Tag: Queen Victoria

Immigrants Made Good – Paul Julius, Baron von Reuter

Paul Julius, Baron von Reuter was born Israel Beer Josaphat on July 21, 1816 in Kassel, Germany. He was an entrepreneur, journalist and media owner. More importantly, Reuter went on to become a trailblazer in the world of news reporting and telegraphy, eventually founding the Reuters news agency.

Beschriftung der Plakette: Baron Paul Julius R...
Baron Paul Julius Reuter -: 1816 – 1899(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Reuter was born to Betty Sanders and Samuel Levi Josaphat, a local rabbi. He spent his younger years working as a clerk in his uncle’s bank in Göttingen. During his time in Göttingen he managed to make the acquaintance of Carl Friedrich Gauss, a prominent mathematician and physicist who was at that time experimenting with the electric telegraph.

In October of 1845, he moved to London where he began using the name Joseph Josaphat. Later that same year, he converted to Christianity, and in a ceremony at St. George’s German Lutheran Chapel, he took the Christian name Paul Julius Reuter.

Just one week later, Paul returned to Berlin where he married Ida Maria Elizabeth Clemetine Magnus. He joined a Berlin-based book publishing firm, and in 1847, he became a partner with Reuter and Stargardt. As Germany tumbled into the Revolution of 1848, however, the firm became involved in publishing and distributing radical pamphlets which brought Reuter under official scrutiny.

After arousing the hostility of German authorities, Reuter took refuge in Paris, where he began working with the news agency of Charles-Louis Havas (which would eventually become Agence France Presse).  He soon founded the Reuters News Agency in Aachen, and began sending news excerpts between France and Germany using a system of carrier pigeons.

Since telegraphy was still being developed, Reuter had one of the fastest sources of news available. The carrier pigeons were considerably faster than the post train, so Reuter was able to capitalize on stock news from the Paris stock exchange before most others got the latest news. He also began translating bits and pieces of news from France and sending the articles on to newspapers in Germany via his pigeons.

UK - London - The City: Paul Julius Reuter statue
UK – London – The City: Paul Julius Reuter statue (Photo credit: wallyg)

In 1851, Reuter returned to England and opened a telegraph office not far from the London Stock Exchange. Initially, he dealt primarily with commercial exchanges; however, as the popularity of daily newspapers grew, Reuter was able to sign on a number of publishers as well. His first major breakthrough in the industry came in 1859 when he was able to transmit a speech by Napoleon III preceding the Austro-French Piedmontese war in Italy.

Competition grew as other news agencies fought to keep up with Reuter’s telegraph techniques. Undersea cables allowed Reuter to further his network to other continents, and eventually, Reuter was obligated to agree on a division of territory with his two main rivals, Havas in France and Wolff in Germany. These three agencies maintained an effective monopoly over the world press for many years.

Reuter became a naturalized British subject in 1857, and was eventually granted baronies by both the German Duke of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha and Queen Victoria of England. Reuter passed away in February of 1899; however, his news agency is still going strong today. In fact, on February 25, 1999, the Reuters News Agency honored its founder by establishing the Paul Julius Reuter Innovation Award.

Immigrants Made Good – Sir Joseph Edgar Boehm

The name Joseph Boehm may or may not be familiar to you, but it’s quite likely that you see his work on a daily basis. This prolific medallist and sculptor is responsible for the Jubilee head of Queen Victoria that you may see emblazoned on the 1887 Jubilee coinage.  Further works are scattered in gardens, parks and museums throughout England.

British sculptor, Sir Joseph Edgar Boehm, with...
British sculptor, Sir Joseph Edgar Boehm, with Princess Louise, the sixth child of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, in about 1885. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Joseph was born in Vienna on July 6th of 1834. Sculpting and metal-work must have been in his blood, as his Hungarian father was director of Vienna’s imperial mint. Joseph had an early interest in the art form and spent a number of years studying plastic art in Italy and Paris before returning to work as a medallist in Vienna. In 1856, he launched into a full time career by winning the Austrian Imperial Prize for Sculpture.

He moved to England in the early 1860s and began furthering his studies in sculpture. His career skyrocketed in 1862 when he exhibited his work at the 1862 International Exhibition. Owing largely to his success at this exhibition, Joseph decided to leave aside his work with coins and medals and to focus his creative energies primarily on sculpting portrait busts and statuettes.

In 1866, Joseph Boehm became a naturalized British citizen. His works continued to gain notoriety across Britain, and the royal court began to take notice. Some of his first works for the royal court include an enormous marble statue of Queen Victoria for Windsor Castle (completed in 1869) and a monument of the Duke of Kent in St. George’s Chapel.

His star continued to rise, and he was made an Associate of the Royal Academy in 1878. In 1881, he was named sculptor in ordinary, and by 1882, he was elected to the Royal Academy.

