Monday, October 28, 2019

Does St Helier have a "character" in 2019?

Following the workshop on 25 October 2019 - I went an a search around St Helier trying to identify if St Helier has a "character".

I presume that the Willie Miller organised discussion was more about current appearance than past history but I find it difficult to separate these matters.

My first video below arose from an entirely chance encounter with Mick Millar whose family were the founders of  John Terry Ltd in the mid 19th century.
The original John Terry was from Yorkshire and he built up one of the major agricultural merchant's businesses in St Helier which survived into the 1970s.
Mick Millar kindly showed me around his building which has long diversified into other uses but retains so many traditional features. It describes - with Mick Millar's help - precisely what I want to say and much more.

There were many such businesses in St Helier and this is the central theme of my observation that growing potatoes, tomatoes and flowers etc was not solely a countryside activity. It was integrally linked to the merchants in St Helier and the buildings of the town were inevitably an integral part too.
Thus there were  many dozens of  granite merchants' stores and they were critical ingredients of the character of St Helier and the commercial and social life of the whole Island.

Through the merchants' activities the agriculture of the country was brought into the town.
Unlike today where agriculture is a country matter, in the past it was an essential part of the whole of Island life.
The merchants were active all the year round. They employed workers who lived in St Helier, drank in the pubs and spent their wages in local shops. There was no agriculture / town divide as exists today. Working clothes were not banned in workers pubs. To a large extent the merchants buildings and their activities created the "character" of St Helier.

This no longer exists today.
St Helier has no unifying purpose now. No traditional merchants stores survive providing their traditional purpose. Some have been "converted" into other commercial uses and a few serve as facades only to banking or finance sector activities. There is a curious need for the "planners" to preserve the illusion of the historic and traditional uses and the John Terry buildings will it seems follow suit soon. Some traditional features only will survive when it is inevitably  redeveloped.

Meanwhile Jersey still retains a diminishing "agri" sector which still sets the "character" standard for the country parishes of brown cows in green fields and potato growing.
Although there is a desperate shortage of land for building houses across the Island - the agri lobby resists the release of any land for this purpose. Yet it is also evident that many landowners would be pleased to develop some land and the agri sector faces a doubtful future.
At the same time the "planners" insist on cramming  housing accommodation into St Helier or other "built-up areas" and maintain an obsession with creating "zones" so that housing and commercial or entertainment activities are kept apart - and often sterile - whilst the Finance Sector (now the major source of wealth for the Island) has some special status that demands isolation and an architectural banality all of its own. It has not become an integral part of St Helier and its "character" - on the contrary its activities are largely remote and secret and it shows.

My second video looks at some of these aspects of St Helier where "character" has become the servant of the motor vehicle.
It is appropriate that the sound on my recording is almost inaudible due to the overbearing "traffic noise" and I make no attempt to remedy this

Sunday, October 27, 2019

Audrey Murphy Chief Inspector at Jersey Care Commission speaking on 16 October 2019

Audrey Murphy is a former social worker who was appointed as Chief Inspector of the Jersey Care Commission effective from 2 September 2019. Her salary is not known.

This video of her speaking at the Jersey Disability Partnership meeting was recorded on  16 October 2019.

The sound quality is very poor.
The Disability Partnership provided no sound system.
It is especially difficult  to hear some of the questions asked by the audience.

If anybody knows how to add sub-titles or captions to this video please make yourself known.

Contact Mike Dun by PM if you have any queries or want to record a video on disability or other matters.

Saturday, October 26, 2019

St Helier Jersey - Urban Character workshop - Willie Miller consultant - 25 October 2019

If you have difficulty sleeping this blog might help.
Planners and designers are especially boring talking about their work and here is a video extract from the discussion on St Helier Jersey's future in conjunction with the latest Island Plan now being produced.

This video extract lasts about 34 minutes in total.

It was taken from the second part of the "urban character" discussion  open to the general public. It lasted about 2 hours.
The first part was with civil servants and States Members the same day .

Willie Miller Urban Design from Glasgow have visited Jersey before (eg 2005) and seem to specialise in organising such events.

I asked to video record the proceedings and this was agreed but some members of the public did not want to appear.
I offered to supply paper bags to put on their heads but this was declined. So this shortened recording of the proceedings does not include images of the 18 or so public participants.
Hopefully it might be of some interest to the 106,000 residents of Jersey who did not attend the discussions - but I doubt it.

The discussion was based upon the premise that St Helier has an "urban character" at all  but this was not really discussed . It was one of several unsubstantiated "givens" such as the inevitability of population growth in Jersey over the next 10 years or so and the presumption that new housing stock will have to be built and that a major part will have to be built in St Helier.

There was no analysis of the economic drivers that might give rise to further population growth or decline.
It seems that past growth is accepted as inevitable in the future too although the likely further decline of tourism and agriculture was not discussed nor how much land in other parishes might thereby become available for development or other uses.

There was no discussion of Brexit or Climate Change or the Finance Sector.
There was no mention of the 360 or so International Conventions, Treaties or Obligations that Jersey has signed up to according to the current Island Plan nor how these might relate to St Helier or the whole Island over the next 10 years.

This is especially odd since discriminatory policies already apply to the enjoyment of housing accommodation and employment and it is currently proposed to introduce even more restrictive regulations to discourage immigration and restrict population growth. This "hostile environment" policy appears to be embraced for the future without challenge.

