The Société Jersiaise was founded in January 1873 by a small number of prominent Islanders who were interested in the study of the history, the language and the antiquities of Jersey. Membership grew quickly and the aims of the new society soon widened to include the publication of historical documents, the founding of a Museum, and the study of the Island’s natural history. Our first Bulletin Annuel was issued in 1875 and continues to be the main record of our activities.
Our Museum found a permanent home in 1893 when we moved to 9 Pier Road, a large early nineteenth century merchant’s house. The Museum, and our extensive Museum collections are now looked after by Jersey Heritage but we continue to add to our collections annually. In 1977 we built a large extension to our Museum on the site of No 7 Pier Road to house our library and meeting rooms. This, our Headquarters, contains our offices and purpose-built archive storage.
We have, over the years, purchased archaeological sites in Jersey for preservation and presentation. Our two most important sites are La Hougue Bie, purchased in 1919, and La Cotte de Saint-Brélade, purchased in 1955. We have carried out extensive excavations at both sites.
In 1913 the Société’s activities as a learned society were organised into ‘Sections’ for the study of different aspects of the island. These Sections, now 14 in number continue to be the backbone of our activities. We also employ specialist staff to look after our library archives and photographic archives.
Many of our activities have been made possible by substantial gifts of money over the years and we always have important projects in need of funds.
Our Museum and other collections have been largely built up through gifts and bequests which has ensured its preservation of many important items with relevance to Jersey including; books, manuscripts and maps, photographs, prints and paintings, archaeological finds and historical items.
Nicolette Le Quesne Westwood
Peter Le Rossignol
Philip Gartside (Honorary Treasurer)
Clare M. Cornick