Many thanks to Anne Fletcher for sharing the wonderful story of her great-great-great uncle Joseph Hobson Jagger in her fascinating talk in Bradford Local Studies library at Bradford Festival on Saturday.
Based on her newly published book, Anne told the story of a man who went from Bradford mill worker to Monte Carlo millionaire. Amongst the men ‘who broke the bank at Monte Carlo’, Joseph Hobson Jagger is unique. He is the only one known to have devised an infallible and completely legal system to defeat the odds at roulette and win a fortune. But he was not what might be expected. He wasn’t a gentleman or an aristocrat, he wasn’t a professional gambler, he was a Yorkshire textile worker who had laboured in the Victorian mills of Bradford since childhood.
Joseph Jagger was an exceptional man who travelled nearly a thousand miles to the exclusive world of the Riviera in a time when most people lived and died within a few miles of where they were born. The trains that took him there were still new and dangerous, he did not speak French and had never left the north of England. His motivation was strong. Joseph, his wife and four children, the youngest of whom was only two, faced a situation so grave that their only escape seemed to be his desperate gamble on the roulette tables of Monte Carlo. Today Jagger’s legacy is felt in casinos worldwide and yet he is virtually unknown.
In this true-life detective story, Anne uncovers how he was able to win a fortune, what happened to his millions and why Jagger should now be regarded as the real ‘man who broke the bank at Monte Carlo’.
‘From the Mill to Monte Carlo’
By Anne Fletcher