James Seligman: More Items from Wolfgang

When I wrote the recent post about the news articles my cousin Wolfgang had found about our Seligman(n) relatives, I had forgotten that a month earlier Wolfgang had sent me some other items he’d found about our relative, James Seligman—brother of Bernard, my great-great-grandfather, and August, Wolfgang’s great-grandfather. Somehow that earlier email had gotten lost in the mess that is my inbox. My apologies to Wolfgang!

A little more background on James: He was the youngest child of Babette Schoenfeld and Moritz Seligmann, born in about 1853 in Gau-Algesheim. By the time he was 28 in 1881 he had immigrated England where he was a wine merchant in Kilpin, Yorkshire, in conjunction with his brothers August and Hieronymus, who were living in Germany. He took sole control over that business in 1891.

London Gazette, March 20, 1891

In 1887, James married Henrietta Walker Templeton in London. In 1901, they were living in Scotland, but by the 1920s they had returned to England and were living in Birmingham where he remained for the rest of his life.

Henrietta died on October 4, 1928, and a year later in December 1929, James married his second wife Clara Elizabeth Perry. Clara was 45 years younger than James; she was 31 when they married, he was 76. He died just three months after they married on March 11, 1930. Clara remarried two years later and died in 1981. James did not have children with either of his wives.

Wolfgang found an obituary for James in the March 14, 1930 issue of the Birmingham Gazette:

b Birmingham Daily Gazette, March 14, 1930, p. 3

Mr. James Seligman

Death of Birmingham Hotel Expert

The death has occurred at the age of 77 of Mr. James Seligman, of 11 Yately-road, Edgbaston, Birmingham.

Formerly in business in Scotland, where he owned a number of hotels, Mr. Seligman was managing director of the Grand and Midland Hotels, Birmingham, and of the King’s Head Hotel, Sheffield.

He was an expert on all business matters connected with hotel management, and was often consulted by proprietors and managers of hotel establishments in all parts of the country.

He was the sole proprietor of Seligman and Co., wine merchanges, Colmore-row, Birmingham, and although ill in bed, was dealing with business affairs up to within a few hours of his death.

A great lover of music, Mr. Seligman was a regular concert-goer and an enthusiastic supporter of musical societies.

A funeral service will be held at Perry Barr Crematorium on Saturday.

From the obituary, Wolfgang knew where James had lived and captured this photograph of the former residence from Google Maps:

James Seligman residence in Birmingham, England

He also sent me this photograph of the Grand Hotel in Birmingham where James had been the managing director:

Grand Hotel, Colmore Road, Birmingham, England 1894

Interestingly, Wolfgang located an ad for Seligman’s Wine Merchants in the October 30, 1969, Birmingham Daily Post. It was still located on Colmore Row in Birmingham and called Seligman’s almost forty years after James died in 1930.

Birmingham Daily Post, October 30, 1969, p. 3

Thank you again to Wolfgang for sharing these items which shed more light on the personality and life of James Seligman, my three-times great-uncle and Wolfgang’s great-great-uncle.

33 thoughts on “James Seligman: More Items from Wolfgang

  1. Interesting enough- my former vetrinarian’s name was Schoenfeld. He lived in the Lansdale area and was the ex husband of a former friend of mine. He was Jewish and turned out to be gay- had two children Cara and a boy. He retired so have not seen him in years. Maybe a relative of yours?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. What an interesting and outstanding man James Seligman was. I am reminded of those TV commercials ‘the most interesting man in the world’ for Dos Equis beer. James could no doubt today be the ‘most interesting man in the world’ for hotels and wine; take your pick. Great post Amy, I really enjoyed reading this.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. So enjoyed this post about James Seligman as Colmore Row is an area I visit often. It’s a small world Amy!
    The Grand Hotel in Colmore Row held wonderful parties too as my mother used to attend.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Wow, he was an interesting man. I believe this is the first instance I have come across of a 45 year age difference between spouses. Wow! Sheffield stood out to me. I have been immersed in my Sheffield ancestors the last few weeks because of the GRO pdf pilot program. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

      • Hi Amy, sorry that I am as slow as cold tar lately! The GRO is the General Register Office for the UK. Traditionally you place an order with them and wait for what feels like an eternity – 6-8 weeks (sometimes longer). Right now they are doing a PDF pilot program where you can order birth or death records for £6 and they email you a PDF in about 6 days. It is awesome! I have been spoiling myself. I order one or two and then when they arrive, I order one or two more. 😉

        Liked by 1 person

      • Thank you for the explanation. I think I once knew what GRO meant as I once ordered several documents from them (and waited for what seems like an eternity). I am glad they’ve adopted a new procedure!

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Hi Amy, when I’m in the area (within the next couple of weeks) I will take some photo’s and email them across to you. I can’t recall seeing a wine shop there but I will check it out. too. The Grand Hotel is a listed building and being refurbished. It’s quite a tiny area although Wolfgang’s photo’s
    appear to make it look a bit bigger.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I know exactly what you mean about the mess in your inbox. This week I unsubscribed to LOTS of emails that have been flooding my box.
    I think it’s wonderful that Wolfgang is sending you these items to round out your stories. The 45 years difference is unusual. I wonder what the biggest difference is in my families.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I keep unsubscribing and sorting email (gmail lets you do that—you can force it into different categories in the Inbox), but nevertheless, things fall to the bottom and get neglected.

      Wolfgang is wonderful. One of the best connections I’ve made through my blog.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. We must toast James Seligman yes. The hotel’s structure is still there. I need to visit the area first and then get back to you. I agree with others the 45 years age difference between Clara and James was unusual. My brother married (briefly) a lady 30 years his junior and that was considered a biggish age gap.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Given that people were often grandparents in their 40s back then, it really is quite bizarre to think of James marrying someone young enough to be his granddaughter!


  8. Interesting that James ran a vintner’s company in Birmingham around the time when the Cadbury family (famous Quakers, of course, and teetotallers) were so influential in the area. I do not go to Birmingham often (well, not for several years) but I recall it was one of the worst served cities for drinking establishments (pubs, and so on) anywhere in England – a legacy of the Cadburys. I wonder how James got along with them?

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Pingback: Seligman Update, II: James Seligman, Vintner and Hotelier | Brotmanblog: A Family Journey

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