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How the British Isles Became British: The Residential Class in Jersey, c. 1815-1850s

by

Sport and Leisure History
14 January 2013
Robin Mills (University of Cambridge)
How the British Isles Became British: The Residential Class in Jersey, c. 1815-1850s

In 1788 there were 20,000 people living on Jersey.  By 1851 this figure had trebled.  Immigration – largely in the form of retired or injured military personal – fueled not just an increase in population but a transformation of Jersey, and in particular Saint Helier.  At the beginning of the century Jersey was British in name more than fact, but by the end of it a British culture had taken over.  Robin Mills looks at this transformation – largely through the immigration of military families.  He asks who settled there and why, what change this brought to the island, and how Saint Helier itself became a multi-functional town because of it.

Freedom Tree sculpture in St. Helier, Jersey, marking 60th anniversary of Liberation of Jersey. Unveiled 9 May 2005 by HM Queen Elizabeth II (wikipedia)

Freedom Tree sculpture in St. Helier, Jersey, marking 60th anniversary of Liberation of Jersey. Unveiled 9 May 2005 by HM Queen Elizabeth II (wikipedia)

The last factor is important to Mills’ thesis.  Often scholars have looked at seaside towns with only the leisure function in mind – perhaps too the fishing industry.  For Mills – following in the footsteps of John K. Walton and Peter Borsay – these towns need to be examined with multiplicity in mind if they are to be truly understood.

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