History Section


La Société Jersiaise

The History Section






Minutes of the meeting held on Tuesday July 15th 2004 at 5.15pm

Members' Room



            Members present :

Frank Falle (Chairman), Jean Arthur, Don Bell, Mary Billot (Secretary), Mervyn Billot, Gavin Booth, Bertram Brée, Francis Corbet, Roy Dobin, Caroline Easterbrook, Mary Gibb, Douglas Hooke, Nicolas Jouault, Sally Knight, George Langlois, Frank Le Blancq, Suzanne Le Feuvre, Georgia Le Maistre, Bob Le Sueur, David Levitt, Ian Machin, Alec Podger, Gwyneth Syvret.


1.         Apologies for absence :

Marie-Louise Backhurst, Jean Bell, Anne Corbet, Guy Dixon, Sue Groves, Sue Hardy, Sarah Jordan, David Le Maistre, Richard Syvret, Bill Tower.



2.         Minutes of the meeting of June 15th 2004 and amendments

5.3       John Baker … the 'Grog' probably brought his body back to Jersey.

5.5       The Duc de Berry  … was nephew of Louis XVIII.



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

4.4       The Variety Club Down your Way walk in St Clement on October 10th is over-subscribed. The final walk of the five year programme is around St Helier on Oak Apple Day, May 29th 2005.

5.4       Bob Le Sueur said that Frank Falle had volunteered to speak on Fort Leicester and St Saviour's Church to the Royal Archaeological Institute study tour; however unfortunately neither talk was delivered because of last minute programme changes for which he apologised.

5.5       Sue Hardy phoned to say that the States of Jersey presented General Don with a sword, which is in the Edinburgh Museum.

5.8       Georgia Le Maistre is searching for Edwin Dingle's birth certificate (born about April 6th 1881, Taunton). She has his parents' marriage certificate, their death certificates and his marriage certificate to Lilian Grandin.

            Mary Billot has had a reply to her e-mail to Italy about Lady Otway and a possible illegitimate child. The child was called Lotty Sharpe who married Tommaso Salvini; her diary and letters to Lady Otway survive. However there is no definite proof of the relationship.



4.         Chairman's communications

4.1       Frank Falle suggested that the 2005 Autumn lunch-time lectures should have a maritime theme as it is the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Trafalgar. Jersey has several naval associations with the Battle and with HMS Victory, which was Admiral Le Hardy's flagship before it was Nelson's flagship. It was agreed that the theme would be maritime, rather than purely naval. Tourism is also emphasising the maritime theme in 2005, including celebrations for the 150th anniversary of the completion of St Catherine's Breakwater.

4.2       He said that 2006 is the 200th anniversary of the laying of the foundation stone for Fort Regent.

4.3       Planning applications

            Frank has attended an Environmental Section meeting and will also attend an Archaeology Section meeting to discuss the issue. He thinks that the sections should each lead in its own area. However the whole membership should be considered and that we should not become 'political'. Planning has 800 Sites of Special Interest, which the States has endorsed. The SJ can support these States decisions, eg. La Fantaisie, Belvedere Hill, St Saviour.

            It would help if these 800 were in order of priority.  He said that any ginger group could act independently. History members are also members of both Environment and Archaeology so they could provide information.

            Francis Corbet, President, said that he had asked Frank to co-ordinate these three sections, which are all involved in conservation of the built environment.  Action can be on three levels –

·        by an individual

·        by a Section

·        by the Executive.

Francis said that he has written to Planning about the Weighbridge development and the new hotel and has drawn attention to the context (the Museum, No.9 Pier Road, the Royal Yacht Hotel). However the SJ itself is in a quandary because of its own development of its 4th floor.  He said that Frank was doing very valuable work co-ordinating these three Sections.

Bob Le Sueur commented on the SJ being apolitical; certain Planning applications can be very political (eg. the Trinity landfill controversy). He asked whether the SJ could be totally divorced from political matters.

Frank replied that the SJ is attempting to lift the bar somewhat and be more vocal in its support of States decisions. He does not want the SJ to be perceived as a wholly negative force. We need to be selective in our targets so that we do not alienate the membership and trigger resignations. Francis reminded members of Rule 2 – the SJ's aims and objectives. Rule 3 (status) states that the society shall be apolitical, 'but this does not preclude action deemed necessary by the Executive Committee to uphold Rule 2'.

Georgia Le Maistre said that there was some confusion over the listed status of some properties because some have been downgraded from Site of Special Interest to Building of Local Interest. She emphasised that the SJ Library needs a copy of the current listings. She said that she and Marie-Louise Backhurst attended the recent St Helier Parish Assembly in a private capacity to oppose the closure of Orviss Lane (links Hilgrove St and King St). The lane will remain open to the public and it is hoped that better lighting and policing will prevent further anti-social behaviour.

Frank said that we need the networking to be established. David Levitt advocated caution over planning applications, which Jean Arthur endorsed.

4.4       The 2004 Autumn lunch-time lectures – the Office will be asked to prepare the A5 flyer, similar to the flyer for the Spring Natural History lectures; Frank thinks that at least 500 will be needed to include the Variety Club mailing. The speakers can get OHPs from the Office.

4.5       Mary Billot said that Georgia would chair the August meeting.  Mary will be able to prepare the minutes before she goes away and Sue Groves will assist in their circulation.



5.         Members' contributions

5.1       David Levitt spoke on the new sundial at St Peter's Church and related matters; he circulated photographs, one of which will appear in the Autumn Newsletter 2004. The JEP also reported on the sundial (July 3rd 2004). He is writing a brochure on the new sundial; the old one will go to the JHT. Francis Corbet said that an article on ecclesiastical sundials would be suitable for the SJ Bulletin.  Jean Arthur listed about 20 sundials about 20 years ago.      [Details with the official minutes].

5.2       Frank congratulated Suzanne Le Feuvre on her contribution to the Great West Show, which made it such a success.

5.3       George Langlois circulated a delightful picture of his father aged six delivering newspapers in 1898 using a goat cart. 

5.4       Bertram Brée reported on the arrangements for the Avranches weekend, which coincides with the Journée nationale du patrimoine. He has contacted all the organisers including the special guides for Mont-St-Michel in co-operation with the authorities in Saint-Lô. All deposits have been paid and he has one spare place. Frank thanked him for all his work and said how much he was very much looking forward to the weekend.

5.5       Bob Le Sueur said that 48 members of the Royal Archaeological Institute visited Jersey this month and were amazed at the quality and quantity of historicaI sites. Their last visit was in 1897 and they hope to return in 2011.

5.6       Sally Knight spotted a sundial at Les Corvées, St Ouen, whilst on a vintage car rally. David Levitt has listed it.

5.7       Francis Corbet said that he had attended a Tourism meeting this afternoon and was pleased to see that it listed the SJ as one of 'Our Partners'.

5.8       Gavin Booth circulated a postcard written to Edward Boielle (June 27th 1909) showing the Dickens Players on their first night of The haunted man, based on one of Charles Dickens' Christmas stories (December 14th 1908). He read from the very complimentary review of the production. He also asked about any references to electric rifles in the Automatic Arcade (1908).



6.0       Date of next meeting


            Tuesday August 17th 2004 at 5.15pm, in the Members' Room if available, otherwise in the Arthur Mourant  Room.   Georgia Le Maistre will chair the meeting.