The Jewish Names on the Buses

In 1999, the management of the Brighton & Hove Bus & Coach Company decided to name all their new buses after people now deceased who had made a contribution to Brighton, Hove and the locality served by these buses. There have been some short term exceptions to this policy, but essentially this has been the practice followed.

In all, over 200 people have been commemorated, and 22 of these have been Jewish or of recent Jewish descent. As older buses have been sold and replaced, some names have been transferred or have not reappeared.

The Jewish connection applies to the following:

George Basevi – Of eminent Sephardi descent, his family, like that of his cousin, Benjamin Disraeli, converted to Christianity. Basevi was trained in architecture by Sir John Soane, whose favourite pupil he was, designing many famous and significant buildings including the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge. Locally he restored St Andrews Church in Hove, and designed St Mary’s Hall, Brighton, a school for the daughters of Anglican clergymen, nowpart of Roedean School.

Dr Julius Carlebach – He was born in Hamburg, the son of that city’s Chief Rabbi. Aged 16 he came to England in 1938 and after serving in the Pioneer Corps he was commissioned in to the Royal Navy. Whilst working at Norwood, he took an external University of Londondegree, and then pursued a distinguished academic career in Nairobi, Cambridge, Bristol, and finally at the University of Sussex. He also always pursued a very much appreciated pastoral role in Jewish communities generally, but especially with students.

Levi Emanuel Cohen – The eldest son of the founder of the Brighton Jewish community, he founded, owned, managed and edited the radical newspaper, the Brighton Gazette. He campaigned for women’s rights, universal suffrage, supporting the poor, and the repeal of the Corn Laws. However this brought him into conflict with the authorities and he was found guilty of bringing the magistracy into disrepute, setting the lower classes against the higher, and inciting acts of incendiarism, usually summarised as sedition. His sentence was six months in Chelmsford Gaol from which he continued to edit his newspaper. He was held in such regard that he was twice-elected president of the Newspaper Society. He represented the Brighton Jewish community in the election of a new Chief Rabbi.

Lord Cohen – Born Lewis Cohen in very impoverished circumstances, his passion was to provide decent housing for everybody. He founded the Alliance Building Society and was very active in local politics. Although he became a millionaire, he was a life-long Socialist, and was Mayor of Brighton in a Conservative administration in 1956-57. He tried many times but was never elected to the House of Commons, and was ennobled by Harold Wilson as Baron Cohen of Brighton. He also was much involved in other local activities including the establishment of the University of Sussex, and the Brighton Festival, and the saving of the Theatre Royal.

Baron Goldsmid – Ennobled in the Portuguese Peerage as Baron da Goldsmid e da Palmeira, Isaac Lyon Goldsmid was a bullion dealer and property developer. He bought the Wick Estate in Hove and many of the local streets have names associated with him, his family and his Kent estates. He was also a founder director of the London and Brighton Railway and helped found University College London, a college of the Universityof London.

Alfred Feld – A flamboyant Mayor of Brighton, he was a generous hotel owner who did much to rejuvenate the Lower Promenade. Norman Freedman – A Mayor of Hove who, with his wife, Dorothy, owned a chain of ladies clothes shops called Dorothy Norman. His second wife, Anna Mai, bequeathed funds to the Jewish Welfare Board to provide sheltered accommodation for the elderly and needyand which is named the Freedman House.

Sir John Howard – Engineer, entrepreneur, financier and philanthropist, he was responsible for the financing and supervising the completion of the Palace (now the Brighton) Pier. Through his charities he donated much, especially to hospitals and other institutions involved in medical care.

David Jacobs – Known by many as the Solicitor to the Stars, he included amongst his clients Liberace, the Beatles, Brian Epstein, Laurence Olivier, Zsa Zsa Gabor, Judy Garland and Shirley Bassey. In 1969, he was found hanged in the garage of his Hove mansion apparently, as he suspected, he was to be exposed asa homosexual.

David Land – A London impresario, he retired to live in Rottingdean. Buying and saving the Theatre Royal, he brought to that theatre stars of unparalleledquality from both sides of the Atlantic, for over a decade.

Harry Leader – A well-known bandleader and songwriter, he began his career at the Regent Ballroom in Queens Road, Brighton, and returned there in 1959 as resident bandleader until 1963. He died in Brighton in 1987.

Sir George Lewis – The second Baronet, his father was Solicitor to King Edward VII. Also a solicitor, Sir George commissioned Sir Edward Lutyens to remodel and extendThe Grange, the former vicarage in Rottingdean. Subsequently, bought by Brighton Council, the building now houses Rottingdean Library and Museum, an Exhibition Gallery,atea shop, and the archives of the Rottingdean Preservation Society.

