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The Jews of early St John's Wood

Malcolm Brown

<plain_text><page sequence="1">The Jews of early St John's Wood MALCOLM BROWN Grateful as are all the Society's presidents when entrusted with a second term of office, some of us, perhaps not surprisingly, then find ourselves in a quandary. So numerous have always been the lecturers wishing to hold forth to the Society that former presidents have occasionally chosen to confine their second address to a word or two of thanks before introducing yet another speaker into our regular programme. Praiseworthy as this course of action might be (providing as it does a welcome opportunity for self-denial) I have decided on the no doubt far less commendable, although far more customary, alternative of riding my own hobby-horse. Topographers are mostly agreed that the main claim to fame of the Wood lies in its having been the first London garden suburb ever planned as such.1 Post? poning for a moment the task of describing how it was that many Jews came to live here, let me begin by sketching in the earlier stages of settlement. The place owes its name to the Hospitallers of St John of Jerusalem, to whom the land was transferred in 1312, following the dissolution of the Templars.2 Thereafter it passed through several hands until, by 1732, three major freeholders - Harrow School, the Eyre and the Portland families - had come into possession.3 Residen? tial development on a sizeable scale began around 1820, and mostly took the form of individualistically designed detached or semi-detached villas that have since been the prevalent building types - until, that is to say, the end of the last century, with the advent of purpose-built blocks of flats. Curiously enough, the villas of St John's Wood owe their entrance into the literature of the period to Benjamin Disraeli.4 Readers of The Young Duke (begun in 1829) may recall a passage in chapter nine in which the Duke of St James '[takes] his way to the Regent's Park, a wild sequestered spot . . . The spring sun was setting, and flung a crimson flush over the blue waters and the white houses . . . Would it not be delightful [the Duke asks himself] to be able in an instant to fly from the formal magnificence of a London mansion?' This, of course, must have been just the question that many people of fashion had been asking themselves ever since James Burton and his associates started to run up trim little stucco houses along the north and south banks of the Regent's Canal, the 'blue water' referred to in the passage just quoted. * Presidential Address delivered to the Society on 30 October 1997. 141</page><page sequence="2">Malcolm Brown For the first identifiable Jewish occupant of that particular neighbourhood we have to await the arrival in 1841 of the fifty-three-year old Joshua de Pinna, whom the census reveals as residing with his wife and five daughters at 5 Alpha Road, from which address the three oldest were married during the course of the next few years. Joshua, who stated his employment to the census enumerator as 'artificial botanist', seems to have been the father of David de Pinna of Chis well Street, Finsbury, an artificial-flower and feather manufacturer; all that is certain is that M. Lopez occupied a villa next to his in 1845. For the earliest of any name of interest in the locality, a paragraph from The Times of 22 July 1830 mentions a certain house of low repute in Dean Street, Lisson Grove, kept by 'Mistress Julia Josephs, a Jewess'. Nothing more need be said of this unfortunate lady except that she was surely only one of many in the neighbourhood who gave substance to the reputation for loose living so long attributed to St John's Wood. Not that this reputation, I hasten to add, was originally well deserved. The fact is that for many centuries, the few who lived in the environs of the City or the Court generally attributed inferior moral habits to those whose means confined them beyond the pale, and, however mistaken this attitude, it seems to have been widely held.5 In the nineteenth century it so happened that the residential growth of the Wood coincided with the growth of a heightened sense of respectability. When Caryl Brahms and S. J. Simon were writing 'Don't, Mr Disraeli" (1940), their satirical portrait of Victorian society would have been incomplete without featuring 'the little stucco love-nest in St John's Wood' which Pelham Clutterwick decides