Anglo-French Travel 2017 travel blog

Liberation statue

Gold torque thought to have been brought from Ireland

Tapestry Museum

One of the tapestries

Four Lalique Angels in the Glass Church

The Glass Church

On Jersey now and today was spent not very far from the capital of St Helier. Jersey is an island 15 Km by 9 Km measured at the longest points.

We started the day at the Jersey museum which tells of the ordinary life of Jersey - originally growing potatoes, apples and of course milk and butter from the famous Jersey cows. Now the greatest industry is finance with international banks setting up to manage trusts, hedge funds, etc - basically a tax haven for the very wealthy. To be a resident here and continue with that stays a person cannot be away for more than 90'days so the wealthy return for a few days and then head off again leaving a very large proportion of the work force working in legal,or banking.

Second stop was at the Maritime Museum which features the Tapestry Museum. This was a project to celebrate 50 years since liberation. Each of the fourteen parishes which make up the island worked on a Tapestry depicting scenes from the time of Occupation. Each scene has an explanatory panel beneath putting the scene into the European context as well as giving the family perspective and the impact of the work on one of the embroiderers.

An easy lunch in an area with many new apartments and a new marina which like the other marina must accomodate the very big differences in tides which is achieved by the mooring platforms rising along with the yachts. One gets the impression that there is plenty of money around although in the Museum the information was that 37% of the population pays no tax because of the level at which tax starts. There is no such thing as unemployment benefit although there is some way of dealing with the 1% who are unemployed; basically the attitude is that all must work.

Just after lunch we travelled to the Glass Church, so called because it was renovated in Art Deco style by the wife of Jessie Boots, ( Boots the chemist) who ordered all the Glass from Lalique and today there is a spare set of all the glass sculptures in what was her home in case of breakage. Jessie was one of the early wealthy.

Our afternoon was spent walking through one of the Jersey War Tunnels, over 1 km which was being prepared as a hospital but never used as such. It now tells the story of the occupation from the time when the decision was made not to defend the Channel Isles giving the population just about 8 days to be evacuated to Britain or choose to stay before the occupation by German forces who managed to lay some 67,000 mines around the 80 km coast so important did they see it as part of the Atlantic wall which stretched from Norway. D Day in May 1944 filled the islanders with great hope but they had to wait another 12 months for liberation. They had some relief when there was an agreement to allow a Red Cross ship to bring in food parcels to,the population which was on the brink of starvation.

Many of the displays in the tunnels dealt with the slave labour used, the collaborators and counter accusations and eventual reprisals and the deportation of Jews and others who were not Island born.

We're meeting for a special dinner in this very smart hotel tonight and drinks in the bar beforehand.

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