Minutes of the Annual General Meeting held on Tuesday, January 17th 2006 at 5.15 p.m., Members’ Room


            Members present:

            Georgia Le Maistre (Chairman), Jean Arthur, Marie-Louise Backhurst, Mervyn Billot, Bertram Bree, Roy Dobin, Mary Gibb, Suzanne Le Feuvre (minutes), David Le Maistre, Bob Le Sueur, Mike Lees, Elinor McFadden, Ian Machin, Pat Maindonald, Will Millow, David Woodall


1.          Apologies for absence

            Yvonne Aston, Don Bell, Jean Bell, Mary Billot, Ann Corbet, Francis Corbet, Frank Falle, Sue Hardy, Tertius Hutt, Nick Jouault, Sally Knight, David Levitt, Rose Millow


2.          Minutes of the meeting of December 13th 2005 and amendments

            There were no amendments. The minutes were approved as a correct record.


3.          Matters arising from the minutes not covered by the agenda

6.3        (Minutes of November 15th 2005) Bob Le Sueur reported that Ralph Nichols and Arthur Hill of the Geology Section had been to see the rock on the beach near Le Bourg and confirmed that it was a ‘natural rock’. Local farmers told Ralph Nichols that the engraved ‘G’ could indicate a limit to an area to which a family had exclusive rights to gather seaweed. Marie-Louise Backhurst suggested contacting Arthur McGuigan; Bob Le Sueur will do so.

6.4        (Minutes of November 15th 2005) Georgia Le Maistre reported that the December 2005 Executive meeting had noted the feelings of the Section on representation on the Jersey Heritage Trust. She would remind Frank Falle about this before the February Executive meeting; the decision on a new Trustee to be nominated by the SJ was due in April.

4.3        Mike Lees confirmed that Frank Falle had asked him to coordinate Section responses to reports such as those produced on Elizabeth Castle, and by the Forts and Towers Working Party. The meeting confirmed Mike Lees in this role.

            Mike Lees reported that the JHT had produced reports on L’Etacquerel and Fort Leicester. Reports on Le Crête Fort,  Archirondel and Seymour Towers were about to be circulated, with comments required by 30th March 2006. Marie- Louise Backhurst added that the reports were being produced in a standard format but would be open to amendments in the future.  However Planning decisions would be made on the basis of the first document produced. The reports were being put on the JHT website.

            Comments on any of these and on future reports are to be given to Mike Lees (tel: 853867 or e-mail

            Georgia Le Maistre agreed to suggest to the SJ Office and Executive that the other Sections are encouraged to comment as all aspects are important. Direct comments can be made to Roger Hills at the JHT.

            Mike Lees will also ask that the Section be given a hard copy of each of the final documents produced so that those who have commented can see the final result. It was noted that a copy was to be given to the SJ Library.

4.6        Marie-Louise Backhurst commented that the report ‘Making the Most of Jersey’s Coastline’ included a significant section on history, which included several errors. She will coordinate Section comments on this report (required by 27th January 2006). It is on the Environment website. Marie-Louise will also suggest that the vraicing areas should be recorded, and the local names for rocks; Jean Arthur confirmed that some of these were included in Jersey place names.

Marie-Louise will also look into the way in which the Société Guernesiaise deals with such reports; she understands that someone is employed by the SG to comment on and produce such reports, with funding from outside the SG.

4.7        The January 2006 issue of Your Family Tree was now available, including an article on CI genealogy written by Marie-Louise Backhurst (pages 54-57), including a photograph of the SJ Library.



4.          Election of Section Officers and Committee

4.1        The meeting agreed to the election of Frank Falle as Chairman and Mary Billot as Secretary (proposed by Bob Le Sueur and seconded by Suzanne Le Feuvre). Georgia Le Maistre recorded the Section’s thanks to Frank and Mary for continuing in these roles.

4.2        A Section Committee was considered to be useful for decisions needed in a crisis or similar burning issue, and the following members were elected unanimously: Jean Arthur, Geraint Jennings, Nick Jouault, Georgia Le Maistre.


5.          Chairman’s communications

5.1        There were no subjects raised by the acting Chairman.

5.2        The Section’s contribution to the SJ showcase was discussed. It was agreed that the Section suggest that the Executive write and ask all Sections if they wished to be included in the choice of items for the showcase display and to require that a response be given by the Chairmen/Secretaries meeting scheduled for 21st March 2006. After this, those Sections interested in being involved could work with the Executive to produce a display in the available space.


6.          Members’ contributions

6.1        Marie-Louise Backhurst recommended those visiting the British Library to take their Jersey driver’s licence as this provided both a photograph and an address needed when applying for a Reader’s card. She also recommended using various online search strategies as not all relevant items would turn up on the first attempt.

6.2        Marie-Louise noted that the team from England assessing Jersey farm buildings had already made their first visit to Jersey this month. She had sent a list of books to be used as references to Roger Hills, and he had replied saying that the visiting team had many questions to ask the History Section.

