Sunday, 11 August 2013

Samuelson and Son (and Vesta Tilley)

So, the latest in the research is to look for details about Vesta Tilley's tailor, Samuelson and Son (later 'and Lilley') of 49 Maddox Street, off Bond Street, London.

We know that they were her tailors of choice from her autobiography Recollections of Vesta Tilley, and also from an examination of her costumes as held by the Worcestershire County Council museum service.

However, besides entries in the directories of the time, I've yet to find more information about the firm - how long they existed, or anything of their business records - in any publicly held format.  So, off to the census I went, equipped with the name of Samuelson Sr, courtesy of a search in the London Gazette.  From this I know he died in February 1901, and that in 1914, there was a Chancery court case about his estate, for which I will have to hit up the National Archives.

Hitting up the censuses, though, is where things got odd.  What I got was an entry from 1891 - the only verifiable entry in England of Elias Samuelson - with the strangest annotations I've seen thus far.

The text reads:
Elias Samuelson - wid[ower] - 64 - tailor
Alice ditto - dau[ghter] - s[ingle] - 26 - nothing good
Hortense ditto - dau[ghter] - 1/2 s[ingle] - 24 - professional singer

Has anyone ever seen an entry like this?  From the rest of the page it seems that the census-taker transcribed verbatim what people said.  Is that accurate?  I'm fascinated by the entry, though it has v little to do with his tailoring business!

Separately, of course, I'd love if anyone had any intel about Samuelson and Son [and Lilley].  The 'son' part of the name seems to be Rudolph Samuelson, but I can't seem to find him in the census at all.

Any and all advice and comments gratefully received!


  1. Hi - I am Elias Samuelson's great-grandson. And I am trying to contact you! I don't want to leave my email address here on a public comment board. I have sent a message to you via Facebook, but apparently it will go into your "other" folder, so take a look, if you still want information about Elias. Best wishes, Rabbi Roderick Young

  2. Apologies for the delay in replying! I would very much love to hear more. Your email address didn't come through to me, so could you please try me at my email address, which is bruseker.a at gmail dot com.

    Looking forward to hearing from you! :)