The Snuff Tobacco Reference

The Fribourg-Saullé-Pontet Snuff Concern

A James Fribourg is from 1723 recorded as the proprietor of a shop located in the greater Haymarket Theatre premises in London, from where he operated as a box-office agent and sold snuff tobacco. He would later move his business to a premises in Pall Mall.1

By 1768, James Fribourg had died and a John Saullé and a Claude F. Pontet (1727–1800), who were both Frenchmen, had entered as partners into the Fribourg concern.2

Claude F. Pontet had married an Anne Hill on 1757-12-07,3 [p. 292] and together they begat a son, Francis Joseph Maria Pontet (1768–1842),3 [p. 210] who by 1794 had himself joined the tobacconists’ business.4

An invoice dated 1799 shows John Saullé to then be dead in describing Claude F. Pontet as the, Succeſsor to the late Meſsrs. Jas. Fribourg & Saullé, and also shows the firm to be trading simply as Pontet from 24 Cockspur Street, having moved from 3 Pall Mall.5

Claude F. Pontet died on 1800-12-23,6 and by 1807 the firm had relocated to 134 Pall Mall and was trading as Fribourg & Pontet.7 An 1821 court case reveals another move, this time to 124 Pall Mall.8

Francis Claude Pontet Junior (d. 1863), the son of Francis Joseph Maria Pontet, opened a second tobacconist’s shop at 59 Charing Cross Road circa 1822.9 10

Francis Joseph Maria Pontet died in 1842,11 and an 1847 directory has an Edward Pontet (d. 1878), another of his sons,12 subsequently in charge of the Fribourg & Pontet concern, with the same directory having Francis Claude Pontet Junior moved to 60 Charing Cross Road.13

Francis Claude Pontet Junior died on 1863-11-13,14 and his brother Edward Pontet died on 1878-02-15.15 It is unclear who immediately assumed charge of the Fribourg & Pontet firm, but by 1881 it had moved to 23 Haymarket,16 and after the death of the proprietor, then a Mr. Newman, the firm was sold to a cigarette manufacturer.17 The Fribourg & Pontet shop would ultimately close circa 1899,18 and the rights to the name were subsequently bought by the Fribourg & Treyer concern in order to suppress perceived brand confusion.17


  1. Mid-Georgian London. Hugh Phillips. Page 276. 1964.
  2. Bill from the John Saullé and Pontet cibcerb to a Mr. Fraser dated 1768-10-18. Digitised version
  3. Miscellanea XI. Catholic Record Society. 1917.
  4. Wakefield’s Merchant and Tradesman General Directory. Roger Wakefield. Year 1794; Page 245. 1794.
  5. Invoice from the Pontet concern to George Augustus Frederick covering a period in 1799 beginning 1799-07-06. Digitised version
  6. Obituaries. Catholic Record Society. Page 79. 1918.
  7. The Post-Office Annual Directory. B. Critchett. Eighth Edition; Year 1807; Page 99. 1807.
  8. Henry Thompson. Old Bailey Proceedings Online. Archived 2022-11-23
  9. Invoice from Francis Pontent Junior to George Augustus Frederick covering 1822-07-27 to 1824-06-24. Digitised version
  10. The New Monthly Magazine. Snuff and Snuff-takers. T. Year 1839; Part 3; Pages 117–124. 1839. Digitised version
  11. Record of probate for Francis Joseph Maria Pontent. Prerogative Court of Canterbury. 1842.
  12. Brocky Károly: Festőművész É́lete És Művei. Nyári Sándor. Chapter 8; Page 80. 1910. Digitised version
  13. Post Office London Directory. W. Kelly & Co. Forty-eighth Edition; Year 1847; Page 1364. 1847.
  14. Record of probate for Pontet, Francis Claude. Principal Probate Registry. 1863.
  15. Record of probate for Pontet, Edward. Principal Probate Registry. 1878.
  16. The Post Office London Directory. Kelly & Co. Eighty-Second Edition; Year 1881; Page 365. 1881. Digitised version
  17. The Old Snuff House of Fribourg & Treyer. George Evans. Page 48. 1921. Digitised version
  18. The Builder. Some Old Snuff-shops in London. Volume 77; Number 2946; Issue 1899-06-22; Page 78. 1899. Digitised version