Discovering the life of Jersey's 'hidden architect'

Amy Harris from BBC Channel Islands News investigates the life and resting place of Victorian architect Adolphus Curry

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A man described as "one of the most important Jersey architects of his age" can be found buried in a barely marked grave in St Saviour.

If you asked someone to come up with a list of the most recognisable buildings in Jersey, the majority of the list would have one man at the centre of their construction or re-construction.

The old Jersey College for Girls building, the Opera House, The Victoria Club and Highlands College are just a few of the buildings by Victorian architect Adolphus Curry.

Architect Paul Harding from BDK Architects described him as a "Victorian architect of immense success and skills".

'Grand stylings'

He said: "In a Jersey context I would say, for the time, he was the most important architect. He had gone over to the UK and qualified and then brought back all that was happening in Victorian Manchester to Jersey.

Adolphus Curry Mr Curry was a leading member of history research group the Societe Jersiais

"You could see the influences in the grand stylings and proportions."

Born in Jersey in the mid-19th Century, Mr Curry was one of the most prolific architects in the island's history.

He left the island in 1870 to learn his trade first in Manchester and Northampton before moving on to Cardiff where he worked on the development of the docks and an ice skating rink

He returned to Jersey in 1878 and, in the 32 years before his death in 1910, created or contributed to dozens of buildings including some regarded as the island's most iconic.

But it was not just his architectural work that made him a man of note, Curry was also a leading member of the Societe Jersiais and contributed to the preservation of some of the island's most important historic sites.

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Someone should take up the torch and make something for him”

End Quote Anna Baghiani Historian
Air conditioning

Anna Baghiani from the Societe Jersiais said some of the works he was involved in "have an amazing legacy on the island".

She said as well as buildings he also designed statue plinths, lighting and air conditioning systems.

"The St Saviour's Church restoration project was the one we remember him for but he also had involvement in St Ouen's manor, it isn't just the new he was interested in but the old."

For a man that contributed so much, that left such a lasting legacy, it is of note that his own remains are in a somewhat non descript grave at St Saviours church, a building he helped redevelop.

Mr Harding said he helped shape the way the island looks and should be better recognised.

Adolphus Curry He is buried in a barely marked grave in St Saviour's Church graveyard

Adolphus Curry's grave sits nestled among plots with large headstones and monuments including other island greats such as actress Lillie Langtry and artist Henry Thomas Bosdet.

His final resting place is market by a small pink paving stone carrying the words A Curry, but his mark on the island holds a much firmer foundation.

From the ornate markings of the old Midland Bank to the dome at the top of the old Jersey College for Girls building, his memory lives on all around the island.

Ms Baghiani said: "It is sad that there is not more of him to appreciate in terms of a statue or monument.

"There is scope there to pick up the elements of interest and put them into something more user friendly like a book or a film.

"This is something that should happen with Adolphus Curry, someone should take up the torch and make something for him."

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