English banker and communal worker; born at Liverpool Dec. 21, 1832; son of Louis Samuel, his name, "Montagu Samuel," having been in his early boyhood reversed by his parents. He went to London in 1847, and in 1853 founded the firm of Samuel Montagu & Co., foreign bankers, in Leadenhall street, afterward in Old Broad street.

In the Jewish community of London Montagu has been a prominent figure. For over a quarter of a century he has been connected with the Jewish Board of Guardians, the Board of Deputies, the United Synagogue, and other Jewish institutions. In 1870 he established and became president of the Jewish Working Men's Club. He has also been greatly interested in the building of new synagogues. In 1875 he founded, in conjunction with Lord Rothschild, the first industrial Jewish school in Jerusalem. In 1882, at the instance of the Mansion House (Russo-Jewish) Committee, of which he became treasurer, he went to Brody to inspect the emigration to America. In 1884 he visited the United States to inspect the Jewish agricultural colonies there. In 1886, Montagu visited several towns in Russian Poland and Russia proper, but was ordered by the Russian government to leave Moscow within twenty-four hours. In 1890 he merged the various ḥebras in the East End of London in the Federation of Synagogues, of which he became the first president.

In the general community Sir Samuel is or has been a justice of the peace for London and Hampshire; deputy lieutenant for the Tower Hamlets; member of the Gold and Silver Commission (1887-1890); and member of Parliament in the Liberal interest for the Whitechapel Division of the Tower Hamlets (1885-1900). He was created a baronet by Mr. Gladstone in 1894. In Oct., 1900, he contested unsuccessfully the parliamentary seat for Central Leeds. He has taken great interest in the proposal to introduce decimal coinage into England.

  • Banker's Magazine, Sept., 1888;
  • Jew. Chron. Aug. 5, 1892; Sept. 28, 1900.
J. G. L.
Images of pages