Israel Zangwill

Israel Zangwill

b: 21 JAN 1864
d: 1 AUG 1926
From the Dictionary of National Biography 1922-1930:

ZANGWILL, ISRAEL (1864-1926), author and philanthropist, was born in London 14 February 1864, the eldest son of Moses Zangwill by his wife, Ellen Hannah Marks. His father was a Russian refugee, who had come to England as a lad in 1848, alone and friendless, in order to escape the severe decree of Jewish child-conscription instituted by the Tsar, Nicholas I. Israel Zangwill showed great promise at the school to which he was sent in Bristol, where his parents were then residing; they moved to London in 1872 in order to provide the boy with more advanced education at the Jews' Free School at Spitalfields. There he quickly distinguished himself, winning all the available scholarships. In due course he was articled as a teacher and appointed master of the senior form, having in the meanwhile graduated at London University with triple honours.
Zangwill's father was a very pious man, who throughout a laborious career as a small trader retained his connexion with the synagogue as a scripture-reader. Israel Zangwill soon discarded dogma, although he still clung almost passionately to his race, and to the end of his days exercised a very great influence on his co-religionists. He gave up teaching after a year or two, and took to journalism, a profession in which he quickly made his mark. In 1888 he wrote a fantastic novel, The Premier and the Painter, in collaboration with a friend, following this with a couple of witty, light-hearted stories, The Bachelors' Club (1891) and The Old Maids' Club (1892), which appeared in Ariel, a comic journal of which he was for some time the editor. There was much spiritual unrest at this period, and it had extended to Jewry. Zangwill was invited to write a Jewish novel for the newly founded Jewish Publication Society of America. He accepted the invitation, and the result was The Children of the Ghetto (1892), a work which at once, and solidly, established his reputation. In this book Zangwill gave the real Jew to the world, revealing him as he had never been revealed before; minimizing nothing, extenuating nothing, exaggerating nothing, handling him with profound knowledge and with affection, but also with justice. Ghetto Tragedies followed in 1893, and Dreamers of the Ghetto in 1898; both works of high quality, which powerfully influenced cultured Jews in every country of the world.
Zangwill wrote other novels, The King of Schnorrers (1894), The Master (1895), The Mantle of Elijah (1900), The Grey Wig (1903), Jinny the Carrier (1919), all of which had distinction and achieved a fair measure of success. A small volume of poems, Blind Children, appeared in 1903, and in 1910 a collection of essays, Italian Fantasies, in which he displayed both erudition and wit. But it is primarily and essentially as a depicter of Jewish life, Jewish ideals and aspirations, that Zangwill has secured his place in literature. He wrote many comedies and tragedies, all, or nearly all, works of merit; but a certain formlessness that was apparent in his novels bulked more largely in his plays and detracted from their value. The Melting Pot (1908), which dealt with the life of the Jewish emigrant in America, created almost a sensation in that country and ran for many years; and there were others, notably The War God (1911), The Cockpit (1921), The Forcing House (1922), which, although they possessed no element of popularity, revealed high dramatic gift and penetrating insight.
When Dr. Theodor Herzl came to London in 1896 to plead the Zionist cause, to which he was devoting his life, Zangwill was immediately attracted, and threw himself heart and soul into the movement. It was a time of progroms in Russia, of persecution in Rumania and Galicia, and the need was urgent. Palestine was the passionately desired haven of refuge; but Herzl and Zangwill were soon compelled to realize that this was then an unattainable dream, and that the salvation of the Jews, their land of liberty, must be sought elsewhere. The great mass of ardent religionists, however, clamoured for Zion; and at the seventh Zionist congress, in 1904, Herzl was shouted down, and his burningly eloquent appeal fell on deaf ears. He died a few months later, broken-hearted, worn out by the struggle against hopeless odds. Zangwill at once took up the leadership, founded the Jewish Territorial Organization, and for the next seven years devoted all his power, energy and time to the cause. The result was disappointing. Vast labours were undertaken, exploring expeditions sent out, masses of statistics compiled, potentates interviewed all over the world; but the difficulties where overwhelming. Zangwill addressed countless meetings and poured forth tracts and pamphlets, but at last had to acknowledge himself beaten. There was the achievement at least that the stream of Jewish emigration had been diverted from New York to Galveston, and that officials of the International Jewish Territorial Organization accompanied the wanderers on their journey, and reduced the hardships which they had to encounter.
Zangwill was a man of unflinching courage: addressing a great American meeting in 1924 he unsparingly attacked the indolent subservience of the prosperous Jews and the American cult of money. An eloquent speaker and a master of epigram, it was he who said that for the the actor the part was greater than the whole. Under a somewhat truculent exterior he was curiously unselfish and tender-hearted. His health had long been undermined by his labours and he died of pneumonia at Midhurst, Sussex, 1 August 1926. A fiery spirit, a man who all his life followed a great idea, he was fitly apostrophized by Rabbi Wise in his funeral address: 'Flame thou wert, fo flame thou hast returned.'
Zangwill married in 1903 Edith Chaplin, daughter of Professor William Edward Ayrton (qv), electrical engineer and phycisist; they had two sons and one daughter. His wife, although not of his race, whole-heartedly shared his labours and supported his efforts.
A cartoon of Zangwill appeared in Vanity Fair, 25 February 1897.

[Lucien Wold, Address delivered before the Jewish Historical Society of England, 26 October 1928; Andre Spire, Quelque Juifs, 1928; personal knowledge. Portrait, Royal Academy Pictures, 1894.] A. Sutro.


From 'One Palestine, Complete - Jews and Arabs under the British Mandate' by Tom Segev, Little, Brown and Company, London, GB 2000

Page 66: "While at the university [the University of London, as a medical student], Eder lived in bachelor's quarters together with his cousin, the well-known writer Israel Zangwill. A Zionist, Zangwill had hosted Theodor Herzl in London; like Herzl, he too assigned little exclusive importance to Palestine - any available, secure, and fertile territory would serve for the settlement of the Jews, he believed. To that end, he founded the Jewish Territorial Oranization, or JTO. Sometime later, his cousin Montague completed his studies. Zangwill sent him to Brazil to assess the potential for Jewish settlement."

From The Jewish Agency for Israel, Department for Jewish Zionist Education, website http://www.jafi.org.il/education/100/zionism/b8.html 'The Story of Zionism'.

At the 7th Zionist Congress held in 1905 (after Herzl’ death) a resolution was passed rejecting territories other than Palestine for the creation of the Jewish State, which led a small group to leave the movement and form the Jewish Territorial Organisation. They were led by the Anglo-Jewish novelist Israel Zangwill ,and continued to examine alternatives to Palestine, arguing that the situation of the Jews was too desparate to await the procurement of the Land of Israel. However, following the British Government’s issuance of the Balfour Declaration, the Territorialists activities were undermined, and the organisation was formally disbanded in 1925.

Press cuttings in EIR-J's red photo album/scrapbook:

Death of the English writer Israel Zangwill. London 1st August [1926] (dep Havas):

Mr Israel Zangwill, the well known English writer and playwright, died today at a Sussex clinic, aged 62. Writer, playwright, educationist, promoter of zionism and feminism, Zangwill, born in London in 1864, lived his life at full throttle. Before the war he supported the establishment of a Jewish presence in the highlands of Angola, and founded the Jewish Territorial Organisation. But when, following the Treaty of Versailles, the British Government proposed to reserve Palestine and create there the colony one knows today, Zangwill opposed the plan and refused to take an interest in it. On the contrary, his committee of the Jewish Territorial Organisation sought to found another colony in the American West, destined for the members of the New York ghetto, because he was sure that the millenium would begin with America [check translation of this]. This was explored in his play 'The Melting Pot'. His works focussing on life in the Ghetto include 'Children of the Ghetto', 'The Liberators of the Ghetto', 'The Dreamers of the Ghetto' etc


From "London Opinion, for week ending 23 September 1922":

"Very pleased with a mechanical piano-player that he has installed in his Sussex home at Little Preston, Israel Zangwill is inclined to over-persuade his friends to listen to it: and when Mark Hambourg recently gave a performance at Worthing he had to go and hear an entire opera on Zangwill's machine, although at the time he would rather have heard even an income-tax collector arguing than a piano. [cartoon] Somebody told Alfred Sutro of this incident, and Sutro's rejoinder was that dear old Zangwill was the kind of man who would want to read the Bible to God Almighty."