Although Jersey currently has 20,000 residents who are required to apply for "settled status" as nationals of EU countries only 7,000 have to date done so. According to the law those who do not apply before the end of 2020 will be liable to deportation.

Such factors can have a substantial impact on the "character" of St Helier and the whole Island.
It seems that many of the issues that relate to the future planning of Jersey remain unresolved or researched just as they were 10 years ago. 
This workshop might appear to be based upon superficial economic and population predictions that have not been adequately researched or challenged.

Thursday, October 17, 2019

Disability and Discrimination in Jersey

Social Security Minister Deputy Judy Martin spoke at the Jersey Disability Partnership meeting on 16 October 2019.
The Deputy has been given responsibility for "disability matters" including the implementation of the strategy that is a long time coming. I don't know her precise terms of reference or responsibilities.

Deputy Martin was first elected to the States in 2000 and this meeting was held in the St Paul's Centre main hall where acoustics is always a problem.
No microphones were in use on this occasion which is especially bad when disability in all its form was the basis of the agenda - although a lectern with microphone  facility was visible.

The quality of sound on the video posted here is poor and questions from the audience were especially difficult to hear or record.
Other speakers were also recorded and will be posted if I can salvage enough  material that can be heard.

I regret not having the technical ability yet to post captions on my blogs but am trying to learn.

I have campaigned on discrimination and disability issues for a lifetime and despair that the people and government of Jersey will ever take this problem seriously. There will never be adequate funding and the endless talking and writing of reports seems to be some sort of an obsession.
I have studied and gained a qualification in Environmental Access and Design which includes undertaking access audits. 

Of course there are groups and societies and some businesses  doing great and meaningful  work but my criticism are mainly directed at the Jersey government and the States Members who have consistently failed to tackle the immense problems that affect so many people.

Deputy Martin  says she will be encouraging ratification of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities - which is good - but it is not necessary to wait years for this to happen.
 If the government is serious it can follow the standards laid down  without actually ratifying through the UK - and Deputy Martin can do this. There is no need to wait for others (such as the UN) to push the local agenda.

When Deputy Martin was an Assistant Minister with special responsibility for children many years ago the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child had not been ratified but I am not aware that she used it to guide her political decision making.
Subsequently Jersey has experienced the painful Independent Jersey Care Inquiry and the exposure of the "Jersey Way" and much much more and this cost nearly £25 millions. But it was only as a result of that Inquiry's work that the Convention on the Rights of the Child was ratified for Jersey.

Sadly, I am not at all convinced that Deputy Martin has grasped the scale of the problem that exists in Jersey or the potential funding that will be required. But I wish her well.

My video recording of Deputy Judy Martin follows below;

I welcome comments and will record video interviews with those who express an interest.
Contact me as Mike Dun by PM on Facebook

Thursday, October 3, 2019

Jersey Hemp - A tour with Glyn Mitchell (soil specialist) October 2019

This video was recorded in October 2019.
Glyn Mitchell kindly showed us around so that we can better understand what hemp production means in Jersey in 2019.
Glyn explains how hemp is grown and harvested, how it relates to other crops such as the Jersey potato and the products that can be made from this remarkable plant.
He also explains about the organic nature of the all important soil that is essential for the growth of the finest quality hemp.

The video below follows Glyn around the Jersey Hemp premises at Warwick Farm and shows how it is cultivated and processed ;

This video below shows the shop on the premises where some hemp products can be purchased by the general public ;

Monday, September 23, 2019

Independent Jersey Care Inquiry Panel final report 23 September 2019 - A bang or a whisper?

Frances Oldham QC presented the final report of the  Independent Jersey Care Inquiry Panel today 23 September 2019  at St Paul's Centre, Jersey. This was a "two year review" of progress since their main Report was published.
She spoke for 90 minutes. This has been recorded and can be made available if there is enough interest.
The panel  - herself as Chair  plus Alyson Leslie and Sandy Cameron -  having worked on the problems of children in Jersey for 6 years. They will not return to consider further progress.

Prof Sandy Cameron CBE was available for interviews by the press and bloggers and appears below interviewed by Mike Dun. The interview has not been cut ;

Chief Minister Senator Le Fondre and Children's (and Housing) Minister Deputy Sam Mezec were also interviewed by Mike Dun. This interview is uncut and appears below ;

Alan Collins the English lawyer who has been prominent in representing and fighting for the rights of many children in Jersey for over a decade was interviewed and this appears below. This interview is also uncut and the sound is not perfect.

Thursday, September 19, 2019

More eyewash to treat hearing impairments? Or a new dawn?

This evening 19 September 2019 I attended a semi-public meeting organised by the Deaf Partnership Board.
It was a very good meeting addressed by Minister of Health Deputy Richard Renouf and a team of about 8 persons with particular roles in the "deaf community" of  Jersey.

There was an "audience" of about 60 plus persons many of whom had hearing impairments or had a personal interest in the subject.  There was a very lively and outspoken Q and A session which included many criticisms of services available past and present. All speakers were supported by signers and  visual caption screens that displayed their speeches and presentations.
Unfortunately there were some technical problems with the screens and the hearing loop did not work

I recorded the Minister's address and his summing up and it is linked here but was asked not to record other participants, signers or the public but I recorded one short interview after the meeting with a woman from the audience.

There was much critical comment from participants at this meeting and many defects were outlined that I have encountered over 40 or more years in Jersey.

