Marks, Simon

(Lord Marks of Broughton)
(1888–1964)
   British merchant and Zionist Simon Marks was a brilliant innovator in retail business. He and his associate, Israel SIEFF, gave a new dignity and status to the traditional figure of the Jewish trader.
   Simon Marks’s father, Michael, arrived in England in 1882 as a poor immigrant from Russian Poland, and started as a pedlar in Leeds. Graduating to a stall in the market-place, he developed within ten years a chain of ‘penny bazaars’ in the Midlands towns. In 1894, he took into partnership a jovial Yorkshireman called Tom Spencer, who paid Ј300 for a half-share in the new firm of Marks and Spencer. By the time Michael Marks died in 1907, at the early age of forty-four, the firm already owned sixty-one branches. The family was then living in Manchester, where Simon was born. He entered the business at the age of twenty-one, after his father’s death. Three years later, he was joined by Israel Sieff, at first on a part-time basis. The two men had been school-mates at Manchester Grammar School; they married each other’s sisters, remained lifelong friends and formed a remarkable business team for the next half-century. After World War I, with Marks as chairman, the company expanded rapidly into a national chain, and developed the special features that made it a pioneer in modern merchandizing. Marks grasped the radical change in the popular market brought about in post-war Britain by the crumbling of class barriers, the gradual emergence of a welfare state and the beginnings of a more affluent society. The aim of ‘M & S’ was maximum value at popular prices. This was achieved by strict control of quality and design at the factory end, research and testing of new products, the streamlining of sales procedures, personal attention to detail by the directors, and a human concern for the welfare of the staff. In 1944 Simon was knighted, particularly for his service to the wartime Scientific Co-ordination Committee. He was created a baron in 1961. Zionism was a major interest in Simon Marks’s life. Before World War I he was one of the Manchester group of young Zionists that gathered round Dr WEIZMANN, then a relatively unknown lecturer in chemistry at Manchester University. Other members of the group were his future brothers-in-law Israel Sieff and Harry SACHER. During the war, he assisted Dr Weizmann in the efforts that led to the BALFOUR Declaration, and served as honorary secretary to the Zionist delegation at the Paris Peace Conference. Up to his death, he remained a leader of Zionist work and fund-raising in Britain, and was keenly involved in the economic development of Israel. In Britain he was a generous and thoughtful philanthropist, particularly to his old school, to University College, London, and to the Royal College of Surgeons.

Who’s Who in Jewish History after the period of the Old Testament. . 2012.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Marks, Simon — (1888 1964)    English industrialist and philanthropist. He was born in Manchester. He became chairman of the board of Marks and Spencer Ltd chainstores in 1917. He was an active Zionist and served as secretary of the Zionist delegation to the… …   Dictionary of Jewish Biography

  • MARKS, SIMON, BARON — (1888–1964), British businessman, philanthropist, and Zionist. Born in Leeds, Simon Marks was the son of Michael Marks, who emigrated in 1882 from Russia to the U.K. where he began as a peddler. In 1884 he opened a market stall in Leeds and later …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

  • Marks — noun English businessman who created a retail chain (1888 1964) • Syn: ↑Simon Marks, ↑First Baron Marks of Broughton • Instance Hypernyms: ↑businessman, ↑man of affairs * * * plural of mark present third singular of …   Useful english dictionary

  • Simon Marks (disambiguation) — Simon Marks could also refer to:* Simon Marks, 1st Baron Marks of Broughton, a British Jewish businessman. * Simon Marks Jewish Primary School, a primary school in Stoke Newington …   Wikipedia

  • Simon the Sorcerer series — Simon the Sorcerer is a series of point and click adventure games created by Adventure Soft. The series follows the adventures of an unwilling hero of the same name. The game has a fantasy setting and is a comedy.The first two games are often… …   Wikipedia

  • Marks & Spencer — Marks Spencer Pour les articles homonymes, voir Marks et Spencer. Logo de Marks Spencer …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Marks and Spencer — Marks Spencer Pour les articles homonymes, voir Marks et Spencer. Logo de Marks Spencer …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Simon de Montfort, 6th Earl of Leicester — (1208 – August 4, 1265), was the principal leader of the baronial opposition to King Henry III of England. After the rebellion of 1263 1264, de Montfort became de facto ruler of England and called the first directly elected parliament in medieval …   Wikipedia

  • Simon Schama — Simon Michael Schama, CBE (born 13 February 1945) is a British professor of history and art history at Columbia University. His many works on history and art include Landscape and Memory , Dead Certainties , Rembrandt s Eyes , and his history of… …   Wikipedia

  • SIMON, JAMES — (1851–1932), German commercial magnate and philanthropist. After completing high school Simon joined his family s flourishing textile firm, Gebrueder Simon,   which under his management became one of the largest firms in the world – boasting 40… …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.