West Park

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West Park



Bathing machines lined up on either side of the slipway
A 19th century albumen print
Another picture taken not long after showing the Triangle Park laid out in the 1880s
This picture of West Park, taken from Fort Regent with a telephoto lens, and looking in the opposite directions from the one above, probably dates to the mid-1870s. The Esplanade is complete, considerably foreshortened by the lens used, and the seawall past the Piquet House looks as if it has just been added, so this appears to have been preparatory work for the laying of the railway line. But the building to the right of the Piquet House looks like West Park Station, and the track appears to be in place along the Esplanade in the right foreground. It's not very clear, but it appears to curve inland after the station across what is now part of the Lower Park, and then back to the coast where the stretch of seawall ends. Victoria Avenue has not even been thought of at this stage, nor has the Grand Hotel. Jewell's Marine Hotel is still there on the right where the Grand would be built in 1890, and the Avenue was not constructed until 1897. What was first called Cheapside Station opened in 1872. It later became Westmount Station and then West Park Station. Why Cheapside? Because at the time the road we now know as Peirson Road was part of Cheapside, which stretched from the Parade to West Park Avenue and then all the way down to the coast. F C Clarke's shipyard, which had dominated the coastline at West Park, closed in 1867. There appears to be some sort of launching ramp half way along the new seawall and perhaps a small covered shipyard just beyond it
This 19th century map shows clearly how West Park made the western coastal boundary of the town of St Helier - it still does, although Mont a l'Abbe behind has been much developed

Click on any image to see a larger version

Building castles in the sand was as popular in the 19th century as it is today, and the beach at West Park, below the Grand Hotel, was even more popular then, when this photographs of a sandcastle competition was taken. This was the first dry stretch of sand to the west of the town of St Helier, and residents and visitors staying in town hotels flocked there to relax in the sunshine, although there would have been no need to take sunscreen, because Victorian morals dictated that every inch of flesh should be covered and hats were worn by all
Smartly dressed for a beach outing
The beach in 1909 ...
... and the view from above in the same year ...
... and in 1970 the roundabout which previously organised traffic at the junction of the Esplanade and Victoria Avenue, has been removed, with traffic lights installed in its place
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An aerial view of the pool with the town of St Helier behind, taken from Paul Lakeman's drone
A large fete at West Park. It was initially believed that the photograph was taken in the late 1930s but, the bunker built by the Germans during the Occupation is present, which dates the picture to the late 1940s - early '50s. Decorated carriages in the foreground suggested an association with the Battle of Flowers, suggesting that the date could be 1951, when the Battle was revived and returned to Victoria Avenue. However, further research - Jerripedia always strives to come up with the right answer - has identified this as the Liberation Day cavalcade on 9 May 1946, leading to the first major post-war celebration on People's Park
The beach in 1914
Cars parked on Victoria Avenue in this 1930s picture
An aerial view of West Park in the 1950 showing the road layout after the war, before Victoria Avenue was made a dual carriageway. It is noteworthy that there is no cafe next to the slipway, but a few vans were parked there selling drinks, icecreams and newspapers. Below: A view from the opposite direction, also in the 1950s, but earlier, because the roundabout has not yet been created at the end of the Avenue
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You can't believe everything printed on a postcard. Just to prove it, here is a fine view of the Victoria Marine Lake at West Park, wrongly captioned First Tower. And it is in St Aubin's Bay, not St Helier's Bay
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La Fregate Cafe, a controversial but widely acclaimed design - Picture Jersey Evening Post


A crowded beach

Roundabouts

21st century aerial view

These pictures of West Park during the German Occupation come from an official German army collection. For the full set of pictures of German installations across the whole of the island, follow this link

West Park Avenue

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