Dictionary of London Immigrants |||

1740-1816 - Great St Helens (Bishopsgate)

Merchant and financier Benjamin D’Israeli, grandfather of Prime Minister D’Israeli, was born in Cento near Ferrara on 22 September 1730. He moved to England in 1748. A strong impulse had been given to Anglo-Italian trade through the establishment, in 1740, of a branch of the great Venetian and Levantine banking house of Treves in London, and consequently Italians, chiefly Jews, were flocking into the country.

At first D’Israeli was employed in the counting-house of Joseph and Pellegrin Treves in Fenchurch Street. Soon after, he established himself as a merchant. D’Israeli had brought with him a sound knowledge of the traditional straw bonnet trade and specialised in the import of Leghorn hats, Carrara marbles, alum, currants, and other merchandise.

For a decade he devoted himself to his import business, which he carried on at no. 5 Great St Helens. By 1769, he was one of the leading London coral merchants (a trade dominated by Jews). He also acted as an unlicensed broker at the Stock Market. In 1779 he invited two partners and together they founded the firm of D’Israeli, Stoke & Parkins. At the same time he continued his business at Great St Helens, which was afterwards transferred to Little Winchester Street, and, in 1792, to Old Broad Street. D’Israeli died in November 1816 at his house in Charles Street, Stoke Newington.

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Tags: Clubs, Painting, Italy, place: Rome

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