The range of defects described were extensive and encountered in most aspects of life from babyhood to adulthood, in education at all levels, employment, consulting with doctors, interpretation etc and all manner of communication difficulties.
It was made sadly obvious that  "techno" wizardry is not sufficiently reliable and will not provide all the everyday answers needed. There was  resistance to the use of some technical aids in certain situations.
Time and time again the expressed need was for trained persons to be employed - not machines - with particular "deaf awareness" knowledge as well as BSL skills to level 3 and beyond.
There is a great shortage of such people in the UK to draw upon.
One in Six people are reckoned to have a hearing impairment and there are 6,000 hearing aid users in Jersey.

Videos below - Deputy Richard Renouf's address to the meeting as Minister of Health;
 Below is Richard Renouf summing-up;

Below is an interview with a woman from the audience ;

Discrimination evidently presents itself in many forms in Jersey and such meetings are needed much more often to help combat it and other unfairnesses.

Saturday, September 14, 2019

How to make a socialist.... and end capitalism to save the world....

This blog is dedicated to my father William George Dun and all other socialists who have passed this way.
So far as I know, my father was not much interested in politics at all until Bristol was heavily bombed and much damaged during WWII. That was when he became a socialist I think
So Adolf and his supporters probably enlarged world-wide a political class that his absurd dream was intended to eliminate.

I guess that Norman Le Brocq's Socialist  political views were fermented during that same war too during the German Occupation of Jersey.

For may part, I seem to have inherited my father's political views but I am always curious to know how others became politically aligned - whether to the left or right or any other direction - and it is always especially odd when people maintain no interest in political matters at all.

Here I have recorded a discussion with two very different Jersey residents who are "Socialists." They explain how they formed their political views and how they confront the huge problems of today - especially that of "Capitalism.

The discussion was recorded in "Reg's Garden" in St Brelade. One day I hope he will overcome his shyness and be recorded too -  but anybody wanting to know more about his delightful garden can email him on reg[@] 
It is open to the public free of charge most days.

Below is the discussion recorded on 13 September 2019. It is about 20 minutes.

The participants are Gabriel Carter and Nigel Jones

Anybody who wants to be recorded to express their view should contact me on this blog.

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Do you have a complaint about your Jersey government?

It is proposed to scrap the existing Jersey  Complaints Board system dealing with allegation of maladministration by Jersey's governmental departments.
Since hardly anybody uses the process to complain and decisions cannot be enforced this might be a good idea but it is proposed to replace it with a "Jersey Public Services Ombudsman." This will have a wider remit.

This new scheme is currently open for consultation with the general public - but of course very few members of the public will show any interest - although they will complain  if it proves defective.

This consultation presentation was video recorded on 10 September 2019 in St Helier.
The principal speaker here is  Rebecca Young - the identity of the other is not known.
About 8 people occupied the public seating at this presentation. There were questions and some discussion took place.

The video is presented in two parts;
Part one below is about 12 minutes and will be far too long for most people to watch

Part two below is nearly 15 minutes so it is extremely unlikely that anybody will even attempt to watch it;

This is how government typically works in Jersey.
The public moans about almost everything and the "government" of 49 elected representative and an army of civil servants churn out endless reports and consultation papers and then either throw them into an enormous waste paper basket or converts them into laws and regulations.
When the public realises that they should have joined in with the consultation process - but that it is now too late - they moan again.
That's how democracy works.

Enjoy the show.
If this does not interest you do not worry because there will be something even more  boring to consider soon and the government will be happy because this is how consultation works.

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

The English and the Channel Islands in 1885 - a "French" point of view?

“The English in the Channel Islands”

The 1885 version
The same old complaint – Time to change the record?


Henri Boland “a native of Guernsey” devoted an article in the “Revue Internationale” to proving that the Channel Islands are rapidly being Anglicized “and that this archipelago essentially Norman is losing its characteristics very rapidly.”

 His article was republished  in the London “St James Gazette” of 8 October 1885 and picked up by many CIs and other journals such as the Guernsey “Star” and Jersey “Independent” that same month.

 Henri was French speaking and described himself as a journalist or author and he did pen many volumes and articles during his life from 1854 to 1909 but he seems to have followed a busy and somewhat erratic lifestyle – and was not shy of presenting political views.

During 1883 he was accused of a major bank fraud in Belgium at a time when such things seemed to be an everyday occurrence but was acquitted by the Liege court.

The next year he was officially delegated by the people of Guernsey to lay a wreath on the coffin of the recently deceased Victor Hugo in Paris.

 His 1885 Channel Islands article could have been written today because it expresses so many of the same sentiments that have become so tired after yet another 13 decades and two world wars….

 He wrote:

 “The climate, the soil and the produce of the latter cannot of course change, but the Norman race is being absorbed by the English and the English language is elbowing out the Old Norman dialect which has been in use for six centuries.”

 “Jersey holds its own to a certain extent thanks to its regular communications with France  and the number of French tourists who visit it, not it seems that Guernsey will be completely English by another generation unless the remnants of the French population in the Island bestirs itself.”

 “The French language is dead in the urban portion of the Island and is on its last legs in the rural districts. The only reason why English is not already the official language of the Island is that the rural voters are in a majority.”

 “When English has become the official language of the archipelago the French laws will cease to be intelligible and will have to be translated into English. If the laws are in English it will be only rational to have English judges to administer them.”

 “But the municipality carries on its discussions in English and has substituted English names in the streets for the old French names with the brutality of Vandals and iconoclasts. Education is given in English although French is supposed to be taught in schools.”