From The Times, Tuesday August 28, 1923:

"SHAKESPEARE BY THE SEA: The Angmering Festival:

This South Coast place might this week well be called Shakespeare-On-Sea. Its new existence started today..... the week of Shakespeare was opened with a luncheon, at which Mr Israel Zangwill, Mr John Drinkwater and Mr Robert Atkins spoke...... there was a distinguished company of Shakespeare enthusiasts, and Mr Israel Zangwill, an inhabitant of the locality, whose daughter is taking part in the Festival as Ophelia, made a characteristic speech. He pointed out that the Festival was being held to commemorate the tercentenary of the publication of the First Folio, and added that at the time when the Folio was first published the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge were paying players to keep away from their precincts. When the tercentenary of the poet's death was celebrated, in 1916, there was a dramatic revenge, for it was celebrated not only in Oxford and Cambridge, but all over the world, and even Germany joined in the celebrations. There had been 770 editions of the Bible and 440 of Shakespeare's works, but the latter record was the more wonderful, because every word of Shakespeare had been written "off his own bat." The coincidenc of the fact that Shakespeare was born on St. George's Day was significant, because his was the very spirit of British genius. Voltaire thought Shakespeare was savage, but the English sense of life and its moderation and fairness was the great secret of Shakespeare's character."

From "....or Magazine - Famous Brothers":

The path to learning was steeper for the two Zangwills, who had to open for themselves, by fierce effort, the doors of knowledge. The elder, Israel Zangwill, the brilliant author of "The Children of the Ghetto" and "The Master," was born in London, and had his education at a Jewish Board School, where he later became a master. For some time he was in Bristol but was eventually back in London, where, after hard study, he took his BA at London University with triple honours. Still, even in 1887 he was so poor and unknown that he had to take up canvassing for advertisements as his "baptism of literature." He, however, gave that up when he got some encouragement by having his first efforts accepted by editors, and in 1891 his papers on "The Bachelors' Club" printed in book form, had a great success, which he followed up with "The Children of the Ghetto," in 1892, and since then Israel Zangwill has been hailed as one of the living masters of both playwriting and fiction. His "Children of the Ghetto" was dramatised in 1899, and since that time he has written several plays, produced some in America, some in London, and some on both sides of the sea. Among these are "Merely Mary Ann," "The Serio-Comic Governess," and, in 1912, "The Next Religion," which aroused much discussion. Mr Zangwill's later manner, in "Italian Fantasies," shows him as a somewhat controversial essayist. It is characteristic of the man that, when asked for his favourite relaxation, he declared it to be "hard study." Mr. Zangwill marrried the daughter of Professor Ayrton.
Louis Zangwill - "Z.Z.," as he used to sign himself - was born in Bristol and is five years younger than Israel. But he has achieved a distinct reputation with such works as "The Beautiful Miss Brooke," "Cleo the Magnficent," "The Siren from Bath," "One's Womankind," and "An Engagement of Convenience." His resemblance to his elder brother extends also to the "hobbies" and "recreations" for "Z.Z." says he likes "hard study" and "collecting old antique furniture" as much as anything. Both the brothers are great pedestrians, and enjoy nothing so much as long and often solitary tramps into the country."


From Philip Ray-Jones on the question of why the Zangwill connection is missing from the Chaplin and Skinner family book:

I went to an exhibition of Israel Zangwill earlier this year [2000] at the Jewish Museum in Camden Town, so I was quite interested in the connections. I think that Nugent Chaplin might have been anti-semitic? They were married in 1903, before Nugent published the book? [The book was published in December 1902, but it doesn't even mention William Edward Ayrton or his father's marriage in ?

The leaflet for the exhibition, which was held at The Jewish Museum, 129-131 Albert Street, London NW1 7NB from 3 November 1999 to 14 March 2000, describes Israel Zangwill as 'The Jewish Dickens,' and the Introduction reads: "This exhibition will be the first major retrospective of the life and works of Israel Zangwill (1864-1926). Born in London's East End, he was a towering literary figure and an active campaigner for political causes such as Zionism, pacifis, and women's suffrage. Zangwill was a prolific novelist and playwright, whose works straddled both Jewish and non-Jewish worlds. His best known work, Children of the Ghetto, is a classic of modern Jewish literature and his translations of Hebrew prayers are still widely in use. He coined the phrase 'The Melting Pot' in his play of that title, which was attended by President Roosevelt. Zangwill was a member of 'The Wanderers of Kilburn', a circle of talented. professional Jews who met in London in the 1880s. 'The Wanderers' included scholars such as Solomon Schechter, Asher Myers, editor of the Jewish Chronicle, and artist Solomon J. Solomon. Passionately concerned about the nature of Jewish identity in emancipated British society, they played a leading role in esablishing The Maccabeans and Jewish Historical Society, and laid the cultural foundations of Anglo-Jewry today.]


From "Hertha Ayrton: A Memoir" by Evelyn Sharp, publ Edward Arnold, London, 1926:

p.168: 1904: He was an ardent supporter, then as afterwards, of the repatriation of the Jews, and under the flag of Zionism gave indications of the imaginative and spiritual insight that is indispensable in those who work for a cause and that made him, a few years later, one of the most inspired supporters of woman suffrage. There was thus every element of a happy marriage in his unnion with Edith Ayrton, who shared his views on many subjects, being an ardent social reformer herself, and who also added to their mutual equipment a fund of practical common sense of which no one was more aware than he, the absent-minded dreamer of the Ghetto. A tale he was very fond of telling in the Ayrton circle about his small son illustrated his sense of what he owed to his wife in this respect. Seeing a snail in the middle of the road, near Far End (their house at East Preston, Sussex), Mr Zangwill removed it humanely to the hedge. "What's that for? asked the child, then a mere baby. His father explained that if the foolish snail continued to wander about in the middle of the highway it would certainly be run over. "Then why doesn't he get a wife to look after him? asked the little boy, drawing upon his daily experience of woman's sphere in married life.
William Edward Ayrton

1901 Census:

High Mead, Woodham Walter (Parish of St Michael), Essex [RG13 Piece 1690 Folio 84 Page 8]:

Phoebe S Ayrton Wife Mar 46 Electrician Born Hants, Portsea
Edith C Ayrton Dau S 26 Private means Born Japan (British subject)
Barbara B Ayrton Dau S 14 Private means Born London
Israel Zangwill Visitor S 37 Man of letters Own account Born London
Amelia Hollmann Servant S 34 Domestic Born London
Winifred Bowron Servant S 17 Domestic Born London


The Atheneum Nr 4429, 14 November 1908.

PROF W.E. AYRTON, F.R.S.

We regret to record the death of well-known engineer, Professor William Edward Ayrton, F. R. S., Dean of the Central Technical College, South Kensington, which occurred on Sunday last at his house in Norfolk Square [Nr 41]. He was born in 1847, and was educated at University College School and at University College, London. At the age of 20, he entered the Indian Government Telegraph service, where he is so distinguished himself that five years later, after having returned to England to superintend the making of the Great Western Telegraph Cable, he was appointed Professor of Natural Philosophy and Telegraphy at the Imperial College of Engineering at Tokyo. Here he remained until his second return to England, six years later, when he was appointed Professor of Electrical Engineering at the City & Guilds of London Technical Institute in Finsbury. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1881. In 1887 Ayrton published his "Practical Electricity," which he described as a "Laboratory and Lecture Course for First-Year Students of Electrical Engineering," and which was perhaps the first work impressing upon beginners in electricity the necessity of a rational method of electrical measurement. The success of the book was such as to astonished the author, and it has since been through 10 editions, and has been more than once rewritten. He became President of The Physical Society in 1891, and of the Institution of Electrical Engineers in 1892; presided over the Mathematical and Physical Section of the British Association in 1888, and delivered lectures for the same body on the visit to Johannesburg in 1905. He was transferred to the Central Technical College on its opening at South Kensington in 1884, was elected its Dean in 1904, and remained in that position to his death. He leaves a widow, Mrs Hertha Ayrton whom he married soon after his first appointment to the Chair of Electrical Engineering and who assisted him in many of his experiments, being herself the author of a book on "The Electrical Arc" and many papers on scientific subjects; while his daughter Edith married in 1903 Mr Israel Zangwill, the novelist.

Professor Ayrton was throughout his life a resolute and ardent experimenter, and his improvements in scientific instruments have been very successful, the most famous of them being, perhaps, the galvanometers which he invented in conjunction with Professor Perry and Mr Thomas Mather, F. R. S.. He was also an eloquent and occasionally humorous lecturer, and an excellent teacher of electrical engineering, many of those who have since risen to eminence in that essentially modern profession having studied under him. His health, which was always delicate, and had been declining for some time before his death, was doubtless the reason why he did not develop a greater literary output.