to sub-let only after consum? mating his marriage. Even now, a handful who may still suppose that Victorian Jews everywhere exemplified standards so very different from those of the rest of the population might feel offended by the caricature of Cornelius Fleisch? mann, the swindler who keeps a mistress in the Wood in Michael Sadleir's Forlorn Sunset (1947). What an historian has to look for are unfictitious St John's Wood Jews, and one, fortunately, is not far to seek. Lionel Prager Goldsmid seems to have been just the sort of personality des? tined to lend relief to a duller tract of historical research. The youngest son of Benjamin Goldsmid, his father took his own life in a tragic fit of depression when Lionel was aged eleven. The anguish created by this event can well be imagined. Lionel's mother, never the most conventional of women, had herself and all her family baptized. Her youngest son married early, and not, apparently, particularly well. Had Lionel possessed a fraction of the ability of his mother's father, the diamond merchant Yehiel Prager, matters might have been different.6 As it was, he drifted into a career as a comic actor, and twice landed up in the bankruptcy courts. An Italian sojourn proved equally unsatisfactory.7 By 1839, when he took a villa at 11 Lodge Road, he had put all this behind him and proceeded to settle down for a while as a self-styled merchant. His clever son, an engineer who would eventually become Major-General Sir Frederick 142</page><page sequence="3">The Jews of early St John's Wood Goldsmid, was living away from his parents when the census enumerators made their rounds at Lodge Road in 1841. It is difficult, surely, not to feel sorry for Lionel Goldsmid. Apparently the first identifiable schlemiel in the Wood, his combination of an artistic temperament with inadequate talent makes him the forerunner of a type that has long been well known in this neighbourhood. Somewhat different was the fortune of the next settler, Isaac Simmons. Briefly a prosperous City gold merchant, in 1848 he moved from Dorset Square to 32 St John's Wood Road with his wife and nine children. Half a dozen other names of interest are identifiable at about this period, perhaps the foremost Abraham Emanuel, a rag and metal dealer, who in 1850, having abandoned the cramped living quarters above premises at 27 Marylebone Lane for a more salubrious dwelling west of Shepherd's Bush, moved again in 1851 to 7 Hanover Cottages near Alpha Road. But at this date it is far easier to spot Jewish names in the census for the two service districts of the Wood, Portman Market, which spread north and south over an area west of Lisson Grove and is now roughly equivalent to Church Street and its surroundings, and Portland Town, the present St John's Wood High Street and its mostly eastern environs. Several local names are included in the index of insurance policy-holders (soon, it is hoped, to be published) compiled by George Rigal from Guildhall Library manuscripts, and of these the one recurring most persistently is Mordecai, a family of greengrocers at Portman Market from the late 1830s until at least 1870, when the Marylebone Mercury of 5 March recorded the accidental death of Edward Mordecai 'the well-known fruit salesman', whose funeral at West Ham was attended by 'numerous friends and relatives'. As early as 1831, indeed, parish ratebooks show Jewish families inhabiting four terrace houses next to each other, numbers 74 to 77 Lisson Place, and although census returns for this year do not specify occupa? tions, it is at least likely that two of the four, Joseph Isaacs and Naphtali Marks, were included in some way in the customary trades carried on nearby, tailoring, pawnbroking and so forth. A little later in this neighbourhood we can add Joseph Silver, a tobacco pipe maker of 52 Bell Street, the watchmaker Salmon Salmon of 21 New Church Street, whose son Julius worked as an engraver there; several fishmongers and shoemakers and a furniture dealer, a baker, a cheesemonger, a confectioner and in 1861 perhaps even a coffee-house keeper, the Leicester-born Joseph Morris, whose wife Sarah lent a hand in their rooms at 19 Lisson Grove. Similarly in Portland Town, where the High Street traders included Joseph Simmons, who had a china and glass shop for some ten years, rather longer than did Eleazer Lazarus, a dealer in curiosities at number 98. A firm of tailors, Moses and Sons, seems to have had premises in