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Pastré Frères (Shipping company, France)

Last modified: 2005-04-09 by
Keywords: pastre freres | letter: p (black) |
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[Flag of Pastre Freres]by Ivan Sache


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History of Pastré Frères

Pastré was an important family of merchant-shipowners in the middle of the XIXth century in Marseilles. 'Merchant-shipowners' means that they were merchants who progressively became shipowners in order to ship their products abroad - mostly to Algeria and the colonies. In Marseilles, the individualization of shipowners (i.e., when they became no longer merchants buy only shipowners) occurred in the late XIXth century and was triggered by technical progress in shipping.

There were five brothers Pastré, who directed the family business with their mother after the death of Pastré Sr. The family owned in Egypt the biggest trading post in the Mediterranean Sea and needed sail boats to send their products there. They progressively expanded their activity to the Red Sea and the western coast of Africa.
After the death of the five brothers, the Pastré company stopped its proper shipping activity and sold its last ship, SS Yémen, in 1862.

Source: Paul Bois. Armements marseillais - Compagnies de navigation et navires à vapeur (1831-1988), published by the Chamber of Commerce and Industry Marseille-Provence [boi03].

Under the reign of Louis-Philippe (1830-1848), Jean-Baptiste Pastré (1804-1877) lived 55 rue Saint-Ferréol. He owned a trade post in Alexandria, where he received the Vice-Roy of Egypt Ibrahim Pacha (1789-1848) and Ferdinand de Lesseps (1805-1894), the builder of the canal of Suez. He was President of the Chamber of Commerce of Marseilles from 1852 to 1866, founder and first President of the bank Société Marseillaise de Crédit and director of Compagnie des Messageries Maritimes.

During the Second Empire (1852-1870), the Pastré family built the château Pastré, a bastide (vacation house), in the borough of Montredon in the southern part of Marseilles, where they bred ostriches.
The four brothers Joseph, Eugène, Paul et Jules Pastré founded estabishments in Alexandria, Trieste, Tunis, Le Havre, Paris and London. Their shipping company operated very big sailing ships and two smaller steamships in Alexandria and on the Red Sea. In 1855, they purchased a shipyard in Port-de-Bouc, near Marseilles, and mines in Languedoc. Three of the brothers died in 1869 and the company relocated its shipping activity to West Africa.

During the Second World War, Countess Lili Pastré (born Double de Saint-Lambert, 1891- 1974) transformed the château Pastré into a place of refuge for artists attempting to leave France. She protected several Jews, including the harpist Lily Laskine (1893-1988). The Countess was fond of lyric art and contributed to the fundation of the Festival of Aix-en-Provence.
After the death of the Countess, the château Pastré and its domain (campagne Pastré) were given to the city of Marseilles, which opened it to the public. The château Pastré hosts now the Municipal Earthenware Museum.

Source: Pierre Guiral & Félix Reynaud (Eds.). Les Marseillais dans l'histoire, Privat (Toulouse, 1988)

Ivan Sache, 25 January 2005


House flag of Pastré Frères

The house flag of Pastré Frères is red with a black P in the middle.

Source: Paul Bois. Armements marseillais - Compagnies de navigation et navires à vapeur (1831-1988), published by the Chamber of Commerce and Industry Marseille-Provence [boi03].

Ivan Sache, 8 February 2004

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