Press cutting, un-named and undated but perhaps from the Times Engineering Supplement:

Death of Professor Ayrton

"The Times" of this morning says: -- We regret to announce that Professor Ayrton, the well-known physicist and electrician, died at his residence in Norfolk Square on Saturday morning. William Edward Ayrton was the son of a barrister, and was born in London on September 14, 1847. He was educated at University College School and University College, and after a brilliant career at the latter institution obtained the first place in 1867 in the examination for the Indian Government Telegraph Service. For a short time he studied electrical engineering under Lord Kelvin, and in 1868 went out to Bengal as Assistant Electrical Superintendent of the Telegraph Department, being promoted to the position of Superintendent in 1871. During his term of service he took part in introducing over the whole Telegraph system in British India a method of locating a fault in a telegraph line by means of tests at one end. In 1872 he was sent to England on a special mission to superintend manufacture of the Great Western Telegraph cable under its engineers, Lord Kelvin and Professor Jenkins, and in 1873 he returned to the East, not to India, but as Professor of Physics and Telegraphy at the Imperial College of Engineering, Tokyo. There he remained for six years, but in 1879 he came back to England and took up the post of Professor of Applied Physics at the Sainsbury College of the City & Guilds of London Technical Institute. Finally in 1884 he was transferred to the Central College in Exhibition Road as Professor of Electrical Engineering, a position which he retained up to the present time.

In scientific literature Ayrton's name is closely associated with that of Professor Perry. This association dated from 1875, when Professor Perry went out to Tokyo to fill the Chair of Engineering at the College. The collaboration of the two men began almost immediately, and indeed such was the activity of the combination that Clerk Maxwell is said to have jestingly remarked that the electrical centre of gravity had been shifted to Japan. Their joint investigations gave rise to numerous papers on various branches of electrical science, and were fruitful not merely on the theoretical side. What they achieved in the development of the practical application of electricity was perhaps even more remarkable. Visitors to the Science Hall at the Franco-British Exhibition had the opportunity of examining the evolution of the wonderful series of instruments dating from 1881 to 1889, by which they gave the electrical engineer the means of measuring almost every electrical quantity he has to deal with, and which were the only electrical meters that were awarded prizes at the Paris Exhibition of 1889. Then they acted as joint engineers to the Faure Accumulator Company almost from its inception, and in that capacity they lighted the Grand Hotel at Charing Cross with electricity in 1883.

Strong believers in the future of electric traction, they demonstrated the application of electrical power to tramway's, devising among other things a surface contact or "stud" system, and they shared with Fleeming Jenkin the credit of perfecting his sister of telpherage which was put into operation at Glynde in Sussex. Their work in these directions resulted in taking out of a large array of patents and the publication of numerous scientific and technical papers. Ayrton's name in many cases alone, in others joined with that of other investigators, figures on probably 150 memoirs or more. The Royal Society, of which he was elected a Fellow in 1881, recognised his services to electrical science by awarding him a Royal medal in 1901, and among other honours he served as President of the Mathematical and Physical Section of the British Association in 1888, of the Physical Society in 1890 -- 91, and of the Institution of Electrical Engineers in 1892. His book on "Practical Electricity" has come through many editions, and been invaluable to thousands of learners, while his personal example and instruction has inspired many pupils to serious and productive research. He was a frequent contributor to "The Times" Engineering Supplement. Professor Ayrton married in 1883 Hertha, daughter of Levi and Alice Marks, who is well-known for her researches on the electric are, and has the distinction of being the first and only lady member of the Institute of Electrical Engineers. Their daughter married Mr Israel Zangwill, the novelist, in 1903.


Letter to The Times of Wednesday 11 November 1908 by Israel Zangwill:

Sir,

Allow me to correct a slight inaccuracy in the concluding sentence of your obituary notice of Professor Ayrton. Mrs Zangwill was his daughter by his first marriage with Matilda Charlotte Chaplin, M.D., B.Sc. Mrs Chaplin was his cousin, and they had several distinguished uncles, including the Right Hon. Acton Smee Ayrton, the well-known member of Gladstone's Cabinet.

Indeed, the long succession of Ayrton celebrities through more than two centuries might well supply Galton with a valuable chain of evidence. Miss Chaplin, whose brilliant career is dealt with at length in the "Dictionary of National Biography" was a pioneer of medical education and practice for women, indeed a martyr to the cause, for so fiercely and unchivalrously was the war against women carried on that she died on the battlefield in the flower of her life.

It is characterestic of Professor Ayrton that in both his marriages he was guided by the same affinity for intellectual womanhood, and although the present Mrs Ayrton was in the same line of work as himself he did not, like some men of science, absorb her life and her results into his own. On the contrary he exerted himself to have her care.er recognized as separate and individual. This was his real contribution to the cause of woman suffrage.

May I add that there was one other particular in which Professor Ayrton set an example to men of science. He was scrupulously careful not to lend the weight of his reputation to any doubtful scientific projects of a commercial order; indeed, he went out of his way to draw attention to what he considered the dubiousness of certain schemes, and in his very last days he was occupied with the thought of saving the small investor from the pseudo-scientific shark. Quite recently strong temptations were held out to him to bless a grandiose colonial enterprise, but to the disappointment of the promoters he cursed instead.

Finally, I should like to say that your admirable summary of his scientific achievements by no means exhausts the man. He wrote - as your own columns have borne witness - a nervous English of a lucidity and sparkle rare even among men of letters. His lectures, enhanced by his rare personal beauty, were fascinating in form and delivery, and his marvellous memory could dispense upon occasion with even the briefest note. In private life he overflowed with wit, humour and geniality; he was an excellent amateur actor, and even conjurer, and he was vastly exercised to unveil the methods of so-called thought-readers. He was also exceedingly fond of music, and although no form of current religion appealed to his intellect, he found in oratorio satisfaction for his emotions. Extremely economical by dint of his early strugles, he yet allowed himself the extravagance of blank cheques to friends in distress. The energy of America and Americans was one of his greatest admirations - alas! - a more than American energy was the cause of his premature breakdown. But few men have crowded more into sixty years than this literally restless worker, who, apart from his individual inventions, practically created the whole idea and system of electrical technical training, and has left a school of disciples to carry all over the world the fruits of his labours and the inspiration of his devotion to science, truth, purity, and honour.

Yours obediently, ISRAEL ZANGWILL Far End, East Preston, Worthing, Nov 10.


Funerals: From The Times(?) of unknown date:

The funeral of Professor Ayrton took place yesterday at Brompton Cemetery. There was no service in the ordinary sense of the word. Several hundreds of persons including many well-known scientific men, stood with heads uncovered in the enclosure, which was roped off.................. Following the coffin were Mr. and Mrs. Israel Zangwill, Miss Margaret Ayrton, Mrs. Charles, Mr. and Mrs. Holroyd Chaplin, and several nephews and nieces..... There were also present Sir James Dewar, Dr, Ewing, Director of Naval Instruction; Dr. Bovey, rector of the Imperial College [followed by many others in the scientific world].

Professor Perry delivered a funeral oration. He said it was against Professor Ayrton's wishes to have any religious ceremony ....... because he hought we had no right to try to express, through any simple formula, the awful and unknown conditions of death and life. Ayrton was a scientific man, and, if there was one principle which more than another was fostered by scientific pursuits it was that the most important work could only be done when there was no expectation of much reward. There were some people who owed all their happiness and distinction to Ayrton's large generosity with his money ...............

Mr. Israel Zangwill said that they were thinking that day less of the work than of the man .................. Their friend's passion for justice, combined with his feeling of many incidents of painful injustice which they saw upon this planet, kept him from adopting any religious formula. It might be too that his early work in Kapan, by revealing to him the soul of agreat self-sacrificing people, whose ideas of religious feeling were so urrerly alien to our own, made it impossible for him to find expression in any one code or creed. Mainly he was of a religious temperament - witness his love of religious music such as they had brought to his graveside because they knew it would please him. His life was full of those virtues which are usually classed as religious. His honesty was such that it rode triumphant over all those temptations which were dangled before the scientific expert by the too expert man of business. His passion for justice caused him to maintain strongly that women workeres were entitled to academic rewards; that science was of no sex and chivalry did not mean the opening to ladies of drawing-room doors while they closed to them the doors of scientific society ............

The opening meeting of the 38th session of the Institution of Electrical Engineers was last night adjourned ..... owing to the death of Professor Ayrton. Mr W.M.Morley, the new president, spoke of the late professor's achievments in electrical science. He had been connected with the Institute almost from its inception....... Professor Perry said that Professor Ayrton's methods had been adopted in every college in this country, not only in connection with electricity but also with mechanics. His numerous investigations added power to electrical science, and they belonged to its history. He was strong mentally until the end, and that memoir of Lord Kelvin which he wrote, and which was published in The Times Engineering Supplement soon after Lord Kelvin's death, was alone worthy of Goldsmith or Lamb.............