both Portman Market and Portland Town: from the 1881 census it appears that the father Joseph Moses, with all his six sons in the business, kept abreast of modern technology by having his second son trained as a sewing-machine manufacturer and Benjamin, his youngest, as a sewing 143</page><page sequence="4">Malcolm Brown machine engineer. In the less central streets, meanwhile, a number of humbler folk found footholds (however temporary) - a few dealers in earthenware and glass cutters, a haircutter, a printer's compositor, and a french polisher. If the names of some of the more prosperous artisans can be found among for instance the Hambro Synagogue records,8 it is only fair to add those of others, descendants perhaps of Palestine Place and its influence. To take one example, the 1851 census shows on the ground floor of 4 Manning Street (Lisson Grove) Moses Harris, a travelling china dealer with his wife Eliza and his mother-in-law Elisabeth Parfitt, described as a 'servant'. Professor Todd Endelman has drawn attention to the extent of cohabitation and intermarriage in the area of original settlement, so evidence of its spread beyond is hardly surprising.9 Similarly with the better-off in the residential district proper: men? tion must surely be made of such as Charles Furtado, of 9 Hanover Cottages in 1861, the singing-master and 'popular pianist' whose daughter Teresa, wrote Lucien Wolf in 1904, was 'still remembered as a charming actress'.10 Names of those who stayed within the fold are just as readily identifiable, for example Joseph Angell, who had a house near the northeast end of Grove End Road for ten years or so from 1841, a manufacturing silversmith with premises originally in Clerkenwell, and later both the Strand and Soho. A few others may be noted - the tobacco merchant Alexander B. Berrech and his wife Juliana, both Amer? icans, were at 3 St James Terrace in 1851 with their two children and a French governess, while in 1841 Maria d'Avila was visiting a house in Langford Place occupied by Julius N. Pluck, his wife and two daughters (all these are marked 'foreign') where the domestic staff included four males and three females. Aaron Gomes (otherwise George) da Costa, a Bishopsgate businessman with Jamaican interests, took out insurance on his home at 46 Hamilton Terrace in 1856 and renewed it until 1865. Also based in Bishopsgate was Sidney Frankau, whose family company imported meerschaum pipes and who in 1861 resided at Rossmore Villa, Upper Avenue Road, while lower down that same road lived a shoe merchant, Jacob Isenberg, in a house belonging to his mother-in-law Mary Cohen, the widow of an Aldgate general merchant. But the story must be inter? rupted here to record, in 1863, the foundation of the Bayswater Synagogue. Bayswater has been the subject of at least one good monograph and two excel? lent studies, the most memorable being the late Dr Lipman's seminal paper, 'The Rise of Jewish Suburbia'.11 Anyone with less sure a command of statistical method than Vivian Lipman possessed, or without his long experience and flair in interpreting synagogue records, would be rash indeed to attempt a similar approach to the foundation and early history of the St John's Wood congrega? tion, but having spent some while sifting through census returns, a few remarks might be permitted. Although the number of people under discussion is compar? atively small - 34 heads of household in 1871, 65 in 1881 and 133 in 1891, all this at a time when the Wood had been laid out in shapes still recognizable 144</page><page sequence="5">The Jews of early St John's Wood today - even statements as cautious as this might need modification after detailed investigation of the growth of Jewish population in other centres.12 Perhaps the crucial question for a local historian who admits to local sympath? ies concerns typicality, or in the present instance whether a few unique socio cultural features exist that could be said to distinguish Jewish inhabitants of the Wood from those living elsewhere. Short of a level of knowledge unlikely to be reached for some years yet, any answer must be at best provisional, hedged with qualifications that multiply as the multiplicity of details about any particular household emerges into clearer focus. Consider just a couple of examples. Simply because three of the earliest inhabitants of Alma Square, built up from the late 1850s, happened to be Jewish, should that fact alter the general