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Coordinates: 49°11′13″N 2°06′25″W / 49.187°N 2.107°W / 49.187; -2.107

Saint Helier
Saint-Hélier
Location of Saint HelierSaint-Hélier in Jersey Coat of arms}}} of Saint HelierSaint-Hélier
Location of Saint Helier
Saint-Hélier in Jersey
Coat of arms of Saint Helier
Saint-Hélier
Island Jersey, Channel Islands
Area 4.1 sq mi (10.6 km²)
Population 28310
- density 6904.9/sq mi (2670.8/km²)

Saint Helier (French language: Saint-Hélier, Jèrriais: St Hélyi) is one of the twelve parishes of Jersey, the largest of the Channel Islands in the English Channel. St. Helier has a population of about 28,000, roughly 31.2% of the total population of Jersey, and is the capital of the Island (although Government House is situated in St. Saviour). The urban area of the parish of St. Helier makes up most of the largest town in Jersey, although some of the town area is situated in adjacent St. Saviour, with suburbs sprawling into St. Lawrence and St. Clement. The greater part of St. Helier is predominantly rural.

The parish covers a surface area of 4.1 square miles (10.6 km2), being 9% of the total land area of the Island (this includes reclaimed land area of 494 acres (2.00 km2) or 200 ha).

The parish crest is two crossed gold axes on a blue background, symbolising the martyrdom of Helier and the sea.

Contents

History

Saint Helier viewed across St. Aubin's Bay from West

It is thought that the site of St. Helier was settled at the time of the Roman control of Gaul.

The medieval hagiographies of Helier, the patron saint martyred in Jersey and after whom the parish and town are named, suggest a picture of a small fishing village on the dunes between the marshy land behind and the high-water mark.

Although the Parish Church of St Helier is now some considerable distance from the sea, at the time of its original construction it was on the edge of the dunes at the closest practical point to the offshore islet called the Hermitage (site of Helier's witness and martyrdom). Before land reclamation and port construction started, boats could be tied up to the churchyard wall on the seaward side.

An Abbey of St. Helier was founded in 1155 on L'Islet, a tidal island adjacent to the Hermitage. Closed at the Reformation, the site of the abbey was fortified to create the castle that replaced Mont Orgueil as the Island's major fortress. The new Elizabeth Castle was named after the Queen by the Governor of Jersey 1600-1603, Sir Walter Raleigh.

The Hermitage of Saint Helier lies in the bay off St. Helier and is accessible on foot at low tide

Until the end of the 18th century, the town consisted chiefly of a string of houses, shops and warehouses stretching along the coastal dunes either side of the Church of St. Helier and the adjacent marketplace (since 1751, Royal Square). La Cohue (a Norman word for courthouse) stood on one side of the square, now rebuilt as the Royal Court and States Chamber (called collectively the States Building). The market cross in the centre of the square was pulled down at the Reformation, and the iron cage for holding prisoners was replaced by a prison gatehouse at the western edge of town.

The statue of George II in the Royal Square is the zero milestone from which all distances in Jersey are measured

George II gave £200 towards the construction of a new harbour - previously boats would be beached on a falling tide and unloaded by cart across the sands. A statue of the king (by John Cheere) was erected in the square in 1751 in gratitude, and the market place was renamed Royal Square, although the name has remained Lé Vièr Marchi (the old market) to this day in Jèrriais. Many of St. Helier's road names and street names are bilingual English/French or English/Jèrriais, some having only one name though, although the names in the various languages are not usually translations: distinct naming traditions survive alongside each other.

The Royal Square was also the scene of the Battle of Jersey on January 6, 1781, the last attempt by French forces to seize Jersey. John Singleton Copley's epic painting The Death of Major Pierson captures an imaginative version of the scene.

As harbour construction moved development seaward, a growth in population meant that marshland and pasture north of the ribbon of urban activity was built on speculatively. Settlement by English immigrants added quarters of colonial-style town houses to the traditional building stock.

Continuing military threats from France spurred the construction of a citadel fortress, Fort Regent, on the Mont de la Ville, the crag dominating the shallow basin of St. Helier.

Military roads linking coastal defences around the island with St. Helier harbour had the effect of enabling farmers to exploits Jersey's temperate micro-climate and get their crops onto new fast sailing ships and then steamships to get their produce into the markets of London and Paris before the competition. This was the start of Jersey's agricultural prosperity in the 19th century.

In 1855 an obelisk was constructed in Broad Street to commemorate the reformer Pierre Le Sueur, five time elected Constable of St. Helier. The monument was restored in 2005 and the fountains restored to working order.

From the 1820s, peace with France and better communications enabled by steamships and railways to coastal ports encouraged an influx of English-speaking residents. Speculative development covered the marshy basin north of the central coastal strip as far as the hills within a period of about 40 years, providing the town with terraces of elegant town houses.

