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Behrens memorial thumbnail imageSir Jacob Behrens, born 1806, died 1889. Behrens, from a family of merchants in Germany, settled in Bradford in 1838, opening up premises in Thornton Road. He was the first textile export merchant in the city and became an important figure in founding the Chamber of Commerce. The Behrens company grew to have a global reach, with branches in Calcutta and Shanghai as well as London and Glasgow. He was knighted by Queen Victoria in 1882 for his work in strengthening trade relations between Britain and France. His active interest in education led him to play a major role in the reorganisation of the Bradford Grammar School in 1871. He was also instrumental in establishing the Technical College in Great Horton Road in 1882. He preferred to be active in charity works rather than local politics. An obituary in The Jewish Chronicle (26.04.1889) sums up thus: "In Bradford he was known as a gentleman of culture and a philanthropist."

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Sir Jacob Behrens