Not unique to Jersey but there are a lot of them around. They’ve become so much part of the landscape that they rarely attract a glance or comment from islanders. Some remain in fine order, others more neglected.
Lavoirs were communal clothes washing facilities. They were constructed over, or beside, running water. There would have been an agreement which families could use them, perhaps for a small fee. In this way the cost of construction might have been recovered. Here’s one of my favourites at Ruette Mathurin, Grouville. Note the stream running through the meadow into the lavoir.
Another, off Princes Tower Road, St Saviour, now in the care of the National Trust for Jersey.
Finally, here’s one at Mont Mado, St John in use in 1909 – credit Jerripedia. There are many others.
The abreuvoir is the lavoir’s big brother – it was designed to provide drinking water for animals. Possibly our best example is at Le Marais a la Cocque, Grouville. Here the abreuvoir is accompanied by a public water pump, its steps in latter times providing amusement for big children.