John Lavars

LAVARS, John (1812-1889) — Bristol

Bookseller, stationer, lithographer, chromolithographer and printer; agent for Ordnance Survey maps. Produced a large-scale map of the hundred of Portbury, advertised in 1846; Lavars’s new map of the country round Bristol, Bath, Wells ca. 1852; Outline map to illustrate Chilcott’s stranger’s guide for I. E. Chilcott, “Chilcott’s stranger’s guide to Bristol” 1856 (and possibly earlier editions); Lavars’s new and improved map of Bristol & Clifton. Printed in colors 1858; Lavars’s new map of the country round Milford Haven, including Tenby, Pembroke, Milford, Haverfordwest, Narberth, etc. ca. 1862; William Sanders, Map of the Bristol coal fields and country adjacent geologically surveyed ca.1864; Lavars’s map of the country nine miles round Bristol geologically surveyed and coloured by William Sanders ca.1868; Lavars’s enlarged map of the environs of Bristol ca. 1868; Lavars’s plan of Bristol & suburbs 1874. Lavars also published a wide range of books and pamphlets, as well as undertaking all kinds of commercial lithographic work, including views, etc. He is particularly well-known for his 1887 panoramic view of Bristol produced from plate glass camera photographs taken from a tethered balloon 2,000 feet above the city.

Born in Bristol, reportedly on 2 Jan 1812 — the son of John Edgcomb Lavars and his wife Mary Spencer. An early partnership with John Wright was ended 31 Dec 1838. In partnership as “Lavars & Ackland”, with James Ackland, from about 1839 until the partnership formally ended 31 Dec 1845. He advertised in 1849 as the “West of England Lithographic Offices” — “plans, drawings, landscapes, diagrams, and every description of lithographic and other printing executed in a masterly style, and at a modern scale of charges”. He was appointed an agent for the Ordnance Survey on 1 Jan 1852. He also became an agent for the “National Provident Institution” and the “Atlas Life Office”. The Western Daily Press of 13 Jul 1869 carried an account of his firm’s annual outing, a trip to Portishead, with archery, croquet and fire balloons. In 1871, Lavars was employing fifteen men and twelve boys. He married (1) Ann Brain (1812-1876) 13 Mar 1838 at Holy Trinity, Stapleton, and (2) Mary Hack (d. 1903) on 27 Feb 1880. In 1882 he was trading as “Lavars & Sharp” with Calvert Leonard Sharp, but the partnership only lasted until the end of that year. He died 18 Oct 1889 and was buried at Redland 25 Oct 1889. His estate was valued at £3,313.1s.5d and the firm survived on into the 1930s. A volume of extracts from the Western Daily Press concerning Bristol schools, hospitals and benevolent institutions, compiled by Lavars, is in the Bristol Record Office.

18 Bridge Street, Bristol — 1838-1859
— Upper Road, Montpelier, Bristol (home) — 1841
— & 17 Bridge Street, Bristol — 1851
Broad Street Hall, Bristol — 1862-1874
— 4 Southernhay, Clifton Wood (home) — 1863
— Clifton Vale (home) — 1871
51 Broad Street, Bristol — 1879-1889
— 3 Saville Villas, Victoria Square, Clifton (home) — 1886
— 3 Fosseway, Clifton (home) — 1889

BBTI. BM. BNA. Census 1841, 1871. COPAC. LG. NA. Tooley. Wakeman & Bridson. Winstone.

Leave a Reply