opinion that Anglo-Jewry never pioneered any given residential area? Again, at 26 Ham? ilton Terrace in 1881, where a daughter of a pencil manufacturer described herself to the census enumerator as a kindergarten student (age 22) while her younger sister was a student of art. If only one other young Jewish lady is so described in the same records it may nevertheless be wrong to assume that no others were similarly occupied - the variability between different census enumerators is common knowledge. The occasionally semiretired lawyers, stock? brokers and businessmen who seem to have made up the congregational major? ity, among them a 'dealer in raw materials for the manufacture of the chemical manure guanosite', are no less worthy of attention than the few whose talents lay elsewhere; and the wealthier who were German by birth and who brought their cooks with them (or replaced these by other German cooks) were behaving unexceptionally given the fact that servants of middle-class households tended to remain with employers who not only paid regularly, but probably treated them with kindness. Had the records of the St John's Wood Literary and Scientific Institute sur? vived, it would be fascinating to see how frequently Jewish members attended its activities - the venue, near the Eyre Arms Hotel in Grove End Road, pro? vided one of the few local sites where Jews and non-Jews could meet on equal terms.13 Little is known of social events organized by committees of nineteenth century synagogue members, although it may be taken that these would have been necessarily restricted as prevailing conditions dictated. The St John's Wood Synagogue, housed from 1876 temporarily until the now New London Syn? agogue on the corner of Marlborough Place and Abbey Road was completed in 1882, enjoyed no especial reputation for adventurousness. Each of its first minis? ters, the Reverends Marcus Rosenstein and Berman Berliner, were appointed by a body that looked to Hermann Adler for advice on suitable candidates, and each personified the dignified respectability expected of rabbinic Orthodoxy. If the healthy increase in membership numbers over their years in office is anything to go by, this was certainly a style that satisfied many long resident in the district as well as many others.14 145</page><page sequence="6">Malcolm Brown Apart from such seat-holders, however, whose names appear in the familiar clusters concentrated most obviously on streets nearest the synagogue, a few others must be mentioned. Marcus Kalisch, PhD, should be included here, for although he left the Wood some years before a community came together, part of his magnum opus, a projected critical commentary on the entire Pentateuch, was written at 3 Clifton Road in the early 1870s.15 The composer John Francis Barnett, a second cousin (once removed) of Meyerbeer, and who taught at both the Royal College of Music and the Guildhall School of Music, lived at 8 Marlborough Place from 1879 to the mid 1890s, while Frederic (originally Hymen Frederick; later Sir Frederic) Cowen, pianist, conductor and composer, was at 73 Hamilton Terrace in the early 1880s, moving there after the popular success of his 'Scandinavian Symphony'.16 Space, too, has to be made for such a Sephardi stalwart as Moses Aflalo, a businessman with interests in Morocco and an elder of his congregation for fifty-six years, who resided at 12 Abercorn Place from 1872 until 1894, when he moved to 50 Carlton Hill.17 Several Falckes, members of a family associated with the West London Synagogue of British Jews from its first decade,18 lived in houses in Finchley Road while carrying on business in the City as importers of fancy goods and foreign toys. Montague Falcke was staying at number 42 with his brother-in-law Henry Duveen on the night that the census was taken in 1891, when Duveen described himself as a bric-?