Street View: 33
Address: 102 Hatton Garden
In 1821 at St. George’s, Bloomsbury, John Jaques of 102 Hatton Garden married Ann Danks, daughter of Thomas and Elizabeth Danks of 98 Hatton Garden. She was the sister of Michael Danks who continued the carpet business at number 98 and 99 after his father’s death (see here). John Jaques was the son of Thomas Jacques and Mary Phillips and was born on 13 October 1795 in Leather Lane. The family was of Huguenot descend and John’s birth was registered by the Protestant Dissenting (Baptist) Minister W. Smith at Eagle Street Chapel in Red Lion Square, also known as the Kingsgate Chapel.(1) Father Thomas Jaques was an ivory turner at 65 Leather Lane and son John followed in his footsteps. The back of a trade card in the British Museum collection, dated ±1814, shows us the range of items that could be obtained from Thomas Jaques’. Not unexpected were the ivory fans, billiard balls, ivory handles, boxes and cases, but perhaps more surprising are the games, such as Pope Joan, Back Gammon and Cribbage.
In May 1837, John Jaques gave evidence at the Old Bailey against John Arnold, who was accused of stealing from him a saw, a tap and box, total value 6s. Jaques states that Arnold had been in his employ on and off for two years, but that he was “a very irregular man […] in the habit of coming early, before the other men, and leaving before breakfast”. Arnold confessed to stealing the articles and was sentenced to transportation for seven years. As an aside, at the end of the transcript it says between brackets “(The prosecutor stated that the prisoner had previously robbed him, and had been forgiven.)”(2)
By the time Tallis’s Street Views came out, the firm had expanded to Hatton Garden and in the Tallis advertisement (above), it can clearly be seen that it was not just ivory they dealt in, but also hardwood and pearl. The list of items already shows a greater emphasis on games and that was what the firm became known for, especially John (II), the son of John and Ann, had a vivid imagination which allowed him to invent all sorts of games we still play. Around 1840, John (II) invented Happy Families; Snakes and Ladders, Ludo and Tiddledy-Winks were to follow.
The 1841 census shows John (I) and Ann with daughter Mary and son John (II) living above the Hatton Garden shop, but in the 1851 census they are found at 78 Belitha Villas, Islington. On the 31st of January, 1860 John (II) marries Harriet Ingram Cooke at St. John’s, Notting Hill and the 1861 census sees the newly-weds at 4 Caroline Place. John (I) and Ann are then living at 31 Doughty Street. John (III) is born on 3 September 1862 and baptised in January 1863.
In early 1867, John (I) retires from the business and a notice in the London Gazette of 22 February announces that John Jacques junior is from then on solely responsible for the firm. John and Harriet move once again as in the 1871 census they are found at 50 Holland Street; John (I) and Ann live at 52 Argyll Road and that is were John senior dies on 18 May 1877.(3) In the 1891 census, John (II) and Harriet are residing at ‘Hillside’, Duppas Hill, Croyden with sons John (III), Percy (both ivory workers) and Alfred, a printer, daughter Ellen, and five servants. John (II) dies 3 April, 1898, and a notice in the London Gazette of 20 May, urges all creditors to put in their claims before the 1st of July with Peacock and Goddard, solicitors for the executors.(4)
The Great Exhibition of 1851 was perhaps the watershed in the fortune of the Jacques firm as John (II) introduces a new game there for which he received a gold medal: croquet. Various forms of similar games had been played before, for instance in Ireland, but it was the version that Jaques introduced that became an enormous success. In 1862, he took out a patent on the game of “croquêt” – it was to lose its circumflex a few years later. Jaques was astute enough to sell complete kits from his shop which included a booklet with the rules. By 1867, sixty-five thousand rule books had been sold. One of the attractions of the game was the fact that it could be played by both sexes at the same time and also outdoors which gave it an air of informality.
When John Jaques (III) joined the company in the 1880s, he expanded it to include all kinds of sports equipment such as for cricket, tennis, football, hockey, badminton and archery. He also invented table tennis (first called Gossima). Subsequent generations kept the company in the forefront of the games and sports industry, but after a devastating bombardment in the Blitz, no longer at Hatton Garden, but first at Thornton Heath, Surrey and these days in Edenbridge, Kent.(5)
(1) The National Archives; Kew, General Register Office: Registers of Births, Marriages and Deaths surrendered to the Non-parochial Registers Commissions of 1837 and 1857; Class: RG 4; Piece: 4235.
(2) Proceedings of the Old Bailey t18370612-1502, 12 June 1837.
(3) England & Wales, National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills and Administrations), 1877. Probate granted 11 July 1877 to John (II) and David Henry Hastings, the executors (effects under £12,000).
(4) England & Wales, National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills and Administrations), 1898. The executors were widow Harriet and Herbert Edgar Reid (effects just over £88,000).
(5) Their website: jaqueslondon.co.uk.
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