© Marcus Roberts


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By 1851, Rabbi Cohen had many students from London and elsewhere across England from Manchester, Colchester, Falmouth, Woolwich, and Canterbury. There were a number from more distant and exotic locations across the world, including Dublin, Paris, Gibraltar, Rome, Australia and African Mogador. The school received wide publicity at the time. They were taught by Rabbi Cohen and two other teachers at his home and school.

Rabbi Cohen effectively more-or-less doubled the Jewish population of Dover during term-time. The synagogue was too small for both the town's Jewish community and the students. Thus from November to April, services were held at the school room of Sussex House.

R.I.Cohen's school was not the only Jewish educational establishment at Dover, as education seemed to be the family business. Therese, the elder of his two daughters, directed a successful girls' school from 1854 at Marine House, Dover, before she was married. Marine House it turns out was 35 Liverpool Street. 'Miss Cohen's' students included Lottie Moses, later Lady Hart, and Ellen Cohen, later Lady Swaythling.

Should one fear Miss Cohen was a spinsterish figure, she did have time for some daring romance. She fell in love with the young Harry Isaacs, the son of Samuel Isaacs who later built the Mersey Tunnel, and enjoyed a secret engagement. Isaacs was a controversial figure in that he was outspoken and was, along with his father and brother, a principal supporter of the Confederate cause in the American Civil War. Isaacs supervised the Blockade-Runners in the family fleet and business (representing the family firm 'Campbell and Issac') at Nassau. Tragically he was to die an untimely death from the yellow fever. A contemporary obituary of Therese related with masterful understatement that Harry's death, '...was mourned nowhere more sincerely than in Dover.'

By 1841 there were upwards of at least nine households and 38 Jews in Dover. By 1851 this number had expanded to 11 permanent families and households comprising 45 residents, as well as the 65 residents of Sussex House.

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