The passing of Edgar Samuel

Jewish Museum London is deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Edgar Samuel, former Director of the Museum from 1983 to 1995.

During his time as Director, Edgar Samuel transformed the Museum displays and exhibitions and oversaw the relocation of the displays to Camden Town. We are deeply grateful for his dedication and years of service to provide for the future of the Museum. Our thoughts are with his family at this time.

David Jacobs, former Director of the London Museum of Jewish Life, writes

“Edgar Samuel was born in Hampstead in 1928 the eldest son of Wilfred Sampson Samuel and Viva Doreen nee Blashki. In an article written by Edgar about his father,  he says of him that he acquired a professional standard of expertise as a researcher and writer, and made a significant contribution to the history of the Jewish community in England. Wilfred was the main founder of the Jewish Museum and gathered together the nucleus of its superb collection.

Edgar attended school at Polak’s House Clifton College Bristol and subsequently studied for a BA (Hons) and a M.Phil. Later he became a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society.

And so Edgar followed in his fathers footsteps working as the Director of the Jewish Museum from 1983-1995 in its earlier home of Woburn House in Euston and worked conscientiously to ensure the Museums unique collection was transferred to its current home in Camden Town subsequently handing over the leadership of the Museum to Rickie Burman.

Edgar was very active in the work of the Jewish Historical Society of England initially joining his father on the Council shortly after the end of World War Two and serving on it for many decades becoming the President of the Society in 1988, having served as the Chairman of the Society’s Publications Committee. He made substantial contributions to the Transactions of the Society. He was the Chairman of Anglo-Jewish Archives and was a member of the Records and Treasures Committee of the Spanish and Portuguese Congregation, London.  His publications include The Provenance of the Westminster Talmud in 1982, The Portuguese Jewish Community in London 1656-1830 in 1992 and At the End of the Earth Essays in the History of the Jews of England and Portugal in 2004.

Edgar was always available to Anglo-Jewish historians and offered advice and wise counsel to them ensuring that research in to Anglo-Jewish history was undertaken at the highest possible level. One could always rely on Edgar to identify new sources of research and held in the Jewish Museum and Jewish Historical Society very close to his heart.”