MEMOIRS OF GEORGE JÄGER SENIOR 1814 - 1896
Introduction by GJ4
When I was 21 my father, George Harold Jager, gave me a gold watch
that had been given by his grandfather, George Jager Senior, to my grandfather,
George Jager Junior. It was inscribed:
"To George Jager Junior on his 21st birthday, for good conduct and diligent attention to duty".
My father then also gave me a typed copy of the prayer that his grandfather used every day at family prayers. It was, however, only after my father's death in 1954, when I was given the three quarto notebooks that contained GJ's Memoirs, that our ancestor really 'came alive' for me. Daddy had told us various anecdotes about his visits to GJ in Leith and in Birkenhead; but it was the sight of these Memoirs, written in his own hand in his old age, that made me see my great-grandfather as a real person, whose adventurous journey through life ought to be told again not only to his own descendants but to others who live in these tamer times. Now that I am more nearly at the age when GJ wrote down the memories of his youth I pass on his story with even greater sympathy, admiration and interest.
Here we have the transcription of Books "B" and "C", which were completed soon after 1880, when production of sugar at the Liverpool refinery was 'peaking' at 400 tons a week, and the Edinburgh refinery was bought and GJ went to live at Leith. Book "A" was written later, when George Jager and Son's two refineries had attained to 700 tons a week and GJ says that he retired and left the business entirely to my son. The two Memoirs cover the same ground, but are complementary; They treat the same events with different degrees of fullness. Sometimes book "A" gives a fuller account, at other times book "B" or "C" gives more details. As far as I could see, GJ made no reference to the earlier Memoir when writing out book "A".
So, when I had the opportunity of getting GJ's life story in typescript, I made the two Memoirs into a consecutive story by selecting from each Memoir the passages that gave more detail, and then getting my Secretary, Mrs Smart, to alternate accordingly between book B & C and book A. This was done in 1954, and I tried over many years without success to have this script published.
The BBC and many other publishers turned it down with various expressions of interest and regret. Miss Diana Astill of 'Andre Deutsch' was particularly admiring and interested; but in the end she had to admit that she could see no way of publishing the tale at a profit. There have been several copies made of this transcript and of parts of it: and in July 1957 a copy was accepted by the Archivist of Liverpool Record Office.
I realised in 1985 that I had made a mistake in combining the two separate Memoirs in one conflation: so I began that August to make a continuous copy of books B & C, the earlier Memoir. This was completed in March 1987. I then began the transcription of book 'A'; but since my illness in Sep.1987 have been unable to complete it. When this is completed (and I should be glad of a volunteer to do this work!) the comparison will be of interest, and it will be found that book 'A' gives much more detail of the successful growth of G.J & Son. Meanwhile here, without further delay is my transcript of books B & C, and I can arrange for further copies to be made.
Note There is also a further, briefer Memoir, which may indeed be the earliest, written on Octavo sheets and finishing in the year 1842. These, with a typed transcript, are in a blue paper box in the 2nd drawer of my filing cabinet.