Victor Sassoon

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Sir Ellice Victor Sassoon, 3rd Baronet, GBE (20 December 1881 – 13 August 1961) was a businessman and hotelier from the Sassoon banking family. He succeeded to the Baronetcy on the death of his father Edward Elias Sassoon in 1924. Married late in life, he had no issue and the Baronetcy became extinct on his death.

Sassoon lived in Shanghai as a wealthy bon vivant who worked tirelessly to protect Western interests in the Orient and helped European Jews survive in the Shanghai Ghetto. Sir Victor walked with the aid of two sticks as the result of injuries in World War I in which he served in the Royal Flying Corps. He founded the Cathay Hotel (now the Peace Hotel) but left under increasing Japanese pressure in 1941.[1]

Victor Sassoon was an avid photographer and held extravagant parties at his hotel. He sold his business interests in India and Shanghai in 1948 and transferred the proceeds to the Bahamas. There in 1952 he set up a new enterprise, the E.D. Sassoon Banking Company.

Sassoon was related by marriage to the Mocatta family and he himself was a Sephardic Jew. One of his former employees, Lawrence Kadoorie (later The Lord Kadoorie), later founded the Hong Kong based utility company China Light and Power. One of his right hand men in Shanghai was Gordon Currie who was put into a concentration camp by the Japanese and remained there for several years.

During the 1950s Sassoon lived at his home on Cable Beach in Nassau, The Bahamas. Late in life he married his American nurse, Evelyn Barnes ("Barnsie"), who remained in Nassau long after Sassoon's death in the early 1960s. Lady Sassoon continued to provide support for the charity founded by her late husband to help Bahamian children, by hosting the black-tie Heart Ball each year over the Valentine's Day weekend.

E.D. Sassoon Banking Company was bought by the merchant bank Wallace Brothers and Company (Holding) in 1972, which in turn was taken over by the Standard Chartered Bank in 1976. The other parts of the "Sassoon Group" and the "Sir Victor Sassoon Heart Foundation", set up by Lady Sassoon after her husband’s death, are run from Nassau, where the family still lives.[2]

Woodditton Stud[edit]

A fan of Thoroughbred horse racing, he owned a highly successful stable of horses that won numerous prestigious races in the United Kingdom. In 1925 he purchased Woodditton Stud in Cambridgeshire not far from the Newmarket Racecourse. He remamed it Eve Stud Ltd. as he was know to his intimates as 'Eve'- a contraction of his first two names, Ellice Victor. Today, it is owned by Darley Stud Management.

Among his stables' significant performances were wins in the Epsom Derby (Pinza, Crepello, Hard Ridden, St. Paddy) Epsom Oaks, 1,000 Guineas, 2,000 Guineas, St. Leger Stakes, King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes.

The Sassoon Road in Hong Kong is named in his honour.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

Baronetage of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Edward Elias Sassoon
Baronet
(of Bombay)
1924–1961
Succeeded by
Title extinct