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Description

This collection consists of fourteen documents that are all connected to the Newport-based pawnbrokers A. J. Jacobs & Sons. They date from April 1921 to 4 October 1938.

The documents in this collection include records of the items pledged to the pawnbrokers; letters requesting the return of items that had been pledged to the pawnbrokers; and correspondence between the pawnbrokers and other businesses.

One letter that particularly stands out was written by a W. Williams in 1921. It concerns two SA medals from the Boer War which he had pledged to A. J. Jacobs & Sons in 1919. The 'SA' likely stands for South Africa as Queens South Africa Medals (otherwise known as 'QSA') were among those awarded after the war. Williams wrote that the medals were of no financial value to the pawnbrokers - they meant far more to him personally. He stated that the time he spent in hospital was the reason why he did not claim them earlier.

Source.

- Forces War Records, Queen's South Africa Medal (QSA). Era: Boer War (2020) [accessed 1 October 2020]

A. J. Jacobs & Sons operated in the early part of the 20th Century. In one of this collection's documents, they style themselves as: 'The Cheap Clothiers and Boot Salesmen. Hosiers, Hatters, Gents' and Juvenile Outfitters, Jewellers and Pawnbrokers'.

Source.

- ‘A. J. Jacobs and Sons, Pawnbrokers, Newport, Records, 1914-[1950s]’ in Gwent Archives / Archifau Gwent (GB 218 D2634), in Archives Hub [accessed 1 October 2020]

Background information.

The 1850s saw the beginnings of the Newport Jewish community with the establishment of a congregation and the acquisition of a burial ground. A. J. Jacobs & Sons fits into this history as pawnbroking was a major Jewish occupation in south Wales in the later part of the 19th Century.

Today Newport has a very small Jewish population: a BBC Wales report in 2015 stated that there were only six members of the religious community living there. This is in line with the trend of declining numbers of Jewish people in Wales. This may be partly due to the children of these small Welsh congregations moving to cities like London and Manchester with far larger Jewish communities.

Sources.

- Ballinger, Lucy, ‘Jewish community in ”decline” and “feeling vulnerable”’, BBC Wales News, 11 March 2015 [accessed 1 October 2020]

- JCR-UK: Jewish Communities & Records, The former Newport Jewish Community and Hebrew Congregation Newport, South Wales (2004) < https://www.jewishgen.org/jcr-uk/Community/newp/index.htm> [accessed 1 October 2020]

- Pollins, Harold, Two Unknown Welsh Synagogues, and an Oxford Connection (2006) [accessed 1 October 2020]

Depository: Gwent Archives.

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