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PASTEAU, Maurice

b.1881-d.1913

Early years

Maurice’s parents were Louis Stanislav Pasteau and Mary Ann Thoumine. Louis was born in Sarthe, a region in the North West of France, in 1850 or 1851 and Mary Ann was born in Guernsey in 1854. It is not yet known how his parents met or where they married but their first child was born in Guernsey, so it’s likely they met and married there.

We do not have access to the record for Maurice’s father’s birth record.

Maurice was born in 1881 in Tunbridge Wells, Kent and he died in Horton Hospital in November 1913 at the young age of 31 years. There are a number of misspellings of both the Pasteau and Thoumine surnames throughout the records, but I believe the following are the correct facts.

The 1881 Census shows the family living in Albert Street, Tunbridge Wells and Louis is described as a French cook. Albert Street seems to have been a narrow street of fairly small terraced houses. However, the family must have been fairly comfortably off as they have a servant listed on the Census.

Maurice had eight siblings, three of whom died before their first birthdays:

  • Amelia (Aurieliea) born 1873 in St Peters, Guernsey
  • Louis Charles born 1875 in Brighton, married 1897, died 1912
  • Paul Stanislav born 1877 in Brighton, married 1919, died 1954
  • Julia Margaret born in 1879 and died in Tunbridge in 1880
  • Blanche Marie born 1888 in Kennington, married 1919, died 1957
  • Eugene Sidney born 1892 in Kennington, married 1921, died 1930
  • Leonard Stephen born in 1894 and died in Lambeth in 1895
  • Victor Leon born and died in Lambeth in1897

At least four of his siblings married and went on to have children of their own. I have not found a marriage for Amelia and she remained single, aged 28, on the 1901 Census, working at home as a Milliner. The four married siblings are included on a few family trees that are available on Ancestry so there are undoubtedly living relatives of Maurice.

“Weak minded”

The family appears on the 1891 and 1901 Censuses living in Kennington (Trigon Grove, then Cadogan Mansions). Maurice is not with the family in either but seems to be in a Convalescent Home at 7 College Place, Brighton in 1891 (under another misspelling). Research shows the address to be that of the St John’s Home, Brighton.

Maurice’s father died age 59 in 1908. His death was registered in the Camberwell registration district.

Maurice is then shown on the 1911 Census living with his mother, a widow, and two brothers in Farmer’s Road, Kennington. His age is shown as 27 but in fact he would have been 29 or 30 by then. Maurice has no occupation and is described as “weak minded” on the Census form. All children are described as ‘French subjects by parentage’.

1911 census

Maurice enters the Workhouse and Horton Hospital

There are records showing Maurice was admitted to the St George’s Workhouse infirmary on 24th June 1912 until 28th June 1912.

Discharged to Horton Asylum 10-10-12 (AL= Assumed Lunatic)

He was admitted to the workhouse again on 1st October 1912 and transferred to Horton Hospital on 10th October 1912. He seems to have remained there until his death. Maurice died in Horton Hospital on 08 November 1913, aged 31. He was buried in Horton Cemetery on November 13th having been in Horton Hospital for just over one year.

Maurice’s mother died in early 1913 aged 59, the same age that her husband died.

Author’s thoughts

I have wondered how a Frenchman came to meet and marry a girl from Guernsey. I came across this 1895 Royal Navy Register record showing 1 months service for Louis Pasteau, born at the right time (1850), in the right place (Sarthe), and with the right occupation (Chef). HMS Pembroke is a Royal Naval Barracks, Chatham in Kent.

The family seem to have been comfortably off in the 1880s as they had a servant on the 1881 Census. Perhaps the servant was needed as the family was growing (there were six or seven children by the end of 1881, including Maurice who may have been difficult to cope with). Also, if the father Louis was absent often due to naval duties, some domestic help may have been needed. This is just conjecture though.

The eldest child, Amelia, is reported as attending a fancy dress ball as a sailor in this newspaper article. Again suggesting that the family’s lifestyle was a comfortable one.

I would guess that Maurice was probably born with some physical or mental disability. If the family had sufficient means it could be that Maurice spent much of his childhood and early adulthood in private institutions or schools. He never seems to have had any occupation and at age 9 (on the 1891 Census), he is already in a home in Brighton (identified as St Johns). This could have been as a free inpatient on a short-term basis or as a paying permanent resident. The home accommodated either.

Maurice’s father died in 1908 and I assume that the family’s financial situation probably changed and perhaps private institutions could no longer be afforded, with the result that Maurice was placed in a workhouse infirmary. Or maybe by 1912, his mother had become too ill to cope with his disability (she died in early 1913). If my assumptions are correct, that must have been a difficult transition for Maurice and indeed his mother.


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