21st June 1887
The present States Chamber is opened
The States Chamber was opened on the 50th anniversary of Queen Victoria coming to the throne, and finally gave the States Assembly its own meeting place. Previously, without a room to call home, the Assembly members had met and debated in the Royal Court.
The Chamber was designed by a firm of London-based architects, Messrs Ancell and Orange, of whom Mr Orange was Jersey-born. It consists of three main parts, with the Bailiff (to the right) and Lieutenant-Governor at the front of the chamber, the Greffier and Deputy Greffier in front of them, and the Members in seats around the Chamber. These seats are tiered, in three rows, and each is provided with a desk. The Chamber itself is wood panelled, with red carpet and red inlays to the panels. A balcony running around the chamber allows the public to view proceedings. The flags of Jersey and the United Kingdom stand on either side of the main door.
A symbol of authority
The States Assembly website reveals that “the Bailiff’s chair is seven inches higher to indicate that he has precedence over the Lieutenant-Governor in the Assembly”.
It took 40 years for the Chamber to be wired for electric lighting. More recently, the Chamber has been supplemented by a booth for BBC Radio Jersey, a recording system for broadcasting proceedings, and a desk-based voting system, in which Members press one of three buttons – pour, contre or abstain – on their desks rather than voting by a show of hands, paper slips, or passing through a lobby as happens in the House of Commons.
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