Descriptive Gazetteer Entry for HELIER (ST.)

HELIER (ST.), a town and a parish in Jersey. The town is the capital of Jersey; took its name from a recluse, who lived at the Herimtage rock in its vicinity; and stands on the E side of St. Aubin bay, opposite to St. Aubin, 4½ miles WSW of the eastern extremity of the island at Mont Orgueil castle, and 8½ SE of the northwestern extremity at Cape Grosnez. Regular steam boat communication is maintained with it from Littlehampton, Southampton, and Weymouth in England, and from St. Malo in France. Its situation is very pleasant, with an open prospect to the sea, with meadows and hills to the north, and with a copious stream running through from the hills. The old and principal streets are very narrow; but they have recently been improved, both by the reconstruction of houses and by the widening of thoroughfares. A spacious, well built, handsome open space, flagged with smooth stone, is in the centre; bears the name of the Royal square; was formerly used for the markets; and has, on a granite pedestal, a gilt statue intended to represent George II. High street and Queen street, leading off from the square, contain excellent shops; and Grosvenor terrace and the Crescent, beyond Queen street, are inhabited chiefly by the English. The Royal Courthouse, in the Royal square, was built in 1647; is the place in which the supreme courts of the island hold their sittings; and was considerably improved and enlarged in 1865-6. The public library, in Library Place, near the royal square, was founded in 1736; and contains many valuable works, especially in theology and ecclesiastical history. Victoria college, the outskirts of the town, was erected in 1852, in commemoration of a visit of the Queen to Jersey; is a handsome edifice, with terraced walks and charming views; and affords the highest education in the Island. The hospital, at the W end of the town, is a large mass of buildings, with an extensive garden in front; serves as an infirmary and a poor house for all the island, and as a temporary refuge; and till 1866, when a separate asylum was formed, served also for. lunatics. The public prison was built at a cost of £19, 000; and contains 12 cells for criminals, and 6 rooms for debtors. The general market, in Halkett place, has classified arrangements for different kinds of produce; and fish and foreign markets, and cattle and vegetable markets, are near it in neighbouring streets. The old theatre was burnt down in 1863, and a new one has been opened. The parade is a fine park, formed from an extensive common; and a second park was formed in 1866. Prince Albert pier forms a handsome and healthy promenade; and was designed, but ineffectually, to be a landing place for steamers at all states of the tide. The harbour, docks, and quays are spacious. Fort Regent, overlooking the harbour, was constructed in 1806 and following years, at a cost of £800, 000; forms a great mass of building, rising high above the town, and commanding a view of large part of the island; and has a bomb proof magazine, capable of containing 5, 000 barrels of gunpowder. Another fort, noticed in our article ELIZABETH CASTLE, is on the E side of the bay. Delightful sands, with bathing machines, and with all sorts of baths, are on the beach. The parish church, near the Royal square, dates from 1341; is an imposing edifice; and was restored and enlarged in 1866. St. Simon's church is an elegant structure of 1866. A French Independent chapel, an English Independent one, and the Scotch Free church, are recent and handsome. There are six other churches and a good many chapels. There are five national schools, a British and foreign school, and numerous benevolent institutions. There are also a head post office, ‡ five postoffice pillar boxes, seven banking offices, and several good hotels. Markets are held on Wednesday and Saturday; ship building and iron founding are carried on; and a commerce, coastwise and to Newfoundland, employs nearly 10, 000 tons of shipping. The parish includes also the village of Ville-es-Nouax, and comprises 2, 125 acres. Pop. in 1851, 29, 644; in 1861, 29, 528. Houses, 4, 188. The head living is a rectory, united with the chapelries of St. Mark, St. Andrew, and St. Simon, in the diocese of Winchester. Value, £500.* Patron, the Crown. All Saints, St. Paul, and St. James, are separate chapelries. Value of the first, £120; of each of the two others, £200. Patron of the first, the Rector of St. Helier; of each of the two others, Proprietors. See JERSEY.

(John Marius Wilson, Imperial Gazetteer of England and Wales (1870-72))

Linked entities:
Feature Description: "a town and a parish"   (ADL Feature Type: "cities")
Administrative units: Jersey CrProt
Place names: HELIER ST     |     ROYAL SQUARE     |     ST HELIER

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