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Samuel Montagu

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Subject: Edmonton, London, Asher Asher, Western Marble Arch Synagogue
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Samuel Montagu

Samuel Montagu, 1st Baron Swaythling (21 December 1832 – 12 January 1911) was a British banker who founded the bank of Samuel Montagu & Co.. He was a philanthropist and Liberal politician who sat in the House of Commons from 1885 to 1900, and was later raised to the peerage.

Life and career

Montagu was born in Liverpool as Montagu Samuel, the second son of Louis Samuel a watchmaker of Liverpool and his wife Henrietta Israel, daughter of Israel Israel of Bury Street, St. Mary Axe, London. He was educated at the High School of Liverpool Mechanics' Institute as Samuel Montagu. In 1853 he founded the bank of Samuel Montagu as a foreign banker. [1] Montagu was a pious Orthodox Jew, and devoted himself to social services and advancing Jewish institutions. He was involved in founding new synagogues, and in establishing the Federation of Synagogues, which was an umbrella body for the small Orthodox congregations in the East End of London.

He was elected at the 1885 general election Liberal Member of Parliament (MP) for Whitechapel,[2] and held the seat until he stood down at the 1900 general election.[2] From 1887 to 1890, he was a member of the Gold and Silver Commission. He was created a Baronet, of Swaythling in the County of Hampshire, on 23 June 1894.

Land owned by Montagu in Jeremys Green Lane, Edmonton now known as Montagu Road—was presented to the Federation of Synagogues as a burial strip. [3] At this time he was aware of the overcrowding in his constituency, and was especially keen to see Jewish families move out to the suburbs. In 1898, therefore, he proposed that land south of Salmons Brook, Edmonton—some 25 acres (100,000 m2) in all—be used for 700 houses, to house between 3000 and 4000 people. The houses were to have low rents and to include small gardens, with preference given to those currently living in Whitechapel. The project was first offered to the LCC, and then Edmonton UDC, both were prevaricated. In 1899 the proposals were rejected and Montagu subsequently gave £10,000 (equivalent to £953,000 in 2013) towards LCC housing on the White Hart Lane estate,[4] Tottenham.[5]

In 1907, Montagu was raised to the peerage as Baron Swaythling, of Swaythling in the County of Hampshire.

Montagu  died in January 1911, aged 78.

Personal life

Montagu married Ellen Cohen, daughter of Louis Cohen, in 1862. His daughter Lily would eventually helped to establish Liberal Judaism.[6] He was succeeded in the baronetcy and barony by his eldest son Louis Montagu. His second son Edwin Samuel Montagu followed his father into politics. In 1915 Edwin Montagu married Venetia Stanley (1887-1948), who in accordance with the will of the 1st Baron Swaythling converted to Judaism upon her marriage. Lord Swaythling's nephew was the Liberal politician and philosopher Herbert Samuel, 1st Viscount Samuel. He was the maternal grandfather of the seminal medical researcher Philip D’Arcy Hart and also of the lawyer Walter D'Arcy Hart.[7]

Towards the end of his life, Montagu lived at South Stoneham House at Swaythling, a suburb of Southampton.[8]


Located in Kidbrooke, South London, the Samuel Montagu Youth Centre provides recreational opportunities for young people.[9] Montagu is remembered in Edmonton at Montagu Rd, Montagu Gardens, Montagu Crescent, Montagu Road School (demolished) and Swaythling Close.


External links

  • Hansard 1803–2005:
Parliament of the United Kingdom
New constituency
Member of Parliament for Whitechapel
Succeeded by
Sir Stuart Samuel
Peerage of the United Kingdom
New title Baron Swaythling Succeeded by
Louis Montagu

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