27th June 1863

Guernsey coffee trader William Le Lacheur died

William Le Lacheur was born in Forest in 1802. Were it not for his endeavours, the coffee market – and, with it, the whole economy of Costa Rica – may be worth only a fraction of what it is today.

One of five children, Le Lacheur had first been employed as a worker on the family farm. However, the family had links to the sea. It was perhaps therefore inevitable that he would end up making his fortune away from dry land eventually.

Le Lacheur at sea

He found work captaining cargo ships between England and the Mediterranean. With several years’ experience under his belt, he founded his own company in 1836, in the same trade. Called Le Lacheur & Co, it grew considerably over the years. It eventually had a fleet of 11 ships sailing around the world, of which at least nine had been built in St Peter Port.

William Le Lacheur wasn’t content to sit in a Guernsey office and send others off to source goods. He captained his own vessels to South America and by the early 1840s he was bringing back coffee. This was paid for in London with silver sixpences. Once received, these were either converted to local currency after being repatriated to Costa Rica, or used to buy consumer goods in Britain that were taken to Costa Rica for local use.

Coffee beans

Interests beyond coffee

As well as being a canny businessman, Le Lacheur was a committed non-conformist protestant. In that respect, he worked hard to convert many in Costa Rica from Roman Catholicism. Thus, on many of his voyages he also transported protestant bibles to the country, which he sold at cost.

Le Lacheur moved to the mainland so he could be closer to the coffee trade, and died in London in 1863. He is buried in Highgate Cemetery, among the likes of Douglas Adams, George Elliot and Karl Marx.


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Other events that occured in June

Cricketer Charles Grieve died in Shropshire 1st
St Johns undertook its first Guernsey rescue 2nd
Bailiff John Guille died in Plymouth 3rd
GUNS writer Joseph John Gillingham was deported 4th
First arrests were made at Guernsey Airport 5th
Jethou was put on the market 6th
The king and queen celebrated Guernsey’s liberation 7th
Occupying forces confiscated Guernsey’s radios 8th
Guernsey Railway company ceased operations 9th
Guernsey welcomed its first steam ship 10th
Laura Kennington kicks off Channel Islands triathlon 11th
Dame Sibyl became a dame again 12th
Guernsey voted to legalise local abortions 13th
Victor Hugo’s house is opened to the public 14th
The Channel Islands were demilitarised 15th
Guernsey was invaded by Colorado beetles 16th
States Telephone Department was established 17th
Pollet guest house fire claimed its third victim 18th
Aurigny founder Derrick Bailey died 19th
Guernsey joined the Football Association 20th
Guernsey’s school children were evacuated 21st
Guernsey celebrated Queen Victoria’s jubilee 22nd
Princess Elizabeth opened Guernsey’s hospital 23rd
Guernsey chose England over France 24th
First meeting of Guernsey’s Controlling Committee 25th
Guernsey bought Fort Grey from the War Office 26th
Guernsey coffee trader William Le Lacheur died 27th
G-JOEY completes his last flight 28th
Guernsey suffered its first and only air raid
The Star was published for the first time 29th
Two deserters were shot after landing on Guernsey 30th