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Bernhard Baron

The generous support of the Bernhard Baron Trust has enabled us to shape the Barnard Baron Cottage Homes you see today.

The homes were given the Bernhard Baron name in 1945 following receipt of a large grant
from the trust to help the Quakers purchase the homes. A further grant was received in 1950
when the main dining hall, kitchen and corridor were built.

The story behind our namesake

Of French descent, Bernhard Baron was born in Brest-Litovsk in Russia in 1850. At the age
of 17 he emigrated to America where he gained experience in the tobacco business and
started the manufacture of handmade cigarettes. He invented a machine for making cigarettes
with a paper cover.

Bernhard Baron.jpg

In 1895 he came to England with a greatly refined machine and established the BaronCigarette Machine Company in London. Later he joined the Carreras tobacco company as a director, working from an old Victorian shop in Wardour Street, where he set about buildingCarreras into the international company it became.

Philanthropist and businessman

Bernhard Baron often appeared to have a hard, aggressive manner as a forceful and successful businessman, but he had a real and very personal interest in the well-being of his employees. In 1923, when welfare initiatives in factories were little known, he used a substantial sum of money to found a superannuation fund for the workers. In 1929 he opened
a Brighton convalescent home for staff at Carreras.

The Bernhard Baron Trust

In his later years, he established a trust for the benefit of hospitals and asylum patients. The Bernhard Baron Trust gave financial help to a number of hospitals and institutions in the 1930s, including a laboratory at The Royal College of Surgeons of England.

The final sentence of his speech in opening the convalescent home in Brighton sums up the man:

“I have nearly three thousand employees and I consider them my children, and anything I can do for them I will do. I have very faithful people and they all work with all their zeal to do the best they can. There is only one happiness in life, and that is to protect others and to give to others.”

Perhaps his paternalism seems a little old-fashioned nowadays, but his sense of altruism has never left the homes.

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