NIVEN-L ArchivesArchiver > NIVEN > 2011-07 > 1311275507
Subject: Re: [NIVEN] William Edward Graham Niven
Date: Thu, 21 Jul 2011 19:11:47 -0000
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Surnames: Boustead, Niven
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This may be of value to those searching Boustead/Niven.
The information is taken from Boustead 1828 by Melanie Chew - a book written to commemorate the 180th anniversary of Boustead & Co Singapore.
Our family tree is from Edward Boustead illegitimate son Edward
Boustead Family Information
Edward Boustead snr was born in Irthington, Cumberland in 1800.
His parents were Ambrose Boustead and Jane Wanop and he was one of nine children.
Their christening dates are as follows:
John 13th Oct 1782
James 12th Feb 1786
Ambrose 24th Feb 1788
Ann 4th July 1790
Mary 16th Dec 1792
Thomas 11th Feb 1798
Edward 19th Jan 1801
Jane 8th May 1803
Eleanor 28th Aug 1807
Edward Boustead arrived in Singapore on 13th March 1828, having sailed on the British ship, Hindustan, from Liverpool. He organised the building of a 'warehouse' so goods could be kept dry and secure. This was known as" the house of seven and twenty pillars" and was built overlooking Singapore river next to the bridge and was to be the headquarters of Boustead and Co.
In 1834 he took in his first partner, Gustav Christian Schwabe. Gustav's uncle, Silas Schwabe, had moved from his native Oldenburg to start a textile mill in Manchester, the second largest in England. After prospering, he then sent for his sons and nephews from Germany to help in the business.
One of the most promising was young Gustav. His cousin Stephen Schwabe married Elizabeth Sykes and together they formed Sykes Schwabe and Co in Liverpool.
Industrialist Schwabe was involved in textiles, wools, biscuits, ales and steel factories of Industrial Britain but when the markets were saturated, prices plunged and the only solution was the new, untapped markets of the East.
Their most adventurous young merchants- Boustead, Schwabe and Sykes were sent to unlock the potential of the Eastern trade.
It is rumoured that Edward was engaged to Gustav's niece, daughter of Stephen Schwabe and Elizabeth Sykes and that Boustead, if successful, would marry the Schwabe niece. From Shanghai, Hong Kong, Manila and Singapore Boustead ships sailed to London, Liverpool, Manchester, Hamburg and Rotterdam laden with produce from the East and returned with manufactured products from the West - textiles, biscuits, brandies and steel.
Edward Boustead did his trades with Chinese, Indian, Bugis, Jewish and Arabian merchants around Change Alley and Commercial Square. One Singapore merchant was to become a lifelong friend and confidant - Tan Kim Seng.
Edward became an active and important leader in Singapore. As well as banking and trading he was a founder of Tanjong Pagar Dock company and was a prime mover of Straits tin - the first tin foundry in Singapore. He owned many ships and formed a syndicate of investors to start a steamship service between India and China. He was a founder of the Singapore Chamber of Commerce and a newspaper editor. He started (along with his architect and lawyer) Singapore Free Press, the forerunner of The Straits Times. He was also involved in pioneering the Horticultural Society and the first Botanic Gardens and the first Singapore Club. He gave generously to hospitals, schools and Churches and because of his great compassion for the sailors he endowed,
from his estate, the Sailor's Home and it was named The Boustead Institute.
With his warehouses full and many office staff he could no longer live on site so he bought a fine mansion on The Esplanade in 1837 and kept it until he 'retired' back to London in 1850. The mansion was converted into a hotel and then in 1935 the hotel was demolished and the site given to the Supreme Court.
He returned to London (1850) to start a London office, needed to co-ordinate the Shanghai, Hong Kong, Manila and Singapore companies.
Edward Boustead became an investment house and merchant banker and was a trusted adviser to many Eastern ' retirees' who would leave their retirement funds and pensions with Boustead for investment. One such person was Captain Thomas Scott who became a personal trusted friend.
It is possible that Boustead had returned to London to get married, finally to Miss Schwabe. Perhaps he had left it too late. Instead he married Miss Charlotte Elizabeth Stebbing, who had been governess to Jane Boustead, the daughter of Janidah, Boustead's mistress for many years. The wedding took place at Newton Abbot, Devon in 1856. The Bousteads lived at 138 Clarence Road, in Clapham Park, "an exclusive estate of detached villas with extensive grounds on 229 acres South and East of Clapham Common".
Charlotte Stebbing died, March Qtr 1858, after giving birth to their child Helen 23rd Jan 1857.This left Edward a widower and doting father of a daughter. He never remarried and thus Helen was his only legal child. The 1871 census records a 70yr old Edward Boustead living in the house with visitors from Scotland, the Martins (George Martin also being a merchant) and servants. Helen was absent and may have been with her aunt in Tunbridge Wells.(according to Boustead 1828 book). In fact Helen appears on the 1871 census as a scholar at Surbiton House, The Globe, Camberwell
In 1876, Miss Helen Boustead married William Niven, and the couple were installed in an elegant home in Prince's Square, London
In 1877, Helen gave birth to a son, William Edward Graham Niven. She died shortly after, age 20.
William Niven Jnr was now the sole legal descendant of Edward Boustead, and inherited Boustead's fortune.
He attended Wellington College in Berkshire, and made a name for himself as a great hunter, taking eight lions over a two-month safari in East Africa. He married socialite Henriette Julia Degacher. Their first child was the Hollywood star David Niven.
Boustead's great-grandson played in over 90 films in an illustrious film career. A photograph of Boustead's grandson William Niven and great-grandson David Niven appeared in the late actor's autobiography, "The Moon's a Balloon" (1971).
William went into action in the First World War, and never returned. Killed in the battle of Gallipoli, he is buried in Suvla, in present day Turkey.
Edward Boustead had a Singapore mistress, Janidah who lived in the back of the Boustead house on The Esplanade, Singapore. She had four children, the eldest was a son called Edward Boustead (Jnr), the second was a girl, Jane Boustead (yet1841 census in Liverpool shows Jane to be the eldest age 6 and Edward age 4.) A third child died in infancy, and the fourth was named John Johnston.
Boustead provided for her family throughout his life. Upon his departure from Singapore in 1850 he gave Janidah a house on Victoria Street, a plantation in Geylang, and the dividends of 30 shares in Tanjong Pagar Dock Company (now Keppel Corporation).
These shares were given to Boustead's good friend Tan Kim Seng for safe-keeping, who in turn passed them to his son, Tan Beng Swee. Tan Beng Swee paid Janidah the dividends of the shares every year until her death, and then returned the shares to Boustead.
Boustead brought all Janidah's children to Europe to be educated. The eldest two children, Edward and Jane, were sent to live in Hamburg with the Schwabe family.
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