From The Athenaeum No. 429, 14 November 1908

We regret to record the death of well-known engineer, Prof William Edward Ayrton, F. R. S., Dean of the Central Technical College, South Kensington, which occurred on Sunday last at his house in Norfolk Square. He was born in 1847, and was educated at University College School and at University College, London. At the age of 20, he entered the Indian Government telegraph service, where he so distinguished himself that five years later, after having returned to England to superintend the making of the Great Western Telegraph Cable, he was appointed Professor of Natural Philosophy and Telegraphy at the Imperial College of Engineering at Tokyo. Here he remained until his second return to England, six years later, when he was appointed Prof of Electrical Engineering at the City & Guilds of London Technical Inst in Finsbury. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1881.
In 1887 Ayrton publish his "Practical Electricity," which he described as a "Laboratory and Lecture Course for First-Year Students of Electrical Engineering," and which was perhaps the first work impressing upon beginners in electricity the necessity of a rational method of electrical measurement. The success of the book was such as to astonish the author, and it has since being through ten editions, and has been more than once rewritten. He became President of the Physical Society in 1881, and of the Institution of Electrical Engineers in 1892; presided over the Mathematical and Fiscal Section of the British Association in 1888, and delivered lectures for the same body on the visit to Johannesburg in 1905. He was transferred to the Central Technical College on its opening at South Kensington in 1884, was elected its Dean in 1904, and remained in that position to his death.

He leaves a widow, Mrs Hertha Ayrton, whom he married soon after his first appointment to the Chair of Electrical Engineering and who assisted him in many of his experiments, being herself the author of a book of "The Electric Arc" and many papers and scientific subjects; while his daughter Edith married in 1903 Mr Israel Zangwill, the novelist. Prof Ayrton was throughout his life a resolute and ardent experimenter, and his improvements in scientific instruments have being very successful, the most famous of them being, perhaps, the galvanometers which he invented in conjunction with Prof Perry and Mr Thomas Mather F. R. S.. He was also an eloquent and occasionally humorous lecturer, and an excellent teacher of electrical engineering, many of those who have since risen to eminence in that essentially modern profession having studied under him. His health, which was always delicate, and had been declining for some time before his death, was doubtless the reason why he did not develop a greater literary output.


Philip Ray-Jones writes:

My grandmother (Irene Kate Pearce) told me that she was whipped at school for telling lies, because she said (quite correctly) that the light could be turned on in her cousin's (Prof Ayrton's) house by using a switch.

From "Hertha Ayrton: A Memoir" by Evelyn Sharp, publ Edward Arnold, London, 1926:

p.115: "Mrs Ayrton Chaplin, [Edith Elizabeth Pyne], a cousin by marriage of Professor Ayrton and sister-in-law of his first wife, mentions ... in some notes she gave the present writer on Miss [Hertha] Marks, whose intimate friend she became "Hertha's love of beauty..... must have been much satisfied by the unusual beauty of her husband as a young man in his prime....... She also enjoyed the beauty of her step-daughter, and though she was glad of the same gift for her own daughter she never, so far as I know, thought of comparing the two half-sisters......"......... Another mutual acquaintance...... has told me of Hertha's arresting personality and interesting conversation, adding with reference to Professor Ayrton: "I always liked being taken to dinner by him; he had such courtly manners, and you could not feel shy with him. If you were shy, he did all the talking and put you at your ease." [But] It is possible that some of his pupils did not find...... themselves at ease with him; for, as one of them has told me, "The trouble with the Professor was that he never realized how clever he was, and so he expected far too much from ordinary people........... when absorbed in an experiment [he] would not leave it for meals.... his wife was the only person who could make him remember [that] he required food and sleep."

p.117: "He knew well enough how readily any success that [Hertha] achieved would be attributed to [him].

pp.160-165: November 1901: Hertha wrote to Edie: "Isn't it delightful about the gold medal for Father? Mr Swan was putting him forward, and Professor Perry was backing him up, so to say; and we heard he had little chance, as the Council wanted to give it to some younger man. So late as yesterday, Professor Perry evidently feared Father was not going to get it, because he wrote him a most charming letter which arrived this morning, saying that Father's work deserved, not one medal only, but many medals. However, last night, a telegram came, signed Swan and Perry, congratulating him on having got it, so that's all right. Father won't show that he is pleased; but he is - very. More pleased at Professor Perry's letter than at the medal, I think!"

At about the same time Hertha failed to be admitted to the Fellowship of the Royal Society, because Counsel's opinion was that it was doubtful if the Charters (dated 1662, 1663, and 1669) covered women at all, and certainly not married women. The Royal Society could have applied for a Supplemental Charter to get over the difficulty, but didn't do so. So it was curious, when the matter was raised again in1922, following the passage of the Sex Disqualification (Removal) Act concerned with the enfranchisement of women, that the Royal Society again took Counsel's opinion, and were eventually informed that women were, as they had thought, eligible for election under the existing Charters!

p.206: On his death in November 1908 the official organ of the Women's Social and Political Union (Votes for Women) wrote of him: "His appreciation of and practical sympathy with the work for woman suffrage was at all times freely demonstrated, and the loyal support and hearty encouragement which was his unfailing attitude towards the leaders of the WSPU, whose personal friend he was, will be sadly missed by them. The world will be the poorer, the cause of humanity, with which the women's movement is indissolubly bound up, immeasurably the loser, by he death of the great and good man whose loss we deplore so sincerely and truly today."

Alan Ray-Jones writes:

My mother Effie Ray-Jones (nee Pearce) said that he was the illegitimate son of Frederick Ayrton and a Cornish fisherman's daughter. But she surely meant his brother Edward Nugent, not Frederick? William Ayrton was born in London - where? I have been unable to find any record of his birth, though the date is known, but I can obtain his marriage certificates, which should give his parents' names but may not, since illegitimacy was such a stigma. Matilda Adriana Chaplin's diary entry for 4 December 1873 reads: "Wrote to Will to tell him of his dear Father's death". Edward had died on 28 November (Frederick also died in 1873, but in June). There are several references in the diary connecting William to Edward, and none connecting him to Frederick. My mother said that, despite his fame and success in life, Professor Ayrton was not included in Nugent Chaplin's book on the family because he was illegitimate.
'Israel Zangwill and Children of the Ghetto' (Internet)

"Israel Zangwill was the second of five children. His brother Louis, with whom he shared a flat during bachelorhood, was also a writer, known as "Z.Z." Brother Mark was an artist whose work included the illustrations for Samuel Gordon's 1900 ghetto novel, Sons of the Covenant, and cartoons for Israel Zangwill's comic periodical, Puck, later known as Ariel."
Biography
From the Dictionary of National Biography 1922-1930:

