Stories of the past open our eyes to the future. And the amazing people who shaped the stories should be remembered for the roles they played. In Jersey, we’re proud to share tales of heroic women who sacrificed everything in the name of freedom, who led the way in science, art and challenged perceptions of gender roles. Discover their stories here and when you can visit our shores again, set out to tread the paths they tread in Jersey.
Frances Le Sueur
Frances devoted her life’s work to studying and protecting Jersey’s rich and diverse natural history. Her book Flora of Jersey is a wonderful record of the island’s plant life. She was a leading member of the Société Jersiaise, with whom she campaigned passionately for the conservation of Jersey’s natural places. If it wasn’t for her tireless efforts, much of the wild, wide-open spaces that make Jersey so special, could have been lost to time. The Frances Le Sueur Centre in St. Ouen’s Bay was named in her memory and is now fittingly the home of local conservation charity, Trees for Life. The Centre sits perfectly in the Jersey National Park, a place of reflection and protection of all things wild and wonderful. We can’t think of a better place for her memory to live on. Explore the Park the next time you visit the island break.
Louisa Gould’s story deserves to be shouted from the rooftops. A true hero, she risked everything and paid the ultimate price standing up for what she believed to be right. During the Occupation of Jersey in WWII, Louisa sheltered a Russian slave worker, ‘Bill’, who had escaped a Nazi POW camp on the island. When Louisa took Bill in, she had recently lost one of her own sons to the war. She said that she wanted to prevent another mother losing her son. Tragically, she was betrayed by a neighbour and arrested by the German authorities. She was sent to Ravensbrück concentration camp, where she was taken to a gas chamber on 13 February 1945. Louisa’s story has been brought to life in the film, ‘Another Mother’s Son’. Why not watch the film now and then learn more about Jersey’s Occupation story when you can visit for real again?
An artist and member of the resistance during WWII, it could be said that Claude Cahun was ahead of their time. They took, and posed for, photos that challenge perceptions of gender roles and explored ideas that are still delved into today. Their art is iconic and surreal and their resistance during the war showed true bravery in the face of adversity. They sound like a force to have been reckoned with. The largest collection of their work is cared for by Jersey Heritage. Go and see it for yourself at the Jersey Museum.
The life of Orpheus Beaumont was unavoidably tied to the sea. Born in Jersey in 1863, the daughter of a sea captain, she was named after a naval tragedy one brother survived. She suffered from ‘drowning fits’ as a child and lost her other brother to drowning. All of this led to her desire to ‘beat the sea’. In the year following the sinking of the Titanic, Orpheus dedicated herself to designing a new type of life jacket. After years of development, her ‘Salvus’ life jacket went on to be used worldwide and must have saved countless lives. She lived most of her life in New Zealand but she’ll always be remembered in Jersey as a woman who led the way for sea safety. So, the next time you have a coastal adventure and put your life jacket on, remember Orpheus.
A great beauty, a socialite, actress and mistress to princes, Lillie Langrty is an icon whose life was full of love affairs and scandal. Lillie was born in Jersey in 1853. She lived in London and Monaco and travelled far and wide. She finally returned home to be buried in her family’s plot at St. Saviour’s parish church in 1929. Take a glimpse into the life of this intriguing woman through the famous portrait ‘A Jersey Lily’. Uncover hidden meaning and secret messages in this captivating portrayal of this island beauty. Go and see the portrait for yourself at the Jersey Museum.