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Albert Backert - yet more variant spellings!

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  • Originally posted by Dave James
    Hi all,

    Over the last couple of months, I've been digging into the life of Albert Bachert. As you know, in 1885, he made his first appearance in the press in a court appearance complaining about being threatened by a socialist, Lewis Lyons, whilst canvasing for a Mr Cowan, Conservative candidate for Whitechapel. (Pall Mall Gazette, 24 November, 1885).

    I thought that perhaps Mr Cowan was a local businessman, but decided to follow up anyway. I couldn't have been further from the truth!


    By : Joseph Jacobs Goodman Lipkind

    English merchant, volunteer officer, and alderman; born at Chatham 1832; died at Buxton Oct. 22, 1899. From the first he took a keen interest in the Volunteer movement; he was a member of the Honorable Artillery Company: and in 1863 joined the Third London Rifles with three companies raised from his own workmen. He became lieutenant-colonel in this regiment, retiring in 1880 with the queen's permission to retain his rank. In 1883 he was elected sheriff of London and Middlesex during the first mayoralty of Sir R. N. Fowler, and in 1885 was elected alderman of the ward of Cordwainer, which office he resigned in 1892 owing to the claims of business.

    Cowan served on the council of the Anglo-Jewish Association, and was closely associated with the Jews' Hospital and Orphan Asylum. He was a Conservative in politics, and in 1885 unsuccessfully contested the newly formed constituency of Whitechapel with Sir Samuel Montagu, Bart.
    Bibliography: Jewish Chronicle, London, Oct. 27, 1899.J. G. L.

    Cowan also appeared before the Aberdare Committee of 1886, an enquiry into effective methods of hanging as a means of execution.

    "Colonel Phineas Cowan a former sheriff of London commented adversely on the selection of hangmen and felt that the Home Office should be responsible for this and for providing adequate training. This came to pass and new appointees were trained at Newgate initially and then later at Pentonville."

    Further research showed that Mr Cowan had been in business with his father and brother as soap makers and sugar refiners and that he set up on his own at one point. It's interesting that his business interest was sugar, as there is a link to the Sugar Bounty agitators Lemon and Kelly through Bachert.

    It seems clear, then, that Bachert was moving in quite influential circles, perhaps out of his depth, and may account for his over inflated opinion of himself.
    If Dave’s still looking in, I’m interested in his comment that Cowan ‘set up on his own at one point.’ Was that in the sugar business? And if so, where?

    Here’s Phineas, who apparently was called ‘Ben’.

    Click image for larger version

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