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The Late Harry Barnato

TODAY IN KIMBERLEY’S HISTORY – 29 OCTOBER

29 October 1872, Harry Barnato, the elder brother of Barney, stages his first show on the Diamond Fields.
29 October 1888, William Hart accidentally killed in the Kimberley Mine.

DID YOU KNOW

The less well-known brother of Barney Barnato, Henry (Harry) Isaacs Barnato, pictured, was born in London in 1849 and died there on 30 November 1908.

Harry’s father, Isaac Isaacs, was a small general dealer with a prosperous business. His mother was the former Leah Harris. Both Harry and his younger and only brother, Barney, were educated at the Jews’ Free School, Spitalfields, the head master of which was Moses Angel.

PT-Harry_Barnato-1872-2

Harry Barnato

In 1871 Harry went to try his fortune at the Kimberley diamond-fields, South Africa; and, his means being at first slender, he endeavoured to raise money by appearing as a conjurer and entertainer under the professional name of “H. I. Barnato.” A little later he became a diamond-dealer (kopje walloper), and wrote home advising his brother Barney to join him. Barnett sailed for Cape Town in 1873 and reached Kimberley with about £50. Finding his brother to be generally known as “Harry Barnato,” he decided to adopt the same surname.

Thenceforward he signed himself “B. I. Barnato,” and was popularly referred to as “Barney Barnato.” Initially, Barney joined in his brothers’ ventures on stage and added to that his boxing skills in training those who wished to become pugilists.

In 1874 Barney and Harry commenced business as diamond-dealers under the firm-name of “Barnato Brothers”; and in 1876 Barney, purchased four claims in the Kimberley mine. In 1880 he visited London and established in Austin Friars the firm of “Barnato Brothers,” financiers and diamond-dealers, Harry controlling this side of the business.

Another business run by Harry in Kimberley was the London Hotel, a venture he sold in May 1878.

Harry married Rachael Pollock in 1875 in Kimberley, Rachael dying in September 1877 and being buried in the Pioneer Jewish cemetery. They had one daughter Leah “Lillie” Primrose who married Dr Asher, one time secretary to Lord Rothschild.

He was also at various times married to Charlotte Maud Ireson Isaacs (Barnato) and Rebecca Barnato.

When Harry died in 1908 he left over £3 million, of which £1 million was to his daughter Leah. £250 000 was left to the Middlesex Hospital to construct the Barnato-Joel Wing and the Barnato-Joel Cancer Research Laboratories.

From Kimberley Calls and Recalls on Facebook By Steve Lunderstedt

Aeon Computer Kimberley

About Steve Lunderstedt

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