Sunday, 30 December 2018

Peter Paul Labertouche (c. 1827- 1907)

Peter Paul Labertouche is the namesake for the town of Labertouche, just over the Cardinia Shire border and north of Longwarry North. As Labertouche is such a grand name I thought it would be interesting to find out about him. For more reading I have created a list of newspaper articles about the Labertouche family on Trove, click here to access the list. 

Sketch of Peter Paul Labertouche
The Herald July 18, 1892

Here is a precis of Mr Labertouche's career in the Victorian Public Service. In April 1853, he was appointed as a Clerk in the Commissariat Department; in April 1858, Secretary for Roads and Bridges.  In July 1866, he was appointed as a Collector of Imposts and in December 1871 he had the role of certifying all accounts in the Roads and Bridges branch of the Department of Railways and Roads. In September 1876, he was appointed Acting Secretary for the Department of Railways and April 16, 1878 Mr Labertouche  reached the pinnacle of his career and was appointed Secretary for the Department of Victorian Railways. He retired from the position in 1892 after 39 years in the Victorian Public Service,  at the age of 65.

At a presentation to Mr Labertouche (reported in The Argus of November 9, 1892 read it here) it was said about him while  Mr Labertouche was secretary of the railways any person in the department could go to him in any difficulty and be certain of receiving his assistance and sympathy, if he were deserving of it. As a comrade, too, Mr Labertouche was always ready to join with his fellow officers in their social enjoyments and also to act in any other capacity m which he could assist the employees of the department

An article in the Ovens and Murray Advertiser  (read it here) said that he had been on an annual salary of 1,100 pounds which gave him a pension of 650 pounds per annum, which was round four to five times the average annual wage at the time.

I am not going to go into the minutiae of his working life with the railways, but instead tell you about his family and their glittering social life. Peter married Eleanor Annie Scales on February 22, 1859.  Peter died in March 1907, according to his obituary and by coincidence, his wife Eleanor also died in March 1907 - the 25th of  March, according to her Probate papers. They both died in London.

Peter and Eleanor's marriage notice in The Argus of February 23, 1859

They had the following children Pauline Hart Eleanor (Mrs Arthur Everett Leslie 1860 - 1939), un-named male (born & died 1861), Ethel Adelaide (Mrs Augustus Loftus 1862-1939),  Zoe (1864 - 1866), Raymond Sumner (1866 - 1867), Guy Neal Landale (1871 -1915). Ethel made a 'fashionable' marriage in November 1885 when she was married Captain Augustus Pelham Brooks Loftus. Loftus was the second son of the Governor of New South Wales, the Right Honorable Lord Augustus Loftus. The wedding was conducted by the Reverend C.P.M Bardin at Christ Church in Brunswick, the same minister and the same church where her parents were married. Bardin was a cousin of her fathers. You can read a report of the wedding in TableTalk, here.

Ethel and Captain Loftus' marriage notice in Table Talk June 26, 1885

Pauline married Arthur Everett Leslie, of South Kensington in London on June 19,  1889. You can read about this wedding, which took place in London,  here. I don't know much about Arthur, however apart from the fact that his divorce was  finalised in June 1885 from Maynard Eleanor Gordon. The two sisters,  Ethel and Pauline,  died in 1939, they were both living in England when they died - Ethel died November 28 and Pauline's death was registered in the first quarter of 1939, so January, February or March.

Guy Labertouche (1871 - 1915)

Guy married Muriel Stewart in 1908. He had been in the British Army and then in 1896 he transferred to the Indian Army, he was also in China during the Boxer Rebellion, so truly was  a 'son' of the British Empire. In 1895 he was appointed as aide-de-camp to the Acting-Governor of Victoria, Sir John Madden. Guy was killed in the First World War on April 14, 1915 at Shaiba, Mesopotamia (Iraq). There is a photo (above)  and information about him on the Scotch College, Melbourne, website here. Guy was the first old boy of Scotch College to die in the First World War.

Guy's engagement notice to Muriel Stewart in Punch August 6 1908

Back to Peter and Eleanor Labertouche - after Peter retired in 1892  he went to live in London, but it seems that Eleanor and the children were already living there. It is likely that they went to England with Ethel and  her husband in 1885, when Captain Loftus was appointed private Secretary to Sir Patrick Jennings England in his capacity of Commissioner to the Indian and Colonial Exhibition.  'Gussy' Loftus, as he was known, was very well connected. At one stage, the papers reported that Gussy's father, had succeeded to the title of the Marquisate of Ely, almost making the Labertouche family one step closer to the Aristocracy (read about it, here)  In 1886, his daughter, Ethel Loftus was presented to Her Majesty on May 5 (read full account, here) In the same year, Guy was accepted into Westminister School, London, which dates back to the 12th century.

A report of Ethel Loftus' presentation at Court in the Sydney Mail June 19, 1886

In April 1888 Mrs Eleanor Labertouche, Miss Pauline 'Nina' Labertouche and Mrs Ethel Loftus  opened an upmarket dressmaking firm called Madame La Grange et Cie.  They already operated a business called Victoire et Compagnie and came to an  arrangement with Lousie Baldossi, an experienced dress maker, who had a business called Madame Louise,  to manage the business for four years. Miss Baldossi was to receive 250 pounds per annum and 5% of the business profits. The relationship soon broke down and Miss Baldossi was sacked. She sued them for unfair dismissal and won her case and was awarded 100 pounds compensation. You can read more about this case here, It was well reported in the papers with some of them using the very 'punny' headline - a 'Dressmaking suit'. In 1889, Pauline was married in London to Arthur Leslie. It seems that the women continued in business as in September 1889 Princess Mary of Teck and her daughters visited their new business Victoire et Cie in Bond Street. Read the full report, here. One of Princess Mary's daughters, became  Queen Mary (the wife of George V) - so no wonder the Labertouche women were happy to let everyone know of their illustrious clients.

Of course, it wasn't all a glittering life for the Labertouche because in 1891, Peter's brother George was as charged with embezzling 10,000 pounds from the Imperial Pensions Department in Sydney. He pleaded guilty and was sentenced to five years in jail.

We will finish off this post with this tribute to Mr Labertouche All those who were associated with the late Mr Labertouche at the Railway Department speak of him terms of great affection. He was popular with all classes and possessed an extremely amiable disposition. (The Argus, March 18 1907, see full report, here.)

For more reading I have created a list of newspaper articles about the Labertouche family on Trove, click here to access the list. 

No comments: