Albert Sassoon

Illustration of Albert Sassoon from Vanity Fair, 16 August 1879

Sir Albert Abdullah David Sassoon, 1st Baronet, KCB, CSI, (25 July 1818 – 24 October 1896) was a British Indian businessman and philanthropist.



Sassoon was born on 25 July 1818 in Baghdad into the Sassoon family. His father, David Sassoon (1792–1864), was a leading Baghdad merchant and a treasurer under Ahmet Pasha, the Governor of Baghdad. However, he fled after he was implicated in a corruption scandal, moving from Baghdad to Bushire, in Iran, and settled in Bombay (now Mumbai) in 1832, where he founded a large banking and mercantile business. He was instrumental in the founding of the Imperial Bank of Persia.[1] David Sassoon became one of the richest men in Bombay.

His great-great-great-grandson is actor Jack Huston.


Albert Sassoon was educated in India. After his father's death he served as head of the firm.


He was a major benefactor to the city of Bombay; among his gifts were the Sassoon Dock completed in 1875, and a significant proportion of the cost of Elphinstone High School.

In 1866 Sassoon was made a Companion of the Order of the Star of India (CSI), and in 1872 a Knight Companion of the Order of the Bath (KCB). Around the same time he received "Order of Lion and Sun" from Shah of Persia for "work in Persia and his services in development of Persian commerce".[2] In 1873 he visited England and received the freedom of the city of London. Shortly afterwards he settled in England, and was created Baronet Sassoon in 1890.[3]

David Sassoon donated Rs. 60000, while the Government of Bombay Presidency bore the remainder of the cost, Rs. 65,000, for the construction of the David Sassoon Library and Reading Room on Rampart Row, Kala Ghoda in Bombay. Its contstruction was completed in 1870 and, like many buildings in the vicinity such as Elphinstone College, Army and Navy Buildings and Watson's Hotel, it was built using yellow Malad stone. The entrance portico bears his white stone bust.

The Dr. Bhau Daji Lad Museum, formerly The Victoria and Albert Museum, was built with the patronage of many wealthy Indian businessmen and philanthropists including Sassoon, Sir Jamsetjee Jejeebhoy and Jaganath Shunkerseth.


Sassoon died in Brighton in 1896, aged 78 and was buried in the Sassoon Mausoleum, which he had had built; in 1933 his body was removed and reburied in the Willesden Jewish Cemetery in London.[4][5]


  1. Between Foreigner and Shi'is, Daniel Tsadik, page 112, 2007, Stanford University Press.
  2. Between Foreigner and Shi'is, Daniel Tsadik, page 112, 2007, Stanford University Press.
  3. The London Gazette: no. 26019. p. 545. 31 January 1890. Retrieved 2008-12-28.
  4. Sharman Kadish, Jewish Heritage in England: an Architectural Guide (English Heritage, 2006, pp. 77-78
  5. Sassoon: the worlds of Philip and Sybil, