Joseph Levy (1829-1899)

Joseph Levy lived at ‘Hazeldean’ (now 350) London Road (1878-1893) and ‘Inglewood’, Ratcliffe Road (1893-1899).

After serving an apprenticeship as a tailor in London, Joseph came to Leicester in the early 1850s to join his older brother, Benjamin, who had established a retail tailoring business in East Gates. Joseph branched out on his own as a ‘merchant tailor, wholesale woollen draper, clothier and general outfitter’ and in 1859 he went into partnership with his wife Cordelia’s cousin, Israel Hart.

By 1871 Hart & Levy ‘wholesale export clothiers’ had opened a new factory and warehouse on the corner of Wimbledon and Southampton Streets (the ‘Wimbledon Works’). In the following decades the firm prospered, opening a chain of retail shops across the north Midlands and north of England and factories at Burton Latimer and Nuneaton.

Joseph was vice-President of the first officially recognised Hebrew congregation in the 1860s and was an active member of Leicester’s Jewish community. He was a regular contributor to the annual ‘New Year or Christmas treat’ at the workhouse, the Lord Mayor’s Relief Fund, the Wyggeston Boys School Extension Fund (to promote technical education and evening classes) and a proposed School of Music.

Joseph and Cordelia had six children. Their son Maurice whose family lived briefly at ‘Lyndhurst’ on London Road (now the site of Lyndhurst Court), was, among other things, a county magistrate, a trustee of Archdeacon Johnson’s Grammar School & Hospital (a Rutland charity) and President of the Leicester swimming club.

Both he and his brother Arthur were directors of the family business and Liberal MPs and both were knighted (by Sir Henry Campbell Bannerman in 1907 and Herbert Asquith in 1911 respectively). Their sister Lizzie (known as ‘Lulie’) married Sir John Solomon Henry in London and had 2 children.