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Biography: Louis Felix 'Henri'
AUDCENT (1875-1951)

Louis Felix 'Henri' Audcent was born on the 7th June 1875, at Chambord Cottage, Keynsham, the eldest child and only son of Louis 'Arthur' Henri Felix Audcent and his wife Helene Marie Blanche Pinot de Moira. His birth was registered both with the Registrar of Births in England, and also with the French Consulate, thus retaining his french citizenship, as was the birth of both sisters. Both he and his sisters thus had dual nationality We do not know where he was baptised but he had for Godfather, his maternal uncle and cousin Charles Henri 'Jules' Pinot de Moira. Around 1877/8 the family moved to Berkeley Villa, North Road, Ashley, Bristol, where his youngest sister Maguerite called Daisy was born. At the age of four, his mother died, and he was with his two younger sisters, Louise and Marguerite placed in the care of his Grandparents, Comte Hippolyte Henri Pinot de Moira and his wife Aimee Helene de St. Ouen d'Ernemont who at that time lived in 26 Bath Place, Taunton. At the age of five, he was sent to a private school, (name unknown) in Taunton to be educated. His father appears to have been living on his own at 12 Ruysdael Place, Triangle South, Clifton, Bristol. Apparently following a train crash, his father who had damaged his brain, was taken into Bristol Lunatic Asylum, where he died insane, in March 1881. Not a very auspicious beginning to young Henri's life, who was orphaned of both his parents only aged five.

In December 1882, Henri then aged 7 years, wrote to his Aunt Margaret (Alix Marie Marguerite Pinot de Moira, known as TaGuite), in which letter he refers to his school, the letter being sent from the following address "Haygrass", Taunton, what is interesting is his reference to an Aunt Mary, who was probably Marie Pinot de Moira, who would therefore appear at that date not to have yet married M. Allard. He again wrote to his Aunts on the 24th December 1883. At about this time, he and his sisters, together with two their cousins sent a charming request to their Aunt Taguite for some schooling necessities. (see Documentation item 20 for the details).

At some time unknown, either Alix Marie Marguerite paved the way by moving to, or the family went, to 20 Meridian Place, Clifton, Bristol (1885). The family then moved finally in 1887 from Taunton to "Corazon", 3 Clifton Wood Road. The house was initially rented until his Aunt Marguerite was able to purchase from the trust that owned it in 1905. From then Corazon now owned by the family who continued to occupy their home for a period overall of nigh on 90 years, until sold by Henri's son Jacques Louis Alexis Audcent who had purchased the house from his Aunt Helene Marie 'Louise' Audcent, herself, having been left the property by her aunt Alix Marie 'Marguerite' Pinot de Moira. On 12th July 1889, at St. Dominics Priory, London, he was enrolled in the Confraternity of the Rosary by Father Farrell.

We know that the family were poor, and that Henri's progress in education was largely possible through the early education from his Grandparents and his aunt Marguerite, and then made possible by numerous grants, bursaries and scholarships. Henri passed the Oxford Senior, and then in May 1890 sat various examinations set by the Department of Science and Art of the Committee of Her Majesty's most Honourable Privy Council pass 2nd class in the elementary stage of the following subjects: Sound, Light and Heat, Magnetism and Electricity, Inorganic Chemistry (theoretical), and in the first stage in Mathematics. In April 1891, he followed this with a 2nd class past in Theoretical Mathematics (set by the same Board) at the elementary stage. As a result of his ability, Henri was granted in 1891, a free studentship by the City of Bristol to attend University College, Bristol. He was one of the first students, perhaps even the first student in Bristol to receive such a grant, and he remained there until 1895. In 1894, he gained the intermediate B.Sc, and later in the year sat and obtained the John Stewart Scholarship which he held for the year 1884-85. In May 1895 he obtained a 2nd class pass in the advanced stage of Inorganic Chemistry (Theoretical). He intended to sit for his full BSc degree but due to ill-health arising from the pressures that had been placed on him, he never actually sat for his degree.

In 1895 he took up teaching, and in his early career taught for a short time at numerous places, namely: Hanley Castle Grammar School, Worcestershire, from 15th September 1895 until 30th August 1896; Prior Park College, Bath from 6th April 1898 until 20th July 1898 and again for the period 1st April 1899 until 28th June 1903. He left there and worked for one month at the Roman Catholic Institute, Liverpool from the 16th September 1907 until 13th October of the same year, but appears to have obtained the position he must have desired, being able to return to Bristol his home town as French Master at Fairfield Secondary School, Bristol, commencing there on the 14th October 1907, sometime later he was also to teach Botany and Biology in the same school.

In 1898, his young cousin Etienne Marie 'Gabriel' Pinot de Moira was born the second son of his uncle and Godfather Jules Pinot de Moira, and Henri agreed to be Godfather of the new baby who was baptised at Our Lady Help of Christians, in Kentish Town, London.

