Dictionary of London Immigrants |||

1803-1885 - Lauderdale Road (Maida Vale)

Financier and Jewish community leader Moses Haim Montefiore was born in Livorno on 24 October 1784 into a Jewish family. On his father’s side Montefiore’s ancestors were merchants, his paternal grandfather having emigrated from Livorno to London in the early 1750s. His mother was descended from a family of Marranos who had settled in London to escape the Inquisition. Montefiore became a member of the London stock exchange in 1803. He was a founder of Alliance Assurance (1824), was instrumental in establishing the Provincial Bank of Ireland (1825), and became a major shareholder in the Imperial Continental Gas Association. Montefiore’s Sephardic origins, and Ashkenazic marriage, made him well placed to assume the effective lay leadership of Anglo-Jewry. In the period 1835 to 1874 he held the presidency of the London Committee (later Board) of Deputies of British Jews. He championed orthodoxy, using his authority to resist Reform Judaism. He died in July 1885. He established Montefiore College in memory of his wife Judith which to this day runs programmes of advanced Torah education. It occupies premises attached to the Spanish and Portuguese Jews’ synagogue at Lauderdale Road, Maida Vale.

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