-brac dealer. It is curious to see on the 1881 census of 17 Avenue Road an entry for the one-year-old Jefferson Davis Cohn, who in the 1920s shared some commissions with Duveen Brothers on the purchase and promotion of outstanding works of art, most notably those collected by Herbert Stern, first Lord Michelham.19 If these names are still famous, almost entirely forgotten is that of the Revd Abraham Pereira Mendes, principal of a private school for the sons of middle class parents, which he opened at 16 North wick Terrace by 1865 and continued until 1883. North wick House Academy, its students and staff, deserves more detailed study; suffice it to say that of the seventeen students who were not founder's kin in 1871, five were born overseas (Lisbon, the Azores, Tunis and Alexandria), while of the eleven students in 1881, six were native Londoners. Family piety compels me to mention the name of the senior scholar of that year, my grandfather-in-law Samuel H. Emanuel (d. 1925), once Recorder of Winchester. The Orthodox Jews of the Wood, and the stability they represented, undoubtedly contributed much to the social respectability of every Jewish inhab? itant. There were, however, a few who felt that no matter how desirable respect? ability might be, something precious had been lost on the way to achieving it. What one of them described as the sheer 'overpowering sanity' of communal worship tended to stifle, so they thought, both the free play of opinion and the spontaneity vital to the expression of religious feeling. The 'Wanderers', as this 146</page><page sequence="7">The Jews of early St John's Wood group came to call themselves, from their habit of meeting for discussion in each other's homes, consisted of some dozen professional men, all resident in northwest London, but they have already been the subject of one presidential paper.20 It seems rather more appropriate here to concentrate on the handful of our own members who happened to be living in St John's Wood during the first decade of the Society's existence. The list of members printed in Transactions I contains no fewer than eleven St John's Wood names, including a footwear wholesaler, a mortgage broker, a wine merchant and a dentist, together with an artist, Sydney Donn of 5 St John's Wood Studios, Queen's Grove; a future Treasurer of the United Synagogue and one of our early benefactors, Arthur Davis, then of 33 Marlborough Hill; and Mrs James P. Davis, then of 5 Marybor? ough Road. It was Eliza Davis who many years before had reproved Charles Dickens for his unsympathetic portrayal of Fagin in Oliver Twist, and who must have been at least partly responsible for the novelist's more positive handling of Jewish character in Our Mutual Friend}1 In 1889 the Davises sold their previous house, Loudoun Hall, to Harry Hananel Marks, proprietor of The Financial News and son of the first Reform Synagogue minister David Woolf Marks. That very year, the London County Council electorate voted Harry Marks in as their member for Marylebone; six years later he was elected MP for St Georges, Tower Hamlets.22 Marks sold Loudoun Hall to the reconstituted order of St John, who made the house the nucleus of the hospital diagonally opposite to the present synagogue in Grove End Road.23 But the most interesting of all St John's Wood names in our earliest membership list is that of one of the foremost English Zionists of his generation, a comparatively unknown copyright lawyer at this date and in private life the father of a large young family that had recently moved to The Holm, 58 Avenue Road. Herbert Bentwich was in many respects a remarkable figure. A passionately devout man of the greatest integrity, he held fast to the religious customs of his youth and expected others to do the same. It need hardly be said that he thrived on controversy. His wife, sister of the artist Solomon J. Solomon, was a woman of exceptional culture and one of the most gifted amateur musicians of her generation. Their way of life at Avenue Road, depicted in loving detail in Marg? ery Bentwich's biography of her father published at Jerusalem in 1940, deserves to be more widely known.24 The Bentwiches came to St John's Wood in 1892, their previous house being too small for the needs of a growing family. 'Here', wrote Margery of their new home, 'were pear trees, seven of them, at the end of a lawn which was large enough for a tennis court; herbaceous borders with elderberry and almond and lilac bushes, laburnums and rockeries. In the front garden limes and chestnuts and syringa of old growth gave a wooded and green outlook from all our windows. A swing and open-air gymnasium were built in a courtyard along one side where in the early morning, squads of Bentwiches were drilled. The house was adapted for work and play; and since it was acquired 147</page><page sequence="8">Malcolm Brown on a lease which had nearly fifty years to run, no idea of moving was entertained.' Indoors, the library mantle-piece carried both English and Hebrew exhorta? tion: 'Sow nought, reap nought', and 