In the 1891 census, a chemist named Jean Ereaut lived on Wellington Road in a house named The Beeches. Today this building and grounds are known as De La Salle College.
On 3 November 1900 he sold the property to Kate Eveline Bell’s teenaged children, who were represented by a tuteur due to their young age. Mrs Bell bought the property from her children in 1902.
De La Salle brothers
After a 20-year absence the Institute of the Brothers of Christian Schools returned to Jersey in 1917.
This Roman Catholic order, also known as the De La Salle Brothers, prioritised education as a key part of their ministry.
Their aim was to find a new site at which they could provide a Christian education to boys in Jersey, and in September representatives of what would become De La Salle College purchased The Beeches, which included Beeches Cottage in the grounds, from Kate Bell.
By 1932, De La Salle College’s House system was well established. Jersey Archive holds records for Peary House in particular. These books detail elections of the head of house, and illustrate how students competed for house points over the course of the academic year.
During the Spring term of 1932, K Nicolle amassed 43 points for Peary house for classwork, and F Jackson and R Lobb were awarded points for passing Chamber of Commerce Examinations in subjects such as French, Commercial Geography and English.
Points were also subject to inter-house fixtures on the sports fields. Following a football match between Peary and Scott houses in 1932, the Peary house book provides details of the final score, as well as revealing the particular motivation for their performance in this match, which they won 15-0.
“The match last term between the same teams resulted in a narrow victory for Peary 2-1,” the Peary house book explains. “This term we wished to avenge the 'narrow squeak' of last term and certainly succeeded."
A breakdown of points gained by members of Peary house during the Summer Term of 1942 shows the breadth of activities offered at De La Salle College by this time.
Combined with existing marks for class work and cricket are marks for tennis and drill. These marks, when added to points awarded on Sports Day, left Peary House with a total of 1,159 points for the summer term and 1st place overall amongst the De La Salle houses.
1942 was of course a time when Jersey was occupied by German forces. Despite the difficulties facing the Island, sports tournaments continued and De La Salle’s first team were able to sit for an official portrait to mark their 1943-1944 Season.
This team, accompanied by their coach Mr Aubin and Headmaster Brother Edward, are noted on the reverse of the portrait for their victory against St. Paul’s that season.
By the next season the deterioration in food supplies to the Island had become more severe as a result of the Allied advance through France to Germany. It was recorded that there would be “no football for juniors” as the players were “considered not well fed enough.”
This comment is echoed in the football report on Peary House for Easter Term 1945.
In this report, it is stated that Brother Edward, who had led the school as headmaster since 1917, made his decision to cancel all football due to the reduction and subsequent “complete absence” of the bread rations.
For the students of De La Salle College, the reduction in rations available resulted in a dual consequence of hunger, as well as the cessation of their ability to take part in sports events and represent their houses and their school.
Through the Peary house books, it is possible to appreciate how this additional consequence of the reduction in food supplies to the Island would have disappointed a student body who appeared to thrive on sporting competition.
Suspending the football season would have also removed the ability for their sport to provide a distraction for students from the hardships they encountered in the last months of the Occupation.