It is with the generous support from the Bernhard Baron Trust that we have been able 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.
Please allow us to share the story behind our namesake.
Of French descent, Bernhard Baron was born in Brest-Litovsk in Russia in 1850. At 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.
In 1895 Bernhard Baron came to England with a greatly refined machine and established the Baron Cigarette Machine Company. Later he joined Carreras as a director, working from an old Victorian shop in Wardour Street, London, where he set about building Carreras 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 everyone who worked for him. In 1923 when welfare work in factories was little known, he founded a superannuation fund for the workers with a substantial sum of money. In 1929 he opened a convalescent home under his name at Brighton for the workers at Carreras.
The Bernhard Baron Trust
In his later years, Bernhard established a trust to or the benefit of hospital 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 at Brighton sums up the man:-
Perhaps his paternalism seems a little old-fashioned now, but his sense of altruism has never left the Homes.
“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.”