Channel Islands Jersey Orphans and Orphanages

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History[edit | edit source]

As with many other aspects of social care, the treatment of orphans in Jersey was governed by the attitudes of the local customary law. This held that in cases of need a person should first seek help from their family, then from their Parish, and only thereafter from the States.

Within a close-knit community this was eminently practicable. However, the rising number of immigrants in the first part of the 19th Century meant that many people no longer had the family networks to provide for them, and consequently, alternative provision was required.

In the first instance children were taken in to Jersey's General Hospital in St Helier. The Hospital was not at that time primarily a medical facility; it served as a combination of poor house, place of imprisonment for those guilty of anti-social behaviour, detention centre for those who were to be deported off the island, and then a medical facility too. This was far from ideal, so at the behest of Abraham Le Sueur, the Rector of Grouville (as Rector an ex officio member of Jersey's States), the States agreed to create two homes specifically for children of school age. Girls were taken to the Orphanage at Grouville; boys went to a school established above Gorey village. Broadly speaking this continued to be the case until 1959, at which point the Girls' Orphanage was closed and its inmates were moved in with the boys. This facility continued until about 1983, when the States dispersed the children into smaller family units.

Other Providers[edit | edit source]

But the two States orphanages were not the only facilities for orphans in Jersey.

Barnados operated a home, Teighmore (on the boundary of St Martin and Grouville) from the last years of the 19th Century up until about 1939. Residents at Teighmore were by no means all local children; many were brought from the UK.

The Catholic Church also operated an orphanage called Summerland. This was founded in 1900, and originally was established at Midvale Road in St Helier. However, the facility rapidly became inadequate and new premises were purchased at Rouge Bouillon. This was run down in the 1960s and finally closed in the early 1980s.

Summerland was particularly interesting because a local tailor, Louis Sangan, established a factory next door to the orphanage which took on the older girls to learn knitting and dressmaking. Employment was later opened to other people and the factory survived until the 1990s.

Available Records[edit | edit source]

The Jersey Archive holds the admission registers for the Jersey Home for Girls/Jersey Female Orphans Home from 1862-1959 and the Jersey Home for Boys from 1862-1959.  There is 100 year block to access the registers.

They also hold the Jersey Industrial School Records from 1867-1984.