Pooley's Grand Pavilion Hotel

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Pooley's Pavilion


From the earliest days of the island's tourism industry in the 19th century, Greve de Lecq was a popular destination for visitors, and a number of hotels were built in the bay. The most popular of them at the turn of the century was Pooley's Pavilion, also known as the New Pavilion or simply The Pavilion

This photograph must have been taken between 1869 and 1871 because a photograph taken in 1868 and included below appears to show that construction work on the hotel had just started then and the photographers who took the picture above were only in business until 1871. The window and distinctive vertical board cladding are a clear sign that the photograph was taken here. The 53 individuals counted in the picture were probably divided between three excursion coaches, the maximum number of passengers on a single vehicle at the time being approximately 20

1869-1871 origins

The Pavilion with Mr Pooley as proprietor appears for the first time in a census in 1891. He was Rodney Pooley, but he was clearly in charge here some years earlier. The advertisement in the box on the right was published in 1887 showing that Mr Pooley was then the proprietor.

A close study of the photograph which has been on this page since 2012, and was taken in 1868, shows that the building was not complete then, there was still a nine-year gap during which it could have first opened. The discovery of the picture at the top of the page appears to have narrowed that gap to between 1869 and 1871.

That has been established by reference to the back of the new photograph, which shows that Henry Pellow's Britannia excursions were in partnership with photographers Bashford and Mercier, of 15 Bath Street. They were in business there for only four years from 1867 to 1871.

What the hotel was originally called and who its original proprietor was has yet to be established.

The story of the early years in Greve de Lecq is somewhat clouded by the census returns for St Ouen in 1871 and 1881. The first of these does not appear to mention properties at Greve de Lecq, but the hotels there could be among many properties in the district which are not named. The 1881 census identifies the Prince of Wales Hotel and the coastal tower, but makes no mention of the Pavilion. The Prince of Wales is understood not to be as old as the Pavilion. The Barracks and Greve de Lecq Hotel, the first to open in the bay, are in the parish of St Mary, the road in front of them being the boundary between St Mary and St Ouen.

Death of Rodney Pooley in 1900

Rodney Pooley

In 1891 Mr Pooley was a 41-year-old man from Surrey. He had died by the 1901 census and his sister Charlotte, born in London in 1859, is recorded as hotel proprietress. The hotel was a popular venue for visitors and Mr Pooley seems to have been a very caring employer, leaving various individual legacies in his will to members of hotel staff.

He first appears in the 1881 census as a visitor at the home of Alfred de Veulle at 45 David Place, described as an 'unemployed railway manager'. By 1891 he has married Elizabeth, who was born in Grouville. Rodney was probably the son of Alexander Pooley and Eliza, of Clapham, Surrey.

Pooley's Grand Pavilion Hotel was a fashionable establishment in the late 19th century. It was one of the first properties in St Ouen to be connected to the telephone exchange, having been allocated the number '3' by the National Telephone Company in 1900.

In the late 19th century and early 20th the Pavilion was popular not only with visitors, who would arrive by carriage from St Helier Harbour and be taken on island tours in horse-drawn charabancs, but also with local people for dinners, weddings and other celebrations. Many Militia functions were held there with the participants posing for photographs outside.

Caesar's Palace

The hotel was destroyed by fire and rebuilt in the 1970s. Then in the 1980s the site became Caesar’s Palace, a venue for live shows and cabaret. The hotel site has long since been redeveloped for housing, but the Greve de Lecq Barracks opposite still remain

A photograph taken in 1868. It was initially assumed that the Pavilion Hotel was not there, but closer study suggests that the white structure near the centre of the photograph was the new building under construction, only a single storey at the time
A picture taken in 1884. On the rug at the front is Horace Ransom, great-grandfather of David Ransom, who sent us the picture. Horace was born in Islington, London, in 1860. His father Henry Ransom ran a drapery business at 40 Upper Street, Islington. In 1884 Horace was still single, working as a clerk, and living in Barnes, Surrey, with his retired parents. Horace married Sarah Annie Baker in 1889. David Ransom (printerspie@gmail.com) would appreciate hearing from anybody who can provide further information about the photograph.
A busy day at Greve de Lecq. Pooley's is on the right, opposite the barracks. The building in the background is Greve de Lecq Hotel
A Royal Paragon charabanc outside Pooleys in the 1870s
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