Soon after it was formed in 1990, Save Jersey's Heritage took up the apparently hopeless cause of Hue Street in St Helier. A row of 18th century cottages and shops had survived the wholesale "slum clearance" of the 1970s which saw hundreds of artisan houses in Old Street, Hue Street and Dumaresq Street swept away. The buildings - in very poor condition - were still standing thanks to the owner of one of them, Stanley Foot, whose family had had a long association with the area.
Mr Foot was a reluctant seller, even though the States had bought many of the properties bordering his. SJH persuaded the planning committee, and Mr Foot, to lease it Numbers 1, 3, 5, 7 and 9 which it then restored and sold on. The renovated cottages were unveiled in 1994 but, sadly, Stanley Foot died before he could see the transformation.
Ten years on, the street is still a huge success. The shop on the corner - once a bakery - is trading, the houses have changed hands several times but still provide comfortable accommodation and the exercise has inspired the planning committee to protect the only other street in the area to have survived intact. The houses and shops in Dumaresq Street, including Foot's record shop in Pitt Street, have been bought by the Co-Op and are to be brought back to life as part of the area's re-development.
Save Jersey's Heritage started life after a successful campaign by Marcus Binney, architecture correspondent of The Times and founder and president of SAVE Britain's Heritage, and journalist Alastair Layzell to save Jersey's Government House from demolition. The pair established a connection between the house and the great architect Sir John Soane. This, a petition signed by nearly 10,000 islanders, and a message from the Queen Mother that she thought the accommodation was perfectly adequate, persuaded the States to cancel the demolition and abandon plans to build a new Government House on the site. Instead, the house was restored and continues to do duty as the home of the Lieutenant Governor, the Queen's representative in Jersey.
Soane also designed alterations to Colomberie House, one of the last 18th century town houses left in St Helier. The ancestral home of the Hemery family, one of whom had raised the alarm of the day of the Battle of Jersey in 1781, was later compromised by the offices of an accountants and then slated for demolition. Save Jersey's Heritage, helped by architectural historians Dr Warwick Rodwell and Ptolemy Dean (pictured), mounted a vigorous campaign to save it. At one stage, Colomberie House had housed the Collegiate Schools for girls and former pupils joined members of the public at a protest march through town. Even the planning committee tried to reverse a previous decision to allow its destruction, but the owners took the committee to court...and won.
Colomberie House was demolished. In 1995 Margaret Richardson, curator of the Sir John Soane Museum in London wrote: "Sir John Soane was one of the greatest English architects of the Neo-Classical and Picturesque periods. It is unthinkable that any of his authenticated buildings would be treated in this fashion in England."
There is better news about what may be the very last Regency town of house of note - Number 16 New Street (above). Working with the planning committee of the day, SJH campaigned for this important building to be preserved. Owned for many years by de Gruchy's department store, Number 16 was in a parlous state when SJH contributed funds to halt its decay. Acro props were installed after a survey by Dr Warwick Rodwell suggested that the building was in danger of collapse because it had been so badly neglected. Eventually, de Gruchy's new owners agreed to sell the house to The National Trust for Jersey for £1 and the Trust is restoring it to its former glory.