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Hambro, Joseph


HAMBRO, JOSEPH (1780–1848), merchant and financier. Born in Copenhagen, the son of Joachim Hambro (1747–1806), a silk and cloth merchant, Joseph started his career as a peddler in the streets of his native city. At the age of 13 he went to Hamburg to be trained in a commercial firm and after his return prospered as a wholesale dealer. Hambro was the first in Denmark to run a steam mill, and he traded with the Danish West Indies. The government commissioned him to arrange a Danish-English public loan and to regulate economic relations between Denmark and Norway after the peace treaty of 1814. In 1820 Hambro was appointed court banker by the king of Denmark. At the age of 60 he settled in London, where later he was buried as a Jew in the presence of the chief rabbi although he had married a gentile. In his bequest Hambro left considerable sums to the community in Copenhagen. His son, carl joachim hambro (1808–1877), was baptized with his father's consent at the age of 15. He established the great banking firm of Hambros (1839), which also negotiated public loans and was active in the financing of Danish railways and in the founding of the Great Northern Telegraphic Company. Neither father nor son forgot the community of Copenhagen although they remained aloof from the London Jewish community.


J. Wechsberg, Merchant Bankers (1966), 21–98; H. Faber, Danske og Norske i London (1915); Dansk Biografisk Leksikon, 9 (1936), 13–15.

[Julius Margolinsky]

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