Jersey Chamber's History

The oldest Chamber in the English-speaking world.

Chamber archive

History is garnished with valued improvements to Jersey, thanks to the wise influence of the previous Chamber generations.

The archive of the Jersey Chamber of Commerce is an invaluable source for local historians and a vital tool in understanding the business history of the Island.

Enriched in Chamber’s long and illustrious history are the values we still hold today; that is, to promote trade and build on the prosperity of the island.

These values have been part of the fabric of our history for centuries, much of what we celebrate today is a testament to the hard working merchants who founded Chamber back in 1798.

Chamber started with a group of public spirited ship merchants getting together to protect the interests of the Island’s maritime trade. They were dissatisfied with the representation by the ruling elite in the Sates who had little interest in assisting merchants, ship owners and traders.

There were many difficulties to overcome such as fishing trade, industrial, pirates, the French Revolution, the development of the Island’s harbours and the safety of their vessels during wartime.

They became a forward thinking and dynamic organisation interested in the pursuance of better trade conditions for the Island’s merchants.

Throughout the early years, the main work of the Chamber was promotion and protection of shipping as the community was mainly composed of ship-owners.

Chamber was active and forward looking. The ordinary 18th century Islander, whatever his class, had little contact with the outside world, whereas members of Chamber, in contrast, were citizens of the world.

As business and trade developed in the Island, so did the scope of Chamber’s activities.

Today Chamber represents a diverse community across a number of sectors including finance, hospitality and retail. It is dedicated to the promotion of trade, commerce and the general prosperity of Jersey and is the largest employer representative organisation in Jersey.

Key Milestones

2018

Celebrating 250 years

250 Year Anniversary: Chamber is rebranded and launches a new website

2001

On the Move

After 180 years in the Royal Square, Chamber moves offices to Pier Road

1998

How many people?

Challenged a plan to cap the population at 85,150

1982

Common Market

Concerned over what Britain joining the Common Market would mean for Jersey

1975

Privatising Fort Regent

Supported proposals for private development at Fort Regent

1974

Weighbridge future

Questioned the future of the abattoir at the Weighbridge and its long-term development

1973

Sunday debate

On-going discussions about Sunday trading

1972

Landing an airport deal

Supported plans to extend the Airport runway

1971

More space

Increased pressure to create more car parking space in St Helier to encourage shoppers

1970

Liberation Day holiday?

Considered whether it was appropriate to trade on Liberation Day

1968

Event led tourism

Discussed staging key events such as an International Film Festival

1967

Fort Regent

Questioned the future of Fort Regent

1963

Into Battle

Entered a float into the Battle of Flowers

1934

Airport takes off

Instrumental in the building the airport and acquiring the surrounding land

1910

Margarine wars

Defended the dairy industry over the sale of margarine

1858

Linking the Islands

Raised funds to lay a submarine telegraph between the Channel Islands and England

1846

Pier completion

Organised the completion of Victoria Pier using States funding

1821

Royal HQ

New headquarters set up in the Royal Square in a property gifted to Chamber

1794

Vital communications

Set up the Island’s very first Post Office

1792

Smoking success

Successfully fought against the restrictions placed on tobacco trading

1789

Incorporation

Charter of incorporation was drawn up to help promote the welfare and prosperity of the Chamber

1786

For the workers

Acted for carpenters working on ships, demanding an increase in their wages

1785

Subscription

Increased the subscription for non-ship owners and introduced fines for non-attendance

1769

Pro trade

Acted against ships having to obtain clearance in Britain

1768

Founded

The oldest English speaking Chamber began its journey