No 18 King Street

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18 King Street


No 18 in 1890, when Abraham Aubin's drapery made the corner in the right foreground. Most of the shops on the right, north side of the street, had blinds to protect their window displays from the sun

No 18 King Street, making the corner with Don Street, was the final property acquired during the expansion of department store Noel and Porter, which had taken over by the end of the 19th century.

Abraham Aubin

Earlier it was home to chemist J Lotherington in 1834, and later to draper Ernest Boudier in 1841, followed by Abraham Aubin. There are gaps in the records, and census returns showing the property unoccupied, but by using trade directories in early almanacs we have been able to establish that Abraham Aubin was in business at No 18, at least as early as 1852, as a 'linen draper, silk mercer, haberdasher, furrier and hosier'.

When Noel and Porter acquired No 18, the final property of their expansion down King Street, they retained the structure, although the shopfront was replaced more than once

For somebody who ran a prominent King Street store for up to 40 years, there are surprisingly few records for Abraham Aubin. On 29 March 1871 a petition was raised in the streets of the town and harbour of St Helier on behalf of the merchants and seafaring men. The petition, on which Abraham Aubin, draper, was one of 343 signatories, was presented to the States by the Constable calling for improved harbour facilities. There is no will for Abraham in the Jersey Archive collection.

Abram or Abraham?

It took us some time to identify Abraham in the Jersey censuses, because he was recorded and is indexed as Abram in 1851, 1861 and 1871. It was only in 1881 that he was recorded as Abraham. At that time he was widowed and living at Cambrian House, St Peter, with his daughters Henrietta (1851- ), Alice Ann (1853- ) and Emma Jane (1854- ). In earlier years the family lived at No 4, and then No 6 Don street, round the corner from the King Street frontage of their shop.

Abraham was born in Grouville, the son of Clement Aubin and Susanne, also an Aubin by birth. Clement was the fourth generation of his lineage to have that name.

Abraham had no sons to take over his business, his only son, Clement, having died within a week of his birth in 1851. So the business was closed in 1890 when Abraham reached 70, and he died four years later.

No 18 was taken over by the Parisian Bazaar, but it is likely that the premises were already coveted by the expanding Noel and Porter, which acquired them in 1896. Although the ground floor and shop front of No 18 was changed several times over the years, the structure of the building and the exterior facade from the first floor up were retained until the row of buildings occupied by Noel and Porter were all demolished in 1970.

This retention of the original structures resulted in changes of level on the ground floor from one section to the next.

Until the autumn of 2016 this property was part of British Home Stores, having been demolished in 1970 as part of the rebuilding of the new BHS Store.

Chronology [1]

  • 1834 - J Lotherington, chemist
  • 1841 - Ernest Boudier (65), draper
  • 1851 - Not listed in census
  • 1852-1890 - A Aubin, draper, possibly earlier than 1852
  • 1891 - Parisian Bazaar
  • 1896 - 1965 - Noel and Porter
  • 1970 - 2016 - British Home Stores

It took some considerable time to identify this magnificent late Victorian St Helier shopfront as 18 King Street. It is so similar to many other town centre shopfronts in the latter part of the 19th century, including those on the four corners of the junction of Halkett Place with King Street and Queen Street: J F Cutler, later Assinder's, on one corner of Queen Street and Halkett Place; the shop making the corner of Queen Street, Halkett Place and Hilgrove, later Amyson's, which had a succession of occupants; Hettich on the opposite corner with King Street; and Piquet's pharmacy, opposite again, on the other corner of King Street with Halkett Place. Further away there was London Jewellers at 35 King Street, on the corner with Brook Street; and Edgar Brothers at 43 Halkett Place, to name but two more. It is tempting to believe that the shopfronts were all designed by the same architect, but we have come to the conclusion that it is more likely that different architects were merely following the fashion of the day - so much a fashion that there was scarcely a corner shop of any substance in the 1890s which did not follow the same design.


Notes and references

  1. Many of the start and end dates given for businesses are approximate. As more business advertisements and other records are discovered the dates can be adjusted
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