Photograph of old bronze statue, of famous wri...
Bronze statue, of famous writer preacher and killjoy, John Bunyan, at the end of Bedford High Street. Statue was given to the lucky people of Bedford, England by the Duke of Bedford in 1874. The sculptor was Sir Joseph Edgar Boehm (1834 – 1890). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In 1887, he was called upon to design a new effigy of Queen Victoria to be emblazoned on coins in commemoration of the Queen’s 50th year on the throne. Unfortunately, his design received harsh criticism from his artistic peers as well as from the public. Despite his painstaking work, numerous drafts and dozens of tweaks, the final product was the brunt of considerable mockery – particularly due to the “absurdly small crown” that perched on the Queen’s head. The design was eventually replaced in 1893.

Nonetheless, this snafu did little to hurt Joseph Boehm’s career. He continued his work as a prominent sculptor, commissioned by numerous members of Britain’s aristocracy. In 1889, he was granted the baronetcy of Wetherby Gardens in the Parish of St. Mary Abbots, Kensington, in the County of London.

Joseph went on to produce a great number of commissioned works for the Royal Family and members of the aristocracy. His sculpture of St. George and the Dragon can still be seen outside the State Library of Victoria, while his equestrian statue of the Duke of Wellington stands today at Hyde Park Corner.

A number of his more notable works also include a sculpture of Francis Drake, a memorial of General Charles George Gordon at St. Paul’s Cathedral, and a large sculpture of the stallion King Tom, which was created for Baron de Rothschild.

While he had an English wife and four children, there were rumours that Boehm was engaged in a romantic relationship with one of his pupils, Princess Louise, a daughter of Queen Victoria. Princess Louise was present at his house when Boehm passed away suddenly on December 12th, 1890 complementing the speculation.

Immigrants Made Good – Ernest Cassel

As one of the richest men of his day, Sir Ernest Cassel left a lasting mark on Britain’s history. He was a generous philanthropist, a wildly successful businessman, a close friend of royalty, and recipient of numerous honors and distinctions. Few would have expected such a legacy from a young, penniless German immigrant.

English: A portrait of banker and capitalist S...
A portrait of banker and capitalist Sir Ernest Cassel. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Ernest was the youngest of three children born to Amalia and Jacob Cassel. He was born on March 3, 1852, in Cologne, Germany. His father owned a small bank, and Ernest received a standard education up until the age of 14. At 14, he quit school and started an apprenticeship under J.W. Eltzbacher, a local banker who specialized in financing foreign business and large industrial ventures. Ernest had a natural knack for business, and with his outstanding capacity for hard work he quickly learned the ropes in the world of finance.

Shortly before his seventeenth birthday, Ernest set out for England. He arrived in Liverpool penniless, but with plenty of ambition. He quickly found a job working for a firm of grain merchants where he was paid £2 a week.

His true gifts lay in the world of banking, and he was soon working in Paris for a bank. His stint in Paris was short lived though, as the Franco-Prussian War soon broke out. Since he was born in Prussia, Paris was no longer safe for him, and he was forced to return to England where he soon found work in a London bank.

He began working as a confidential clerk for Louis Bischoffsheim in the financial house of Bischoffsheim and Gildschmidt. He became a fast friend of the Bischoffsheim family, and this led to rapid promotion through the ranks of the financial firm. By the time he was 22, Ernest was managing the bank at a salary of £5000 plus commission.

In 1878, Ernest was married to Annette Mary Maud Maxwell in a ceremony at Westminster. They had one child – a daughter, who they named Amalia Mary Maud Cassel. Tragedy struck before long, when Annette contracted tuberculosis and died within three years of their marriage. Ernest’s widowed sister and her children soon came to live in London, where she helped to run the household and look after little Amalia.

Ernest Cassel funerary monument, Kensal Green ...
Ernest Cassel funerary monument, Kensal Green Cemetery, London (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Despite Ernest’s personal losses, he prospered in the offices of Louis Bischoffsheim and in 1884 he began putting together his own financial deals. He developed business ventures in Turkey at first, and soon had substantial ventures in Sweden, South America, Egypt, South Africa, and the United States. By 1898, his independent business was so successful that left Bischoffsheim and Gildschmidt to open his own offices.

Ernest developed a friendship with Lord Willoughby de Broke and they jointly started a stud farm for breeding race horses. They began racing their bred horses, and it was at the tracks that Ernest met the Prince of Wales (soon to become King Edward VII), and a fast friendship formed between them.

Ernest Cassel received a number of public recognitions as well as foreign decorations. The first was the K.C.M.G. awarded by Queen Victoria for his importance in the financial world. King Edward awarded him the further distinctions of K.C.V.O., G.C.M.G., G.C.V.O., G.C.B., and a privy councillorship.

Throughout his lifetime, Sir Ernest Cassel gave away nearly £2 million to public works and charities.



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