'The day is short and the work is great'. Up the staircase ran the photographs of Palestine, side by side with reproduc? tions of Italian pictures, these framed in brown, those in green; 'all these things', wrote Margery, 'helped us to take it for granted that Japhet should dwell in the tents of Shem'. When Herbert Bent wich returned laden with goods brought back from the Maccabean Society pilgrimage to Palestine that he had organized in 1897, wnat gave his youngest children the most immediate pleasure were the potted snakes and Dead Sea reptiles, together with a huge locust covered with oily water of the same colour. He also brought back a quantity of beautiful glass, much of which was given away over the years as wedding presents to family and friends, besides a Sefer Torah and Damascene silks and cloth of gold, soon to be turned by Susie into a robe for the scroll which was to furnish the little Ark in Carmelcourt, the Bentwiches' holiday home beside the sea at Birchington. On Friday nights, Herbert, customarily clad in a brown velvet coat and wear? ing a tarboosh, would recite what Margery called their 'Church-of-England Hebrew' family prayers. Solomon Schechter, a fellow-Wanderer and frequent guest, preferred to say his own prayers in an adjacent room before rejoining the family for the meal. Visitors to Avenue Road included Theodor Herzl, the painter Holman Hunt, Colonel Conder, archaeological director of the Palestine Exploration Fund, and, more frequently than these, the free-thinking barrister Herman J. Cohen, a great favourite with the children. One of the most vivid glimpses of Jewish life in the area at this time is provided in a letter from Herbert to Susie of July 1896, quoted in Margery's book. 'A[rthur] D[avis]', wrote Herbert, 'was all alone - his wife and girls having gone to another "church" (as Cohen would say) - and he walked off with us down Hamilton Terrace, talking about opposition to my [Maccabean] Scholarship fund, opposi? tion to the Great Pilgrimage25 and opposition to everything else. Of course I soon bowled him over . . . and he is always ready to adopt another opinion if only for the sake of a quiet life.' If the future joint Treasurer of the United Synagogue could put up so little resistance to Herbert when returning home from a Shabbat service at Abbey Road, how could Herbert's children not quail before him? Margery indeed wrote of their 'fear of Father's anger ... a slip or hesitation in the Hebrew or religion Sunday morning lesson would exasperate him'. Sunday mornings were otherwise occupied by drawing lessons supplemented (if the children showed promise) by painting lessons. So eager was Susie to pass on her love of music-making that she used to rise at 6.30 on weekday mornings to give Norman a thirty minute piano lesson before his breakfast and early start to St Paul's School. One member of the household, however, felt that too much time was spent on music at Avenue Road. Sarah Alexander, the Bentwich cook, 148</page><page sequence="9">The Jews of early St John's Wood emerges from these pages as a character in her own right. Thickset and under? sized, this native of Hamburg was (in Margery's words) the salt and pepper in the family menu, the corrective for too much soulfulness. She had a proverb for every occasion, one of her favourite being Schweigen und denken tut niemand kraenken ('Keeping silent and thinking does no-one any harm'). 'Thanks to Sarah', wrote Margery, 'Mother had time for what each and every child demanded, including her big all-demanding husband'. In 1892, the same year that the Bentwiches moved to Avenue Road, Susie's brother Solomon took one of the half-dozen studios situated at 5 Queen's Grove. Solomon J. Solomon was the earliest Jewish member of the Royal Academy to earn a substantial living as a painter. His first biographer wrote of him that although he was not the most punctilious in ceremonial religion, he always took a loyal interest in the language and traditions of his people.26 If charm was his outstanding quality, Herzl himself thought his capacity for organization remark? able. This, combined with a strong sense of team spirit, made him a natural choice for any position of authority. When Herman Cohen launched the Macca bean Society in 1891, he wrote to Herbert Bentwich that 'Solomon, by his repu? tation in his art, his loyalty to his race, his popularity and his youth [he was then aged thirty-one] is the very man [to be our