Solomon Barnato "Solly" Joel (23 May 1865 – 22 May 1931), born in London, England, moved to South Africa in the 1880s where he made his fortune in connection with diamonds, later becoming a financier with interests in mining, brewing and railways.
|Died||22 May 1931|
|Resting place||Willesden Jewish Cemetery|
|Occupation||Financier & Thoroughbred racehorse owner/breeder|
|Spouse(s)||Ellen (Nellie) Ridley|
|Children||Doris Irene Kathleen (d. 1919)|
Woolf (d. 1923)
Stanhope Henry (1903-1983)
Dudley J. B. (1904-1941)
Eileen Daphne Solvia (1907-1974)
|Parent(s)||Joel Joel & Kate Issacs|
Known as "Solly", he was born into a Jewish family, one of three sons of Joel Joel (a London publican, keeper of the King of Prussia tavern), and Kate Isaacs, who was a sister of Barnett Isaacs, later to be called Barney Barnato. Along with his brothers, Jack and Woolf, he was mentored by Barney Barnato and made a fortune from the Barnato Diamond Mining Company. Within 10 years, he had become a millionaire, primarily by buying seemingly worked-out diamond mines in South Africa. On Barney Barnato's death, in 1897, Joel became head of the family business, Barnato Brothers. Despite having a keen interest in diamonds, he played a greater role in the gold industry. He established the Van Ryn Deep Mine in 1902; the Government Gold Mining Areas (Modderfontein) Consolidated Limited, in 1910; and the New State Areas Ltd. in 1918. He acquired control of Langlaagte Estate and Gold Mining Company and Randfontein Estates Gold Mining Company from J.B. Robinson, and became a director of the Diamond Syndicate.
Early in his business career he supported the Uitlanders against Paul Kruger's government, and was a prominent member of the Reform Committee. Having been found guilty of high treason for his part in the Jameson Raid, Joel never dabbled in politics again.
Joel married a beautiful young actress named Ellen "Nellie" Ridley. While highly successful in business, in his personal life familial relationships were not always cordial. His dislike of his daughter Doris' choice of spouse continued until she divorced after four years, at which point he resumed normal relations. Joel also disapproved of one of his sons, Stanhope's, marriage for two years. His daughter Eileen became the first woman jockey to win an open race when she rode Hogier to victory in the Town Plate at Newmarket. His son Dudley Joel was elected the Conservative Party Member of Parliament for Dudley but was killed in action during World War II.
Joel's brother Woolf Joel was murdered in Johannesburg in 1898, probably by a blackmailing con-man named Karl Frederic Moritz Kurtze going under the pseudonym of Ludwig von Veltheim. Although there was plenty of evidence that Veltheim had been threatening Woolf Joel, the defense was that Veltheim had not been properly compensated for planning a kidnap scheme against the Boer leader Paul Kruger. That, the all Boer jury, and the mixture of anti-British and anti-Semitic feelings towards the deceased enabled Veltheim to avoid conviction. Freed, he was immediately deported from the Boer territories. For the next decade, Veltheim was following a series of con-games in Europe, but in 1907, he turned up in London, and started making threatening demands against Joel, who reported him to Scotland Yard, and the police arrested Veltheim. There was a trial for extortion, and Veltheim used the same defense he had previously used in Johannesburg, but the British jury was unconvinced and found him guilty. He was sentenced to twenty years' imprisonment.
Joel's interests were wide and varied and included many business concerns. He was also kept busy with his enlarged family's diamond and gold mining interests, activities in brewing, the theatre (the Drury Lane Theatre in London) and railways (the City and South London Railway).
He was renowned for being a generous man who purchased the first motorised ambulance for the Royal Berkshire Hospital. Another illustration of his generosity was exhibited when he gave Sol Joel Park close to his estate was given to the Corporation of Reading in 1927. The official opening was undertaken by the then Duke of York, who later became King George VI and was again an extravagant event.
Thoroughbred horse racingEdit
Joel had success in thoroughbred horse racing and breeding. He owned Polymelus, a five-time leading sire in Great Britain & Ireland who sired Pommern, the 1915 English Triple Crown champion. He also established a stud at New Farm, which was renamed Home Stud Farm located near his own estate. The Joel Stakes at Newmarket Racecourse is named in his honor.
In 1903 Joel purchased the Maiden Erlegh Estate in Earley, near Reading in Berkshire. In 1922 he purchased the racing establishment at Moulton Paddocks, Newmarket, after the death of its then owner, Sir Ernest Cassel.
In the 1924–25 South African cricket season, Joel organised a team of mostly English players to tour the country and play matches against the national and provincial teams. The team was known as S. B. Joel's XI and included leading players Ewart Astill, George Geary, Percy Holmes, Alec Kennedy, Charlie Parker, Jack Russell, Lionel Tennyson and Ernest Tyldesley.
Death and legacyEdit
Joel died in 1931 at Moulton Paddocks and immediately his estate and possessions were sold at auction. The Home Stud Farm was sold in 1932 but continued until the 1980s. Moulton Paddocks passed into the ownership of Joel's son Dudley, but the house fell into disrepair following his death.
- "Joel, Solomon Barnato". © Oxford University Press 2004–14. Retrieved 17 March 2014.
- Ford, David Nash (2002). "Maiden Erlegh House (Sonning)". Royal Berkshire History. Nash Ford Publishing. Retrieved 28 December 2010.
- "Turf Loses Big Patron". Nottingham Evening Post - p12. 22 May 1931.
- "First-Class Matches played by S. B. Joel's XI". CricketArchive. Retrieved 18 November 2017.
- Oxford Dictionary of National Biography
- Standard Encyclopaedia of Southern Africa vol. 6 (Nasou, Cape Town 1972) ISBN 0-625-00322-5
- Ace of diamonds,: The story of Solomon Barnato Joel as told to Lloyd Mayer Stanhope Joel (Frederick Muller Ltd. London 1958) ASIN: B0007KCDIK
- The Diamond Magnates Brian Roberts (New York: Charles Scribners' Sons, 1972) [P. 232-245] SBN 684-13344-X