The Jacques Family


Strictly speaking, we are concerned with Alfred Jacques and his son Hubert, who were editors of The Herald for more than half a century, but they had an interesting family history, so we will look briefly at the wider picture, which takes us back to Scotland in the 18th century.

It is thought that the family name was originally 'Jack' and the first Jacques we know about is David, who married Jean Gillies in Douglas, Lanark in 1784. David was a gardener and moved to Windermere, where he worked on Belle Isle, one of the islands in the lake.

Belle Isle Windermere in a calm, 1786
'Belle Isle Windermere in a calm, 1786' by Philip Jacques de Loutherbourg.
Image source: Wikigallery.org

David and Jean apparently had thirteen children. Two of them, Allison and James, were drowned together in Lake Windermere and another, George, died at the Battle of Waterloo. The child we want is David (died 1831), who went to Keighley, Yorkshire and was also a gardener and a dealer in British wines. He married Elizabeth Corlass (died 1856), whose grandmother was surnamed Playtress, which will become relevant in a moment.

Keighley was known for textiles (one Corlass owned a cotton mill) and David and Elizabeth's son, Plateras Lawson Jacques (born 1828), became a woolcomb maker. His first name is spelt differently each time it is recorded, but Plateras will suffice for present purposes. In 1851 he married Ellen Jennings and they had eight children, one of whom died in childhood. At one point they emigrated to the USA, but swiftly returned to Keighley, where Plateras died on 3 October 1870. In 1871 Elizabeth was still in Keighley, where her sons, William and Alfred, and daughter, Sarah, were all involved in worsted spinning. In 1875 she married widower Isaac Holmes, who had two sons: all three of them apparently died in the late 1870s and in about 1878 Ellen, reverting to her former surname of Jacques, moved the family down to Sutton in Surrey, by which time William had become an architect and Alfred a journalist. Ellen died in 1898.

'The Epsom Herald' started in 1878 and young Alfred, then only about 20 years of age (born c.1859 in Bradford), was its first editor, remaining in the post until his retirement in April 1929. He seems to have had a girlfriend called Emma Murgatroyd back in Yorkshire and he returned to Keighley in 1883 to marry her; they had two sons, Gerald (born 28 July 1884 Sutton) and Hubert (born 1888 Sutton). Alfred died on 22 February 1931 and Emma on 18 January 1935.

Gerald Jacques Hubert
Gerald Jacques, left, and Hubert, right.
Images courtesy of Roland Jacques © 2012.

Gerald qualified as an electrical engineer and joined the British Westinghouse Company in Manchester; he then went to Antwerp (1906) to work for the Bell Telephone Manufacturing Company. In 1911 he transferred to the Western Electric Company of America and was head of its European engineering information bureau until he was commissioned into the Royal Flying Corps in 1915. He saw active service in France and then became involved in experimental radar work, rising to the rank of Major, in the newly-formed RAF. He served in the Middle East and Egypt until 1920, when he became a patent attorney for Western Electric in London and subsequently returned to its engineering operation; at the time of his death he was Secretary to that company. He died on 3 March 1936 in Torquay.

Gerald Jacques in the RFC
Gerald Jacques in the RFC
Image courtesy of Roland Jacques © 2012.

Hubert followed in father's journalistic footsteps and took over editorship of The Herald on Alfred's retirement in 1929. In 1920 he had married Elsie Violet Howick (born 1899 Lewisham) and they had two children, Greville Lawson (born 4 April 1924) and Roland Trevor (1929). Hubert was much-respected and became a Fellow of the Institute of Journalists and Chairman of its Executive Committee. In 1936 he had a serious illness, but recovered and returned to the paper. However, in March 1937 he went down with influenza and, although he seemed to be recovering, died suddenly from a heart attack on 19 March. He was just 49 years old. James Wall then took over at The Herald.

Hubert Jacques
Hubert Jacques
Image courtesy of Roland Jacques © 2012.

Elsie Jacques
Elsie Jacques
Image courtesy of Roland Jacques © 2012.

Hubert's widow, Elsie, went to live in London and in 1939 she married Gerald Charles Ross Mumby (later styled Ross-Mumby, born 19 June 1884 London). Mumby had the kind of life story that might well have appeared in The Herald had he been a Surrey man. He was a pilot in the Royal Flying Corps during the First World War. His rise was rapid and he was a temporary Lieutenant-Colonel when, on 11 September 1918, he was court-martialled and dismissed the service. He then obtained some kind of position with the American Linseed Company and in 1920 in New York became engaged to Gladys Adelaide Claypoole of Cincinnati. There was a daughter, called Diana (1922-74), born in Detroit, who became a dancing 'Goldwyn Girl' and had small parts in about thirty Hollywood films. Gerald Mumby subsequently popped up in Australia as a hotel owner and in 1930 he married a Kathleen Hirschfeld in Melbourne. She divorced him for misconduct and in the late 1930s he returned to England, married Elsie Jacques and, somewhat surprisingly (having been cashiered in the First World War), obtained an RAF commission in 1940, which he resigned soon afterwards. He and Elsie went to live in Sussex and in 1945 he committed suicide by means of car exhaust fumes.

Gerald Ross Mumby
Gerald Ross Mumby as a young man

Gerald Ross Mumby with step-sons Roland and Greville Jacques
Gerald Ross Mumby with step-sons Roland and Greville Jacques
Image courtesy of Roland Jacques © 2012.

Elsie Ross-Mumby died on 27 November 1974 in Stafford district.

Greville Lawson Jacques (known as 'Bim'), who died on 23 February 2005, was also in the RAF. From 1955 until 1957 he was a senior helicopter pilot with the Falkland Islands and Dependencies Aerial Survey Expedition and landed on some mountains in order to establish a survey station: the mountains were named 'Jacques Peaks' in his honour. Greville lived at Sugnall Hall, near Eccleshall, Staffordshire. His wife was Anne Lowe, who died on 9 April 2007; there were four children - David Lawson (born 1948), Nicola (born 9 August 1950), Timothy (6 October 1953-11 September 2007) and Penelope (born 30 July 1957). Dr David Lawson Jacques owns Sugnall Hall today.

Greville 'Bim' Jacques
Greville 'Bim' Jacques
Image courtesy of Roland Jacques © 2012.

Roland Trevor went to sea and was a cadet on 'HMS Conway', a naval training ship, after which he joined the Union Castle Line, eventually becoming First Officer of a mail boat. Then, for 27 years he was a Trinity House Pilot, taking vessels into London, Harwich and other ports. He married Marie-Louise Clemence Julie Joseph Servais (known as Youyou because of her siblings' inability to pronounce Louise) from Uccle, a suburb of Brussels, whom he met on the liner 'Durban Castle'. They had four children, who are Trevor Hubert, Gerald Louis, Jacqueline Chantal and John-Christian.

Roland Jacques
Roland Jacques
Image courtesy of Roland Jacques © 2012.

Roland Jacques (middle row, 2nd left) with his children and their families Marie-Louise
On the left: Roland Jacques (middle row, 2nd left) with his children and their families.
On the right, Marie-Louise, Roland's late wife.
Images courtesy of Roland Jacques © 2012.


Linda Jackson © February 2012
With thanks to Roland Jacques for his assistance with photographs and additional information.


Webmasters note: Many back copies of The Herald are available at Ewell Library (Bourne Hall) and Bourne Hall Museum see our Local Newspapers page.


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