House History is a growing field of research for those who are interested in discovering the stories of the people who lived in their house over time. By studying the history of a property we can find out more about the people and communities who have lived on a particular street or in a certain house over past centuries.
Ownership of property was always transferred before the Royal Court so it is possible for house historians to trace the ownership of their property and then use records such as the census and rate lists to find out about the lives of the people who lived in their house.
Our House History Information Leaflet highlights the collection we hold that can help with your research.
What’s Your Story?
Since 2008 Jersey Archive have been hosting a series of talks called What’s Your Story project. The project has revealed the stories of Jersey’s people, streets and properties and attracted hundreds of visits to Jersey Archive. Archive staff have discovered stories of love and marriage, military heroes, witchcraft and murder and crime and punishment.
Our articles have now been placed on the Jersey Archive Blog for you to view.
The History of Clarence Road
Jersey Archive is located in Clarence Road and by looking at records from this area we can see how it might be possible to build up a picture of a street or community from the 19th century.
Jersey Archive itself was built in 2000 in the former Anthony’s Quarry. The quarry itself had been purchased by the States of Jersey in the 1950s as a site for housing. By looking at the 1834 Le Gros Map of St Helier we can clearly see that a quarry existed on the site of Jersey Archive at this date. The rest of Clarence Road (or Clarence Terrace as it is called on the Le Gros Map) consists of a small number of houses with part of the road still bordering on to an orchard.
Looking back to the 1800 map of St Helier we can see that the entire area from the Jersey Archive in Clarence Road to St James Street is covered by orchards. By looking through the public registry for land transactions we can trace the origins of Anthony’s Quarry. The land for the quarry was purchased by Clément Auguste de Quetteville in the 1820s from the Chevalier family. Clément presumably built the quarry to help cater to the growth in the number of buildings in St Helier that took place in the first half of the 19th century.
The quarry in Clarence Road sat alongside some rather grand properties such as Sussex House and Gardiner House, both of which were built between the 1830s – 1850s, perhaps with stone from the quarry.
By looking at the 1851 census we can see that this was a prosperous area of town. Living in Clarence Road we have a Doctor, a retired Surgeon from the East India Company, a Fund holder, a Professor of writing and general literature, a Master Sail Maker and a retired Lieutenant previously in the Royal Navy.
Many of the inhabitants of Clarence Road had large families, for example Philip Harding, a 50 year old Doctor and his wife Mary are listed as having seven daughters from the age of 20 to 4 all living with them at Sussex House in 1851. By looking at baptism records we can see that Philip and Mary actually had another eighth daughter, Kate in 1848, and finally after eight girls Mary gave birth to twin sons, George and Robert, in 1849. Sadly, as the 1851 census does not record these last three children we can only assume that they succumbed to the high levels of infant mortality in the 19th century.
Further evidence of the area’s prosperity can be found when looking at the names of the individual’s living on Grosvenor Terrace. Grosvenor Terrace, or simply ‘The Terrace’ was built in 1826.
By 1851 the individuals living at The Terrace included John Hammond, the then Advocate-General of Jersey. Hammond lived at number 15, The Terrace with his wife Jane Penrose Le Breton – the sister of Dean Le Breton, father of Lillie Langtry and their four daughters and two sons. The household benefited from the services of a live in cook, a parlour maid and two housemaids.
These stories show how the records at Jersey Archive can be used to give us a brief glimpse into the individuals who walked on the same streets and lived in the same properties as us. We can imagine the Harding girls playing in the garden at Sussex House and John Hammond setting off to work at the Royal Court from Grosvenor Terrace.