ZANGWILL, ISRAEL (1864-1926), author and philanthropist, was born in London 14 February 1864, the eldest son of Moses Zangwill by his wife, Ellen Hannah Marks. His father was a Russian refugee, who had come to England as a lad in 1848, alone and friendless, in order to escape the severe decree of Jewish child-conscription instituted by the Tsar, Nicholas I. Israel Zangwill showed great promise at the school to which he was sent in Bristol, where his parents were then residing; they moved to London in 1872 in order to provide the boy with more advanced education at the Jews' Free School at Spitalfields. There he quickly distinguished himself, winning all the available scholarships. In due course he was articled as a teacher and appointed master of the senior form, having in the meanwhile graduated at London University with triple honours.
Zangwill's father was a very pious man, who throughout a laborious career as a small trader retained his connexion with the synagogue as a scripture-reader. Israel Zangwill soon discarded dogma, although he still clung almost passionately to his race, and to the end of his days exercised a very great influence on his co-religionists. He gave up teaching after a year or two, and took to journalism, a profession in which he quickly made his mark. In 1888 he wrote a fantastic novel, The Premier and the Painter, in collaboration with a friend, following this with a couple of witty, light-hearted stories, The Bachelors' Club (1891) and The Old Maids' Club (1892), which appeared in Ariel, a comic journal of which he was for some time the editor. There was much spiritual unrest at this period, and it had extended to Jewry. Zangwill was invited to write a Jewish novel for the newly founded Jewish Publication Society of America. He accepted the invitation, and the result was The Children of the Ghetto (1892), a work which at once, and solidly, established his reputation. In this book Zangwill gave the real Jew to the world, revealing him as he had never been revealed before; minimizing nothing, extenuating nothing, exaggerating nothing, handling him with profound knowledge and with affection, but also with justice. Ghetto Tragedies followed in 1893, and Dreamers of the Ghetto in 1898; both works of high quality, which powerfully influenced cultured Jews in every country of the world.
Zangwill wrote other novels, The King of Schnorrers (1894), The Master (1895), The Mantle of Elijah (1900), The Grey Wig (1903), Jinny the Carrier (1919), all of which had distinction and achieved a fair measure of success. A small volume of poems, Blind Children, appeared in 1903, and in 1910 a collection of essays, Italian Fantasies, in which he displayed both erudition and wit. But it is primarily and essentially as a depicter of Jewish life, Jewish ideals and aspirations, that Zangwill has secured his place in literature. He wrote many comedies and tragedies, all, or nearly all, works of merit; but a certain formlessness that was apparent in his novels bulked more largely in his plays and detracted from their value. The Melting Pot (1908), which dealt with the life of the Jewish emigrant in America, created almost a sensation in that country and ran for many years; and there were others, notably The War God (1911), The Cockpit (1921), The Forcing House (1922), which, although they possessed no element of popularity, revealed high dramatic gift and penetrating insight.
When Dr. Theodor Herzl came to London in 1896 to plead the Zionist cause, to which he was devoting his life, Zangwill was immediately attracted, and threw himself heart and soul into the movement. It was a time of progroms in Russia, of persecution in Rumania and Galicia, and the need was urgent. Palestine was the passionately desired haven of refuge; but Herzl and Zangwill were soon compelled to realize that this was then an unattainable dream, and that the salvation of the Jews, their land of liberty, must be sought elsewhere. The great mass of ardent religionists, however, clamoured for Zion; and at the seventh Zionist congress, in 1904, Herzl was shouted down, and his burningly eloquent appeal fell on deaf ears. He died a few months later, broken-hearted, worn out by the struggle against hopeless odds. Zangwill at once took up the leadership, founded the Jewish Territorial Organization, and for the next seven years devoted all his power, energy and time to the cause. The result was disappointing. Vast labours were undertaken, exploring expeditions sent out, masses of statistics compiled, potentates interviewed all over the world; but the difficulties where overwhelming. Zangwill addressed countless meetings and poured forth tracts and pamphlets, but at last had to acknowledge himself beaten. There was the achievement at least that the stream of Jewish emigration had been diverted from New York to Galveston, and that officials of the International Jewish Territorial Organization accompanied the wanderers on their journey, and reduced the hardships which they had to encounter.
Zangwill was a man of unflinching courage: addressing a great American meeting in 1924 he unsparingly attacked the indolent subservience of the prosperous Jews and the American cult of money. An eloquent speaker and a master of epigram, it was he who said that for the the actor the part was greater than the whole. Under a somewhat truculent exterior he was curiously unselfish and tender-hearted. His health had long been undermined by his labours and he died of pneumonia at Midhurst, Sussex, 1 August 1926. A fiery spirit, a man who all his life followed a great idea, he was fitly apostrophized by Rabbi Wise in his funeral address: 'Flame thou wert, fo flame thou hast returned.'
Zangwill married in 1903 Edith Chaplin, daughter of Professor William Edward Ayrton (qv), electrical engineer and phycisist; they had two sons and one daughter. His wife, although not of his race, whole-heartedly shared his labours and supported his efforts.
A cartoon of Zangwill appeared in Vanity Fair, 25 February 1897.

[Lucien Wold, Address delivered before the Jewish Historical Society of England, 26 October 1928; Andre Spire, Quelque Juifs, 1928; personal knowledge. Portrait, Royal Academy Pictures, 1894.] A. Sutro.


From 'One Palestine, Complete - Jews and Arabs under the British Mandate' by Tom Segev, Little, Brown and Company, London, GB 2000

Page 66: "While at the university [the University of London, as a medical student], Eder lived in bachelor's quarters together with his cousin, the well-known writer Israel Zangwill. A Zionist, Zangwill had hosted Theodor Herzl in London; like Herzl, he too assigned little exclusive importance to Palestine - any available, secure, and fertile territory would serve for the settlement of the Jews, he believed. To that end, he founded the Jewish Territorial Oranization, or JTO. Sometime later, his cousin Montague completed his studies. Zangwill sent him to Brazil to assess the potential for Jewish settlement."

From The Jewish Agency for Israel, Department for Jewish Zionist Education, website http://www.jafi.org.il/education/100/zionism/b8.html 'The Story of Zionism'.

At the 7th Zionist Congress held in 1905 (after Herzl’ death) a resolution was passed rejecting territories other than Palestine for the creation of the Jewish State, which led a small group to leave the movement and form the Jewish Territorial Organisation. They were led by the Anglo-Jewish novelist Israel Zangwill ,and continued to examine alternatives to Palestine, arguing that the situation of the Jews was too desparate to await the procurement of the Land of Israel. However, following the British Government’s issuance of the Balfour Declaration, the Territorialists activities were undermined, and the organisation was formally disbanded in 1925.

Press cuttings in EIR-J's red photo album/scrapbook:

Death of the English writer Israel Zangwill. London 1st August [1926] (dep Havas):

Mr Israel Zangwill, the well known English writer and playwright, died today at a Sussex clinic, aged 62. Writer, playwright, educationist, promoter of zionism and feminism, Zangwill, born in London in 1864, lived his life at full throttle. Before the war he supported the establishment of a Jewish presence in the highlands of Angola, and founded the Jewish Territorial Organisation. But when, following the Treaty of Versailles, the British Government proposed to reserve Palestine and create there the colony one knows today, Zangwill opposed the plan and refused to take an interest in it. On the contrary, his committee of the Jewish Territorial Organisation sought to found another colony in the American West, destined for the members of the New York ghetto, because he was sure that the millenium would begin with America [check translation of this]. This was explored in his play 'The Melting Pot'. His works focussing on life in the Ghetto include 'Children of the Ghetto', 'The Liberators of the Ghetto', 'The Dreamers of the Ghetto' etc


From "London Opinion, for week ending 23 September 1922":

"Very pleased with a mechanical piano-player that he has installed in his Sussex home at Little Preston, Israel Zangwill is inclined to over-persuade his friends to listen to it: and when Mark Hambourg recently gave a performance at Worthing he had to go and hear an entire opera on Zangwill's machine, although at the time he would rather have heard even an income-tax collector arguing than a piano. [cartoon] Somebody told Alfred Sutro of this incident, and Sutro's rejoinder was that dear old Zangwill was the kind of man who would want to read the Bible to God Almighty."


From The Times, Tuesday August 28, 1923:

"SHAKESPEARE BY THE SEA: The Angmering Festival:

This South Coast place might this week well be called Shakespeare-On-Sea. Its new existence started today..... the week of Shakespeare was opened with a luncheon, at which Mr Israel Zangwill, Mr John Drinkwater and Mr Robert Atkins spoke...... there was a distinguished company of Shakespeare enthusiasts, and Mr Israel Zangwill, an inhabitant of the locality, whose daughter is taking part in the Festival as Ophelia, made a characteristic speech. He pointed out that the Festival was being held to commemorate the tercentenary of the publication of the First Folio, and added that at the time when the Folio was first published the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge were paying players to keep away from their precincts. When the tercentenary of the poet's death was celebrated, in 1916, there was a dramatic revenge, for it was celebrated not only in Oxford and Cambridge, but all over the world, and even Germany joined in the celebrations. There had been 770 editions of the Bible and 440 of Shakespeare's works, but the latter record was the more wonderful, because every word of Shakespeare had been written "off his own bat." The coincidenc of the fact that Shakespeare was born on St. George's Day was significant, because his was the very spirit of British genius. Voltaire thought Shakespeare was savage, but the English sense of life and its moderation and fairness was the great secret of Shakespeare's character."

