For a long time somewhat in the shadow of King Street, at its western end, Queen Street is part of St Helier's main town centre shopping precinct and is today, as it has been for many years, a major shopping street.
Just as nobody is certain which monarch King Street was named after, the same is true with the origins of Queen Street. Neither merits a mention in Balleine's History of Jersey. Raoul Lempriere's Buildings and Memorials of the Channel Islands suggests that the street was named after Queen Charlotte, the consort of King George III, after whom King Street was reputedly named. That would put the change of name to some time between 1782 and 1818.
Edmund Toulmin Nicolle's The Town of St Helier records that Queen Street was at some time known as Rue du Milieu (the middle street) and Rue es Porcqs, after the family Le Porcq who lived there. The only other reference is to the presence of the General Post Office in the street for a short time.
The street began to develop as a commercial centre in the early years of the 19th century. The first years for which any reliable records of businesses operating there exist are 1833 and 1834, when The Strangers Guide to Guernsey and Jersey and Abraham Le Cras' Guide to the Island of Jersey were published. They did not give full listings of traders operating in St Helier streets, but between the two it is possible to assemble a reasonably accurate picture of those on either side of Queen Street.
Since the properties in the street were first given numbers - probably in the 1810s or '20s, those on the south side have carried even numbers, and those on the north, odd numbers. Unlike many streets in the centre of St Helier, there have been no changes to the basic numbering, apart from the introduction of some half numbers when properties were subdivided.
Although King Street and Queen Street are today separated by Halkett Place, which runs from north to south between the two pedestrianised streets, Queen Street was in existence before Halkett Place was constructed. There was a junction before then, however, with Morier Lane connecting the ends of King Street and Queen Street with Hill Street, and Hilgrove Street (or lane) emerging on the opposite side.
Jerripedia has traced the history of traders and families along the length of the street from 1833 to the present day in two articles, covering the two sides of the street:
- A history of Queen Street traders - 1, odd-numbered properties
- A history of Queen Street traders - 2, even-numbered properties
The junction of Queen Street and Halkett Place