In the second half of the 19th century, the need to facilitate access to the harbour for hundreds of trucks laden with potatoes and other produce for export prompted a programme of road-widening which swept away many of the ancient buildings of the town centre. Pressure for redevelopment has meant that very few buildings remain in urban St. Helier which date to before the 19th century, giving the town primarily a Regency or Victorian character.

Pierre Le Sueur, reforming Constable of St. Helier, was responsible for installing sewerage and provision of clean water in St. Helier following outbreaks of cholera in the 1830s. An obelisk with fountain in the town centre was raised to his memory following his premature death in office from overwork.

In the 1970s, a programme of pedestrianisation of the central streets was undertaken.

The statue in Liberation Square

In 1995, to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Jersey being liberated from Nazi occupation, and thus 50 years of peace, a sculpture was erected in what is now called Liberation Square, in front of the Pomme d'Or Hotel, the focal point for the celebrations when the island was originally liberated.

The sculpture was originally to depict islanders releasing doves of peace, but this came under fierce criticism, with some islanders remarking that had any doves been on the island during the occupation, they would have been eaten by starving German soldiers. Therefore the sculpture was revised to show islanders raising the British flag, as they had done on the day of liberation 50 years previous.

Liberation Square is now a focal point in the town - the former terminus of the Jersey Railway housed the Jersey Tourism office until 2007.

The parish is the site of the Jersey Library and Jersey Museum.

In 2006, it was reported[1] that the Connétable, with the backing of the Chief Minister of Jersey, was to seek city status for St. Helier.

Subdivisions

The Parish Hall of St. Helier is the seat of municipal administration

The parish is divided into vingtaines for administrative purposes:

Twin towns

Saint Helier is twinned with:

Demographics

Saint Helier is the most populated of Jersey's parishes, with 28,310 residents as of 2001.

Population
1991 1996 2001
28,123 27,523 28,310
Statistics beginning 1991

Politics

A depiction of the Town of Saint Helier as it was in 1709

For electoral purposes, the parish is divided into 4 districts.

  • St. Helier No. 1 (comprising the Vingtaine de la Ville) elects 3 Deputies
  • St. Helier No. 2 (comprising the Vingtaine de Bas du Mont au Prêtre and Vingtaine de Haut du Mont au Prêtre) elects 3 Deputies
  • St. Helier No. 3 (comprising the Vingtaine du Rouge Bouillon and Vingtaine du Mont à l'Abbé)
  • St. Helier No. 4 (comprising the Vingtaine du Mont Cochon)
votes from polling stations in Nos. 3 and 4 are combined into one district electing 4 Deputies. This district is the largest constituency in the Island.

With the Constable, the parish therefore has 11 representatives in the States of Jersey (out of 53 elected members).

The Parish also has its own responsibilities and elections to the Municipality of St Helier take place to elect honorary officials who fulfill a variety of roles for Parishioners under the overall control of the Constable, two Procureurs du Bien Public and the Parish Assembly.

The Administration Civile includes elected Honorary Police; 16 Constable's Officers, 10 Vingteniers and 12 Centeniers. The Honorary Police work alongside the States of Jersey Police (also referred to as the Paid Police) and Centeniers undertake the charging and prosecution of all suspects in the criminal justice system of Jersey.

Five members of the Roads Committee and ten Roads Inspectors are also elected by parishioners and ensure that the roads of the parish are kept in good repair.

The Assessment Committee are elected to agree the rate chargeable to each property in the Parish.

The Welfare Board is elected to oversee the distribution of welfare to parishioners.

The Accounts Committee are elected to ensure that the accounts of the Parish represent a 'true and fair view' of the state of the Parish finances in order that the Parish Assembly may rely upon the information to set the Parish Rate.

Elected officials are supported by a paid administration within the Parish.

Saint

The face of Saint Helier as sculpted on the 1978 monument La Croix de la Reine in St Helier.

Saint Helier is named for Helier (or Helerius), a 6th century ascetic hermit. The traditional date of his martyrdom is AD 555. His feast day, marked by an annual municipal and ecumenical pilgrimage to the Hermitage, is on July 16.

Sites of Special Interest

Central Market.

Many places in St. Helier have been formally listed as Sites of Special Interest by the Planning and Environment department of Jersey.[2] Not all are mentioned on this page, only those which are most prominent.

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Central Market & Beresford Market

The Central Market, in Beresford Street, St. Helier, is an indoor market which was opened in 1882.[3] It is an official Site of Special Interest[4], and is popular with tourists and locals. It features Victorian architecture including cast iron structures, and an ornamental fountain in the centre. The market comprises stalls selling flowers, fruit, and vegetables, as well as small shops and cafés.

