La Caumine

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Jersey houses
St Helier:
La Caumine


La Caumine was built at South Hill, to the south of Fort Regent in 1935-36. It was the only house built in the 20th century with a thatched roof. It was the first house built on Avenue du Petit Mont, on what was formerly known as Mutton's Fields.

La Caumine was designed by L Bennett, a chartered and registered architect of 18 Hill Street, for Ralph Renouf. It was built by Hardars Ltd, based at Commercial Buildings. The property was completed in 1936, and that date and the initial R can be seen on the waste water hopper box on the front elevation.

An obvious feature of the house, which has many Arts and Crafts elements, is its Norfolk reed thatched roof, uncommon in Jersey and unique in the island on a 20th century building.

The granite for the lower walls was brought from La Maison de Madame Germain, Ville ès Nouaux, St Martin, a ruined farmhouse. Recovered stone included an arch used over the door in the rear elevation and a traditional granite Jersey fireplace which became a feature of the dining room.

The windows were supplied by Williams and Williams of Reliance Works, Chester, being metal casements in wood frames. The glazing was provided by John Hall and Sons of Bristol, one particular feature of which was a decorative window on the landing. This was made up of three small panes, featuring in one pane the coat of arms of the island of Jersey, flanked by the arms of the owners’ families.

All joinery work was custom-made, particularly for the front door and sidelights, and for the staircase. When La Caumine was on sale in 1992, a former carpenter/joiner, who had been an apprentice working on the house when it was built, told the Evening Post that it was a house built by 'craftsmen of whom Jersey can be justly proud'.

The house was sold in 1938 to Henri Duval, who became the unofficial French Consul after the Consulate closed just before the Occupation. M Duval lived in it until his death in 1964, and his widow continued to live there, dying in 1991.

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