23rd July 1935
The Prince of Wales visits Jersey to open Howard Hall
Prince Edward, who was the future King Edward VIII and then the Prince of Wales, should have visited Jersey by flying boat. However, the fog was so thick that his party travelled instead on a destroyer, making the crossing overnight and arriving an hour behind schedule.
Thousands turned out to greet him as he stepped ashore in military uniform. After visiting the Royal Court, he inspected the troops at Springfield Grounds and spoke fluent French to the French soldiers also lined up there.
A trip to Victoria College
The focus of his visit was a trip to Victoria College, where he opened Howard Hall and unveiled a portrait of the king, George V. Construction of the hall had been funded by Thomas Benjamin Davis, a wealthy Jersey-born businessman and philanthropist whose son, Howard, had been wounded in the Battle of the Somme and died of his injuries in August 1916.
It was Davis’ efforts to memorialise his son that had launched his philanthropic activities. Among other things, he presented the States of Jersey with a farm, on the condition that it be renamed Howard Davis Farm, funded the first motorised lifeboat to be stationed in St Helier (named the Howard D), and paid for Howard Hall. This was perhaps his most extravagant act as the hall had been commissioned when it was discovered that there was no room to hang the portrait of George V that Davis had paid for to commemorate the setting up of a scholarship at the school (again funded by Davis himself).
The Hall, which once seated 238 pupils, was renovated in the 1990s as the Howard Davis Theatre.
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