Bernhard Samuelson

Born: Bernhard Samuelson was born on 22nd November 1820 in Hamburg. He was the eldest of six sons. His parents were Samuel Henry Samuelson, a merchant, and Sarah Hertz.

Educated:  The family moved to England while Bernhard was a child. He attended a private school at Skirlaugh, near Beverley. Aged 14 he went to work in his father’s office in Hull.

Married: Bernhard Samuelson married Caroline Blundell, daughter of Henry Blundell of Hull in 1844. Caroline died in 1886 and in 1889 Bernhard married Leila, daughter of Chevalier Leon Serena, who was the widow of William Denny.

Family: Bernhard and Caroline had four sons and four daughters.

Home: He spent six years as an apprentice to a merchant in Liverpool, and was then sent to Warrington by his firm. From 1842 to 1848 he spent a lot of time abroad, always in connection with his career. In 1848 he took over a factory that manufactured farm machinery in Banbury. He made Banbury his home and continued to live there even when he developed much larger works at Middlesbrough.

Known for: In the 1850s Samuelson began an ironworks at South Bank on Teesside. In 1863 he sold the works and opened a much larger ironworks at Newport near Middlesbrough. In 1870 he opened the Britannia Ironworks, which later became famous in the hands of Dorman Long and Company. He was elected as the Liberal M.P. for Banbury, his home-town in 1865. He remained in Parliament until 1895, by which time the constituency had been merged into North Oxfordshire. He served on several parliamentary committees and three royal commissions, and was knighted in 1884. Sir Bernhard also campaigned for improvements in technical education. He became a fellow of the Royal Society in 1881, President of the Iron and Steel Institute in 1883, Chairman of the Associated Chambers of Commerce of the United Kingdom in 1886 and a Privy Councillor in 1895.

Died: Sir Bernhard Samuelson died at his residence in Princes Gate in London on 10th May 1905 and was buried in Torquay.

Further Information: “Who Was Who in 19th Century Cleveland” David M.Tomlin and Mary Williams (1987)

Dictionary of National Biography