No 55 King Street

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55 King Street


1880s advert for W W Rose

A somewhat more elaborate architectural style for the upper stories than most King Street premises

The building

The Historic Environment Record treats No 55 and No 55½ as separate properties, with almost identical descriptions. The two buildings are of identical design from the first floor upwards and were undoubtedly built together, probably originally as a single unit.

HER: This building contributes to the character of this block of King Street with its late Victorian articulation and decorative features with many historic features remaining. Three-storey, two bay. Original gutter tray remains. Wall rendered with ashlar effect. Arched windows have moulded hoods with decorative tassels and apexes. Ground floor shop front is modern with flat fascia.


No 55 was home to a succession of tea dealers from the mid-19th century, as shown by almanac street and commercial directories. It appears that nobody was actually living here at the time of the 1851, 1861 and 1871 censuses.

Thomas Wilcox

The 1852 Post Office Directory shows it occupied by grocer and tea dealer Thomas Wilcox.

In an 1874 almanac the premises are shown to be occupied by J M Knight's Hong Kong Tea Stores. This was probably James Martin Knight, son of William and Margaret Sinclair.

William Rose

In 1880 William Rose had established his stationery business there, combining this with an agency for Li-Quor Tea Company. The 1891 census shows William (1846- ) with wife Amelia (1851- ), daughters Alice (1872- ) and Edith (1878- ) and sons Charles (1875- ), John (1886- ) and Herbert (1889- ). William and Amelia were both born in England, as were Alice and Charles. The other children were born after the family arrived in Jersey in about 1877.

The Rose family were followed by Mrs Selina Stevens, who ran a fancy goods repository for a short time, before William Henry Saunders established his hosiery business before 1911. The census of that year shows William (1858- ), who came to Jersey from the Isle of Wight, living at No 55 with his eight-year-old son William. William Henry is described as 'married' in the census return, but there is no sign of his wife.

Li-quor Tea had an interesting marketing ploy. A voucher was given with each packet of tea and after purchasing 3 lb the buyer was entitled to choose any book from the selection on offer - 'Good Standard Works by the Best Authors'. These volumes were published by Li-quor Tea of London, founded in 1879.

It is not known how long Mr Rose was in business - certainly until 1930 - but by the start of the Occupation Louise Ladies outfitters were at No 55, and they remained there until the late 'sixties, when the property was acquired by expanding shoe shop Beghin's.

Chronology [1]

  • 1852 - Thomas A Wilcox, grocer and tea dealer
  • 1861 - Hong Kong Tea Stores
  • 1874 - J M Knight's Hong Kong Tea Stores
  • 1879-1890 - W W Rose, stationer and Liquor Tea Company agent
  • 1900-1903 - Mrs Selina Stevens, fancy repository
  • 1903-1908 - Wilfred Baker [2]
  • 1908-1930 - William H Saunders, hosier
  • 1940-1965 - Louise Ladies outfitters
  • 1970-1990 - Beghin's
  • 2000 - Rare clothes
  • 2010 - French Connection
An application by William Saunders to exempt Percival de Gruchy, his manager at his 55 King Street business, from military
call-up. Percival was to serve in the Royal Garrison Artillery, but whether overseas or as part of Jersey's defences is not clear

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 will be adjusted
  2. See also No 55½ King Street
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