In his early years at Fairfield, he was to meet a young man called Archie Leach, and struck up a friendship with the young boy. Perhaps, it was because both had lost their mothers when still quite young. Later, Cary who thought he had lost his mother around 1914, when he was aged 10, was to discover that she was still alive in the Bristol Lunatic Asylum, committed there by his father who had kept the facts secret from his son. This was another common bond, for that was where we know Henri's own father had died. We also know that Cary, having found his mother, removed her from the Asylum. Whatever the situation, Archie who became the famous actor and Hollywood star, Cary Grant, never forgot his old teacher, and never failed to visit him whenever he returned to England, including visits to his retired home being the top flat of Selwood House, Hill Road, Clevedon. Henri is mentioned in a number of biographies written of Cary Grant.

We know that Henri was introduced to his cousins from his grandmother's side de St Ouen d'Ernemont, in Normandie, France, and that relations of his grandfather Hippolyte 'Henri' Pinot de Moira had also moved to Paris and environs. From notes left by his wife, we know that he was introduced to his future wife Henriette Marie Angele by his cousin Leon Lansade de Plagny, a relation from the Pinot side of the family, and it would seem that Leon's wife was related to Henriette.

In the event, we know that they married at Clifton, in Bristol, on the 14th May 1910, and of this marriage were to have issue of 3 sons: 'Gerard' Arthur Joseph (1911), 'Jacques' Louis Alexis (1912) and 'Bernard' Henry Robert (1918). Once again his marriage was registered in the normal manner in England, and I learn from French Consulate in London (1995), that it was also registered with them. Funnily enough, the Consulate have no record of the marriage of his father and mother in 1874!

On 1st June 1914, he registered with the Teachers' Registration Council, being Register No. 2247. Henri's career seemed mapped out, simply that of a Grammar School Teacher, but we know that he volunteered on the 12 November 1915 (when aged 40) for service in the Kitchener Army, but unfortunately did not meet the required medical standard. In the same year he was registered under the National Registration Act 1915.

Once again in on the 9th August 1916, he was advised that he could offer himself for a further check, failing which he might be called up at anytime after the 30th September of that year. It is presumed that once again he failed to meet the Medical requirements, for a further document notes that on the 3rd May 1918, when he was aged 42, Henri was recorded as only meeting Grade 3 in his medical and presumably yet again refused.

His situation must have been one of extreme frustration and pain to him. Among the papers we find the card with white feathers attached, which was the custom of the period (There is a film called the four feathers - which relate to this situation), to force young men into the army, a form of blackmail and an indication of cowardice. It is clear that Henri throughout had desperately tried to join the services as indeed his cousins had done, and would have had an even greater interest in the affair, as it also involved France, but was continuously refused by the Authorities though no fault of his own.

So we find that in 1916, he took up an interest in Entomology, whilst (on convalescent sick leave on the borders of Devon and Somerset) catching and mounting insects for a Mr. H. J. Charbonnier (an entomologist) who had very early on, in 1918, written Notes on the Diptera of Somerset, and this was to prove Henri's life's work, - his particular interest being that of the order 'Diptera' studied by his mentor.

There was little up-to-date literature in his particular field, and he set about remedying this situation. He prepared for his own use Tables or Keys to the genera and species for any family or group that was not satisfactorily catered for, and then typically for him, selected two of the most difficult and neglected groups to specialise in, namely the Tipuloidea in the Nematocera, and the Larvaeoridae (=Tachinidae) in the Brachycera. His contributions to the literature of these groups have taken their place amongst the classics of the Order.

He joined the Bristol Naturalists Society, and from 1927 was responsible for the Diptera section of the Bristol Insect Fauna.

In 1931 he was elected to membership of the Entomological Society of the South of England, which soon afterwards became the Society for British Entomology. He wrote a number of papers for the society, contributing British Tipulinae (1932), British Liriopaidae (1934), Hosts of British Tachinidae (1942) and his last work British Larvaevoridae (=Tachinidae) sensu lato, which had not appeared in print at the time of his death. His son Jacques drew the illustrations to British Tipulinae and British Liriopaidae.

During this time he also lectured at various establishments, and prepared other papers. We have his lecture notes on the following subjects: "The Aims and Scope of Nature Study", "Nature Study", "A chat on Plants", "The beauties of Nature", "La Mouche" (this one all in French). He also wrote minor papers such as: "Hints on the Mounting of Diptera" by H. Audcent, M.Sc., Bristol Insect Fauna, Diptera (Part 5) (1932), "Parasites determined by H Audcent and hosts determined by breeder".

