Julien Cahn

Sir Julien Cahn
Born (1882-10-21)21 October 1882
Cardiff, Glamorgan, Wales
Died 26 September 1944(1944-09-26) (aged 61)
Nottinghamshire, England
Residence Stanford Hall, Nottinghamshire
Cricket information
Batting style Right-handed batsman
Bowling style Right-arm slow
Domestic team information
1929–1935 Sir Julien Cahn's XI
First-class debut 21 February 1929 Sir J Cahn's XI v Jamaica
Last First-class 3 September 1935 Sir J Cahn's XI v Lancashire
Career statistics
Competition First-class
Matches 6
Runs scored 70
Batting average 10.00
100s/50s -/-
Top score 17
Balls bowled 145
Wickets 2
Bowling average 74.50
5 wickets in innings
10 wickets in match
Best bowling 1–1
Catches/stumpings -/-
Source: CricketArchive, 6 Jul 2008

Sir Julien Cahn, 1st Baronet (21 October 1882 – 26 September 1944) was a British businessman, philanthropist and cricket enthusiast.[1]

Early life and family

Cahn was born in Cardiff in 1882 to parents of German Jewish descent. His father, Albert Cahn (1856–1921), was born in the small village of Russheim in the Germersheim district, Rhein-Pfalz-Kreis. He married Matilda Lewis (d. 1921), daughter of Dr. Sigismund Lewis of Liverpool, who also emigrated from Germany. Dr. Lewis delivered his grandson after a difficult birth; Matilda recovered well but Julien would be an only child.[2]

Julien grew up in a strict Orthodox household in Nottingham, where his father opened the Nottingham Furnishing Company in 1885. Albert was very active in the Nottingham Jewish community, becoming the president of the Chaucer Street synagogue and Hebrew Philanthropic Society.[3]

Julien attended primary school with Harold Bowden, later the 2nd Baronet, and the two became lifelong friends.[4]

Cahn married Phyllis Muriel Wolfe on 11 July 1916. They had three children, Patience Cahn (born 1922), Albert Jonas (1924) and Richard Ian (1927). Albert Jonas assumed the baronetcy on his father's death.


Cahn took over the family business. Cahn, seeing a new potential market in hire purchase sales, expanded the company to the extent that his Jays and Campbells stores were to be found in most major towns across Britain. By 1943 when he retired and sold out to Great Universal Stores (GUS), he controlled a chain more than 300 stores.


After his business success, Cahn established himself as a philanthropist. Having been knighted in 1929,[5] Cahn was made a baronet in 1934 for his charity and services to agriculture.[6]

One of his most-well known gifts was his rescue of the Newstead Abbey, the 12th-century ancestral home of Lord Byron, which was at risk. Cahn purchased Newstead and donated it to the Nottingham City Council to help preserve Byron's legacy.[7]

Cahn was the long-time president of The National Birthday Trust Fund, a charity that promoted the provision of maternity services.[8] In this capacity he became very friendly with the trust's vice president, Lucy Baldwin, Countess Baldwin of Bewdley, wife of prime minister Stanley Baldwin.

In 1929, Cahn donated funds to build the Lucy Baldwin Maternity Hospital in Stourport-on-Severn, Worcestershire, named in honour of the countess. It was commemorated by the prime minister on 16 April 1929 with a bronze dedication plaque over the main entrance reading, "What she wanted most in the world. Presented to her by Julien Cahn Esq."[9]

During the Great Depression and Second World War, Cahn sponsored cricket clubs and players that needed funds to play. In 1935, Cahn paid the membership subscriptions for more than 800 new members joining the Nottinghamshire County Cricket Club.[10][11]

After the war began in 1939, Cahn lent his home at Stanford Hall to Nottingham City Hospital. Stanford Hall initially offered 22 beds for convalescing soldiers, but by 1940 expanded to house nearly 70.[12]


Cahn was an avid fan of fox hunting, and was one of the few Jewish "Master of Foxhounds".[1]

His main love, however, was cricket. He began playing as a teenager, during a time when it was common for business owners to organise teams. At age 19, he created the Nottingham Furniture Company XI with 16 of his father's employees. In 1903, the team expanded to 35 players for its third season, and was renamed the Notts Ramblers.[13]

One of the earliest players was W. H. Vaulkhard, who joined the team in 1904; his four sons also took up the sport and played on Cahn's teams. Pat Vaulkhard became a first-class player in his day.

He served as president of both the Nottinghamshire County Cricket Club and Leicestershire County Cricket Club. He eventually built his own pitch at Stanford Hall so he could watch games at home.[14]

From 1929 to 1939, Cahn was the captain of his own team, the Sir Julien Cahn XI, that toured the world.[1] It was one of the most successful private teams, losing only 19 out of 621 cricket matches. Cahn recruited top players from outside England, including Australians Vic Jackson and Jack Walsh.[15]

See also

Baronetage of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
New creation
of Stanford on Soar
Succeeded by
Albert Jonas Cahn


  1. 1 2 3 William D. Rubinstein, Michael Jolles, Hilary L. Rubinstein, eds. (2011). The Palgrave Dictionary of Anglo-Jewish History. Palgrave Macmillan. p. 136. ISBN 1-4039-3910-1.
  2. Miranda Rijks (2011). The Eccentric Entrepreneur: Sir Julien Cahn: Businessman, Philanthropist, Magician and Cricket-Lover. The History Press. pp. 1–2. ISBN 0-7524-5924-4.
  3. Rijks 2011, p. 3-4.
  4. Rijks 2011, p. 5.
  5. The London Gazette: no. 33517. p. 4699. 16 July 1929.
  6. The London Gazette: no. 34066. pp. 4222–4223. 3 July 1934.
  7. "Sir Julien Cahn's 1923 Rolls-Royce up for sale". Nottingham Post. 11 December 2008. Retrieved 28 February 2015.
  8. "Work of National Birthday Trust Fund" (PDF). British Medical Journal. 1: 420. 11 March 1933. doi:10.1136/bmj.1.3766.420. PMC 2367966Freely accessible. Retrieved 28 February 2015.
  9. Becky Carr (27 June 2013). "Thieves smash piece of history at Lucy Baldwin hospital". Kidderminster Shuttle. Retrieved 28 February 2015.
  10. "Cricket in WWII". Military-History.org. 20 December 2013. Retrieved 28 February 2015.
  11. "Seasons: 1936". Nottinghamshire County Cricket Club. 20 December 2013. Retrieved 28 February 2015.
  12. "Report to the Visiting Health Committee". Nottingham City Hospital. 22 September 1939. Retrieved 28 February 2015.
  13. Rijks 2011, p. 6.
  14. "Britain's lost cricket grounds". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 28 February 2015.
  15. "Sir Julien Cahn's 1923 Rolls-Royce up for sale". Nottingham Post. 11 December 2008. Retrieved 28 February 2015.
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