6.3        Marie-Louise noted that John Clarke (Archaeology Section) was keeping an eye on the archaeology of the Royal Yacht Hotel development site. Georgia Le Maistre said that John had told the Executive of a three-feet long English two-pounder iron cannon had been found last week; Neil Mahrer (JHT Conservator) now had the cannon and was investigating it further. Two other cannon pieces had been seen and were being looked for in the building spoil.

6.4        Marie-Louise is planning a seminar (probably in March) under the auspices of the History Section, to be called Mapping the Town. She hoped to hold it on a Saturday afternoon and include the Digimap Company, Planning Department, Jersey Archives, etc. Everyone would be asked to bring maps of the Town for comparison. People are asked to contact Marie-Louise to express an interest in this event.

6.5        Marie-Louise used the late Robin Cox’s notes to research Drury Lane and found that it had been called ‘Le Verd Chemin’. Robin had outlined its history back to 1611, including reference in 1989 to the company Drury Properties (St Helier) Ltd. Marie-Louise added that it is a public road and was part of the Clos de Mont Cantel and the garden of a Don Jouan!

6.6        Suzanne Le Feuvre noted that the Environment Section had discussed the intended regeneration of the west end of Hilgrove Street. There was a suggestion to raise the level of the cobbles in the street but the Environment Section will suggest that the pavements be lowered instead.

6.7        Georgia Le Maistre asked where ‘Dummy Lane’ was. Marie-Louise thought it was off Garden Lane, but will check.

6.8        In his role as secretary of the St Martin’s Conservation Trust, Mike Lees said that the Trust had begun the process of providing signs for the four towers in the parish. Doug Ford (JHT Head of Education Services) had written to ask them to check the text and the Trust had responded with suggestions for improvement. Mike gave out several copies of the JHT’s leaflet on Jersey Coastal Towers and asked for any comments to be made to him.

6.9        A contract dated 1838 found by Jean Arthur mentioned the sale of ‘ash’ without mentioning what kind of ash. She asked if anyone had heard of any other kind of ash other than vraic ash. David Le Maistre had come across rentes in vraic ash in his legal work, and Georgia Le Maistre noted that lime ‘ash’ was produced from lime kilns.

6.10      Pat Maindonald has found a map of Jersey, dated 1821, and will bring it to the next meeting.

6.11      Continuing his search for references to St Helier, Bertram Bree said that the cathedral in Trenton, New Jersey, had a chapel dedicated to St Helier. The de Carterets had settled in this area. He had also collected several more references to St Helier in Normandy.

6.12      Bertram is also gathering ideas for the 2006 History Section trip to Normandy. This will probably be in early September, and will possibly include Coutances Cathedral and the Abbaye du Voeu, Cherbourg.

6.13      Ian Machin asked the origin of the name ‘Rouge Bouillon’. Bob Le Sueur explained that this meant ‘red stream’ and came from the reddish clay at the top of Mont à l’Abbé (where later bricks were made) making the stream run red after heavy rain.

6.14      Will Millow reported that the Jersey Library had the Jersey Weekly Post available on microfilm. He noted that the Weekly Post often had more photographs than the daily editions.

6.15      David Le Maistre commented that Alderney had been exceptionally clearly visible during the last few weeks, so that he could see the Casquets with the naked eye, a very rare occurrence.

6.16      David asked further about the site near Greve d’Azette called ‘Kaffirland’. There had been an encampment of huts there and it had been suggested that the inmates could have been soldiers returning from the Boer War. Georgia Le Maistre thought that ‘Kaffirland’ referred to a site just past the Victor Hugo building. Bob Le Sueur said it was a derogatory term for the very poor people living there making a living by gathering seaweed and referred to as ‘kaffirs’.

            Bob added that the area of Egypt had a similar origin; the late Sir Arthur de la Mare (a local resident) had told him that Egypt was poor land and referred to as ‘gypsies’ or ‘les Egyptiens’.

6.17      David asked about the Trafalgar medal awarded to a Jerseyman, which had failed to reach its reserve in a second sale in 2005 and whether the SJ should look for a way to raise funds to purchase it. Georgia Le Maistre said that the Executive had discussed this but no money was available from the SJ funds. David added that this medal was a General Service Medal with the Trafalgar clasp, to which those entitled could apply for in 1841. Bob Le Sueur recommended finding out if the Island wanted to have this medal (the Jersey Museum?) and then fund-raising to buy it. David will contact the owner of the medal and find out what price would be acceptable.

6.18      Georgia Le Maistre noted that the Jersey Philatelic Bureau is published a set of stamps on Jersey holders of the VC.


7.          Date of next meeting

            Tuesday 21st February 2006 at 5.15 p.m. in the Members’ Room if available, otherwise in the Arthur Mourant Room.