Samuel Lewis – Born into abject poverty in Birmingham in 1838, he made a vast fortune lending money to the nobility, often to stave off gambling debts and other embarrassing problems. He had homes in London, Maidenhead and at 13 Brunswick Terrace, Hove, where he entertained royalty royally. Apart from supporting several local medical and other institutions, he bequeathed, that after the death of his wife, Ada, his enormous fortune should be devoted to provide decent and affordable housing for those in need.

Eleanor Marx – The youngest daughter of Karl Marx, she lived and worked in Brighton where she was a teacher. She was also an actress, writer, translator (including Flaubert and Ibsen), organiser of her father’s papers and political activist. She took her own life in 1898, not yet 40, on discovering that her partnerof 16 years had secretly married another women.

David Mocatta – The son of a distinguished Sephardi bullion dealer, Mocatta showed clear artistic talent and was trained as an architect by Sir John Soane. He was appointed architect to the then new London and Brighton Railway and was responsible for the Brighton Station building, as well as the pavilions and balustrades on the Ouse Viaduct. He designed Brighton’s first purpose-built synagogue in Devonshire Place and there are blue plaques to his achievements there and on the railway station.

Harold Poster – A property developer, he owned several large hotels including the Metropole and the Bedford. He also owned the West Pier, later, like the Bedford Hotel, to be destroyed by fire. He also helped found and develop the Brighton Festival.

Sir Edward Sassoon – One of the extended Sassoon family who had homes in Brighton and Hove. Originating from Baghdad and Bombay, the family were involved in many commercial and entrepreneurial activities on an international scale. Succeeding his father, Sir Albert, the first Baronet, Edward had married Aline de Rothschild of the Paris branch. Donations commemorating this marriage are to be found in Middle Street Synagogue, amongst many others from the Sassoon family. He was responsible for the ‘Peace’ statue on the Brighton/Hove boundary in memory of King Edward VII, and donating five allegorical plaques to Brighton, which disappeared in 1927, although four plinths remain .The remains of Edward were initially interred with those of his father in the oriental Sassoon Mausoleum in Paston Place, Brighton, now part of an entertainment venue.

Ben Sherman – Born in Brighton in 1926, Arthur Bernard Sugarman was the son of a local sweet shop owner. He emigrated to Canada and then to the United States, subsequently changing his name. He returned to the UK to found the fashion house which bears his name specialising initially in the button-down shirt collar. He died in 1987.

Sir Hans Singer – One of the most significant economists of the 20th century, he was a refugee from German persecution. Working for the United Nations he helped found UNICEF, the World Food Programme and the UN Development Programme. From 1969 he was a Fellow of the Institute of Development Studies at the University of Sussex, and continued to work until his death aged 95 in 2006, then a resident of Jewish Care’s Hyman Fine House inBrighton.

Dr Herzl Sless – A stalwart of the local Jewish community, he held amongst many other posts Chairman and later President of the Jewish Representative Council, and of Hove Hebrew Congregation. He qualified in medicine in Cork, and as well as his large local practice, he was Honorary Medical Advisor to Brighton & Hove Albion Football Club.

Henry Solomon – A watchmaker from London, Henry married one of the daughters of the founder of the local Jewish community, Emanuel Hyam Cohen. Then, he was appointed to a number of official posts including Inspector of Post Horse Duty, of Hackney Carriages, of Bathing Machines and Pleasure Boats, of Gas Lights, and of Nuisances. Eventually he became a Joint Officer of the Watch until, in 1838, he was appointed Brighton’s first sole Chief Constable. Unfortunately on 13 March 1844, whilst interviewing a petty thief, the culprit picked up a poker and hit Henry about the head with it. The Chief Constable died the following day, his murderer perishing on the gallows three weeks later. Henry, a vice-president of the Brighton Hebrew Congregation, is buried at Florence Place Cemetery where his memorial records that “The Town of Brighton in Testimony of his Services honoured his Memory by a Public Funeral and by the Munificent Gift of Five Hundred Pounds in Aid of the Subscription raised for his Widow and Children”. Even Queen Victoria donated £50. A blue plaque to his memory can be found on the Brighton Town Hall, where he was murdered.

Jack Solomons – The renowned promoter of some of the most iconic boxing tournaments of the mid 20th century, he retired to Hove where he was a well-known figure usually sporting a large cigar.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *