History, Mission & Governance

Mission

Our mission is to produce and facilitate research on the Island’s history, culture, language and environment; and to share that knowledge with the widest possible audience for the benefit of our island community.

We achieve this through our active Sections, research collections, community outreach and collaboration with local and international heritage partners.

The Société’s Sections specialise in various fields of study, from archaeology to zoology. These volunteer sections produce the raw data and research which make long-term studies possible, and at the Société we’ve been doing it since 1873.

The Société holds extensive bibliographic, cartographic, photographic and research collections which act as our long-term memory. These collections provide a vital resource informing contemporary study and value for the community through a greater understanding of our shared heritage, identity and environment.

History

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  Membership grew quickly and the aims of the new society soon widened to include the publication of historical documents, the founding of a Museum, and the study of the Island’s natural history.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.

Governance

The Société Jersiaise is governed by a President and Executive Committee, working with a CEO to provide continuity and forward planning.

President

Nicolette Le Quesne Westwood

Vice-Presidents

Christopher Aubin

Stuart Fell

Committee

Martin Toft

William Lakeman

Philip Gartside (Honorary Treasurer)

Jean Treleven

Philippe Aubin

Trudy Mirza

CEO

Rebecca Bailhache

Section Chair / Secretary(ies)

Archaeology: Marc Yates

Architecture: Stuart Fell

Bibliography: Ken Syvret / Averil Arthur

Botany: Tim Wright / Anne Haden

Entomology: Tim Ransom / Roger Long

Environment: John Pinel / Nicolette Westwood

Garden History: Pat Jackson / Rozelle Sutherland

Geology: Colin Cheney / Ralph Nichols

History: Nicolette Westwood                                         

Jèrriais: John Clarke / Ralph Nichols

Marine Biology: Gareth Jeffreys / Samantha Blampied, Chantelle de Gruchy, Marion Walton

Meteorology: Frank Le Blancq / Maggie Cabot

Mycology: Keith Norman / John Drelaud

Numismatics: David Le Long / Nicolette Westwood

Ornithology: Michael Dryden / Caroline Orpin

Photography: Will Lakeman / Fenby Miskin    

Zoology: Amy Hall