Pau: the incredible heritage of the Baylaucq family in the archives

“This set of documents from 1850 to 2000 is very rare. The interesting thing about this find, in addition to its very good state of preservation, is that it can be commented on by a member of this family”, estimates…

“This set of documents from 1850 to 2000 is very rare. The interesting thing about this collection, in addition to its very good state of preservation, is that it can be commented on by a member of this family,” Vanina Joveneau continues. Because Dominique Baylaucq not only arranged, sorted and classified family documents. But he also makes himself available to the archive to explain them.

The rue Gassion store was delivered in 1914

The story of this family begins in 1856 when a certain Mr. Gassion opened a fabric shop on rue Joffre. “During one of his tours to the surrounding farms to which he sells his fabrics, he noticed my grandfather Jacques’ quick wit. He hires him as an apprentice. At first he slept under the counter,” says Dominique Baylaucq.

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When the boss died, Jacques Baylaucq and another employee bought the house. “I have the receipt for her first purchases for the store: a safe, two chairs and a gun. It shouldn’t have been so quiet on the streets of Pau,” remarks his grandson.

When rue Gassion opened in 1910, Jacques Baylaucq took the opportunity to buy land on the corner of rue Joffre and rue Gassion and build a building with three more attics and a dome. The shop that was open from 1914 to 2002 moved here. Since then it has been home to the Gîtes de France Basque Country Béarn association.

About sixty associative activities

In the archives, Dominique Baylaucq found the plans and specifications for the construction of this leasehold building, the list of the shop’s employees, certain pay slips, such as that of a “laborer”, or even good textiles distributed to families during the Second World War. He entrusts everything to Vanina Joveneau. “If we read the employment contract of Albert Mourla, who worked in the shop from 1885 to 1953, we learn that Jacques Baylaucq has undertaken to pay his widow an annuity in the event of her death. It’s the CPAM before the CPAM,” the archivist discovers. “For me, Albert, these are my childhood memories. As a child, I always went to him when I entered the store. The staff has always been one big family. We had our big parties in the store. And I continued the tradition until 2000 by remarrying there,” confides Dominique Baylaucq.

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After his return from the First World War, Jean, son of Jacques and father of Dominique, joined the family business. He then joined several associations, notably the French Alpine Club and the Pyrenees Club, “which he favoured”. He joined the municipal council in 1930. Then his social streak led him to get involved in different structures such as the UDAF, which he headed from 1945 to 1966, the Prud’hommes for 30 years … At the end of his life , his son will count more than sixty mandates . “I was an orphan at dinner. It was very rare for my father to eat with us,” explains Dominique Baylaucq.

The Baylaucq house as a dowry

In 1925 Jean married Jeanne Hurticq. From this time Dominique found the letters of the engaged couple and her mother’s report about the marriage proposal. All of this also goes into the archives, a slice of family history, a reflection of a bygone era. The couple had 8 children, seven of whom were born in the house Jeanne brought as a dowry, now known as the Baylaucq house, adjoining the chateau grounds on Rue Mulot. Its foundation dates back to before Henry IV. It belonged to Wardens, a baker, before being bought by Dominique’s ancestors in the 19th century.e Century. “Our family has become part of this house. For our family, it is that of joy. I remember riding a scooter in the big apartment,” says Dominique. Deceded to the state in 1999, it serves as an exhibition hall and educational venue.

Floor conversion or electrification plans should also be included in the archive. Who proposed an apprenticeship contract through this fund? “All these documents are very rich, they relate to so many things, to the city’s monuments, to the company, to the family sphere. It’s almost a 200-year story,” Vanina Joveneau still marvels, estimating the time it takes to describe all these pieces between 6 months and a year.

Not to mention that Dominique Baylaucq hasn’t turned in all of the family documents yet. “I still have to sort out the WWII-era family photos, some of which are from the 1910s,” he says. The archive has been notified.

In 1914 Jacques Baylaucq (with the bowler hat on the right) opened his shop on Rue Gassion.  There is one more fabric “ball” to open on the sidewalk.  We also see the supplier's bike.

In 1914 Jacques Baylaucq (with the bowler hat on the right) opened his shop on Rue Gassion. There is one more fabric “ball” to open on the sidewalk. We also see the supplier’s bike.

Archive Baylaucq

On little pieces of paper

Dominique Baylaucq recalls a habit her father had. “He took crumpled envelopes from the wastebasket and wrote whatever came to his mind. On one of these notes, when he was old, he related his childhood memories in Capbreton. »

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