HARRY JACOBS was born HarryJoseph Moscovitz in Gravesend, Kent in 1898. His father, Morris Jacob Moscovitz, was born in Piotikow, Warsaw in 1865 (then Russia). A haberdasher and clothier, he emigrated to England and was naturalised on May 28th, 1913 together with his wife and three children – Amelia (Millie) 17, Harry Joseph 15 and Mona 13. The family consequently changed their name to Jacobs and moved to Brighton where Harry met and married Minnie Goldman. In 1924 “the twins”, my mother Joy and her sister Nina were born.
My first memories of Grandpa Harry and Grandma Minnie was visiting them at their home in Sillwood Road especially for Shabbat and holidays. Grandpa was an ardent shul goer and was on the Board at Middle Street synagogue. He was an amazing entrepreneur. He owned the Curzon Cinema (now Waitrose on Western Road) then sold it in 1948 and acquired the smaller Embassy Cinema, Hove. I lived in the flat above the Embassy from birth and have very fond memories of coming downstairs to see Grandpa in his office, pouring over papers with a cigarette in his mouth, the ash hanging in one perfect piece, never falling! (See photo) Grandpa only had one leg. I always thought he lost it in the war (which war I wasn’t sure) until one day I found out he was crossing the road without looking and got run over! He had a prosthesis and he often suffered from phantom pain but it never slowed him down. He was a member of the Brighton & Hove Entertainment Association and Brighton and Hove Lodge and loved to go out socialising and entertaining.
He ran the Brighton & Hove branch of the Jewish Board of Guardians for many years and they named the first house they bought The Harry Jacobs House. He also owned several property companies and was always wheeling and dealing. Everyone in our family lived in at least one of his properties at some point if not more. He was always moving us around and after living at the Embassy, Grandpa moved us into Sillwood Road.
He loved to travel and I remember him going to Oostende many times and Venice and the South of . He especially loved the casinos. In 1957 Grandma Minnie died. She was only 56. A few years later he met the most beautiful woman I had ever seen, Anne Winston and married her. “Auntie” Anne as we called her, had two children one of whom, Angela, was close to my age. I had gained a wonderful whole extended family.
My grandfather lived a wonderful full life. He was extremely generous but a very wiley and successful business man. He taught the family a lot. He was always very busy but adored the family and we adored him at the same time as being in awe of him. He was never too busy to do his charitable work for the community and was always the centre of everything especially in our family.
He died at the age of 71 in 1969. I will always remember him as a short one legged man with a dynamic larger than life personality. He had the respect and affection of everyone who knew him.