John Henry Jacques was born in 1838 in Stow-on-the-Wold, the son of Mr & Mrs William Jacques. John had two brothers, Richard who lived on Park Street, Stow (who died in 1926) and George who moved to Birmingham.
John grew up in Stow before moving to Birmingham and then to Broadway. He married Mary Anne Banning in Stow in 1863 and they had five children. After many years working as a travelling salesman selling watches and jewellery, in 1881 Jacques opened The Old Curiosity Shop on Broadway’s High Street selling jewellery and antiques. Jacques died, aged 91 in Broadway on 20 November 1929.
Jacques’ death was announced in the Evesham Journal:
It is with regret that we record the death of Mr. John Jacques, sen., which occurred on Wednesday afternoon in last week, at the advanced age of 91 years, as briefly stated in our last issues. Though for a long time the weight of the years had been telling on Mr. Jacques, he continued to get about the village till within a fortnight of his death, and he was confined to his room for only ten days.
Mr. Jacques was born in 1838 at the Fox Inn, Stow-on-the-Wold, of which his father William Jacques, was the landlord. He was educated at the school in Stow, kept by a Mr. Chamberlain, and on leaving there assisted his father in the cultivation of a small farm that he occupied. In 1863, Mr. Jacques was married at Stow Church by the Rector (the Rev. R.W. Hippesley, M.A.) to Mary Anne, the daughter of Robert Banning, of that parish, a butcher, both of the parties having been baptised by the same Rector in their infancy. Agricultural pursuits not being in accordance with the trend of Mr Jacques’ mind, he removed to Birmingham, and there getting into touch with the jewellery trade, started travelling with watches and jewellery. This he continued to do for 20 years becoming known over an area that practically embraces that now covered by the “Evesham Journal and Four Shires Advertiser”. At the same time Mr. Jacques cultivated his taste for antiques, and as he travelled the country acquired many interesting examples of bric-a-brac and furniture. In 1881 he purchased property in Broadway, and giving up travelling, opened in the antiquarian line at the Old Curiosity Shop at which he lived for the past 48 years. During that period, he was over a wide area a noted figure, and a bold bidder at the auctions sales of furniture which he attended.
In the course of his business Mr. Jacques came into contact with most of the leading visitors and residents in the neighbourhood, of many of whom he had interesting anecdotes to relate. Among his heroes were Phil May and Fred Barnard, and he was actively associated with Mr. F.D. Millet in securing accessories for his old-world pictures. Mr. Jacques claimed that it was at his suggestion that Mr. F.D. Millet, whom he casually met in Stratford, paid his first visit to Broadway. That visit resulted in Mr. Millet settling in the village, and eventually in the coming of F.A. Abbey, J.S. Sargent, A. Parsons, F. Barnard, and the setting up of the artistic fellowship of Broadway’s “Golden Days”.
Mr, Jacques was one of the founders of the Broadway Mutual Aid Club, of which he was for many years chairman, and the annual processions of which he always marshalled. He was also for 15 years a member of Broadway Parish Council. He leaves two sons and two daughters, to whom he was a devoted father.
He was a keen business man, but had a kind heart, and was always sympathetic too, and ready to help any who were in trouble.
The funeral took place at St. Eadburgha’s Church on Monday afternoon, when the service was conducted by the Rev. V.H. Patrick, M.A. (vicar of Broadway). The coffin was of polished elm with brass furniture and bore the inscription “John Jacques, died November 20th 1929, aged 91 years”.
There followed as mourners Mr. and Mrs. John Jacques (son and daughter-in-law), Mr. William Jacques (son), Mr. C.M. Morris and Mrs. Morris (son-in-law and daughter), Mr. G. Jacques (Birmingham, brother), Mr. F. Jacques (Stow, nephew), Mr. E. Turner and Mrs. Turner (granddaughter), Mr. F. Jacques (grandson) and Mrs. F. Jacques, Mr. W. Jacques (grandson), Mrs. Prue, Mrs. T. Figgett. There were also present at the church, Dr. W.G. Alexander, Mr. J.C. Lugg, Messrs. A.R. Williams and J. Morris (representing the Parish Council), Messrs. J.H. Green and C.G. Watts (representing the Mutual Aid Club), Messrs. E. Warren, J. Payne, U. Jeffreys, Mrs. F. Roberts, Mrs. F. Cotterell, and Miss Holder. The bearers were Messrs. R. Keen, A. Tustin, A.E. Hensley and R. Watts.
The vicar in the course of a sympathetic address, alluded to the loss of one whom they had known for so many years that he seemed to have been an integral part of the village. He had associated with its public and social life for a long period, and as long as he could get about, and that was almost to the last, was to be seen in their streets with a greeting for all he met.