Jersey has a remarkably rich and diverse historic environment that is central to our islands cultural heritage and identity. This proud heritage includes our historic buildings, parks, natural habitats, our archaeological treasures and sites, museums, library and archive collections, and importantly the stories of its people and communities.
Whether for residents or visitors, our historic environment in all its forms must be increasingly used as a resource for both leaning and enjoyment. Our heritage is one that should be protected and, where possible, enhanced for the benefit of current and future generations.
Bbeing a relatively small jurisdiction, islanders understand and appreciate how our own cultural heritage has links Jersey to so many parts of the world. It is both an economic and social asset that we must continue to use for the benefit of islanders.
Our developing Heritage Policy
We will develop our Heritage policy around six core themes:-
Protection , Preservation and Conservation
Jersey has a unique historic environment that includes internationally renowned archaeological sites such as La Cotte and La Hougue Bie. We have a vast array of defence structures such as Elizabeth Castle, Mont Orgueil and Fort Regent. The Progress Party will support further work in preserving and enhancing these, and all, sites of special interest.
Investment in the short term is vital to minimising further loss or damage to our historic sites or structures and, as we look to preserve and conserve our heritage, we must also consider how best to retain our knowledge. We will maintain a policy to safely store and exhibit our valuable artefacts and objects. We will develop a policy to best engage new and younger audiences.
However, there is so much else that makes Jersey special. We have a unique political system, twelve Parishes that serve their communities (each with their own police force), our own Jerrais language, and our precious Jersey Cow and Jersey Royal, all of which The Progress Party will support and preserve.
Investing in Heritage
Jersey has historically underinvested in maintaining its historical buildings. This has left parts of sites such as Elizabeth Castle in imminent danger of irreparable damage. The Progress Party will not allow this to continue and we will support proper funding for all our heritage sites. We believe that such investment should go hand in hand with the sustainable use of refurbished historic buildings for holiday accommodation or event spaces.
Fort Regent is a classic example of an historic structure, in this case a Napoleonic Fort, that needs new investment for modern day use. This is explored further in a separate Fort Regent paper.
The Progress Party will establish a role in a newly constituted Jersey Heritage Trust (JHT) to oversee the development of Fort Regent and other, still under-utilised, Heritage sites.
There is a need for a Heritage Strategy that would be developed independently with the support of the JHT. Such a strategy would sit alongside a separate Cultural Strategy but consider its own funding options for both the maintenance of our heritage infrastructure and how buildings requiring work could be resourced.
Promoting our Heritage
Jersey is already considered by many to have a unique historical heritage. Many come to Jersey to visit our beautiful beaches but then discover there is so much more to the island. The Progress Party will continue to support organisations such as Visit Jersey and Jersey Heritage as they promote our heritage as a marketing tool to attract visitors to Jersey. We must also continue to support, among others, organisations such as the Societe Jersaise, the National Trust as they each look to protect, promote and enhance our historic environment.
Researching our Past and Promoting Learning
Jersey has a rich and diverse history that is already captured in written, vocal and visual form, and we must seek to consolidate and build on this wealth of information. The Progress Party will promote, through new communications options, greater use of our current knowledge to inform all generations of islanders and new visitors alike to explore and experience the variety of heritage offerings in the island.
Our schools curriculum in Jersey offers so much learning to our children and The Progress Party considers it important for all children in Jersey to understand the heritage that they are born into or have come to live in. Opportunities should be available for children to learn both inside and outside of class. This is also true of lifelong learning, and the Progress Party will support opportunities for all islanders to gain a better understanding of their heritage.
The Progress Party are keen to ensure that our diverse past is fully researched, and our history used in the best interests of islanders to promote our economy and improve our society.
From our links to the cod fishing industry in Newfoundland in the 17th century and our association with Charles II that led to our continuing loyalty to the Crown, right through to Jersey welcoming workers from around the globe over the past century, or the current ‘ black lives matter ‘ campaign, Jersey and its people continue to embrace change and help the island shape its character.
The Progress Party will work to promote greater understanding of all the different perspectives and cultural heritage that our diverse community bring to the history and heritage of Jersey.