The Le Gros family of builders

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Le Gros family of builders


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By Nicolas Jouault


With the threat of the loss of the granite arch on the Esplande under the six-storey glass monstrosity proposed by Dandara, I thought it might be a good time to record some of the works of my Le Gros ancestors. The initials on the arch are PLS (Le Sueur?) 1674 inside a shield. IN CB on either side and another PLS. The left hand ones added at a later date, most likely when the area was part of the Le Gros works, are TCLG 1879, which stands for Tom Charles Le Gros.

The first known Le Gros builder to me is Thomas Le Gros, born in St Martin in 1797 and died in St Helier in 1881, he married Jane Nicolle 1799-1871 and they had six sons, Tom Charles 1825-1885, Philip 1827-?, John 1831-1893 were involved with the building side. Tom lived at Raglan Place with his wife Jane Sohier, Philip appeared to have been involved in the quarrying side of the business, and John lived at Homestead, Vallee des Vaux and married three times to the following: Eliza Aubin (1831-1867), Mary Le Dain (1848-1879), and Eliza Renouf (1850- )

The following is a list of works that the family were involved in:

  • 9 July 1841: The contract for repairs to the head of Mont Orgeuil Harbour awarded to Thomas Le Gros for the sum of £196 sterling (this work was evaluated at £180), Mr Thompson was to be the surveyor.
  • 10 August 1841: The building of the New South Pier (Victoria Harbour) contracted to Thomas Le Gros and John Gruchy for the sum of £56,000 (the lowest bid), the estimated cost was £62,000.
  • 29 September 1841: The laying of the foundation stone of the South Pier with a large crowd, a salvo of 21 cannons, and another salvo of smaller cannons fired in the Royal Square. Mr Thompson, the Inspector of Works, presented the President of the States with a lead box containing the various reports, acts and documents pertaining to the harbour, with papers, almanacs, and coins of the time. A copper plaque was presented to the Chamber of Commerce listing the committee members, a silver plaque was presented to the Mechanics Institute and Commercial Association. The States of Jersey had a copper plaque engraved listing the various dignitaries of the day and the various people involved in the building work.
  • 14 January 1843: Order from Her Majesties Council confirming States Act relating to the construction of the North Harbour of the new port of St Helier.
  • May 1843: Contract for the works on the New Port of Guernsey is signed, T C Le Gros and Philippe De La Mare accompanied by the backers, Mr Le Gros and Mr Gallichan, left for Guernsey and signed the contract for the sum of £43,843 and four pennies. The company started the work, but concerns were raised regarding the speed at which the work was being taken and the contract was then given to an English firm to complete.
  • 10 August 1846: South Pier finished; Harbours vote sum of £120 to Mr Charles Thompson, Inspector of Works.
  • 3 September 1846: Landing of Queen Victoria; South Pier named after her.
  • 1 March 1847: The building of the North Pier (Albert) contracted to Thomas Le Gros and Francis de La Mare for the sum of £109,000
  • 8 July 1853: North Pier finished, £120 voted to the Inspector of Works
  • 13 August 1859: Landing of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, the North Pier named Albert Pier.
  • 18 February 1865: The building of the new Esplanade contracted to T C Le Gros and Company for the sum of £3,200
  • 1868: T Le Gros and company in process of building the harbour at Sark
  • 30 March 1872: T C Le Gros awarded work to build Bonne Nuit Harbour
  • 28 April 1859: T C Le Gros part of the Committee set up to build the Masonic Lodge in Stopford Road.

Le Gros rebuilt the Hospital after the fire in 1859. Tom Charles was also a Procureur du Bien Public for the Parish of St Helier.

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