leader]'. Zangwill and Elkan Adler agreed. He was elected the first President of the Maccabeans, and served initially for seven years. By the time Solomon came to the Wood he had already begun to make a name for himself. His work was divided between enormous canvasses of biblical or mythological subjects, and portraiture. In 1894 his portrait of Mrs Patrick Campbell as the second Mrs Tanqueray created a furore at the Summer Exhibi? tion, while another portrait, of Israel Zangwill, was loaned to the National Gal? lery in Budapest. It was customary at this period for St John's Wood artists to hold so-called 'Show Sundays' at their studios before the Summer Exhibition opened. One year, Stanhope Forbes, a former fellow-pupil of Solomon and a celebrated Academician with a studio in the neighbourhood to which he used to invite hundreds on his 'Show Sundays', painted a canvas intended to be the centre of attention, but of such dimensions that it was impossible to move it to the studio. With characteristic generosity, Solomon made his own studio avail? able. Those who have seen the artist's 'Samson' at the Walker Art Gallery in Liverpool will readily appreciate that size was crucial for any workplace used by Solomon. Whenever his sister in Avenue Road wanted to give a particularly large party, she would 'attach' (to borrow Margery Bentwich's term) her bach? elor brother's vast apartment. In 1897, having shown portraits of two of the Tuck family, and another of his neighbour and fellow A.R.A. George Frampton, at the Summer Exhibition, Solomon married Ella Montagu. Many St John's Wood people attended the ceremony, including a former painting teacher of the bridegroom, Lawrence 149</page><page sequence="10">Malcolm Brown Alma-Tadema, who signed the register, and the author Jerome K. Jerome. A little later the newly weds fixed on their first home, five minutes from the studio, at 12 Marlborough Place. This, however, they left the following year for a house with a studio on the premises, at 60 Finchley Road. A member of the Denning ton Park Road synagogue, of which his Bentwich brother-in-law and two of his own brothers were founder members, Solomon designed the stained glass win? dows for Hampstead. According to his biographer he worshipped there regu? larly, although if a fellow-artist needed advice in an emergency on the Sabbath he would certainly be prepared to go out of his way to visit them. One of his children actually felt that in later years her father showed rather more interest in the politics of the Royal Academy than in any aspect of Judaism, but such, no doubt, would have been an attitude shared by many of his professional con? temporaries. It might be thought that our first membership list would have included several Montefiores apart from Claude, but it seems that of all the family at that time, only one had a scholarly interest in history. Arthur Sebag-Montefiore, who died in 1895 aged forty-two, once lived in Finchley Road and was already a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society before joining ours. When Herbert Bentwich, in his early twenties, was secretary of an association that provided free lectures to Jewish working men, he enrolled Montefiore on the panel of speakers. In Febru? ary 1879, for instance, Montefiore chose as his topic 'The minstrel singers and troubadours of the Middle Ages'.27 Ten years later he served on the library committee of the London Institution and as Visitor to Kings College in the Strand.28 Among our early non-Jewish Vice-Presidents, Charles Trice Martin, of 85 Hamilton Terrace, was particularly prominent. A distingushed antiquarian and Honorary Secretary of the Pipe Roll Society, the articles he contributed to the first three volumes of our Transactions have proved instrumental in laying the foundations of research that continues to this day. A final matter of interest should be mentioned. One of our founder members, the greatly talented Joseph Jacobs, had a gift for languages scarcely less remark? able than his application to the complexities of medieval history. In 1899 George Allen published Jacobs's translation of tales from Boccaccio's Decamarone, with illustrations by the future principal of the St John's Wood Art School, John Byam Shaw. This happy example of local artistic partnership remains alas with? out a subsequent parallel, although it occurred roughly halfway through what has now become a period of nearly two centuries since Jews first came to this neighbourhood. 