Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

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Michael Sobell

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Sir Michael Sobell (1892–1993), founder of Sobell Industries

1892 November 1st. Born at Boryslau, Galicia, the only son of Lewis Sobel and his wife, Esther.

His family owned factories in the Austro-Hungarian empire and oil interests at Limburg in Germany, but his parents moved to England about 1899 to escape anti-semitism.

The family settled in Dalston, east London, where Lewis Sobel set up as a confectioner.

From 1903 Michael Sobel attended the Central Foundation School at Cowper Street in Finsbury (a school attended by other bright Jewish boys).

At the age of sixteen, with money provided by his father, he set up as an importer of fancy leather accessories. He and his father subsequently worked as leather goods manufacturers.

1917 August 28th. Married at Stoke Newington synagogue, Anna (1896–1987), daughter of Samuel Rakusen, shipper. Sobel was an adoring and protective husband, who spent only a few nights apart from his wife in seventy years, and never recovered from her death.

He was a strict but often splendid parent to their two daughters, Hilda (who married Stanley Rubin) and Netta (who married Arnold Weinstock, later Baron Weinstock).

1946 Sobell formed Sobell Industries which later became Radio and Allied Industries

1961 Via Radio and Allied, Sobell and his son in law Arnold Weinstock became the largest shareholders in GEC

1993 September 1st. Died of bronchopneumonia at his home, Bakeham House, Bakeham Lane, Englefield Green, Surrey, aged 100. He was survived by his two daughters.

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