13 March 1917

New Town Arsenal handed over

The military finally took possession of the New Town Arsenal this week.

The military finally took possession of the New Town Arsenal this week. It follows many years of often contentious debate, complex negotiations and finally building work.   

The New Town Arsenal, constructed on land opposite the Army District Office at Beau Sejour, Rouge Bouillon, is a replacement for the Old Town Arsenal, formerly located in Nelson Street. After the latter building was seriously damaged by fire more than 10 years ago, the Militia’s Town Battalion has made do with temporary accommodation, including the Queen’s Assembly Rooms in Belmont Road.

The initial delay in building arose from an argument over who should pay for the new arsenal, with the Constable of St Helier objecting strongly to the principle that his ratepayers should foot all or even some of the cost. A further hold-up was the choice of location, with a site on Pier Road originally preferred and then rejected.

Meanwhile, there is a question mark hanging over the future use of all the Island’s arsenals. With the Militia now disbanded following passing of the Military Service Act, it remains to be seen what use the island’s remaining military forces will have for the Victorian-era buildings.

Associated Record:

D/AP/R/13/40 contains a number of documents relating to the Island’s arsenals during wartime, including inventories taken at the start of 1917.

D/AP/R/12/1 contains a plan of  the Town Arsenal drawn up in 1907.