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Rufus David Isaacs MP

13 Tishri 5696 (10 October 1935)
4 Tevet 5696 (30 December 1935)

Basic Information

Unique reference:
Other surname:
Marquess of Reading


Date of birth:
13 Tishri 5696 (10 October 1935)
Place of birth:
Spitalfields, London


Date of death:
4 Tevet 5696 (30 December 1935)
Died in combat?:
Place of death:
72 Curzon Street, London
Cause of death:
Cardiac Asthma
Burial place:
Hoop Lane Jewish Cemetery, London NW11 7NL. Memorial ID: 41840777



Parents' home:
21 Belsize Park (1881)
Country House:
Foxhill House, Earley
The place where he died:
72 Curzon Street London


University College London
Middle Temple


West London Synagogue
 < Close personal journey map
Personal Journey map
Rufus David Isaacs MP


As lord chief justice (1913–21), Isaacs presided over the trial for treason of the Irish patriot Sir Roger Casement (1916). During World War I he worked to strengthen Anglo-American relations, and he headed an Anglo-French delegation that negotiated a war loan of $500 million from the United States. Reading (who had been created baron in 1914, viscount in 1916, and earl in 1917) retained his lord chief justiceship while serving as ambassador to the United States (1918–19).

His advice on public speaking

Always be shorter than anybody dared to hope.


Rufus Isaacs was the first commoner to rise to the rank of marquess since the Duke of Wellington. Born into a lively Jewish family engaged in the London fruit trade, he went on to become a brilliant QC, Lord Chief Justice, Special Wartime Ambassador to the United States, Viceroy oflndia and Foreign Secretary.
A stalwart of the Liberal Party, he first won a Commons seat in 1904 and was soon a Cabinet Minister, trusted by Asquith, and at the same time very close to the controversial Lloyd George. His life abounded in paradox: leaving school at fourteen, he was later to hold his own with the best minds in international politics; a rebellious child, he came to personify the grave majesty of the law; once a ship's boy, he ruled over the Indian Empire; 'hammered' as a stock jobber, he became a respected Liberal elder statesman; smeared during the Marconi scandal and subject to anti-semitic attack, he was promptly appointed Lord Chief Justice and raised to the peerage as Lord Reading.

Marconi scandel. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rufus_Isaacs,_1st_Marquess_of_Reading

Isaacs was one of several high-ranking members of the Liberal government accused of involvement in the Marconi scandal. An article published in Le Matin on 14 February 1913 alleged corruption in the award of a government contract to the Marconi Company and insider trading in Marconi's shares, implicating a number of sitting government ministers, including Lloyd George, the Chancellor of the Exchequer; Isaacs, then Attorney General; Herbert Samuel, Postmaster General; and the Treasurer of the Liberal Party, the Master of Elibank, Lord Murray.
The allegations included the fact that Isaacs' brother, Godfrey Isaacs, was managing director of the Marconi company at the time that the cabinet, in which Isaacs sat, awarded Marconi the contract. Isaacs and Samuels sued Le Matin for libel, and as a result, the journal apologised and printed a complete retraction in its 18 February 1913 issue.
The factual matters were at least partly resolved by a parliamentary select committee investigation, which issued three reports: all found that Isaacs and others had purchased shares in the American Marconi company, but while the fellow-Liberal members of the committee cleared the ministers of all blame, the opposition members reported that Isaacs and others had acted with "grave impropriety".[11] It was not made public during the trial that these shares had been made available through Isaacs's brother at a favourable price


Along with his in-law Alfred Mond (father of his daughter in-law) and Herbert Samuel, Isaacs was a founding chairman of the Palestine Electric Corporation, precursor to the Israel Electric Corporation in the British Mandate of Palestine. The Reading Power Station in Tel Aviv, Israel was named in his honour.



Alice Edith Cohen (female)
Other surname / Maiden name:
Place of marriage:
West London Synagoguer
Country of marriage:


Stella Charnauld (female)
Other surname / Maiden name:
Isaacs, Marchioness of Reading


Gerald Isaacs (male)


Francis Isaacs (female)
Ellen Isaacs (female)
Myer Isaacs (male)
Florence Isaacs (female)
Godfrey Isaacs (male)
Frederick Isaacs "Albert" (male)
Esther Isaacs (female)
Harry Isaacs (male)


Father: Joseph Isaacs (male)
Mother: Sarah (female)


Member of Parliament
Reserved occupation:
Lord Chief Justice
What was the impact of this:
Isaacs garnered fame in the Bayliss v. Coleridge libel suit in 1903,[9] and the Whitaker Wright case in 1904. He entered the House of Commons as Liberal Party Member of Parliament (MP) for the Reading constituency on 6 August 1904, a seat he held for nine years until 1913.
During this period, he served as both Solicitor General and Attorney-General in the government of H. H. Asquith, becoming the first Attorney-General to sit in the Cabinet in 1912. He led for the prosecution in the Seddon poisoning case in 1912 and that same year represented the Board of Trade at the inquiry into the sinking of the RMS Titanic.
In 1913, he was made Lord Chief Justice, a position in which he served until 1921. In 1915 he led the Anglo-French Financial Commission to seek financial assistance for the Allies from the United States.

Other Occupations

Type of employment:
Member of Parliament
Member for Reading
Liberal Member
Type of employment:
Member of Parliament
Foreign Secretary
Type of employment:
Solicitor General
Type of employment:
Lord Chief Justice
Type of employment:
Ambassador to the United States
Type of employment:
Viceroy of India
Type of employment:
Various early employment
Fruit Importer, Ships Boy, Member of Stock Exchange, Barrister


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London Jews in the First World War - We Were There Too

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