From "....or Magazine - Famous Brothers":

The path to learning was steeper for the two Zangwills, who had to open for themselves, by fierce effort, the doors of knowledge. The elder, Israel Zangwill, the brilliant author of "The Children of the Ghetto" and "The Master," was born in London, and had his education at a Jewish Board School, where he later became a master. For some time he was in Bristol but was eventually back in London, where, after hard study, he took his BA at London University with triple honours. Still, even in 1887 he was so poor and unknown that he had to take up canvassing for advertisements as his "baptism of literature." He, however, gave that up when he got some encouragement by having his first efforts accepted by editors, and in 1891 his papers on "The Bachelors' Club" printed in book form, had a great success, which he followed up with "The Children of the Ghetto," in 1892, and since then Israel Zangwill has been hailed as one of the living masters of both playwriting and fiction. His "Children of the Ghetto" was dramatised in 1899, and since that time he has written several plays, produced some in America, some in London, and some on both sides of the sea. Among these are "Merely Mary Ann," "The Serio-Comic Governess," and, in 1912, "The Next Religion," which aroused much discussion. Mr Zangwill's later manner, in "Italian Fantasies," shows him as a somewhat controversial essayist. It is characteristic of the man that, when asked for his favourite relaxation, he declared it to be "hard study." Mr. Zangwill marrried the daughter of Professor Ayrton.
Louis Zangwill - "Z.Z.," as he used to sign himself - was born in Bristol and is five years younger than Israel. But he has achieved a distinct reputation with such works as "The Beautiful Miss Brooke," "Cleo the Magnficent," "The Siren from Bath," "One's Womankind," and "An Engagement of Convenience." His resemblance to his elder brother extends also to the "hobbies" and "recreations" for "Z.Z." says he likes "hard study" and "collecting old antique furniture" as much as anything. Both the brothers are great pedestrians, and enjoy nothing so much as long and often solitary tramps into the country."


From Philip Ray-Jones on the question of why the Zangwill connection is missing from the Chaplin and Skinner family book:

I went to an exhibition of Israel Zangwill earlier this year [2000] at the Jewish Museum in Camden Town, so I was quite interested in the connections. I think that Nugent Chaplin might have been anti-semitic? They were married in 1903, before Nugent published the book? [The book was published in December 1902, but it doesn't even mention William Edward Ayrton or his father's marriage in ?

The leaflet for the exhibition, which was held at The Jewish Museum, 129-131 Albert Street, London NW1 7NB from 3 November 1999 to 14 March 2000, describes Israel Zangwill as 'The Jewish Dickens,' and the Introduction reads: "This exhibition will be the first major retrospective of the life and works of Israel Zangwill (1864-1926). Born in London's East End, he was a towering literary figure and an active campaigner for political causes such as Zionism, pacifis, and women's suffrage. Zangwill was a prolific novelist and playwright, whose works straddled both Jewish and non-Jewish worlds. His best known work, Children of the Ghetto, is a classic of modern Jewish literature and his translations of Hebrew prayers are still widely in use. He coined the phrase 'The Melting Pot' in his play of that title, which was attended by President Roosevelt. Zangwill was a member of 'The Wanderers of Kilburn', a circle of talented. professional Jews who met in London in the 1880s. 'The Wanderers' included scholars such as Solomon Schechter, Asher Myers, editor of the Jewish Chronicle, and artist Solomon J. Solomon. Passionately concerned about the nature of Jewish identity in emancipated British society, they played a leading role in esablishing The Maccabeans and Jewish Historical Society, and laid the cultural foundations of Anglo-Jewry today.]


From "Hertha Ayrton: A Memoir" by Evelyn Sharp, publ Edward Arnold, London, 1926:

p.168: 1904: He was an ardent supporter, then as afterwards, of the repatriation of the Jews, and under the flag of Zionism gave indications of the imaginative and spiritual insight that is indispensable in those who work for a cause and that made him, a few years later, one of the most inspired supporters of woman suffrage. There was thus every element of a happy marriage in his unnion with Edith Ayrton, who shared his views on many subjects, being an ardent social reformer herself, and who also added to their mutual equipment a fund of practical common sense of which no one was more aware than he, the absent-minded dreamer of the Ghetto. A tale he was very fond of telling in the Ayrton circle about his small son illustrated his sense of what he owed to his wife in this respect. Seeing a snail in the middle of the road, near Far End (their house at East Preston, Sussex), Mr Zangwill removed it humanely to the hedge. "What's that for? asked the child, then a mere baby. His father explained that if the foolish snail continued to wander about in the middle of the highway it would certainly be run over. "Then why doesn't he get a wife to look after him? asked the little boy, drawing upon his daily experience of woman's sphere in married life. William Edward Ayrton

1901 Census:

High Mead, Woodham Walter (Parish of St Michael), Essex [RG13 Piece 1690 Folio 84 Page 8]:

Phoebe S Ayrton Wife Mar 46 Electrician Born Hants, Portsea
Edith C Ayrton Dau S 26 Private means Born Japan (British subject)
Barbara B Ayrton Dau S 14 Private means Born London
Israel Zangwill Visitor S 37 Man of letters Own account Born London
Amelia Hollmann Servant S 34 Domestic Born London
Winifred Bowron Servant S 17 Domestic Born London


The Atheneum Nr 4429, 14 November 1908.

PROF W.E. AYRTON, F.R.S.

We regret to record the death of well-known engineer, Professor William Edward Ayrton, F. R. S., Dean of the Central Technical College, South Kensington, which occurred on Sunday last at his house in Norfolk Square [Nr 41]. He was born in 1847, and was educated at University College School and at University College, London. At the age of 20, he entered the Indian Government Telegraph service, where he is so distinguished himself that five years later, after having returned to England to superintend the making of the Great Western Telegraph Cable, he was appointed Professor of Natural Philosophy and Telegraphy at the Imperial College of Engineering at Tokyo. Here he remained until his second return to England, six years later, when he was appointed Professor of Electrical Engineering at the City & Guilds of London Technical Institute in Finsbury. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1881. In 1887 Ayrton published his "Practical Electricity," which he described as a "Laboratory and Lecture Course for First-Year Students of Electrical Engineering," and which was perhaps the first work impressing upon beginners in electricity the necessity of a rational method of electrical measurement. The success of the book was such as to astonished the author, and it has since been through 10 editions, and has been more than once rewritten. He became President of The Physical Society in 1891, and of the Institution of Electrical Engineers in 1892; presided over the Mathematical and Physical Section of the British Association in 1888, and delivered lectures for the same body on the visit to Johannesburg in 1905. He was transferred to the Central Technical College on its opening at South Kensington in 1884, was elected its Dean in 1904, and remained in that position to his death. He leaves a widow, Mrs Hertha Ayrton whom he married soon after his first appointment to the Chair of Electrical Engineering and who assisted him in many of his experiments, being herself the author of a book on "The Electrical Arc" and many papers on scientific subjects; while his daughter Edith married in 1903 Mr Israel Zangwill, the novelist.

Professor Ayrton was throughout his life a resolute and ardent experimenter, and his improvements in scientific instruments have been very successful, the most famous of them being, perhaps, the galvanometers which he invented in conjunction with Professor Perry and Mr Thomas Mather, F. R. S.. He was also an eloquent and occasionally humorous lecturer, and an excellent teacher of electrical engineering, many of those who have since risen to eminence in that essentially modern profession having studied under him. His health, which was always delicate, and had been declining for some time before his death, was doubtless the reason why he did not develop a greater literary output.


Press cutting, un-named and undated but perhaps from the Times Engineering Supplement:

Death of Professor Ayrton

"The Times" of this morning says: -- We regret to announce that Professor Ayrton, the well-known physicist and electrician, died at his residence in Norfolk Square on Saturday morning. William Edward Ayrton was the son of a barrister, and was born in London on September 14, 1847. He was educated at University College School and University College, and after a brilliant career at the latter institution obtained the first place in 1867 in the examination for the Indian Government Telegraph Service. For a short time he studied electrical engineering under Lord Kelvin, and in 1868 went out to Bengal as Assistant Electrical Superintendent of the Telegraph Department, being promoted to the position of Superintendent in 1871. During his term of service he took part in introducing over the whole Telegraph system in British India a method of locating a fault in a telegraph line by means of tests at one end. In 1872 he was sent to England on a special mission to superintend manufacture of the Great Western Telegraph cable under its engineers, Lord Kelvin and Professor Jenkins, and in 1873 he returned to the East, not to India, but as Professor of Physics and Telegraphy at the Imperial College of Engineering, Tokyo. There he remained for six years, but in 1879 he came back to England and took up the post of Professor of Applied Physics at the Sainsbury College of the City & Guilds of London Technical Institute. Finally in 1884 he was transferred to the Central College in Exhibition Road as Professor of Electrical Engineering, a position which he retained up to the present time.

In scientific literature Ayrton's name is closely associated with that of Professor Perry. This association dated from 1875, when Professor Perry went out to Tokyo to fill the Chair of Engineering at the College. The collaboration of the two men began almost immediately, and indeed such was the activity of the combination that Clerk Maxwell is said to have jestingly remarked that the electrical centre of gravity had been shifted to Japan. Their joint investigations gave rise to numerous papers on various branches of electrical science, and were fruitful not merely on the theoretical side. What they achieved in the development of the practical application of electricity was perhaps even more remarkable. Visitors to the Science Hall at the Franco-British Exhibition had the opportunity of examining the evolution of the wonderful series of instruments dating from 1881 to 1889, by which they gave the electrical engineer the means of measuring almost every electrical quantity he has to deal with, and which were the only electrical meters that were awarded prizes at the Paris Exhibition of 1889. Then they acted as joint engineers to the Faure Accumulator Company almost from its inception, and in that capacity they lighted the Grand Hotel at Charing Cross with electricity in 1883.

