Saint Saviour Convenience Store, located between the Mayfair Hotel and Domino’s Pizza, first operated as the St Saviour’s Road Dairy and general store, run by Harold Edward Aubin and his wife, Clarice. Their son, Harold Edward Aubin Jr, who died in September, was a well-known teacher at Hautlieu.
During the Occupation, Germans staying at the nearby Soldatenheim (soldier’s home) at the Continental Hotel – now Liberation Court – requestioned the shop’s yard as a bicycle park.
In a document attached to a planning application, the store’s accountant, Barry Shelton, said the business had become financially unviable.
In his letter, he said the company was previously the sole vendor of newspapers in the area but this concession had now been granted to others, the amount of traffic in the vicinity prevented motorists from stopping outside and the introduction of home-delivery services had also created difficult trading conditions.
He added that the introduction of new brands to Jersey – notably SandpiperCI’s M&S and Morrison’s Daily franchises, as well as Guernsey’s Alliance stores which sell Tesco products – and the ‘rapid expansion’ of the Co-op had led to increased competition.
Colin Ireson, writing in the JEP in October, explained how the Aubins ended up having to live and work closely alongside the Germans.
‘At the outset the family tried to keep their distance from the Occupying forces. However, this was difficult, as the shop and dairy were close to the Continental Hotel, which the Germans took over as a Soldatenheim, where off-duty soldiers would meet and relax,’ he said.
‘One morning, without any prior warning, Harry Jr’s parents found labourers constructing bicycle racks in their back yard and discovered it had been commandeered by the Occupying forces as a bicycle park for the soldiers attending the Soldatenheim.
‘The family was thus faced with a choice between abandoning their house and business, or trying to manage alongside the Germans. With nowhere else to go, they decided to stay. Inevitably they did get to know some of the soldiers and realised that the majority had no more wish to be involved in the war than the Island’s residents, and that some were actively wishing for the Allies Forces to win.’
Mr Aubin’s memories of the Occupation are detailed in his book The Occupation Bicycle Park, which was published by La Haule Books in 1992.