Christian Ignatius Borissow

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Christian Ignatius Borissow (4 April 1788 - 2 November 1867) was an expert on commerce and a teacher of languages with Finnish roots who immigrated to Great Britain before 1819. He worked most of his active years in Bradford and other locations in Yorkshire. He is known as the author of several books on commerce and languages published during the 19th century.

Christian Ignatius, not yet Borissow, was born[1] in Hamina, a Finnish and Swedish speaking small coastal city, which at that time belonged to the Russian Empire, as the fifth of ten children[2] of chaplain Bengt Jacob Ignatius (1746–1803),[3] a minister of the Lutheran Church in the fifth generation, and his wife Katharina Elfvengren (1759–1803). The family soon moved to Ruokolahti, a small Finnish-speaking rural parish in Russian-governed Southeastern Finland, where the father held the vicar’s office from 1790 until his death in 1803. After the death of his parents Christian had to quit his secondary school education. Soon after this he moved to Saint Petersburg, the fast-growing capital of the Russian empire, and was employed there as a merchant. From there he emigrated to Great Britain probably in late 1810s. He was married in Bristol, England, in 1819 and had published his first book The Commerce of St. Petersburg[4] in the same year. He also functioned as a Consul of the Russian Empire in Bristol. At this time he had already adopted his new Russian-type surname Borissow.

In the 1820s Christian and his family moved to Yorkshire, and he was employed as a teacher of languages in Huddersfield in 1829 [5] and again in 1834.[6] Between 1819 and 1840 he and his wife Sarah Peters (1799-1862) had eleven children,[7] but many of the ones born before 1830 died in infancy.[8] In 1834, he was employed as the "language master" of West Riding Proprietary School in Wakefield and some years later as teacher of French and German at Bradford Grammar School. He continued in the teaching profession at least till the mid-1850s.[9]

Christian was already in his late 60s when he returned to publishing. The English Tourist’s Continental Calculator,[10] a little guide on "moneys, weights and measures" in the countries of the European continent was published in 1857. A reprint was published in 2010.[11] Commercial Phraseology,[12] an English-French-English glossary of commercial terms and phrases was published in 1860. This book has been reprinted in the United States in 2008.[13]

Christian Ignatius Borissow died in 1867 and is buried in the family grave at Undercliffe Cemetery in Bradford.

Of Christian Ignatius Borissow’s children, his youngest son Louis Borissow (1840–1917) continued in the clerical profession of his Finnish ancestors. He was the Master and Headteacher of The Royal Latin School in Buckingham, England from 1869 to 1871 and after that a long-time (1871–1901) Chaplain and Precentor of Trinity College at Cambridge University.

One of Christian Ignatius Borissow’s grandsons, Charles Kirby Borissow (1873–1939), was a Commander in the Royal Naval Reserve and a Chief Salvage Officer of the Royal Navy in the Mediterranean during the First World War.[14]


  1. ^
  2. ^ Liisa Poppius, Ignatius-suku ("The Ignatius Family"), Helsinki, 1942.
  3. ^
  4. ^ published by J. Booth, London, 1819. See
  5. ^ Pigot’s Directory 1829 for Huddersfield. See (retrieved 31 October 2009).
  6. ^ Pigot’s Directory 1834 for Huddersfield. See (retrieved 31 October 2009).
  7. ^
  8. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2009-01-23. Retrieved 2009-11-25. 
  9. ^ Christian Ignatius Borissow is mentioned in advertisements of schools published in regional newspapers in 1834, 1840 and 1855.
  10. ^ published by Hamilton, Adams & Co., London, 1857. The entire book is available at
  11. ^ published by Nabu Press; see
  12. ^ published by William Allan, London, 1860. The entire book is available at
  13. ^ published by Kessinger Publishing, a Montana-based company specializing in reprinting old and rare books.
  14. ^ J.R. Jellicoe, The Crisis of the Naval War, Ayer Company Publishing, 1920, p. 284.