The Weighbridge

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On the coast
The Weighbridge


An early map of St Helier before the land on which the Weighbridge stood had been reclaimed

The Weighbridge is one of the most important locations in St Helier. The name has been taken by the whole area to the north of the Old Harbour and New North Quay, where the original public weighbridge formerly stood

A 21st century night view

This is all reclaimed land, the shoreline of St Helier having previously been over 200 metres to the north on the south wall of the town churchyard. Gradually, from the 18th century onwards, the sea was pushed back, as first warehouses, and then hotels and other properties, were built to the south of the church.

Then construction of St Helier Harbour began in the 19th century, and gradually more and more land was reclaimed - a process which is continuing to this day.

The weighbridge itself was ordered to be constructed in 1825, and, as the island's potato industry developed, for several weeks of every year it was the centre of island life, as farmers brought their crop to St Helier for weighing, packing and then shipping out of the island.

In 1870 the town terminus of the Jersey Western Railway was built; in 1877 a new weighbridge was built in front of the terminus, closer to the harbour and the original building was demolished; in the late 1880s a circular garden was laid out, initially with a tall flagpole in the centre, before it was replaced with a statue of Queen Victoria, which was unveiled in 1890.

The Weighbridge's darkest days were in June 1940, when thousands of islanders queued there awaiting evacuation, and it was later the scene of an aerial attack by German forces, which would shortly occupy the island, after ordering white crosses of surrender to be painted on the Weighbridge and Royal Square.

Five years later, when the island was liberated, the Weighbridge was the scene of great jubilation, as crowds flooded the area to see the Union Flag unfurled on the balcony of the Pomme d'Or Hotel which stands on the edge of the Weighbridge open area.

Today a memorial square with freedom statue has been constructed on this side of the Weigbridge, but the opposite side, in front of the Jersey Museum, where the statue used to stand, and leading towards Commercial Buildings is an open area awaiting redevelopment as a public arena. The statue was moved closer to the old railway terminus, then the tourism centre, in 1970 and its surrounding gardens demolished, to allow the bus station which was then located there to be enlarged. The weighbridge itself also disappeared in 1970. In 1976 the statue was moved to the Triangle Park at West Park.

At first the Old Harbour stretched much further towards the Royal Yacht Hotel but a section was filled in during 1884 to allow the circular garden to be constructed. At this point there was only a narrow stretch of land between the harbour and the garden. In 1928 more of the harbour was filled in to create land for car parking.


Other articles

Unveiling ceremony of Queen Victoria statue in 1890


This picture was taken in 1887 by Ernest Baudoux, after the opening of the new weighbridge closer to the harbour than the original structure, which was outside the Southampton Hotel. A circular garden was created on the reclaimed area in 1888, with a tall flagpole at its centre. Then the States decided that they wanted a statue of Queen Victoria in place of the flagpole. That was unveiled in 1890. So it is not true, as often suggested, that the land was reclaimed with a view to creating space for a statue of the Queen. The States did not decide to have a statue until after the reclamation work had been completed. As pictures elsewhere on this page show, the gardens were created a year or two before the statue was erected, with the flagpole in the centre. Whether gardens were always intended for this reclaimed land, with a flagpole intended as a permanent feature, or whether they were constructed after the 1888 decision, with the flagpole a temporary centrepiece, is unclear. This picture shows clearly that the area where the garden would be built was just rough ground in 1887, with unsurfaced but well-worn tracks on the routes followed by potato vans heading for the weighing machines. This had previously been part of the old harbour, the upper part of which was filled in in starting in 1884. Initially the new weighbridge had a single channel so that only one load of potatoes or other produce could be weighed at a time, but increasing demand led to the addition of further weighing arches either side, to treble its capacity on busy days
This picture was taken in about 1900

Dated photographs

Three photographs published in the Jersey Evening Post in 2024 to show how the Weighbridge area has changed over the years
Looking west in 2011 past the underpass
Looking down from Fort Regent on a busy scene on Liberation Day 2012

Click on an image below to see larger picture

Dates confusion

The dates attributed to pictures of the reclaimed land on which the Weighbridge garden was located can be very misleading. Three of those below were part of a sequence taken by Ernest Baudoux, presumably at the same time as the larger image further up the page. They show the area of land reclaimed from the harbour, the top wall of which was moved several metres down to create the space where the statue of Queen Victoria would be erected in 1890. One of the images is dated 1884, another 1886, and the third, 1890, but they certainly appear to have been taken within a short time of each other, and the date of 1887 attributed to the larger picture above seems most likely. The dates for all pictures taken of this area in the 1880-90s must be seen as approximate, but a definitive date of 28 July 1889 for one of them cannot be accurate because the circular garden is known to have been laid out in 1888, with a flagpole at its centre until the statue was unveiled in 1890

This photograph must have been taken before the one below, which is dated about 1886. The upper part of the old harbour has yet to be filled in and the original public weighbridge, which gave the area its name, is still in position alongside the Southampton Hotel. This dates it before 1877. What is intriguing is that the building to the right of the Chase's Royal Yacht Hotel, itself to the right of the Southampton, is identified as Berry's Britannia Hotel. Most photographs of this area show it as 'W T Pugsley, Ship's Chandler' which would seem to push the date of the photograph back into the 1860s, within a decade of the building of the Southampton in 1861, and before the warehouse next to it became part of the Pomme d'Or Hotel
c 1886
Tiny bushes in the garden date this superb quality photograph to shortly after the unveiling of the statue in 1890
Cars in 1905


These pictures illustrate the difficulty encountered in trying to date photographs taken more than 100 years ago. They were all received dated 'circa 1905'. That date might be accurate for the pictures on the left and below, but the one on the right was taken much earlier, long before the frontage of the railway terminus had been replaced by the granite building which subsequently became the island's Tourism office, and still stands today. An investigation of the dates of various pictures of the Weighbridge elsewhere in this website put a date of 1879 on the centre picture

Potato lorries in 1939 ...
... and in 1961
Early 1972
Buses dominate the scene in the 1990s

Potato exports

Horses and carts at the Weighbridge

Sundry photographs not yet dated

Click on an image below to see larger picture

A light covering of snow across the Weighbridge
Weighbridge hotels
The St Helier terminus of the Jersey Western Railway
Passing through the weighbridge
The original weighbridge photographed by Philip Godfray in the 1870s
LL postcard
Contrast this with the picture above
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