 The “Jersey Independent” interpreted some of his views for the local readership;

 “M. Boland was much vexed upon commencing a conversation with a boy who had obtained a prize for proficiency in that language to receive the answer Not Much to some question which he had asked.”

 Letters in the Guernsey “Star” tried to counter some of Boland’s arguments;

 “He has fallen into several inaccuracies. The native language is not French but a Patois which probably M. Boland would not understand and therefore to speak of French as dead in the urban portion of the Island is wrong.”

And regarding substituting street names;

 “The Mill Street has been called Mill Street as long as anyone can remember and below that name, at the street corners, the authorities have written Haut Pave which was the Norman name…”
Captain Webb swam the English Channel the same week that Boland's article appeared

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Island Plan 2021-2030 Strategic Issues and Options Workshop 17 July 2019 St Helier

And lo and behold it is ordained that every 10 years Jersey shall have a new Island Plan.
In fact it won't be much different from the previous one or even the one before that and it won't address the ever increasing problems of the Island either - but its a ritual that must take place because we need to justify our capitalist voyage.
Of course there are no manufacturing industries in this little Island and these have virtually not existed since they built sailing ships on the beach.
Nowadays the diminishing Finance sector is the major employer but most of the talk at this workshop was really about preserving the agri-industry even if that means growing hemp aka cannabis.
Like the previous Plan (that had a picture of cows on its cover) this whole exercise is not really about the well-being of 106,000 people at all but is really about the 5,000 bovine beasts and ensuring that their pastures are not diminished. Some hope!

Today's workshop had about 26 male and 11 females attendees who stayed for the sarnies but the free food is evidently not enough to attract many reborn Suffragettes or others who clearly have much more important things to do. After all, who really can find the time (9.30 am until 3.30pm) to save the planet? Obviously men have at least double the female appetite on such occasions...

Linked here is a video of about 18 minutes of Planning officer Kevin Pilley explaining the mysteries of the current Island Plan and he certainly knows how to make a bland  subject boring.

I must admit to giving up before the final curtain although I did attend the evening discussions from 6pm where a similar futile effort to render Jersey's capitalism appear to be sustainable prevailed - although this was organised under Rob Duhamel's banner as Chair of the "Island Plan Public Interest Panel."

The Plan is fundamentally flawed - why do we waste our time discussing it?


Friday, July 5, 2019

Paedophilia, Prevention rather than "Cure" (a discussion)

Paedophilia, Prevention rather than “Cure” is the title of this discussion recorded on the second anniversary of the publication of the Independent Jersey Care Inquiry.

It was also the date of the launching of the second Jersey Redress Scheme for people who as children were abused or suffered harm between 1945 and the end of 2005 in places such as Les Chenes secure residential unit.

 Appearing in this video are;

Jill Garcia – the former Secretary of the Jersey Care Leavers Association

Alan Collins – a UK lawyer who represents many of those who have been abused

Neil McMurray – A long-time anti-child abuse campaigner

Mike Dun – is the interviewing voice behind the camera who blogs as “Tom Gruchy”

 This is not an easy subject to discuss and we approached it with considerable trepidation.

But, we think that it is part of a wider discussion that should take place because the abuse of children is clearly a subject that is not going away without some very positive action.

Child abuse is not a simple subject and does not always include sexual abuse.

Sex abuse of children and paedophile are just aspects of a complex web of interlinked problems that can include such as violence, neglect, poverty, mental illness, marriage breakdown and failures of child care services.

 La Moye Prison (Jersey) currently detains about 136 prisoners.  About 28 are kept in the “J” separation wing where “sex offenders” are held.

There are (according to an FOI answer in 2018) 83 persons on the “Sex Offenders Register” and 18 of these have left the Island.

 It seems that capturing and detaining “sex-offenders” in prison for long periods is an admission of failure.

It means that a child – in some cases many children – have already experienced abuse before the perpetrator is removed from society.

Obviously the aim should be to prevent the abuse happening at all.

 Potential abusers need to be identified and - if possible - “treated” before they offend.

We do not know how this can be done but recognize that capturing and convicting potential abusers before they commit sexual offences is effective, especially in a small community such as Jersey.

Similarly, we do not know what punishment or treatment can be effective or acceptable to prevent convicted offenders committing further acts of abuse if released from prison or other forms of detention.

 We discuss these matters in the video.

There are many other matters that could be discussed and we would hope that further informed examination of the issues will take place.

We invite others with an interest in this whole subject to make contact and we especially want to record further video discussions to broaden knowledge and understanding.

We want a serious and productive dialogue and will not publish recordings which are likely to be inflammatory or offensive.

Contributions from those who do not want to be identified in the video recordings will be considered and all communications will be treated as confidential.

4 July 2019

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

The Jersey Way revisited May 2019 - Review of the Independent Jersey Care Inquiry of 2017

Frances Oldham QC, Alyson Leslie and Prof Alex Cameron were back in Jersey again this last week to see and hear what progress had been made in implementing their mammoth 2017 Report of the Independent Jersey Care Inquiry.
Whether they originally intended to be revisiting Jersey I do not know but there were suggestions during the week that they might have to come back in another two years or even again in five years. It is almost as though there is an acceptance that they will have to keep returning because the Jersey authorities and public are simply incapable of doing what is necessary.

The “Jersey Way” it seems is just so deeply embedded that ONLY outsiders can oversee the reform process and create a society that embraces child welfare as the priority that is alluded to but not really taken very seriously.

