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SNAPSHOTS IN TIME: The merchants of Jersey

SNAPSHOTS IN TIME: The merchants of Jersey

Tuesday 25 January 2022

SNAPSHOTS IN TIME: The merchants of Jersey

Tuesday 25 January 2022


From young potato purchasers, to tipple traders and the inventors of an innovative tomato cleaning machine... Jersey had a thriving merchant community in the early 1900s.

For the first instalment of a new series called 'Snapshots in Time', the Société Jersiaise has delved into its Photographic Archive dating back to the mid 1840s to present a collection of photos of merchants that came to Jersey captured by Percival Dunham in the early 20th century.

The Archive includes over 100,000 images on a wide variety of subjects, some of which come from specific photographers of their time.

Each month, Société will be sharing the images that it finds most "captivating", and the stories behind them, with Express...

A potato-purchasing pair

Societe_Jersiaise_Dunham_Merchants4.png

Image reference: SJPA/033085

The first image shows two young boys, James and Peter Riley, allegedly aged 14 and 16. The pair had been sent over from Hyde, near Manchester by their father to act as potato buyers.

The image shows the young boys stood between barrels packed with potatoes.

The timeframe of this image is identifiable due to the sign on the pillar in the background which is an advertisement for ferries from Jersey to Hull, this advertisement was published in the Morning News edition of 22nd May 1913.

Time for a tipple

Societe_Jersiaise_Dunham_Merchants2.png

Image reference: SJPA/032853

Dunham photographed much of the islands’ people for various local newspapers including those titled 'Jersey Illustrated Weekly' and 'Morning News'.

One such image shows an interior of a wine and spirit merchants’ shop/warehouse that went by the name of Messrs Le Quesne & Co, located on Burrard Street in St. Helier.

The image encompasses assorted bottles, crates, barrels, boxes and containers of alcohol. There are five men wearing aprons positioned across the frame, with one such gentleman looking no older than thirteen years old. This image was published on 27 December 1913.

...and another one

Societe_Jersiaise_Dunham_Merchants6.png

Image reference: SJPA/032922

On 27 December 1913, the Jersey Illustrated Weekly published one of Dunham’s images under his caption “the loading of one of Mr J F Vautier’s delivery vans”.

It showed a large cart with a covering on the side of the vehicle J.F. Vautier’s Wine Stores, 57. New St. Phone ⅗’ and a large quantity of crates being handed down, with four male workers looking directly at the camera.

Meat the butchers

Societe_Jersiaise_Dunham_Merchants3.png

Image reference: SJPA/032846

This image shows Mr Humphries’ butcher’s stall in the Central Market, St. Helier. 

It was reproduced in the publication Jersey Illustrated Weekly edition of 27th December 1913.

At the coalface

Societe_Jersiaise_Dunham_Merchants5.png

Image reference: SJPA/033064

Much like an image we have that was originally published as an advertisement in the Morning News taken in 1914, this photo shows a group of eight men stood and on a horse-drawn van at Old Ordnance Yard loaded with sacks from C Richardson, a coal merchant.

The tomato innovators

Societe_Jersiaise_Dunham_Merchants7.png

Image reference: SJPA/032823

The final image we selected from Percival Dunham’s vast collection is one showing an invention.

Mr A J Norman, of the Veneer Basket Works, stood beside his innovative invention of a tomato cleaning machine constructed for Mr Thomas Dorey. The box was capable of cleaning "one box full - about 25lbs - every minute".

This image was also reproduced in Jersey Illustrated Weekly for the edition of 27 September 1913.

This story was told as part of a series in collaboration with the Société Jersiaise. To find out more about the Photographic Archive, visit the Société's website.

Pictured top: Mr Humphries’ butcher’s stall in the Central Market, St. Helier. Reproduced in the publication Jersey Illustrated Weekly edition of 27th December 1913.

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