Bernhard Baron (1850–1929) was a tobacco manufacturer and philanthropist. He was born at Brest-Litovsk (modern Belarus), in poor circumstances, to Jewish parents, and brought up among the Don Cossacks at Rostov. His father took him to the United States when young; and there, after working at a tobacco factory, he began making the newly popularised cigarettes by hand. He invented a cigarette-making machine which he brought back to England and sold for £160,000. With this money he bought the tobacco business of Mme. Carrera in 1903.
In the later years of his life, he engaged in charity on a grand scale, contributing over three-quarters of a million pounds to hospitals, as well as endowing a trust for the benefit of hospital and asylum patients. Despite these activities, his fortune, on his death at Brighton, amounted to £5 millions. His son Louis Baron was created a Baronet in 1930.
Amongst the projects supported by the Trust was a cradle-to-grave school in Henriques Street, London E1. With a capacity of over a thousand pupils it provided everything from kindergarten to adult-literacy. The school, at 71 Henriques Street, still stands but has been converted to flats.
- A. E. Watkin, ‘Baron, Bernhard (1850–1929)’, rev. Christine Clark, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004 accessed 16 April 2013
- This article incorporates text from The Modern World Encyclopædia: Illustrated (1935); out of UK copyright as of 2005.
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