Jackson the Tailor – Moses and Lionel Jacobson

I have begun to research the brand names recorded from the collection so far. The first I’ve looked into is ‘Jackson the Tailor’ – I have recorded two items with this brand name so far, both are 3-piece suits (see images).

1988.186 Man’s 3-piece wool suit by Jackson the Tailor c.1958
1988.186 Man’s 3-piece wool suit by Jackson the Tailor c.1958

Initially after googling Jackson the Tailor I came across a 1970 promotional film made by Turners Film Productions in Newcastle. This can be accessed on the Yorkshire Film Archives website. The film is described as follows:

This is a 1970 promotional film made by Turners Film Productions in Newcastle for Jackson the Tailor Limited, one of the most famous English menswear brands of the sixties and seventies. The film shows the mass production of quality suits in the factory tailoring industry, where wages were paid ‘on piece rates’, or paid by the garment. Footage depicts the craftsmanship involved in producing a hand cut, individually tailored garment.

Yorkshire Film Archive, 2011-20

In addition to this, the website provides ‘context’ to the film:

In 1906 Lithuanian immigrant Moses Jacobson opened a small shop in Newcastle’s Clayton Street, which grew into a tailoring business empire nationwide of some 70 stores and factories.  After a merger in July 1953 with Montague-Burtons, the tailoring group was headed by his son, retail entrepreneur Lionel Jacobson, once dubbed by the industry ‘a very modern tycoon.’ 

Yorkshire Film Archive, 2011-20

Both first names Moses and Lionel suggested to me potential Jewish heritage. Additionally, many thousands of Jewish people immigrated to the United Kingdom from across Europe, including – Lithuania, Latvia, Belarus, Poland, Russia and Ukraine, places within the Pale of Settlement (1791-1917), adding to the likelihood of the Jacobson’s, and Jackson the Tailor, having Jewish origins. After searching the names Lionel and Moses Jacobson, I relatively quickly discovered the Jacobson’s Jewish heritage. In The Palgrave Dictionary of Anglo-Jewish History (edited by William D. Rubinstein (professor of history, university of Aberystwyth, UK) Associate Editors Michael A. Jolles and Hilary L. Rubinstein, 2011) there is a short profile on Lionel:

JACOBSON, LIONEL (1905-24 February 1978), businessman and philanthropist. Born in Newcastle upon Tyne, the son of Lithuanian immigrant Moses Jacobson, who founded the firm Jackson the Tailor, he was educated at Clifton College and St John’s College, Oxford, where he read jurisprudence. He and his brother Sydney developed the family company into a major European textile business. Following Sir Montague *Burton’s death he took over the latter’s company, rescuing it from a crisis which threatened 26,000 jobs. He combined chairmanship of Jackson the Tailor with that of the Burton Tailoring Group, the world’s largest such enterprise, of which he became President. The earliest President of the Newcastle Jewish Representative Council, he was active in many Jewish causes, and a generous benefactor to the HUJ and other institutions. He gave £120,000 to establish a chair of clinical pharmacology at the University of Newcastle. JC (3 March 1978).

Rubinstein, W, 2011

The purpose of this book is to: provide a comprehensive reference tool that provides information on the main institutions, local communities, and events in the history of the Jewish people in Britain since their Readmission in 1656, as well as biographical information about a large number of Jewish achievers and notable figures. (Rubinstein, W. 2011) This could be a particularly useful resource for future research. Furthermore, any Montague Burton branded clothing in the collection (if there is any) can also be recorded as Jewish. When googling Lionel Jacobson, one can easily find an image of Lionel accompanying Queen Elizabeth II on a tour of a factory. He was extremely successful in his lifetime. The image featured at the beginning of this post was taken from this website: http://www.philanthropynortheast.com/the-philanthropists/jacobson-lionel-and-jacobson-ruth

Cover Image courtesy of the Investors Chronicle, July 15th 1960.

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