Notable maker of modern Portsmouth

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On this day in 1888 Emanuel Emanuel, ‘one of the most notable makers of modern Portsmouth’ died.

He first came to prominence in 1825 when, as a 17-year-old, he was charged and fined for assaulting a pawnbroker.

It was, ironically, ‘by fighting an image of Portsmouth as disreputable, unruly and unseemly that he made his political reputation, transforming the town...beyond recognition’.

In 1844 he became the first Jew to be elected to the council and, although he refused to take the oath of office which would have bound him to follow ‘the true faith of a Christian’, nobody was mean enough to insist that the statutory £500 fine be applied every time he voted.

One of his first acts was to propose the end of the Free Mart Fair which ‘had degenerated into a fortnight’s Saturnalia’.

Emanuel recognised the potential for the development of Southsea as a watering place and was instrumental in the construction of Clarence Esplanade, victoria Park and Clarence Pier.

He also pushed for the water and gas companies to be run by the local authority rather than by private companies

– from John Sadden’s

The Portsmouth Book of Days.