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.
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.