Richmond & South West London
© Marcus Roberts


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The Franks settled at Isleworth in Isleworth House, a lesser but still grand neighbour of Sion House. The Franks had originally made their money in Diamond dealing. They also, according to the custom of the day, hired out jewels to the aristocracy to fill the settings of jewelry to grace their costume and finery on great occasions. This was a practice followed by the monarchy as well. Many of the crowns and tiaras in the royal collections used on state occasions were normally empty shells, only filled with hired diamonds and precious stones when needed.

On one great occasion Aaron Franks, the first Franks in Richmond, lent King George II jewels for his coronation crown. On another, in 1742 he lent the Princess of Wales forty-thousand pounds worth of jewels for a masquerade at Norfolk House, such that she was "vastly bejeweled". He asked no fee for their hire merely that their wearer would say who she got them from if asked.

The Hart family was first represented in Richmond by Moses Hart of Breslau who was a government agent under Queen Anne. He lived at first at Herring (Heron) court but moved across the river to more impressive housing in 1716. Maky wrote of him that Hart had, "...a noble seat and offices in this village [Isleworth], with fine gardens, inferior to few palaces.

Hart was the founder of the first Askenazi synagogue in England after the re-settlement, in fact his brother Aaron became its first Rabbi. His daughters all married in, some married into the Franks and Levy family.

The Levy family were relatives of the Harts - Benjamin Levy was a cousin of Moses Hart and was involved with him in business. Benjamin had first come to London in about 1670, arriving at the much sought after position of Jew broker by 1697. He conducted financial and commercial dealings on a grand scale and was a leading mover in the East India Company. He was second on its list and is said to have obtained its charter in 1698. He was regarded a phenomenally wealthy and is regarded as "the first really rich man in the Askenazi community." He founded the first Askenazi cemetery in Alderney Road in the East End for German and Polish Jews.

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