Can this be so?

I don’t know the answer and don’t expect to see the project completed anymore than the three panel members can be the long term promoters and referees for this immense reform process. But as some small contribution to that process I include here my three video recordings made during this week and hope that these might be useful to some interested parties. Although the panel said they had received over 200 responses from the public for this visit the visible attendance at the public hearings was so minimal that this whole subject does not appear to be of much interest to the public in general or even Jersey’s elected politicians who have now been awarded the strange title and duty of “Corporate Parent.”

We were not allowed to video record any of the public hearings

Below Prof Alex Cameron - an interview

Below Alan Collins - an interview

Below Senator John Le Fondre, Chief Minister, Jersey Government - an interview

Jersey May 2019

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Electoral Reform Jersey 2019 - St Lawrence 28 May

The 3 videos below were recorded at the St Lawrence public meeting on 28 May 2019 and are a part only of the discussion that took place.

Deputy Russel Labey introduced the proceedings

John Henwood spoke based upon his "Clothier Inquiry" experiences

Constable Mezbourian and Deputy Labey concluded the proceedings.

Thursday, May 9, 2019

Mathilda Wattenbach ship - built in Jersey 1853 - Later called Racehorse

The magnificent Mathilda Wattenbach was built at Frederick Clarke’s West Park shipyard at Mont Patibulaire – “on the beach” near where the Grand Hotel now stands - during 1853.

At its peak the business occupied two acres of the foreshore and employed 400.

Clarke, born at Grouville in 1812 - the son of a pensioned RN gunner and Esther Valpy - produced 62 vessels from this most basic of workplaces from 1844 to 1867. Earlier he had built smaller craft at Havre de Pas and La Folie.

The Mathilda Wattenbach (MW) won the General Post Office contract in December 1853 for taking the mails from Liverpool to Melbourne and Sydney. Her initial owners were important shippers such as T.H.Wattenbach of London and several foreign locations. Melhuish was of Liverpool, London and other places.

Melhuish was probably from the extensive Devon/Cornish shipbuilding and former smuggling family which had links with South Wales. They had expanded greatly into international trading during the nineteenth century.
Wattenbach, Heilgers & Co of London, Hamburg and Calcutta were most likely of Swiss origin and part of a major international business - which lost their Danish flagged ship Calcutta just before Clarke launched the MW - but the loss did not interfere too much with their substantial trading. They also owned a Bremerhaven built Augustus Wattenbach barque besides others of similar tonnage.
John James Melhuish at Liverpool had dissolved his ship owning partnership with Robert Kent at Liverpool in February 1852 and was probably useful to the Wattenbach empire as the means of flying the British flag thus giving access to the extensive British overseas territories and markets.
A fine painting from the National Maritime Museum collection shows the three masted, metal sheathed timber ship under full sail soon after her launch but details of the artist are not known. She measured 211 feet from stem to stern, 35 feet wide and 20 feet deep in the hold and was usually calculated at about 1,077 tons burthen.

She was among the largest vessels constructed in Jersey although Clarke had several such craft on the stocks at this time according to the contemporary Jersey Almanac. She was first surveyed at St Helier, registered at Liverpool and then embarked upon a known career sailing the world’s most distant oceans for the next twenty years under many captains for a long, ever changing list of owners out of several British ports of Registry.
The details of several contemporary vessels indicate that the business relations were complex. The F.C. Clarke barque built at Jersey in 1852 was owned at Liverpool by Melhuish & Co but listed as sailing from Jersey to Calcutta under Captain W. Melhuish in 1853. He also supposedly commanded the Jersey built Ann Holzberg barque too, for Melhuish & Co that same year on a similar voyage.

The William Melhuish Jersey built ship, sailed from London to Philadephia for Liverpool owner Melhuish whilst the F.C. Clarke was later owned by Holzberg at Liverpool but sailing for India from London. The F.A. Althausse Jersey built barque was also owned by Melhuish at Liverpool in 1855 when the Jane Pratt Jersey built barque, Captain H. Clare, was also Melhuish owned at Liverpool and trading to India.

The Helen Heilgars ship, built at Jersey in 1854 of about 1,000 tons was similarly owned and sailing to Calcutta, according to Lloyds Registers.

Clarke built a dozen vessels for Melhuish commencing with the Robert Bradford barque in 1849 – “constructed with raking stem and stern post on Messrs Hall of Aberdeen’s plan” according to a Lloyds surveyor. Alexander Hall’s distinctive curved bow design was a feature of many speedy opium and tea trade clippers.
MWs first voyage from Liverpool to Sydney under Captain John Clare’s command almost ended in disaster when she was dismasted and had to put into Lisbon for repairs. For the fifty-six passengers this would have been a worrying experience but she carried on to Melbourne, arriving there on 27 April 1854.

Leaving for Sydney on 7 June she ran foul of another vessel in the bay losing her bowsprit and rudder but after more repairs arrived on 28 July.
The profitable life for such ships was usually short. Not only due to the cruelties of the sea and weather but also because after ten years they were likely to lose the prized Lloyds A1 registration which was the key to obtaining top freight rates.
For a decade the MW proudly sailed alongside the smartest of the “clipper ships” racing to exotic destinations in China, India, Australia, New Zealand and many ports between. But the opening of the Suez Canal in 1869 would soon allow steamers to compete with, and eventually defeat the sailing ships on these routes.
Passengers proved to be the mainstay of her business for some years.

