24th May 1850

Victoria College’s foundation stone is laid

The foundation stone of the boys’ school that took Queen Victoria’s name was laid on her birthday in 1850. The idea of building a school in her honour had come about after her 1846 visit. High ground was purchased in St Helier and John Hayward was engaged to design the medieval-style building.

Contemporary reports of the foundation stone’s laying describe a day on which most of St Helier’s shops closed and more than 12,000 people turned out to watch a military parade. The Bailiff and Lieutenant-Governor presided over the event, with the Bailiff initially putting down a time capsule, which the Lieutenant-Governor capped with a stone carved with Masonic symbols.

Time capsule contents

The time capsule, which will not be opened until (or if) the building is demolished, contained several mementoes relevant to the royal visit, including silver and bronze medals depicting the Queen and her husband, a copper plate, several Jersey coins and copies of the Acts of the States that authorised the building of the college.

The school was ready to accept its first pupils a little over two years later. On 29 September 1852, 98 students enrolled for classes which were, unusually, in English. French had until then been the norm.


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