The founder of Le Brun's Bakery

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Family history of founder
of Le Brun's Bakery


Le Brun's Bakery, which grew to be Jersey's largest and was in business for nearly 200 years, had its humble beginnings in a cottage at First Tower, where Susanne Le Brun, nee Picot, shown here in an old newspaper cutting, baked bread which she took around fishermen's cottages to sell.

The story of the birth of the bakery and other Le Brun family memories were sent to Jerripedia by a descendant, Antoinette Herivel. She refers to our existing family tree - Descendants of Jacques Le Brun

John De Gruchy Le Brun, William Moses, Elsie and Isobel. Antoinette Herivel:" I have the original studio photo which was disintegrating when I found it at Waldeck. It was always hand coloured. I had it professionally copied. I am guessing it to be early 1890s"
"This branch of the Le Brun family owned Le Brun’s Bakery. It was started by Susanne Picot (generation 6) who married Pierre Le Brun in 1808. Susanne, born in Trinity in 1789, was brought to her new home at First Tower by her father and it was said that he almost wept because the area then was nearly all sand dunes. (We have a tapestry in the family which shows a little of that topography).
"Pierre owned quite a lot of land there and donated the plot where First Tower Methodist Chapel was built. They lived in a small cottage (Almon Cottage - which was my mother’s but was sold and pulled down in 1990s.)
"As there was nowhere to buy bread, Susanne began baking it and taking it around fishermen’s cottages for sale. Later the bakery was at the corner of Mont Cochon, with stables etc going up the road (now flats).
"The next generation lived at Waldeck House Mont Cochon, on the opposite side to the bakery. Five generations have lived at Waldeck. William Moses was born there and his daughter, my mother Estelle. I was married from Waldeck. There is a low window by the street where the bread was sold .
"Pierre and Marie Blampied’s daughter Lydia was educated in Jersey. She attended the Sorbonne in Paris around the time of the Impressionist painters in the 1870s. It is said that her sisters took in laundry to fund this. She travelled in Europe with a chaperone. Later she took my great grandmother Esther de Gruchy, who was widowed at a young age. They, as did many British people, liked travelling in Germany before WW1 and that is why Waldeck House was named after a German town. I have a porcelain doll’s tea set from Germany which was brought back before WW1 for my mother as a baby.
"Lydia returned to Jersey and opened a school at Zelzah house, which is still there on the inner road at First Tower. She was very strict and not above using corporal punishment, but was interested in bringing the latest methods of education, including exercising with dumbbells. Boys at the school went on to Victoria college, including William Moses, her nephew. Girls completed their matriculation at Zelzah.
"My mother attended the school and was always angry that the girls could not go to college. Elsie, William Moses and John de Gruchy Le Brun's sister, was also very gifted and went to London University, at the time of the suffragettes. Elsie was my great aunt and recounted that she studied English with one of the WW1 poets. This information regarding the school is from accounts about the school from Lydie and Norah Gallichan, which I recorded in the early 1990s for my masters research.
"Elsie married an English businessman, Alfred Squire, and they lived in Esher Surrey. They had one son, John Squire, who was an eminent pathologist.
"Isobel Le Brun, also daughter of Moses Charles and Esther de Gruchy, married a clerk who worked for British rail in Jersey. They emigrated to Australia and had four or five children.
Zelzah House School from an old newspaper cutting
"Moses Charles ( 1849-1887) (generation 8) died leaving his wife Esther Elizabeth de Gruchy, at the age of 28, with four children and running the bakery. Her eldest son, John de Gruchy Le Brun (known as Jack) and his wife Amy lived at Brooklyn behind the bakery shop opposite Waldeck.
"Amy was a seamstress and in all photos is wearing lovely dresses. My memory of her is that she had a great sense of humour, smoked a lot and loved to visit my grandmother Adèle across the road to gossip. Neither of them would heed the traffic, both being quite deaf. They spoke mostly Jèrriais. Amy kept her sewing machine in top order until she died in 1968. She taught me how to sew and helped me make an outfit to wear when I left for Canada in 1967.
"My grandfather, William Moses, was also quite scholarly, well read especially in French literature, and was a skilled amateur artist. Although my grandmother Adèle liked speaking Jersey French, William like many of his generation did not want his children to speak it - only French. He was the British Rail agent and was instrumental in working with dockers during the Occupation.
"My grandparents lived above the office at 6 Bond Street, but during the war they looked after Springfield, the home of Ralph Vibert’s parents. The Vibert boys also attended Zelzah school.
"William Le Brun (known as Willy to his friends) was extremely knowledgeable regarding Jersey history. I was brought up in England, but he took it upon himself to educate and introduce me to Jersey history and pride in my culture during summer holidays, for which I am very grateful."

A Le Brun family group portrait from the late 1890s
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