In June 1862 she loaded 350 “Non-Conformist” emigrants at London destined for Albertland, near Auckland. Offering forty acres of land to every paying passenger the New Zealand government soon had 800 committed volunteers with the necessary skills and enthusiasm.
Following some nifty – and slightly devious re-registration – the MW was renamed as Racehorse in 1864 and emerged under the ownership of Alexander Fotheringham and John Smurthwaite on the Sunderland Register, sailing for Hong Kong.

More Southern voyages followed but during 1866/7 she was listed transporting “indentured Indian servants” to British Guiana which was akin to sanitized slave trading.

John Fotheringham’s name had appeared in the East India trade from the 1820s as owner and captain of vessels.

Smurthwaite was a Sunderland based shipbuilder, broker, owner, merchant and wharfinger but featured as bankrupt in the Edinburgh Gazette during 1865.

The Racehorse was probably now having to try harder for profitable cargoes. Agents’ adverts in the New Zealand newspapers offered freight rates of £20 per ton for the return voyage to English ports.
On 26 May 1865 she sailed from Portland (Dorset) with 280 convicts besides 172 passengers – mostly “pensioner guards” and their families – destined for the Swan River Colony near Fremantle in Western Australia.

The convicts’ cargo had been assembled from all around Britain and some overseas locations too such as Canada, Athens, St Helena, Manila and Shanghai. Many had already been incarcerated – some on prison hulks – for several years. Just two died on the 76 days voyage under the care of Captain Seaward and surgeon Watson.

The shipping of convicts to Australia ceased soon afterwards in 1867 when the Hougomont left London with the final consignment of 280 unfortunates including four men sentenced to ten years transportation by the Jersey Royal Court and about sixty politically troublesome Irish “Fenians”.

Racehorse’s voyage from London commencing 27 March 1868 to Auckland under Captain Seaward almost proved to be her last.

All went well until 16 June, when after crossing the equator in light winds and calms, the ship was hit by a hurricane with huge seas which “pitched her on her beam ends”. The main topmast was lost, along with top-gallants and trysail yards which came crashing down onto the deck, wrecking gear such as the binnacle and splitting the mainsail.

Bosun Charles Crane was washed overboard from the rigging and drowned. The whole sailing crew - ten at most - were mustered but most were disabled and unfit for duty. Full of water, the Racehorse was a complete wreck as she sailed on for Auckland when the storm subsided but the fifty-four passengers, ship and cargo had all survived.

After 101 days at sea the destination was reached and the Auckland Weekly Press described the ordeal “as one of the most tempestuous passages for this time of the year that has ever been made by any similar vessel…”
Her final years flying the British flag saw the Racehorse sailing to Saigon and Java in 1869/70 under Captain Hybert’s command for Spottiswoode & Co and Captain E. Peacock for owner Thomas Oswald & Co., another shipbuilding and merchant business. With the crew now further reduced she sailed initially from Sunderland to China but soon transferred to Exmouth owners Thomas Redway & Co., although remaining on the northern port register.

Redway & Co. was a family business that had been bankrupted in 1865 but specialized in trading with the East and West coasts of Africa and South America before embarking on a substantial ship building activity and made a fortune contracting for the government during the Crimean war.

Their Dartmouth yard was almost destroyed by fire in 1878 along with several vessels on the stocks and so the remaining business resources were diversified to Hull fishing ventures and building Milford Haven docks...
Clarke’s yard failed due to the progress of steam but it was the railway that defeated him in the 1860’s, not smoking iron ships. His last vessel was the St Vincent in 1867 but In spite of a fierce and expensive court battle the St Aubin to St Helier line was laid on the same West Park foreshore across his site and that signaled his failure.
But the fate of the Racehorse ex Mathilda Wattenbach remains less certain because she ceased to appear in Lloyds lists or Registers after 1871.

Lost at sea, sold foreign or seized for some trading irregularity were all hinted but she slipped quietly from public gaze and into history like so many thousands of other magnificent sailing ships over the centuries.

Saturday, May 4, 2019

Annie Machon and George Galloway discussion on RT 4 May 2019 regarding free speech, journalism, whistle-blowing and legislation.

Those who talk about ending capitalism in order to save the world should be aware that this is a dangerous message.
Whether we live in a little place such as Jersey or the USA the international standards are becoming ever more dominated by commercial pursuits and that "free speech" is increasingly controlled and our actions and activities monitored.
The discussion that follows was broadcast this evening 4 May on RT (TV Channel) and features Annie Machon and George Galloway and is centred on the implications arising from the arrest of Julian Assange, his and our future wellbeing and press freedom and related issues.

Annie Machon was born in Guernsey, the daughter of a journalist and was an MI5 operative with her partner David Shaylor.

It would not be possible for such a discussion to be produced in the Channel Islands by BBC or CTV journalists and such an investigation of issues does not take place within the local, so called accredited press print titles.

The fears and concerns expressed in the discussion are just as relevant in Jersey today as they are in the UK or other countries where legislation to control the Internet and bloggers is constantly being upgraded and made more severe.

It is especially relevant because this week sees the celebration of LIBERATION from OCCUPATION in the Channel Islands.

Wednesday, May 1, 2019




A spokesperson said

"this is unheard of in a thousand years of Jersey history"

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Colour and Contrast in Building Design - Disability Discrimination and sight impairment

Just suppose the Building Inspector fails your new building because the walls are not painted with suitably contrasting colours?
Can it happen?

