1996 and the subsequent sale of the remainder of the property. Fortunately the chapel and the orphanage building, with its imposing statue of the Sacred Heart, have been maintained in excellent condition by the current owner.

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