Florence Moser 1856-1921

Florence Moser 1856-1921

The following texts comes from the Telegraph & Argus of July 2nd 1960.

Couple Who Gave Away Over £300,000

Florence Moser in 1900 aged 44


Mrs Florence Moser was the wife of Jacob Moser, Lord Mayor of Bradford in 1910-11 and a great philanthropist.

She was the daughter of Sigismund Cohen, of Manchester and was born about 1856. Her work for the poor and needy is not so well known as that of her husband, who played a prominent part in the civic life of Bradford about the end of the nineteenth century.Jacob Moser was a Dane, born at Kappein, Schleswig-Holstein, on November 28th 1839. The province of Schleswig-Holstein was wrested from Denmark during the war of 1864 and was incorporated into the German province of Prussia.

Jacob was educated at Hamburg and Paris and came to Bradford in 1863, where he worked for some of the German exporters, W. Herelle, Jonas Simonson and Co., and Hirsch, Pinner and Co.

In 1872 he became a partner in the firm of Edelstein, Moser and Co., worsted coating merchants, and continued in that business till his retirement in 1902. A story is told of Mr. Moser going to see one of his manufacturers at Wibsey and he drove there in a horse-driven brougham.

The youth who announced his coming rushed into the office saying: “Eeh, Maister, there’s a chap come ta see tha an’ he’s come inta t’mill yard in a leather coil cart.”


Moser was 36 years of age when he married and as he and his wife had no family they both devoted their time and money to charitable purposes. Jacob was a Jew of the Reformed School and a founder of the Zionist movement. He founded in Leeds the Herzl-Moser Hospital and the Herzl-Moser Institute and paid the cost of the gymnasium at Tel-Aviv, Israel.

It is computed that the benefactions of him and his wife to charitable organisations during their lives amounted to more than £300,000.

His correct name was Moses and the change to Moser took place on account of an error in a passport which he never corrected.

Jacob took nationality when he came to England and, of course Mrs. Moser, a Manchester lady, was also of British nationality. Mr. Moser joined a lodge of Freemasons in 1863 and was a member for 58 years, often attended the meetings but never never took part in the ceremonies or aspired for Masonic honours.


In 1898 Mr. and Mrs. Moser gave a sum of £10,000 to form a “Benevolent Fund for the Aged and Infirm Workpeople of Bradford”, and ten years later a gift of £5,000 was made to the Bradford Royal Infirmary Fund.

Jacob Moser first entered municipal life as councillor for the Manningham Ward in 1896, then he represented Heaton from 1901 to 1904 and Little Horton Ward from 1907 to 1912. He was Lord Mayor of the city for 1910-11 and his year of office was marked by an ardour and completeness remarkable in one of his years. He and Mrs. Moser spared no efforts in the way of civic hospitality.

Mrs. Moser is best remembered for her great help for working mothers with young children.

She opened a small place in Wynne Street, Westgate, known as “The Nest.” Here mothers could leave their babies and young children to be cared for and fed during the day. I remember a young woman of my acquaintance who was left a widow with a baby girl and she had to keep herself and child, she left the baby at the “Nest” about 8 o’clock in the morning and collected her on her return from work about 6p.m. A small charge was made, but the nursery and dining-room were financed and run by an efficient staff under Mrs. Moser and her helpers for about 26 years.


She established the City Guild of Help, a form of organised help for the poor and distressed, a system which has been adopted in many other places on the Bradford model.

Florence Moser was a member of the Board of Guiardians for ten years and for three years acted as vice-chairman. She helped to establish homes for children away from the taint of the workhouse.

“Her method was to work from the small to the great; she was a blend of the idealist and the practical woman”.

Her ideas were well in advance of social progress and she endeavoured to overcome the injustice of many conventions of the late nineteenth century.

Florence Moser died at her home in Oak Villas on February 12, 1921, and her husband survived her about 16 months and died on July 18th 1922. The portrait of Mrs. Moser was painted by John Snowden in August 1909, when she was in her early fifties.

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Florence Moser

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Florence Moser


Florence Moser Telegraph & Argus July 2nd 1960 article in full

Florence Moser Telegraph & Argus July 2nd 1960 article in full

Florence Moser Bradford Weekly Telegraph 27th October 1911 article reproduced by Bradford Libraries.