Henry, we’re Jewish.

This is an article that appears in today’s Guardian. I thought it would be nice to illustrate it with some old family photos:

My grandfather’s funeral service took place on New Year’s Eve 2002 at the Anglican church in Chalfont St Giles. The vicar kept referring to my grandfather as Donald and had to be corrected (his name was Gordon but he was known as Don). What I remember most is something my grandmother, Dorothy Jeffreys, said before the service. She was distraught and, I think, on some sort of tranquilliser and kept insisting Don wouldn’t have wanted the send-off to be in a church, it should have been a synagogue. I asked her why and she said, “Because we’re Jewish.”

This was the first I’d heard of it. click here to read more.










Michael and Rose Levy on far left, my great grandparents, and on right Dot and Gordon Jeffreys, my grandparents.

dot and gordon on margate sands













My grandparents in Margate. Love those pleats.

The Jeffreys family at Henry's wedding










My own wedding. Left to right, me, my wife Misti, my brother Thomas and my parents. Notice father assuming traditional unsmiling photo pose.

George, Cousin Rupert, Nanny, Grandpa, Henry

Left to right, my brother George, cousin Rupert, grandparents and me. Probably taken at Moor Park Golf Club.

About Henry

I’m a drinks writer. My day job is features editor at the Master of Malt blog. I also contribute to BBC Good Food, the Spectator and others. You can read some of my work here. I’ve done a bit of radio, given some talks and written a couple of books (Empire of Booze, The Home Bar and the forthcoming Cocktail Dictionary).
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3 Responses to Henry, we’re Jewish.

  1. Tizard says:

    I saw the piece in the Guardian about the partial Jewish background, very interesting. That led me here. The book sounds very promising. Just a question if I may. Do you/will you cover India Pale Ale? It is quite remarkable how the ancestor to everyday bitter has been reinvented with élan in the United States. This is having reverberations in England via beers now tasting of evergreen tree and grapefruit juice. Best wishes for the book.

  2. Henry says:

    Hello! Yes planning to cover IPA but not quite sure how as Pete Brown covered it so thoroughly in his Hops & Glory book from a few years back.

    • Tizard says:

      Thanks for replying! It is true Pete Brown, and also Martyn Cornell’s books, covered a lot of ground. My suggestion would be to focus on the reception of the beer in India and later its rise in England, from a consumer and social standpoint. There is a lot on Google Books, for example, its place on the table for administrators and the soldiery in the Raj, how it was viewed vs. other drinks. With your access to fine libraries you could obtain much more especially what is not viewable on Google Books. A lot could be done I think to chronicle how the beer gained its market in England and Scotland once “returned” from India and other export markets. There are many mentions of IPA on Google Books again in America and Canada in the 1800’s. Nothinh has been written about this AFAIK and also what about pale ale in the West Indies and other colonies? Hong Kong? Who drank it, why, what did it taste like as best can be gleaned from the evidence?

      It inspired local versions in America, one of these was Ballantine India Pale Ale, which has just returned to the market after a lapse of 20 years. Look for it when you are next in New York.

      It can be found on prime restaurant menus into the later Victorian era in New York, Boston and other major U.S. cities and resort areas. A number of menu collections are online and show this, you will see the names Bass, Allsop (sp?), and others, bracketed with fine porter from London and Dublin. Indeed to this day Bass has a certain cachet in New York albeit brewed now in the Empire State! Pete and Martyn don’t really address this area, they were concerned IIRC more how the beer originated in London via Hodgson supposedly, the kinds of beer it developed from, who initially brewed it and how it got to India, what the trip did for it if anything, and then how Hodgson’s monopoly in India was reversed by Burton-on-Trent. Very valid work but I think the consumer angle especially in the export markets, which created the beer’s reputation, would be interesting to look at to chronicle one emblem of Britishness. Sidney Smith said it, beer and Britannia are inseparably linked!

      I wish you all the best however you decide to approach it and will get the book once out, be assured!

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