Strong believers in the future of electric traction, they demonstrated the application of electrical power to tramway's, devising among other things a surface contact or "stud" system, and they shared with Fleeming Jenkin the credit of perfecting his sister of telpherage which was put into operation at Glynde in Sussex. Their work in these directions resulted in taking out of a large array of patents and the publication of numerous scientific and technical papers. Ayrton's name in many cases alone, in others joined with that of other investigators, figures on probably 150 memoirs or more. The Royal Society, of which he was elected a Fellow in 1881, recognised his services to electrical science by awarding him a Royal medal in 1901, and among other honours he served as President of the Mathematical and Physical Section of the British Association in 1888, of the Physical Society in 1890 -- 91, and of the Institution of Electrical Engineers in 1892. His book on "Practical Electricity" has come through many editions, and been invaluable to thousands of learners, while his personal example and instruction has inspired many pupils to serious and productive research. He was a frequent contributor to "The Times" Engineering Supplement. Professor Ayrton married in 1883 Hertha, daughter of Levi and Alice Marks, who is well-known for her researches on the electric are, and has the distinction of being the first and only lady member of the Institute of Electrical Engineers. Their daughter married Mr Israel Zangwill, the novelist, in 1903.


Letter to The Times of Wednesday 11 November 1908 by Israel Zangwill:

Sir,

Allow me to correct a slight inaccuracy in the concluding sentence of your obituary notice of Professor Ayrton. Mrs Zangwill was his daughter by his first marriage with Matilda Charlotte Chaplin, M.D., B.Sc. Mrs Chaplin was his cousin, and they had several distinguished uncles, including the Right Hon. Acton Smee Ayrton, the well-known member of Gladstone's Cabinet.

Indeed, the long succession of Ayrton celebrities through more than two centuries might well supply Galton with a valuable chain of evidence. Miss Chaplin, whose brilliant career is dealt with at length in the "Dictionary of National Biography" was a pioneer of medical education and practice for women, indeed a martyr to the cause, for so fiercely and unchivalrously was the war against women carried on that she died on the battlefield in the flower of her life.

It is characterestic of Professor Ayrton that in both his marriages he was guided by the same affinity for intellectual womanhood, and although the present Mrs Ayrton was in the same line of work as himself he did not, like some men of science, absorb her life and her results into his own. On the contrary he exerted himself to have her care.er recognized as separate and individual. This was his real contribution to the cause of woman suffrage.

May I add that there was one other particular in which Professor Ayrton set an example to men of science. He was scrupulously careful not to lend the weight of his reputation to any doubtful scientific projects of a commercial order; indeed, he went out of his way to draw attention to what he considered the dubiousness of certain schemes, and in his very last days he was occupied with the thought of saving the small investor from the pseudo-scientific shark. Quite recently strong temptations were held out to him to bless a grandiose colonial enterprise, but to the disappointment of the promoters he cursed instead.

Finally, I should like to say that your admirable summary of his scientific achievements by no means exhausts the man. He wrote - as your own columns have borne witness - a nervous English of a lucidity and sparkle rare even among men of letters. His lectures, enhanced by his rare personal beauty, were fascinating in form and delivery, and his marvellous memory could dispense upon occasion with even the briefest note. In private life he overflowed with wit, humour and geniality; he was an excellent amateur actor, and even conjurer, and he was vastly exercised to unveil the methods of so-called thought-readers. He was also exceedingly fond of music, and although no form of current religion appealed to his intellect, he found in oratorio satisfaction for his emotions. Extremely economical by dint of his early strugles, he yet allowed himself the extravagance of blank cheques to friends in distress. The energy of America and Americans was one of his greatest admirations - alas! - a more than American energy was the cause of his premature breakdown. But few men have crowded more into sixty years than this literally restless worker, who, apart from his individual inventions, practically created the whole idea and system of electrical technical training, and has left a school of disciples to carry all over the world the fruits of his labours and the inspiration of his devotion to science, truth, purity, and honour.

Yours obediently, ISRAEL ZANGWILL Far End, East Preston, Worthing, Nov 10.


Funerals: From The Times(?) of unknown date:

The funeral of Professor Ayrton took place yesterday at Brompton Cemetery. There was no service in the ordinary sense of the word. Several hundreds of persons including many well-known scientific men, stood with heads uncovered in the enclosure, which was roped off.................. Following the coffin were Mr. and Mrs. Israel Zangwill, Miss Margaret Ayrton, Mrs. Charles, Mr. and Mrs. Holroyd Chaplin, and several nephews and nieces..... There were also present Sir James Dewar, Dr, Ewing, Director of Naval Instruction; Dr. Bovey, rector of the Imperial College [followed by many others in the scientific world].

Professor Perry delivered a funeral oration. He said it was against Professor Ayrton's wishes to have any religious ceremony ....... because he hought we had no right to try to express, through any simple formula, the awful and unknown conditions of death and life. Ayrton was a scientific man, and, if there was one principle which more than another was fostered by scientific pursuits it was that the most important work could only be done when there was no expectation of much reward. There were some people who owed all their happiness and distinction to Ayrton's large generosity with his money ...............

Mr. Israel Zangwill said that they were thinking that day less of the work than of the man .................. Their friend's passion for justice, combined with his feeling of many incidents of painful injustice which they saw upon this planet, kept him from adopting any religious formula. It might be too that his early work in Kapan, by revealing to him the soul of agreat self-sacrificing people, whose ideas of religious feeling were so urrerly alien to our own, made it impossible for him to find expression in any one code or creed. Mainly he was of a religious temperament - witness his love of religious music such as they had brought to his graveside because they knew it would please him. His life was full of those virtues which are usually classed as religious. His honesty was such that it rode triumphant over all those temptations which were dangled before the scientific expert by the too expert man of business. His passion for justice caused him to maintain strongly that women workeres were entitled to academic rewards; that science was of no sex and chivalry did not mean the opening to ladies of drawing-room doors while they closed to them the doors of scientific society ............

The opening meeting of the 38th session of the Institution of Electrical Engineers was last night adjourned ..... owing to the death of Professor Ayrton. Mr W.M.Morley, the new president, spoke of the late professor's achievments in electrical science. He had been connected with the Institute almost from its inception....... Professor Perry said that Professor Ayrton's methods had been adopted in every college in this country, not only in connection with electricity but also with mechanics. His numerous investigations added power to electrical science, and they belonged to its history. He was strong mentally until the end, and that memoir of Lord Kelvin which he wrote, and which was published in The Times Engineering Supplement soon after Lord Kelvin's death, was alone worthy of Goldsmith or Lamb.............

From The Athenaeum No. 429, 14 November 1908

We regret to record the death of well-known engineer, Prof William Edward Ayrton, F. R. S., Dean of the Central Technical College, South Kensington, which occurred on Sunday last at his house in Norfolk Square. He was born in 1847, and was educated at University College School and at University College, London. At the age of 20, he entered the Indian Government telegraph service, where he so distinguished himself that five years later, after having returned to England to superintend the making of the Great Western Telegraph Cable, he was appointed Professor of Natural Philosophy and Telegraphy at the Imperial College of Engineering at Tokyo. Here he remained until his second return to England, six years later, when he was appointed Prof of Electrical Engineering at the City & Guilds of London Technical Inst in Finsbury. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1881.
In 1887 Ayrton publish his "Practical Electricity," which he described as a "Laboratory and Lecture Course for First-Year Students of Electrical Engineering," and which was perhaps the first work impressing upon beginners in electricity the necessity of a rational method of electrical measurement. The success of the book was such as to astonish the author, and it has since being through ten editions, and has been more than once rewritten. He became President of the Physical Society in 1881, and of the Institution of Electrical Engineers in 1892; presided over the Mathematical and Fiscal Section of the British Association in 1888, and delivered lectures for the same body on the visit to Johannesburg in 1905. He was transferred to the Central Technical College on its opening at South Kensington in 1884, was elected its Dean in 1904, and remained in that position to his death.