Jersey now has anti-Discrimination legislation that includes Disability - so building users with sight impairment have to be considered when colour schemes are planned.

This presentation for the AJA (Association of Jersey Architects) by AkzoNobel - the Dulux group of companies - was given at the Town Hall, St Helier, Jersey on 24 April 2019.

As the video shows there are various design methods to be used to ensure that buildings are accessible to all and there is help available through Normans Ltd in Jersey and lots of on-line technical gizmos to help....

Watch the video below and discover colour....

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Le Masurier's Bath Street Redevelopment Scheme, St Helier, Jersey - April 2019

Here are 2 videos relating to the Le Masurier's redevelopment scheme for Bath Street in central St Helier Jersey.

Video One below shows the David Wood Sewing Machine shop which will be demolished;

Video Two below is a compilation of the Developer's "walk through" video of the proposal for this 2 acre site in central St Helier together with a clip of the small scale Architect's model and my own video recordings taken in Minden Place and looking at some of the nearby streets and buildings.

Funchal Street shown here is not the only access to the car parking facilities on the site. The existing access behind the former Odeon cinema from Bath Street and alongside the St Helier Centeniers' office (the Old Fire Station) and across the existing (Nelson Street ?) public car park will also be used. This will also be the main access for service vehicles. Unloading bays will be provided on the Bath Street frontage.

The scheme if approved will include;
A 122 bedroom Premier Inn
145 one and two bedroom flats
New shops, bars and restaurant units

Monday, April 1, 2019

Yann Mash - a future Jersey politician

I interviewed Yann Mash recently.
He was a candidate in the 2018 Jersey general elections as a Deputy in District 1 St Helier - he wore  the  Reform Jersey rosette alongside two other candidates - but the three existing Deputies were returned.

Yann plans to complete his university education and should be able to return to the political battle at the next Jersey elections.

If you have a point of view that you want to express here with a video interview please make contact.
You do not need to have been a candidate in the elections.

Friday, March 22, 2019

REFUGEE CHILDREN in Jersey - Lord Dubs, "Safe Passage", JCRAG, Minister for Children, Children's Commissioner - 21 March 2019

The following are video recordings of the principle speakers at the meeting organised at Hautlieu School on 21 March 2019 by "Jersey Cares; Refugee Aid Group" (JCRAG) and "Safe Passage" the UK charity founded by Lord Dubs with others.

A Petition has now been launched proposing that Jersey should welcome refugee children to this Island.

JCRAG has recorded the entire event and this will be posted in due course elsewhere.

Videos from the meeting -
Lord Dubs - about 13 minutes

Senator Sam Mezec - Jersey Minister for Children - about 5 minutes

Deborah McMillan - Jersey Commissioner for Children - about 7 minutes

"Safe Passage" partial presentation - about 3 minutes

"What Next" - announcing the Jersey Petition and future plans and inviting questions from the floor (not recorded here).

On Tuesday 22 March Lord Dubs was due to meet with Jersey's Chief Minister Senator Le Fondre.

The same day from 11 am there was a Scrutiny hearing with Jersey's Minister for International Development including Overseas Aid.
This touched upon many of the matters discussed at the meeting with Lord Dubs and specifically discussed whether refugee children should be welcomed to Jersey.
Anybody interested in these matters should refer to the video recording of the Scrutiny hearing for 11 am on 22 March 2019.

The matter of refugee children occurs in the final 15 minutes of the recording - but please note that there are two hearings commencing at 11 am that same day so there may be some confusion.

The link to the relevant Scrutiny hearing video will appear in the comments box after this posting.
The sound quality is good.

Thursday, March 7, 2019

Jersey General Hospital and International Women's Day 8th March 2019



“Think equal, build smart, innovate for change”.
 The Jersey General Hospital is a particularly curious institution and is predominantly staffed by women.
It follows the Jersey Public Sector trend where twice as many women than men are employed.

 Currently Jersey Scrutiny is looking at the “Jersey Gender Pay gap” with a panel that is largely made up of women but their agenda is much wider then just ”equal pay.”
But shall this panel be looking at this strange health based institution as it exists now and how it might look  and function as a spanking new £billion edifice of architectural wonder and healthy well being in the future?

Of course “the hospital” extends beyond Gloucester Street to many locations already but I recently became a helpless patient there.
My female “friend” activated my Male GP – in spite of the non-working “out of hours telephone service” - so that I was promptly collected by a male/female ambulance team and delivered to Gloucester Street where a male porter wheeled me to a male part of a segregated M/F ward.

 There are, so I have discovered, a few female porters. There is no discrimination in recruitment but is there any other deterrent?
And that is the theme of this article which deals only with male and female genders. I encountered no evidence of policies or practices regarding other genders during my hospitalization either as employees or patients.

I was initially examined on admission by a 24 years old male doctor.
Subsequently I was seen by female and male doctors but noted that my own senior consultant was an older male as were most of those who visited other patients who were  in the 60s -70’s – 80s plus age group experiencing serious illnesses including dementia. There were no visibly young patients.
Most patients were discharged within a week but where they went I do not know for certain but I assume “home” mostly.

