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Sir John Blundell Maple, 1st Baronet

Sir John Blundell Maple, 1st Baronet (1 March 1845 – 24 November 1903) was an English business magnate. He was educated at King's College London. His father, John Maple, had a small furniture shop in Tottenham Court Road, London, and his business began to develop about the time that his son entered it.

John soon took over the practical management of the company, and expanded it considerably. The firm became a limited liability company with a capital of two million pounds in 1890, with Maple as chairman. He entered Parliament as Conservative member for Dulwich in 1887, serving until his death in 1903, was knighted in 1892, and was made a baronet in 1897. He was the developer of the Great Central Hotel at Marylebone station, which opened in 1899.

He was the owner of Childwick Bury Stud, a large Thoroughbred Horse breeding operation built on his estate. Appearing at first under the name of "Mr. Childwick," from 1885 onwards he won many important races including two of the British Classics. His public benefactions included a hospital and a recreation ground to the city of St Albans, near which his residence, Childwick Bury Manor, was situated, and the rebuilding, at a cost of more than £50,000, of University College Hospital, London.

Sir John Maple left a fortune of £2,153,000 at his death in 1903.[1]

In 1896, his only surviving daughter Grace Emily (d. 1950) married Baron Hermann von Eckardstein, who was First Secretary of the German Embassy in 1898 and later Ambassador to the Court of St. James.[2] The date of the divorce is unknown, but von Eckardstein was alive in late November 1910 when he came by the Cunard from Liverpool to New York.[3]. It is not clear whether the Baron was alive after the operation, but on 16 August 1910 in the Metheringham parish church, Lincolnshire, Gracy Emily, Baroness von Eckardstein married William Ernest George Archibald Weigall (1874–1952). Her second husband became MP for Horncastle, Lincs, UK 16 February 1911 to 19209, then governor of South Australia 1919-1922, and is better known as Sir Archibald Weigall, 1st Baronet. He was the fifth son of the artist Henry Weigall by his wife Lady Rose Sophia Mary Fane (1834–1921), daughter of John Fane, 11th Earl of Westmorland by his wife Priscilla Wellesley-Pole, a niece of the 1st Duke of Wellington. Grace Emily Weigall suffered many miscarriages, but bore an only daughter, Priscilla.[4].

The granddaughter, Priscilla Weigall, was first wife 1935-1943 of the 6th Earl Howe (1908–1984) by whom she had two daughters.[5]

The Maples furniture business continued for many years, until it went bankrupt in 1997 and was taken over by the retailer Allders.


  1. For the amount of Maple's fortune, See P. A. Howell, online version of 'Weigall, Sir William Ernest George Archibald (1874 - 1952)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 12, Melbourne University Press, 1990, p. 436. Retrieved 1 August 2009
  2. Robert Jervis. Perception and misperception in international politics, p. 335 "Hermann+von+Eckardstein"&source=bl&ots=U4xwsUeCR0&sig=QwD9gTbrAtFFckIUF5VTSNKsFO8&hl=en&ei=Jy90SvafOpXpkAXP7NSWDA&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=2#v=onepage&q=%22Hermann%20von%20Eckardstein%22&f=false (online)
  3. He was operated upon for appendicitis, according to a report in the New York Times "Baron Eckardstein Had Appendicitis Crossing on Mauretania", (full version)published on the front page on 25 November 1910. The report states that the Baroness brought an action for separation for cruelty, which consisted in being forced to pay his gambling debts, amounting to 2 million dollars. Even in those days, when the pound was weaker than the dollar, this was a huge loss.
  4. P. A. Howell, online version of 'Weigall, Sir William Ernest George Archibald (1874 - 1952)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 12, Melbourne University Press, 1990, p. 436. Retrieved 1 August 2009
  5. Conqueror 60-65 Retrieved 1 August 2009. Also see Wikipedia entry for the 6th Earl Howe, and entries in several genealogies online e.g. the Peerage.com.


Parliament of the United Kingdom
[[Category:UK MPs 1885


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