He leaves a widow, Mrs Hertha Ayrton, whom he married soon after his first appointment to the Chair of Electrical Engineering and who assisted him in many of his experiments, being herself the author of a book of "The Electric Arc" and many papers and scientific subjects; while his daughter Edith married in 1903 Mr Israel Zangwill, the novelist. Prof Ayrton was throughout his life a resolute and ardent experimenter, and his improvements in scientific instruments have being very successful, the most famous of them being, perhaps, the galvanometers which he invented in conjunction with Prof Perry and Mr Thomas Mather F. R. S.. He was also an eloquent and occasionally humorous lecturer, and an excellent teacher of electrical engineering, many of those who have since risen to eminence in that essentially modern profession having studied under him. His health, which was always delicate, and had been declining for some time before his death, was doubtless the reason why he did not develop a greater literary output.


Philip Ray-Jones writes:

My grandmother (Irene Kate Pearce) told me that she was whipped at school for telling lies, because she said (quite correctly) that the light could be turned on in her cousin's (Prof Ayrton's) house by using a switch.

From "Hertha Ayrton: A Memoir" by Evelyn Sharp, publ Edward Arnold, London, 1926:

p.115: "Mrs Ayrton Chaplin, [Edith Elizabeth Pyne], a cousin by marriage of Professor Ayrton and sister-in-law of his first wife, mentions ... in some notes she gave the present writer on Miss [Hertha] Marks, whose intimate friend she became "Hertha's love of beauty..... must have been much satisfied by the unusual beauty of her husband as a young man in his prime....... She also enjoyed the beauty of her step-daughter, and though she was glad of the same gift for her own daughter she never, so far as I know, thought of comparing the two half-sisters......"......... Another mutual acquaintance...... has told me of Hertha's arresting personality and interesting conversation, adding with reference to Professor Ayrton: "I always liked being taken to dinner by him; he had such courtly manners, and you could not feel shy with him. If you were shy, he did all the talking and put you at your ease." [But] It is possible that some of his pupils did not find...... themselves at ease with him; for, as one of them has told me, "The trouble with the Professor was that he never realized how clever he was, and so he expected far too much from ordinary people........... when absorbed in an experiment [he] would not leave it for meals.... his wife was the only person who could make him remember [that] he required food and sleep."

p.117: "He knew well enough how readily any success that [Hertha] achieved would be attributed to [him].

pp.160-165: November 1901: Hertha wrote to Edie: "Isn't it delightful about the gold medal for Father? Mr Swan was putting him forward, and Professor Perry was backing him up, so to say; and we heard he had little chance, as the Council wanted to give it to some younger man. So late as yesterday, Professor Perry evidently feared Father was not going to get it, because he wrote him a most charming letter which arrived this morning, saying that Father's work deserved, not one medal only, but many medals. However, last night, a telegram came, signed Swan and Perry, congratulating him on having got it, so that's all right. Father won't show that he is pleased; but he is - very. More pleased at Professor Perry's letter than at the medal, I think!"

At about the same time Hertha failed to be admitted to the Fellowship of the Royal Society, because Counsel's opinion was that it was doubtful if the Charters (dated 1662, 1663, and 1669) covered women at all, and certainly not married women. The Royal Society could have applied for a Supplemental Charter to get over the difficulty, but didn't do so. So it was curious, when the matter was raised again in1922, following the passage of the Sex Disqualification (Removal) Act concerned with the enfranchisement of women, that the Royal Society again took Counsel's opinion, and were eventually informed that women were, as they had thought, eligible for election under the existing Charters!

p.206: On his death in November 1908 the official organ of the Women's Social and Political Union (Votes for Women) wrote of him: "His appreciation of and practical sympathy with the work for woman suffrage was at all times freely demonstrated, and the loyal support and hearty encouragement which was his unfailing attitude towards the leaders of the WSPU, whose personal friend he was, will be sadly missed by them. The world will be the poorer, the cause of humanity, with which the women's movement is indissolubly bound up, immeasurably the loser, by he death of the great and good man whose loss we deplore so sincerely and truly today."

Alan Ray-Jones writes:

My mother Effie Ray-Jones (nee Pearce) said that he was the illegitimate son of Frederick Ayrton and a Cornish fisherman's daughter. But she surely meant his brother Edward Nugent, not Frederick? William Ayrton was born in London - where? I have been unable to find any record of his birth, though the date is known, but I can obtain his marriage certificates, which should give his parents' names but may not, since illegitimacy was such a stigma. Matilda Adriana Chaplin's diary entry for 4 December 1873 reads: "Wrote to Will to tell him of his dear Father's death". Edward had died on 28 November (Frederick also died in 1873, but in June). There are several references in the diary connecting William to Edward, and none connecting him to Frederick. My mother said that, despite his fame and success in life, Professor Ayrton was not included in Nugent Chaplin's book on the family because he was illegitimate. 'Israel Zangwill and Children of the Ghetto' (Internet)

"Israel Zangwill was the second of five children. His brother Louis, with whom he shared a flat during bachelorhood, was also a writer, known as "Z.Z." Brother Mark was an artist whose work included the illustrations for Samuel Gordon's 1900 ghetto novel, Sons of the Covenant, and cartoons for Israel Zangwill's comic periodical, Puck, later known as Ariel."
Facts
  • 21 JAN 1864 - Birth - ; Off Stoney Lane, Houndsditch
  • 1 AUG 1926 - Death - ; Midhurst, Sussex, of pneumonia
  • 1895 - Fact -
  • NOV 1903 - Fact -
  • FEB 1907 - Fact -
  • ABT 1872 - Education - Jews' Free School ; London (East End)
  • Occupation - Writer, author
Ancestors
   
 
 
Moses Zangwill
ABT 1839 - ABT 1908
  
  
  
?
 
Israel Zangwill
21 JAN 1864 - 1 AUG 1926
  
 
  
 
   
  
  
?
 
Family Group Sheet - Child
PARENT (M) Moses Zangwill
BirthABT 1839Latvia, in Rivenishki, or Ravinisek, or Ravenishki, a small place in Russia
DeathABT 1908 Jerusalem
Marriage6 FEB 1861to Ellen Hannah Marks at Duke's Place, City of London, England
FatherIsrael Zangwill
Mother?
PARENT (F) Ellen Hannah Marks
Birth1840Zemiatchy, a village near Brest Litovsk, on the way to Warsaw, Poland
Death
Marriage6 FEB 1861to Moses Zangwill at Duke's Place, City of London, England
FatherMark Marks
Mother?
CHILDREN
FLeah Zangwill
Birth1863Plymouth
Death
MMark Zangwill
Birth1869Plymouth, Devon
Death
Marriageto Agnes Minnie Rice
MLouis Zangwill
Birth1870
Death25 MAY 1938Bristol
FDinah Zangwill
Birth1874London, Middlesex
Death
MIsrael Zangwill
Birth21 JAN 1864Off Stoney Lane, Houndsditch
Death1 AUG 1926Midhurst, Sussex, of pneumonia
Marriage26 NOV 1903to Edith Chaplin Ayrton
Family Group Sheet - Spouse
PARENT (M) Israel Zangwill
Birth21 JAN 1864Off Stoney Lane, Houndsditch
Death1 AUG 1926 Midhurst, Sussex, of pneumonia
Marriage26 NOV 1903to Edith Chaplin Ayrton
FatherMoses Zangwill
MotherEllen Hannah Marks
PARENT (F) Edith Chaplin Ayrton
Birth1 OCT 1874Yedo, Japan
Death5 MAY 1945
Marriage26 NOV 1903to Israel Zangwill
FatherWilliam Edward Ayrton , F.R.S. F.R.S.
MotherMatilda Charlotte Chaplin , M.D.
CHILDREN
FMargaret (Peggy) Zangwill
Birth12 APR 1910
Death
MOliver Louis Zangwill
Birth29 OCT 1913
Death12 OCT 1987
Marriageto Shirley Tribe
Marriageto Joy Moult
MAyrton Israel Zangwill
Birth15 AUG 1906
Death
Marriageto Sara Olivares
Evidence
[S15780] 'Israel Zangwill' by Joseph Leftwich
[S37942] Raymond Airton emails etc from 19 July 2006 (and some earlier)
[S10993] Marriage Certificate obtained from the General Register Office
[S15775] 'Dictionary of National Biography'
[S28950] Hertha Ayrton 1854-1923: A Memoir by Evelyn Sharp. Edward Arnold & Co, 1926
[S9164] Effie Ray-Jones by word of mouth or in writing
Descendancy Chart
Israel Zangwill b: 21 JAN 1864 d: 1 AUG 1926
Edith Chaplin Ayrton b: 1 OCT 1874 d: 5 MAY 1945
Margaret (Peggy) Zangwill b: 12 APR 1910
Oliver Louis Zangwill b: 29 OCT 1913 d: 12 OCT 1987
Joy Moult b: 1924 d: 2016
David Ayrton Zangwill b: FEB 1952 d: 1953
Ayrton Israel Zangwill b: 15 AUG 1906