But this article is primarily about the staff.
 Why is it predominantly women who undertake this type of caring/ nursing employment?  Are they just driven by lack of other opportunities - and since noticeably too most have originated from outside of Jersey – is this just another example of “spud pickers” prejudice at work?
I encountered just one local student nurse on a “day out” work experience from her full-time class of about 10 at Highlands yet there is evidently and noticeably a severe health staff shortage.
Currently advertised are “staff nurse” vacancies for the private wing, junior sister for the gynecology unit, staff nurse for the renal unit, staff nurse for trauma unit, staff nurse for orthopedics unit and , specialist nurse for sexual heath unit.
All these vacancies are advertised as not needing 5 years prior-residence.
Almost anybody with the appropriate badge would it seems to accepted from anywhere in the world whereas a driver for the sterile services delivery vehicle would need 5 years residence to apply.

Yet why are the likely applicants for the nursing vacancies most likely to be female? What is lacking in the job that is so unappealing to so many men? Are men simply not suitable due to an inherent design defect?
Of course the “nursing” jobs described do require a professional qualification whereas the majority of staff employed on the wards are not qualified nurses at all but tend to be the cleaners – care assistants who undertake so many and varied tasks from serving food and changing soiled linen on beds  to counseling patients in distress etc. They provide an essential part of the care provided and could not be replaced by robots – but could they be equally replaced by men?

 There is visibly a shortage of staff on the wards but by what process they might be recruited, trained or rewarded was not at all clear during my brief confinement as a patient but I guess that there are more than twice as many women already employed in such jobs as men. Shall the “Gender Pay Gap” scrutiny panel be looking at such issues?

Since Jersey has created its own particular brand of discrimination to curtail “immigration” it is especially difficult to determine which recruitment factors are most important but in the UK just 11% of registered nurses are male. Yet the men are likely to receive higher pay and to be in the senior posts rather than their female colleagues.
How the “non registered” nursing /care assistant sector in the UK compares with Jersey’s I do not know but I guess that females are much more commonly employed than men

What is clear is that the “private” providers of care in Jersey have similar difficulties recruiting staff to provide basic services and it is a difficulty that is not going away.
In fact all proposed “immigration” controls which include discriminatory restrictions on housing and employment opportunities are likely to make the problem much worse both for to private and public sectors.
“Think equal, build smart, innovate for change” may be a catchy sounding slogan for International Women’s Day 2019 but it is unlikely to lead to a better understanding of working and recruitment policies in Jersey.

How it might impact upon the quality of care of patients in the existing hospital service – never mind the new one - is anybody’s guess.

Saturday, February 23, 2019

Amilcar spring sunshine tour of Jersey - February 2019 - exclusive video

The spring sunshine can have a strange affect on people so it seemed a good idea to take Graham's 1939 Amilcar voiturette out on a proving run.

All went well until Les Landes when the battery - of the car - gave up the ghost and had to be rescued with some modern techno sparks when no volunteer could be found to donate a stocking as a fan belt.

This rough cut video records the tour so far as it went and there is always something different to be time the other half of Jersey will be viewed in the summer snow or a tropical storm....

No bye-election posters were observed in the making of this video.

Video Part One

Had to include a pic of Sadie wearing another hat and speaking Jerriais by special request...

Part Two

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

The Late Deputy Richard Rondel - as he is remembered

The bye-election for a Deputy in Districts 3 and 4 St Helier will take place on Wednesday 27 February.

This evening Thursday 21 February the final hustings will be held at the Town Hall from 7 pm.

I hope that it is considered appropriate to remind ourselves of Deputy Richard Rondel and that the candidates in the bye-election and electors might learn something from this interview recorded in  2014.

Part One below

Part Two below

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

2nd Hustings, Districts 3/4 bye election, St Helier, Jersey 12 February 2019

There are 10 candidates for the single vacancy of Deputy
These are the candidates' initial speeches of 3 minutes each.
Questions followed from the audience (not shown here).

Candidates John Baker, Nick Le Cornu, "Ant" Lewis

Candidates George Troy, Gerraint Jennings, Guy De Faye

Candidates Lyndsey Feltham, Francesca Ahier, Andrea Mallet, Inna Gardiner

Saturday, February 9, 2019


Jersey Public Sector employees and supporters marched into St Helier on Saturday and assembled in the Royal Square to protest against their working conditions and pay.

This is the same place that protestors assembled in September 1769 to which action this site is dedicated.
Then as now the protests were overseen by the same gilded statue of King George II.

Below is an interview with Andy Woolley, the Regional Secretary of the NEU
or National Education Union.
He was one of several TU leaders who also addressed the assembled marchers;

Sadie Rennard of St Saviour was the only Constable spotted and was briefly interviewed ;

Senator Kristina Moore was one of a number of elected States Members who addressed the marchers in the Square and was interviewed ;

Deputy John Young the Minister for the Environment also addressed the marchers in the Square and this is an extract together with some images of the crowd;

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

UNDER STARTERS ORDERS - District 3/4 St Helier, Jersey, Bye-Election for Deputy...29 January 2019 - Polling 27 February

There are 10 runners entered in the St Helier District 3/4 Bye Election...
They were paraded this evening at the Parish Hall Assembly Room at the First floor....which was unfortunate because the lift was not working (it had been damaged that very afternoon)

but the proceedings went ahead and at least one disabled person had been turned away...

The Constable chaired the meeting and warned the candidates about their obligations in this election NOT LEAST that they must submit returns of their expenses within 15 working days of the ballot....

With 10 Candidates my TRICAST forecast  - since I do not have a vote in this bye-election would be as follows.

The three are not in order - just the most likely candidates in my view....

Ant Lewis

Nick Le Cornu

John Baker

....but of course there are other brands available.

Polling Day is 27 February 2019