No 1 King Street

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1 King Street


The scene in the early 1900s

Edwin Hettich

No 1 King Street, which makes the corner with Halkett Place, has been home to Hettich, the jewellers, since 1900.

The building

Historic Environment Record: Listed building. This prominent late Victorian corner building is well proportioned and detailed and adds value to the streetscape character. Its shop front is of a high quality of design and craftsmanship. Corner building. Three-storey with attic, two bays to west (King Street), corner bay, three bays to south Halkett Place. Elevational treatment is the same on both sides. Slate mansard roof with dormers. Parapet with moulded cornice at gutter level.

Chronology [1]

  • 1833-1871 - J de Veulle, grocer
  • 1880-1900 - Joseph Collenette, jeweller

A trade directory in 1833 shows No 1 occupied by John de Veulle, a grocer. The first census seven years later shows him living at the premises with wife Mary and four-year-old son John, and his business is still described as a grocery. In the 1861 census John's wife is named as Betsey and by 1871, still at the same premises, his occupation is described as 'wine merchant'.

An 1852 Post Office directory shows James Aubin, chemist, at No 1, but we have found no confirmation that he ever traded here. For many years there was an Aubin pharmacy across the road on the corner, numbered 1 Halkett Place.

By 1880 the premises had been taken over by jeweller Joseph Collenette, born in Guernsey and the son of a St Peter Port jeweller. He ran what was described as a 'fancy repository' until the premises were taken over by the Hettich family in 1900. Joseph and his family left Jersey for England, where he died in 1924.


In 1903 the business was described as J Hettich and Sons, but the business's Facebook page (it is still trading today) describes the founder as 21-year-old Edwin Wyndham Hettich, the son of German clock maker Julius Hettich. The 1901 census shows Julius (49) as the head of houshold and 'employer', and his son Edwin Wyndham as a jeweller and 'worker'. It seems that Julius bought the shop and set his son up in business there. He was born in Cardiff, amusingly identified in the census as being in England.

Julius was born in Ronobach, Baden, in about 1852 and moved to Wales as a teenager. At the age of 19 he was working for Pius Heitzman, watch and clock maker and jeweller in Monmouth. In 1876 he married Agnes Ada Wiltshire in Cardiff. In 1881 he was working as a jeweller in Cardiff, with a single employee. By the turn of the century he had moved to Jersey, but he had retired by 1911, when aged 59, and moved back to Cardiff, where he died in 1935 at the age of 83.

Family history

The story of the Hettich family and their business was recounted in the 1961 edition of Watchmaker, Jeweller and Silversmith:

"Edwin Wyndham Hettich was born in Cardiff in 1879. He was the son of Julius Hettich, a German clock maker and jeweller. He was educated in Wales, then sent to Germany to learn the fundamentals of watch-making before joining his father's business in Cardiff at the age of 14. Julius Hettich acquired the premises at 1 King Street, Jersey in 1900. Julius decided to stay in Cardiff and Edwin, at 21, took on the running of the Jersey branch. Edwin married Ethel Frances Saunders, a staff member from the previous proprietor who continued to work under the new ownership, in 1901. The following year their daughter Agnes was born. She was to become a key member in the running of the shop. Their second daughter Freida was born in 1904. The family lived above the shop.
This 1936 diversification into selling radios would soon be brought to a halt by the German Occupation
"In 1934 Hettich became a limited liability company and Edwin moved from town to live in a newly built house above First Tower. In the same year, Antony Chinn, son of Edwin's second daughter Freida and James Chinn, was born. Having no son himself, Edwin earmarked Antony to be his successor in the business.
"The German Occupation of Jersey began in July 1940. During the course of the Occupation, Edwin's home at First Tower was commandeered by the German Army as an officers' billet, so he and his family moved back to live above the shop. Because of his German name, Edwin encountered certain hostilities during the Occupation. However, in general he was highly regarded and recognised for his contribution to public service. His ability to translate optical prescriptions into German was greatly valued.
"Edwin was elected to The States in 1948, as Deputy for St Helier. From 1953-1966 he was President of the Public Works Committee. As he dedicated more and more time to public service, the optical side of the business was phased out and it fell to his eldest daughter Agnes to take more responsibility in the shop. In 1954, Antony Chinn returned from his London training at The Central School of Art to begin working in the shop. He was the first Jerseyman to become a Fellow of the Gemmological Association of Great Britain.
"In 1959 Antony Chinn's first son Jeffrey was born. He studied jewellery in London at St John Cass College, followed by further training at Sotheby's and Asprey, and entered the business in 1984. He gained a Diploma of the National Association of Goldsmiths and, like his father, became a Fellow of the Gemmological Association.

Name changes

By 1912 the King Street business is listed as E W Hettich, and continued to trade under that name for many years, although today it is known as Hettich Jewellers.

Over the years the business has also operated as opticians, as evidenced by the giant spectacles frame which used to overhang the King Street pavement (see images below), and also as radio repairers.

During the 1920s, the services offered by Hettich included eye tests. As well as measuring sight and providing and repairing spectacles, Edwin also fitted artificial eyes. Diamonds, pearls and other gems were displayed at the front of the shop, while china eyes of all shapes, sizes and colours were discreetly and neatly laid out in rows on flat trays at the back of shop.

Apart from repairs, there was very little business during the Occupation years. The shop stayed open as long as it could, but by Liberation Day in 1945 only 3 silver hatpins remained in stock.

Historic Environment Record entry

This prominent late Victorian corner building is well proportioned and detailed and adds value to the streetscape character. Its shop front is of a high quality of design and craftsmanship.

Corner building. Three-storey with attic, two bays to King Street, corner bay, three bays to Halkett Place. Elevational treatment is the same on both sides. Front elevation: Slate, mansard roof with two dormers with four-pane windows with horns. Rendered chimney at west. Walls rendered. Parapet with moulded cornice at gutter level. Rusticated quoins. Eared architraves on second floor windows with scroll and swag decoration at top. First floor flat, arched window architraves have faceted keystones and foliate capitals. Relief render connects first and second floor architraves. String course between floors and at level of first floor capitals. Windows are two-pane double casements with one-pane overlights.

Shop front is framed by pilasters with cornice and fascia running full width and curving around corner. The window frames are metal with fluted mullions. Side elevation: Rendered chimney with dentilled cornice between north bays. The elevational treatment is as north elevation. Pitched slate roof abutting mansard gable on north. Rendered chimney on west. Box dormer with two-pane sash, no horns. Wall rendered with ashlar and keystone effect. Windows on second floor six-pane sashes, no horns; on first floor 12-pane sashes, no horns. Entrance door four-panel with round headed overlight.

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 may be adjusted
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