Julien Cahn

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

Sir Julien Cahn

Sir Julien Cahn.jpg
Born(1882-10-21)21 October 1882
Died26 September 1944(1944-09-26) (aged 61)
Cricket information
BattingRight-handed batsman
BowlingRight-arm slow
Domestic team information
1929–1935Sir Julien Cahn's XI
First-class debut21 February 1929 Sir J Cahn's XI v Jamaica
Last First-class3 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

Early life and familyEdit

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 had 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 and, 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. The honour was made ostensibly for his charity and services to agriculture.[6] However, it was actually bestowed for secretly providing £30,000 to the Conservative Government to ensure honours salesman Maundy Gregory stayed out of Britain.[7]

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.[8]

Cahn was the long-time president of The National Birthday Trust Fund, a charity that promoted the provision of maternity services.[9] 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."[10]

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.[11][12]

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.[13]


Cahn was an avid fan of fox hunting, and was one of the few Jewish Masters 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.[14]

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.[15]

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.[16]

Cahn played in many of his team's matches, including six of the 13 first-class matches they played between 1929 and 1939. He made his first-class debut in March 1929 at the age of 46 when his team was playing in Jamaica. Stephen Chalke has written, "No English first-class cricketer of the 20th century can have had less ability than Cahn. He was a hypochondriac, often preferring his electric wheelchair to walking ... he batted in special inflatable pads that it was his chauffeur's duty to pump up."[17]

See alsoEdit

Baronetage of the United Kingdom
New title Baronet
(of Stanford on Soar)
Succeeded by
Albert Jonas Cahn


  1. ^ a b c William D. Rubinstein; Michael Jolles; Hilary L. Rubinstein, eds. (2011). The Palgrave Dictionary of Anglo-Jewish History. Palgrave Macmillan. p. 136. ISBN 978-1-4039-3910-4.
  2. ^ Miranda Rijks (2011). The Eccentric Entrepreneur: Sir Julien Cahn: Businessman, Philanthropist, Magician and Cricket-Lover. The History Press. pp. 1–2. ISBN 978-0-7524-5924-0.
  3. ^ Rijks 2011, p. 3-4.
  4. ^ Rijks 2011, p. 5.
  5. ^ "No. 33517". The London Gazette. 16 July 1929. p. 4699.
  6. ^ "No. 34066". The London Gazette. 3 July 1934. pp. 4222–4223.
  7. ^ Cook, Andrew Cash For Honours, The History Press, Stroud 2013, pp521-523
  8. ^ "Sir Julien Cahn's 1923 Rolls-Royce up for sale". Nottingham Post. 11 December 2008. Archived from the original on 2 April 2015. Retrieved 28 February 2015.
  9. ^ "Work of National Birthday Trust Fund". British Medical Journal. 1 (3766): 420. 11 March 1933. doi:10.1136/bmj.1.3766.420. PMC 2367966.
  10. ^ Becky Carr (27 June 2013). "Thieves smash piece of history at Lucy Baldwin hospital". Kidderminster Shuttle. Retrieved 28 February 2015.
  11. ^ "Cricket in WWII". Military-History.org. 20 December 2013. Retrieved 28 February 2015.
  12. ^ "Seasons: 1936". Nottinghamshire County Cricket Club. 20 December 2013. Retrieved 28 February 2015.
  13. ^ "Report to the Visiting Health Committee". Nottingham City Hospital. 22 September 1939. Retrieved 28 February 2015.
  14. ^ Rijks 2011, p. 6.
  15. ^ "Britain's lost cricket grounds". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 28 February 2015.
  16. ^ "Sir Julien Cahn's 1923 Rolls-Royce up for sale". Nottingham Post. 11 December 2008. Archived from the original on 2 April 2015. Retrieved 28 February 2015.
  17. ^ Chalke, Stephen (2011). The Way It Was: Glimpses of English cricket's past. Bath: Fairfield Books. pp. 236–39. ISBN 978-0-9568511-1-6.