'The fields from Islington to Marybone', wrote William Blake, 'To Primrose Hill and St John's Wood,/ Were builded over with pillars of gold;/ And there Jerusalem's pillars stood', but Blake's Jerusalem was of course the ideal city of his own imagining. I am well aware how much more could be said about the locality generally, not only concerning the comparatively short period with 150</page><page sequence="11">The Jews of early St John's Wood which I have been dealing. When the 'histoire totale' of the Jews of St John's Wood comes to be written, as one day it surely must, the collective and compar? ative biographies of a few thousand people may show how various the Jewish population of this area has always been, and confidential records may indicate that local ministers have often faced many of the problems they still face. Until then, may this introductory outline help encourage others to continue the story into the twentieth century and beyond. NOTES 1 J. T. Coppock and H. C. Prince, Greater London (London 1964) 103. 2 T. F. T. Baker (ed.) Victoria County History of Middlesex IX (London 1989) 102. 3 M. Brown, 'St John's Wood: the Eyre Estate before 1830', London Topog. Record XXVII (1995) 49-68. 4 Noted by E. R. Vincent, Ugo Foscolo. An Italian in Regency England (Cambridge 1953) 5 See the historical examples quoted under the heading 'suburban' in the Oxford English Dictionary. 6 The family tree in C. Bermant, The Cousinhood (London 1971) 193 should be compared with that in Trans JHSE XVII (1953) 4. For Prager, see the footnotes in Trans JfHSE XXXI (1990) 196, which make no reference to Benjamin Goldsmid's wedding in the synagogue attached to Clapton House, 1787. 7 Frederick Goldsmid was born in Milan in 1818 (DNB); The Morning Post 3 Aug. 1831; The Times 12 May 1836. For Col. Albert Goldsmid (35 Alpha Road in 1855) and Elim d'Avigdor (23 Marlborough Hill in 1882) see A. M. Hyamson (n. 15 below). 8 London Metropolitan Archives, ACC 2712/HBS/21. 9 T. M. Endelman, The Jews of Georgian England (Philadelphia 1979) chapter 8 and the same author's Radical assimilation in English Jewish history (Bloomington 1990). 10 Trans JHSE V (1908) 210. 11 O. S. Phillips and H. A. Simons, The History of the Bayswater Synagogue (London 1963); V. D. Lipman, 'Social topography of a London congregation', Jewish Journal of Sociology VI-2 (1964) 69-74; Trans. JHSE XXI (1968) 78-103. 12 The numbers in this sentence are drawn from PO Directories covering the present NW8 postal area, but exclude those in Portland Town and Portman Market. 13 The Institute was established by 1858 and lasted apparently until 1915; during its last few years it became a bridge club. 14 London Metropolitan Archives, ACC 2712/SJS/5. 15 A. M. Hyamson (ed.) Anglo-Jewish Notabilities (JHSE 1949). 16 See the respective entries in S. Sadie (ed.) The New Grove Dictionary (London 1980). 17 A. M. Hyamson, The Sephardim of England (London 1951) 397. 18 Trans JHSE XXXII (1993) 228. 19 C. Simpson, The Artful Partners (London 1988) 169. 20 Trans JHSE XX (1964) 51-62. For Israel Gollancz and Henriette Herz in the heterodox circle at 'The Poplars', Avenue Road, see J. Goodman, The Mond Legacy (London 1982) 49-03 21 Misc. JHSE I (1925) 2-4. 22 A. M. Hyamson (ed.) (see n. 15 above). 23 L. Marteau, Hospital of St John and St Elizabeth (London 1998) 74 neglects to mention previous inhabitants. 24 M. and N. Bentwich, Herbert Bentwich. The Pilgrim Father (Jerusalem 1940) should be supplemented by Norman Bentwich's two autobiographies; see also H. Raviv, An avenue of memories: 58 Avenue Road (London 1998). 25 Such antagonism was the occasion for one of the Revd A. A. Green's happiest puns, quoted in M. and N. Bentwich (see n. 24). 26 O. S. Phillips, Solomon J. Solomon (London n.d. [1933]); the exhibition catalogue of the artist's work published by the Ben Uri Art Gallery, London 1990, contains much valuable detail. 27 M. and N. Bentwich (see n. 24) 22. 28 Jewish Chronicle 14 June 1895. Sebag-Montefiore was also a fellow of the Royal Geographical Society. His early death cut short i5i</page><page sequence="12">Malcolm Brown a promising career as an educationalist, for which see various articles and a paper in which he differed from Sir Philip Magnus about the future of private education, all published in monthly issues of The Private Schoolmaster between April and September 1888. 152</page></plain_text>

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