The Jewish Museum

Jewish Britain

A History in 50 Objects

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Carriage doors belonging to David Salomons

These carriage doors are painted with the coat of arms of the family of Sir David Salomons, a major figure in the 19th century campaign to secure equal rights for Jews in public life.

During the 18th century and first part of the 19th century, Jews faced discrimination, as did anyone who was not a member of the Church of England. In 1753, the “Jew Bill” allowing Jewish immigrants to be naturalised as British subjects was repealed after a public outcry.

The 19th century saw an active campaign to secure full civil rights. Born in 1797 in London, Salomons followed his father into business and was one of the founders of the London and Westminster bank. From the 1830s, he was elected to take up various posts within public office, including as a Member of Parliament, but was unable to do so because of the requirement to swear an oath “on the true faith of a Christian”. He was finally able to take up his post as the first Jewish Sheriff of London in 1835 after Parliament passed the Sheriff’s Declaration Act. In 1855, he became the first Jewish Lord Mayor of London, after canvassing support from Sir Robert Peel.
 

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