SCHLEGEL Johan Frederick Wilhelm (1849 – 1921)


Situated in the Consecrated/West Section of Jesmond Old Cemetery.

The Schlegel Monument.

Johan Frederick Wilhelm Schlegel was born in Odense, Denmark in 1849 but, for reasons unknown he emigrated to Newcastle as a young man in his twenties to enter the business world. He started his working life as a Mercantile Clerk (1881 census). He met Sarah Jane Turner and they married in 1877 at the Parish Church of Cullercoats. Her father was a Fine Art publisher and print seller. Sarah was one of nine children and from photographs it appeared she was a fashionable lady.

They soon started a family, having four children, 3 girls, Ellen, Norah and Amy and a boy, Carl.

The Schlegel family.

By 1891, Johan had moved to the Harrogate area, with his occupation being listed in the 1891 census as a Provision Merchant. In 1898, he was initiated as a Freemason into the Doric Lodge, Harrogate.

By 1901, he had moved to Leeds with his occupation being listed in the 1901 census as Spice Agent and Margarine Broker.

By 1905, Johan had moved back to Newcastle and had carried on his career as a Provision Merchant.

Sadly, in 1911, his wife Sarah died at the young age of 59. On the death of his wife, it was then that he purchased a vault, in what was then the Newcastle-Upon-Tyne Cemetery, and Sarah was laid to rest there.

Documentation re purchase of ground in Newcastle General Cemetery.

It was reported by the Newcastle Daily Chronicle in 1914 that Johan was called to the Newcastle County Court as an expert witness in an “Interesting Egg Case”. The case involved the Riga Egg Export Company who were claiming £10 9s 2d from a Mr. Thomas Jones, of White Hart Yard, Cloth Market, Newcastle. Mr. Jones had refused to pay the money due as the eggs were not up to contract and were weak eggs, preferring instead to buy eggs from Copenhagen!! Johan explained that, “as an expert, he had examined the eggs from Riga and that there was no difference in quality between the eggs of the Russian and Danish hens. Carriage by sea or by railway made no difference to the egg; it was the length of time that made the difference. The tumbling about in the North Sea made no difference. An egg could be kept fresh for a month” It is not known how the case was resolved…

It is believed that Johan moved to London once he had retired to be looked after by his daughters Norah and Amy. He died in 1921, aged 71. A letter from a friend of 40 years to his daughters stated “I think he was the happiest and most helpful man I have ever known and one who followed the Lord and tried to do his will in entire self surrender”.

Ellen Louisa Schlegel.

Ellen Louisa trained as a nurse and rose through the ranks to become an accomplished Matron. She was honoured in 1918 in the First World War by being presented, at Buckingham Palace, with the Royal Red Cross medal (2nd) for her services to injured servicemen in the East Sussex County Hospital, Hastings. The medal was a military medal awarded for distinguished service.

Norah Schlegel.

Norah Schlegel trained at the Slade School of Art and went on to become a renowned illustrator in London and was chosen by Woman and Home to be their front cover illustrator.

Amy Schlegel.

Amy lived with Norah in London and was the housekeeper.

None of the 3 daughters married.

Carl Schlegel.

Carl was a Locomotive Engineer, initially at the Borough Gardens Depot in Gateshead before ending up at Peterborough depot. He married Annie Abbott Ryott, a Northumbrian Farmer’s daughter in 1912. He served with the Royal Engineers in France in the First World War.

With grateful thanks to Mr. Philip Balfour, Great Grandson of Johan and Sarah, for providing the above history and wonderful photographs. Philip is planning on repairing the monument to his Great Grandparents.