Brian Moseley, Plymouth
Webpage created: September 15, 2019
Webpage updated: September 15, 2019




Messrs Levy and Sloggett Limited, pawnbrokers and jewellers, was located at 190 Union Street, Plymouth, before the Second World War and at 32 Royal Parade thereafter.

Abraham Levy was born in 1775 in Penzance, Cornwall, to Mr Barnet Levy and his wife, formerly Miss Esther Elias.  He married Miss Zipporah Benjamins circa 1810.  She had been born in Plymouth in 1787.

The business has always claimed in its advertising that it was founded in 1812 and in that year Markes Levy was born in Plymouth.  He was followed by Aaron Levy in 1816, Caroline Levy in 1820 and Rebecca Levy in 1826.

According to an 1814 directory Mr Levy was a slopseller and watchmaker living in Southside Street, Plymouth.  By 1822 he was listed as a pawnbroker.  In 1830 his address was shown as 42 Southside Street.

Mr Abraham Levy died in Plymouth in 1834 and his widow, Zipporah, with the help of their eldest daughter, 20-years-old Caroline, continued to run the business.

At the time of the census in 1841 Mr Markes or Mark Levy, silversmith, was recorded as being with Mr Limon Woolf at his home in Market Jew Street, Penzance, Cornwall.  His mother was staying nearby with the Joseph family.  This was clearly in preparation for the marriage of Mr Markes Levy to Miss Bella Woolf on June 9th 1841.

While Zipporah continued the business in Southside Street, with the help of 19-years-old apprentice, Miss Eliza Lyons, Markes Levy set up on his own at 50 Bedford Street as a watch and clock maker.  Close by, at number 45 Bedford Street, was his younger brother, Aaron, silversmith and jeweller.

Markes and his wife started their family with Abraham 1842; and followed him with twins Julia and Sarah 1844; Ellen 1848;  Caroline 1849; Eliza November 1850; Asher 1852; Bernard B 1859; Albert 1860.

By 1852 the business had moved to what was to become its home for the next 89 years, number 40 (later 190) Union Street, Plymouth.

Mr Markes Levy died at 18 Milner Square, Islington, London, on April 25th 1877.  He was 64 years of age.  This was the home of his eldest daughter, Julia, who had married Mr Myers L Isaacs, a wholesale optician.  The business in Plymouth passed to his second son, Mr Asher Levy.

In 1922/23 the business was known as Messrs Asher Levy and Company, pawnbrokers, watch makers, jewellers and foreign coin exchange.  It is known from his obituary that Mr Asher Levy had given up his business in Plymouth and moved to London although he retained his interest and regularly visited the Town.  Whether this had been passed over to Mr Sloggett is not yet known.

Mr Asher Levy died in the Marylebone district of London on October 13th 1922, following an operation.  He was 70 years of age.  During his life he had been a leading member of the local Hebrew community, where he was the last surviving trustee of the Jacob Nathan Endowed School for the poor Hebrew children of Plymouth.  He was an active member of the Plymouth Mercantile Association and unsuccessfully contested a local government seat in Millbay ward.  He was survived by his widow and two daughters and a son in Australia.

The business was certainly known as Messrs Levy and Sloggett in 1928, when a Mr J R Sloggett was shown as the owner.  It is not yet confirmed but it is thought that this was Mr John Richard Sloggett, shop assistant, of Union Street, who had married Miss Lily Maude Hannam at Saint Andrew's Church, Plymouth, on November 19th 1899.

Mr Sydney T Solomon took over as managing director in 1938 and remained until his unexpected death on Saturday September 6th 1958.  He was 58 years of age.  Mr Solomon had been a lecturer on gemmology at the Plymouth Technical College and for some twenty years had been secretary of the Plymouth Jewellers' Association.  He was also heavily involved with the Boy Scout movement, having been District Commissioner for Tavistock until 1951 when he moved from Whitchurch to Plymouth, where he became Group Scoutmaster of the 19th Plymouth (Emmanuel Church) Scout Group.

In the meantime, the reconstruction of Plymouth after the Second World War left the premises at 190 Union Street isolated in the middle of Derry's Cross roundabout, along with the one belonging to Messrs Halford Cycle Company Ltd.  These were finally demolished in 1956 and Levy and Sloggett moved to number 32 Royal Parade.

Following Mr Solomon's death, Messrs Levy and Sloggett Limited were taken over by Messrs Bowden and Sons Limited, which enabled the latter company to move back into the centre of Plymouth from Mutley Plain.  The shop bore the sign "Messrs Bowden & Sons Ltd, incorporation Levy & Sloggett".