Beresford Market is a separate building next to the Central Market, and specialises in fish mongery.[5]

See also

References

Bibliography

  • Balleine's History of Jersey, Marguerite Syvret and Joan Stevens (1998) ISBN 1-86077-065-7.
  • Jersey in Figures, 2003 – 2004, published by the States of Jersey.

External links


Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010
(Redirected to St. Helier article)

From Wikitravel

Saint Helier is the main city of Jersey.

Get in

By Car

From the west of the island, you will need to travel either along Victoria Avenue or along the inner road. These are quite busy, and traveling during rush hour can add a considerable amount of time onto your journey.

From the east you will almost definitely need to take the coast road, which runs (unsurprisingly) along the south east coast of the island.

In order to look around the majority of St Helier you will need to park. Most parking spaces require scratch cards which can be bought from any news agents. You will need to scratch off the day of the week, the date, the month and the time you arrive. You will need 1 unit per hour (cards being sold in 1 or 2 unit blocks) and to leave them on your windscreen where they are visible to traffic wardens. There are several multi story car parks and a couple of large open air ones. Crime in Jersey is fairly low, and it is unlikely you will run into trouble leaving your car in any of these places.

By Bus

All buses in Jersey run to and from St Helier. The major bus routes run approximately every 20mins and the minor ones tend to run about once an hour. The fare is a maximum of £1.60 from anywhere on the island with a bus stop, but the coverage isn't amazing.

On Foot

It is possible to walk to St Helier from most places, and as long as you know your route you are unlikely to be walking more than 5 or 6 miles from wherever you are.

By Bike

There is a cycle route that runs from St Aubin to St Helier along the sea front. There are plenty of cafes along the way in case you get hungry as well. You can also walk this route or hire betty bikes in the summer.

Get around

The majority of St Helier's centre is pedestrianised and the rest is made up of one way streets. Once you are there it is advisable to walk around to see the place.

See

There are 3 museums in the town centre, the Maritime Museum, the Occupation Museum and the Jersey Museum. All of these are interesting and worth a look. There is also the waterfront area, which is all reclaimed land and the town itself has plenty of parks and some shops.

Museums

Maritime Museum

This is probably the most exciting if you have children. Located just behind the steam clock, between the avenue and the tunnel, it has several interactive exhibits about Jersey's maritime history, which is a long and quite colourful one, involving pirates!

Occupation Museum

This is a museum dedicated to the German occupation. This is, obviously, not the most cheery museum, but worth a visit if you are interested in Military History. It is located on the same road as the bus station.

Jersey Museum

This covers the history of Jersey, and is quite interesting. The first floor has an exhibit on mammoths and a concentration camp exhibit, as well as a cafe, a welcome desk and a shop. There is also a temporary exhibit gallery, and a case displaying some things owned by Lilly Langtree. The next floor up covers Jerseys farming history with some things about the occupation as well as some information about Jersey wildlife. There is also a floor which acts like an art gallery and contains a lot of quite interesting paintings with a connection to the island. Lastly, there is a recreation of a Victorian town house, which if you go in tourist season you may get shown around by a local actress. This includes a child's playroom, with a lot of old fashioned toys as well as costumes for children to play with and dress up in.

Waterfront

There are several areas to the waterfront, and it is a pleasant place to spend an afternoon. The main area contains a cinema and a swimming pool. These are popular with the local residents, however, they are not particularly different from a cinema or pool you could find elsewhere, and if you wish to swim, I would recommend the sea during the summer. There is also a large harbour where you can look at a lot of boats. To get into the harbour you need a code, however, it is easy to look over the fence and view the boats in there. Lastly, there is a large area with a fountain, plants and a (very expensive) cafe. The fountain is great fun if you have small children, and quite a few will be playing in it in the summer.

  • Cafe JAC, Phillips Street, St Helier (Underneath Jersey Arts Centre), 01534879482, [1]. Cafe JAC is located on Phillips Street in St Helier (near the heart of town), and serves a wide range of food ranging from cafe to restaurant style. Teas, Coffees and drinks are also available all day long. Takeaway service available by phone or online.  edit
  • Blue Note Bar, Kings Street (Far end of Kings Street (opposite Barclays, near Charing Cross)).  edit
  • The S Bar, Snow Hill (Corner of snow hill, opposite Spar and the Taxi Rank).  edit
  • Chambers, 5 Mulcaster Street, St Helier, Jersey, JE2 3NJ (From HMV on King street, turn into the Royal Square, walk diagonally accross it, and turn left, then right, Chambers is on your left, near the Weighbridge).  edit
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Wiktionary

Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary

Contents

English

Alternative spellings

  • St Helier
  • St. Helier

Proper noun

Singular
Saint Helier

Plural
-

Saint Helier

  1. The capital of Jersey, the Channel Islands.

Translations

  • French: Saint-Hélier

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