The first divertor was installed in the JET machine between 1992 and 1994 and was operated with carbon tiles and then beryllium tiles in 1994-5. Post-mortem studies after these first experiments demonstrated that most of the impurities deposited in the divertor originate in the main chamber, and that asymmetric deposition patterns generally favouring the inner divertor region result from drift in the scrape-off layer. A new monolithic divertor structure was installed in 1996 which produced heavy deposition at shadowed areas in the inner divertor corner, which is where the majority of the tritium was trapped by co-deposition during the deuterium-tritium experiment in 1997. Different divertor geometries have been tested since such as the Gas-Box and High-Delta divertors; a principle objective has been to predict plasma behaviour, transport and tritium retention in ITER. Transport modelling experiments were carried out at the end of four campaigns by puffing 13C-labelled methane, and a range of diagnostics such as quartz-microbalance and rotating collectors have been installed to add time resolution to the post-mortem analyses. The study of material migration after D-D and D-T campaigns clearly revealed serious consequences of fuel retention in the presence of carbon walls. They gave a strong impulse to make a fundamental change of wall materials. In 2010 the carbon divertor and wall tiles were removed and replaced with tiles with Be or W surfaces for the ITER-Like Wall Project.