Monday 02 October 2023
Select a region

Rediscovering Jersey's lost hotels...

Rediscovering Jersey's lost hotels...

Saturday 29 April 2023

Rediscovering Jersey's lost hotels...

Saturday 29 April 2023

An islander is offering a trip into the past with a YouTube series that hopes to capture Jersey’s historic hotels before they are 'lost' to time.

Stephen Mills, a lifelong resident of St Clement, has been running the YouTube channel Adventure82 for several years, but the series on 'Lost Hotels' began when he wanted to know more about his grandfather – who worked as a doorman at the Continental Hotel.

"I looked into it and soon found out that the Continental Hotel played a role in World War Two," Stephen said. "The hotel was taken over and used by the Nazis during the Occupation. These were barracks for the soldiers and housed them during those years."

"The Imperial Hotel, as it was known then, housed the higher ranking officers, because of its grandeur."

Stephen began to wonder what other "hidden histories" there are around these hotels.

These included the Continental’s involvement in World War One.

Stephen explained: "In the basement of the Continental, they made dressings and wound pads which were packaged in the Imperial and sent to the harbour where they went onto the UK and then wherever these were needed on the frontline."

The channel documents other histories, including a tale of James Bond-style espionage which took place in the restaurant of Hotel de la Plage and Victorian bathhouses and casinos.

He said: "The main concept of the channel was to share Jersey's history because a lot of it's been forgotten. When the hotel goes, there's a lot of history that goes with them as well."

Stephen added that the days when Jersey was a popular tourism destination are also a thing of the past: "The tourism industry is in massive decline. Those hotels took a lot of history with them. I want people to see Jersey's history and I want them to understand what Jersey was, at all times of its existence.

"Places from childhood memory are disappearing. To the people who lived then, they're a massive thing, there will be massive gaps in people's hearts because they're not there."

Stephen also picks up on the architecture of certain buildings, explaining: "The architecture you’ve lost with some of the hotels and buildings knocked down is quite shocking when you think about it. Some of these older hotels are proper old school Jersey granite. The Hotel de France is a stunning building in its own right."

He added: "There's an ongoing theme is that most of the hotels have turned into apartment buildings or flats, whether that's levelled or converted. It goes back to an old Jersey law where you weren't allowed to remove the exterior of a disused hotel, but you could change the inside, so most of them were turned into blocks of flats.

"As tourism declined and Jersey has gone more and more into the finance sector,  more and more hotels have gone downhill, but then there's also the ongoing trend of turning hotels into flats even now the law is not in place. Flat conversions is a quick fix solution to try and keep up with the amount of people you need to house."

Despite the discoveries he's making, the series may be coming to an end: "Jersey has lost so many lost hotels, there are too many to cover. You would need a hand from every person on the island to count them all."

"I’ve seen firsthand sometimes how ruthless the progression forward can be - the world has to move on, it can’t stay in the same place the whole time, but a lot of Jersey’s history is in danger of being lost, a lot of that is disappearing with the people who die."

Sign up to newsletter



Comments on this story express the views of the commentator only, not Bailiwick Publishing. We are unable to guarantee the accuracy of any of those comments.

Once your comment has been submitted, it won’t appear immediately. There is no need to submit it more than once. Comments are published at the discretion of Bailiwick Publishing, and will include your username.

Posted by Sheila Young on
The scale of the number of flats that have been built and are still being built is horrendous. All in the name of profit and greed. It is so sad that we have lost so many wonderful hotels supposedly in the name of progress. Many of the people moving into these new properties are vacating other properties thereby creating housing stock. This indiscriminate building has to be stopped, St Helier is now swamped with these concrete monstrosities.
To place a comment please login

You have landed on the Bailiwick Express website, however it appears you are based in . Would you like to stay on the site, or visit the site?