Among his colleagues and associates in his entomological studies who corresponded with Henri, were a Monsieur E Seguy of the Museum National d'Histoire Naturelle, Entomologie, 45bis Rue de Buffon, Paris Ve (1934). In his British Tipulinae (1932) he acknowledges cop-operation from Dr. F.W. Edwards, Mr. C.A. Cheetham, Mr. H. Britten, Mr. A.H. Hamm, Dr. M. Goetghebuer, Herr M. P. Riedel, and Dr. P Lackschewitz and in his British Liriopadiae (1934) Mr. A Cheetham, Monsieur A d'Orchymont (Brussels Museum), Monsieur E Seguy (Paris Museum), Dr. F. W. Edwards, Dr. C.P. Alexander, and Herr P. Riedel. His work on British Tachinadae (1942) is contained in the Transactions of the Society for British Entomology, Vol. 8, dated 17th August 1942 Part 1, and he acknowledges the assistance of staff and the use of records from the museums of South Kensington, Tring, Oxford, Cambridge, Manchester, Leicester and Bristol. Over the years, commencing, according to the records in our possession in, 1929 up to 1950, the year before his death, he donated various specimens, collections and volumes of his research to a number of Institutions, including Bristol University, the British Museum, and the National Museum of Wales.

On the 19th August 1938, Henri was granted an annual superannuation allowance of £211.13.7, and an additional allowance of £560.1.5. in the form of a lump sum, by the Board of Education, Whitehall, to be paid to him quarterly by His Majesty's Paymaster General.

He retired from Fairfield Grammar School in 1939, and moved after March of that year from his home for many years at 45 Belvoir Road, St Andrews, Bristol to Clevedon, where he and his wife occupied the top flat at Selwood House, Hill Road, which he appears to have occupied by July 1939, and where they were to remain until his death. Following his retirement, Bristol University, at the Degree Congregation on the 1st July 1939 awarded him the honorary degree of Master of Science, in recognition of his entomological work.

In 1942 he was godfather to his grandson Paul Jacques Audcent, the youngest son of his own son Jacques.

He continued his studies and work at Clevedon. In 1949 he was approached by the Department of Entomology, of the British Museum to assist in the translation of a work on Lycaenid Butterflies by the french author Stempffer. He primarily liased with N D Riley a Keeper in the Department, who from his letters appears to be more an administrator, and doesn't seem at all a sympathetic, kindly or very likeable character. Although we do not have Henri's letters I would think he would find it difficult to get on with such a person. He also worked in conjunction with Stempffer, and Riley quotes him as being a rather volatile person. Suffice to say what was supposed to be a simple translation appears to have turned out to be a major exercise, including that of having to be tactful. Whether it contributed to Henri' s illness and death, we shall never know. But he had just completed the work at the end of 1950, the last letter we have from Riley is dated 8th January, 1951 and Papa replied to that letter the following day. It is clear that the work was basically complete and Riley was tying up the loose ends. A letter written by Riley, following Henri's death, dated 23rd July 1951 to Henri's widow, is not that of a sympathetic collaborator or friend.

Henri must have become ill that same month of January 1951 for he was taken to Clevedon Cottage Hospital, where he had a fall, following which he died on the 8th February 1951. After a funeral service at the local Franciscan church in Clevedon on the 13th February, he was buried at the Church of St. Andrew, in a lovely graveyard, which overlooks the Bristol Channel.  On his death his collection of diptera flies was donated to Bristol University, and his 'stick insects' received from his Brazilian cousins many decades before, passed to Clifton Zoo.

relating to Henri Audcent (Advice - if you wish to search - try searching on the term 'Diptera'):

(beware as many web sites seem to disappear from the NET (probably used only temporarily by Degree or Post-Graduate students in their work)

This first of two contains Papa's name in the Index of Dipterists under the letter 'A' - found by Jeannine Audcent

World Diptera Systematists Home Page
This site is devoted to presenting as much information as possible on Diptera systematists of the world living and dead. "Diptera systematist" is here defined as one who has been either an author or co-author of a new taxon of Diptera. Dipterists can be found by surname listed on the pages below. It is intended that if there are any images or web pages dealing with them, there will be hyperlinks to those images and text. Currently, there are over 3500 dipterists that have been identified who have been involved in systematics of Diptera.
User request:  As this list evolves, it will only be as complete and accurate as the information that is obtained. If any reader can help fill in information on any of the people listed here (full names, dates of birth and death, links to web pages, etc.), please send an email to me and I will gladly enter the information. Readers with text or images they have for any of the dipterists listed may also email me and attach necessary images and files if they wish to have such information posted on this site. Thanks!
Neal L. Evenhuis

This second is part of the same site and sets out generally the work of the world's Dipterists prepared by the same Author

This web address also relates to Papa and his publications in entymology (now appears inactive 18/1/1999) - found by Karen Audcent