Abraham Abraham was Britain’s first Jewish councillor, elected for St Michael’s ward in November 1838. He moved to Southampton from Frome in 1826 and set up as a jeweller, silversmith, goldsmith and watch and clock maker at 147 High Street. Amongst other business interests he was the first Southampton agent of the Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Company and a licensed navy agent, authorized to collect prize money due to lower deck seamen. He was an active Conservative politician, serving three terms as town councillor for St Michael’s and elected sheriff in 1841. He was worshipful master of the Royal Gloucester Lodge of Freemasons in 1838 and Provincial Grand Junior Warden in the Province of Hampshire.

Abraham invested heavily in the railway mania of the mid-1840s. He was a provisional director of three railway companies floated in autumn 1845: the Direct London and Exeter Railway Company; the Kilrush, Kilkee and Belfast Railway Company; and the Southampton, Petersfield and London Direct Railway Company. All three speculations failed. Abraham left Southampton in 1846 or 1847 for a life of semi-exile on the continent. He died in Paris on 31 March 1887, aged 88 years.


Newspaper clippings:


Further reading:

Anglo-Jewry since 1066, by Tony Kushner. (H/h)
'A Tale of Two Port Jewish Communities: Southampton and Portsmouth Compared', by Tony Kushner in Port Jews, by David Cesarani (ed), 87-110. (HS/h)
'Abraham Abraham: a forgotten politician of mid-nineteenth century Southampton', by Richard Preston in Southampton Local History Forum Journal, no22, Spring 2014, p3-10. (HS/h)


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