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British Industrial History

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Jean Baptiste Paul Chappe

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Jean Baptiste Paul Chappe detailed biography (pdf).

Jean Baptiste Paul Chappe (1782-1858) of Paul Chappe

1782 July 10th. Born and baptised the next day in Nancy, France, the son of Baron Antoine Andre Chappé and Françoise, the daughter of Jean-Baptiste de Collancy. His baptismal entry in the parish record reads “Jean Baptiste Paul, legitimate son of Antoine Andre Chappé, advocate at Parliament, Master of Horse, Councillor and Secretary to the King, House and Crown of France in the Chancellery established at the Parliament at Metz, and Dame Françoise Horiot de Collancy, was born at half past six in the evening on the 10th July, 1782, and baptised the next day. He has for Godfather Mr. Jean Baptiste Laffitte, Doctor and Surgeon, represented by Louis Aubry, servant to Mr. Chappé, and for Godmother Dame Jeanne Marguerite Sophie Enciote, wife of Mr. Pierre Louis Sirejean, advocate at Parliament, represented by Francoise Bidot, also a servant to Mr. Chappé. The which have made their mark, not being able to write.”

His godfather was later going to marry his mother, so becoming his step father.

During the French Revolution his father escaped to their sugar estates in San Domingo with his older sisters, where they were later killed in the slave up-rising of 1794. Meanwhile, aided by Dr Lafitte, his mother fled with him and his youngest sister through the Spanish Netherlands to England, where they possibly came to Manchester. After the Revolution his mother returned to Nancy, where she opened an Academy for young ladies with his sister, and he entered a seminary. The priesthood did not appeal, and so he returned to England in May 1803, when he was 21 years old. He spent the first three years in London, and then moved up to Manchester.

He himself continued to use his full patronymic of Chappé de Leonval even late in his life, when he had given up any claim to the titles of his father.

By 1808 the directories record that he was a merchant and manufacturer at St. James’ Street, and by 1811 he was in Red Cross Street. In 1809, when he married, his residence was given as “The White Cottage”, Pendleton.

1809 March 11th. Marriage of Paul Chappe of the White Cottage, Pendleton, to Mary, second daughter of George Fletcher, Esq.[1]

By 1814 he had joined the Fletcher family firm, which was Peter Fletcher and Sons, merchants at 14, Police Street (Commercial Directory 1818-20) and spinners at the Gaythorne Mill in Medlock Street.

In 1817 he was a commission agent at 7, Back Square, but in the same year he became involved in the cotton trade. He patented a six-cord doubling frame (which has been shown in the Manchester Science Museum), and later a recycle steam boiler to reduce pollution.

On 9th December 1825 he took British citizenship; this was followed by full naturalisation on 14th May 1829

In 1829, at the time of his application for naturalisation, he was seeking to purchase the Gaythorn Mill. The application names his partner as Charles Fletcher, recently deceased – between October 1828 when they started to purchase the mill, and 26th February 1829, the date of the application. Paul was paying £3,000 for the mill.

In a document dated 2nd August 1839 on vellum, measuring 18.25 inches long by 23.75 inches wide, between John Baptiste Paul Chappé, John Higson and The Right Honourable James Earl of Balcarres, he leased for a year a plot of land together with all the Steam Engines, Steam Houses, Boilers, Boiler Houses, Shafts, Mill graining machinery and fixtures situated and lying near Knott Mill in Manchester in the County of Lancashire. It retains the revenue stamp together with two wax seals and signatures of Chappé and Higson

In 1840 the business went under (were the labour problems contributory to his financial difficulties?) and he was made personally bankrupt (notice in the London Gazette page 2464 quoting 12th February, and the Times of 19th February, page 4, column e). His assets, consisting of household goods, material in the process of manufacture, and machinery were sold in favour of his creditors for £2,156.

1858 March 28th. Died

1858 Burial of Paul: 3 Apr 1858 St Mary the Virgin, Prestwich, Lancashire, age: 75 years. [2]

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. The Athenaeum: A Magazine of Literary and Miscellaneous Information, Volume 5, April 1809
  2. [1]Burials at St Mary the Virgin in the Parish of Prestwich, for the Years 1858 - 1860