Philip Morel-Laurens

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Philip Morel Laurens


Philip Morel Laurens

Philip Morel Laurens was born in Jersey in 1869, the only son of Philip de Caen Laurens (1839- ) and Mary Morel (1842-1871). His mother died when Philip was two and he went to Australia with his father and sister. Fifteen years later they returned and in 1890 Philip took over the family stationers and bookshop at 4 Halkett Place. He married Annie Mary Gibaut (1871-1957) in 1907.

It is not clear exactly what the family connection with the bookshop owners was. The previous occupants of 4 Halkett Place were William and Caroline Slater, who moved there from 56 King Street in about 1870. William died in 1874 and his widow continued their stationery and book business until at least 1886.

Like their successor, William and Caroline were both photographers, possibly on a professional basis, because prints of their photographs of Jersey scenes were sold and frequently appear today, some 150 years after they were taken.

Philip Laurens led a busy life, because he served in the Militia, and as a Vingtenier, Roads Inspector and Rates Assessor in St Helier, as well as playing the church organ and composing music. An amateur artist, he became an accomplished photographer, but he appears to have followed this pursuit as an amateur. In 1911 he left his shop and the parish of St Helier to become a farmer at Leda House in St Lawrence.

Agriculture was among his favourite subjects, and several portraits of family members are included in his photographs which can be viewed on line at the archive of La Société Jersiaise.


Esther Marie Laurens

Philip Laurens was born in 1811 in St Lawrence. His parents are listed on his death certificate as Elias Laurens and Mary Le Cornu. He married Ann Esther De Caen in 1834 and had five children, Phillip, Anne, Esther, Emelie and Emmeline. He was listed in the 1841 Jersey census as a carpenter, in 1851 a master carpenter employing three people, and in 1861 as a ship's joiner employing five people. The family lived at 15 Patriotic Street, St Helier.

In August 1879 Philip, then aged 67, arrived in Australia with his his daugther Ann Jane Laurens 39, his son Philip (de Caen) and his grandchildren Philip Morel, 9 and Mary Ann, 7 aboard the Garonne. His wife does not appear on the passenger list and had presumably died. The passenger list indicates that Edward J Laurens, aged 21 years, accompanied them on the voyage. It is not known how they were related, but he may have been a cousin.

The passenger list also indicates that Esther (nee Laurens) and Charles Le Brocq and their children Alice 7, Charles 5 and John 2 were aboard the same ship returning from a visit to Jersey. Philip Laurens Le Brocq is not listed as a passenger, but having been born in Jersey in 1877, he might not be listed because he was a babe in arms.

Philip Laurens died in 1885. At the time of his death , he was living with his son Philip in Kent Street, New Farm. His death certificate states that he died of 'general decay and old age'. He was buried at Toowong Cemetery by a Congregational minister. Philip de Caen and his children returned to live at Leda House in St Lawrence, Jersey.

Family tree


Descendants of Elie Laurens - 2

This picture of cyclists in Waterworks Valley in 1910 is believed to have been taken by Philip Morel Laurens and the lady on the right was almost certainly his wife
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