Salomons, Sir David

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SALOMONS, SIR DAVID (1797–1873), first Jewish lord mayor of London. David Salomons was born in London, the son of Levi Salomons, a prominent Ashkenazi stockbroker. He became a member of the Stock Exchange in 1823 and a Lloyds underwriter in 1834. As a founder of the London and Westminster Bank in 1832, he was one of the few Jews to participate in the development of joint stock banking in Britain. An ardent fighter for Jewish emancipation, national and municipal, Salomons played a prominent part in the campaign to abolish the last Jewish disabilities. In 1835 he was elected a sheriff of London; after being twice refused, he was finally elected alderman in 1847; on both occasions special legislation was carried through to enable him to take the oath in a form acceptable to him. He became lord mayor of London in 1855 without any attempt being made to debar him. Elected to parliament in 1851, he took his seat in the House of Commons, but was forced to withdraw because he refused to recite the conclusion of the oath, "on the true faith of a Christian." After the amendments to the oath brought about the bill of 1858, he sat in parliament as a Liberal from 1859 until his death. His particular interests were social problems and Jewish welfare.

Salomons was active on the Jewish Board of Deputies (twice replacing Sir Moses *Montefiore temporarily as president) and took an interest in the Westminister Jews' Free School, Jews' Hospital, and the Society for Hebrew Literature. In 1869 he was made a baronet, being succeeded by his nephew sir david lionel salomons (1851–1925), a pioneer of electrical engineering and automobiles.


A.M. Hyamson, David Salomons (1939); Roth, England, 253–5, 262–3; J. Picciotto, Sketches of Anglo-Jewish History (19562), index; dnb, s.v.add. bibliography: odnb online; C. Bermant, The Cousinhood (1971), index; G. Alderman, The Jewish Community in British Politics (1983), index.

[Vivian David Lipman]