We are proud of our offices at No. 16 Hill Street. The offices were specifically designed to combine a traditional Jersey lawyer's practice with the modern facilities and technology necessary for the efficient provision of effective legal services in the Twenty First Century.
No. 16 Hill Street. A Brief History.
The facade of No. 16 Hill Street carries a small inscription "IP 1748". The letters IP refer to Jean Perrochon who in 1746, purchased the land in La Vingtaine de la Ville upon which the property stands. The house which he built is substantially the same building which has now been brought back to life as the new offices of Benest & Syvret.
The property played its part even in its earliest days shaping the Island's commerce. Jean Perrochon was one of the Jersey Merchants who in 1768 formed a Jersey Chamber of Commerce, the oldest by a few months in the English speaking world. The principal purpose of the Chambers of Commerce in those days was to protect the shipping belonging to Jersey merchants that were trading with England, France and as far afield as Newfoundland.
Contemporary adverts from 1829 show that Jean Perrochon's daughter, Elizabeth Perrochon, offered No. 16 Hill Street for sale describing it then as "a house and garden near La Pompe des Trois Pigeons". At that time No. 16 was occupied by a Madame Le Sueur who ran the premises as a hotel known as Le Hôtel des Trois Pigions which in gave its name to La Rue that later became today's Hill Street.
The St Helier of the time was rapidly changing. Halkett Place had formally been laid out when the market area was developed in 1800, Waterloo Street was opened in 1825. In 1831 the streets where for the first time lighted by gas. Towards the close of the 19th Century the property was already in use as Legal Chambers, unsurprisingly given its proximity to the Royal Court building. One of the earliest Lawyers to practice from the building was Mr Peter Falla, a Solicitor who coincidently was the owner of the first motor car in Jersey. The premises have since that time been consecutively occupied by different legal firms but laid vacant for several years before the recent restoration works were undertaken.
Many of the original features that would have been installed by Monsieur Perrochon when he constructed the building two and a half centuries ago have been retained and carefully restored. Joan Stevens in her survey of old Jersey houses noted that "the interior of No. 16 has distinction". Nina Benest and Philip Syvret who undertook the restoration would hope that Joan Stevens would approve of the work that has been undertaken to bring the premises back to life as modern offices. The original 18th century staircase forms an X with both flights being morticed into the newel, a style which may well be unique to Jersey. A similar seemingly unique variation is the flat curving balusters cut from single boards. The ceiling cornices are heavily decorated and have been retained, while one of the offices has a fine original fireplace with over mantle and panelling in the traditional mid 18th century style. As the restoration was undertaken Benest & Syvret worked closely with the Planning Department and welcomed the designation of the property as a site of special interest.
Surrounded by elegant original architectural heritage a modern office has been laid out. Certain meeting rooms have been established to provide mediation suites. All principal meeting rooms have video conferencing facilities. Client facilities have specifically been designed and laid out to be child friendly with family clients in mind. Access for disabled clients is good notwithstanding the age and nature of the premises.
All told the new Chambers have been developed to offer a traditional Jersey Lawyer's practice yet with all the modern facilities and technology necessary for the provision of effective and efficient legal services in the 21st century.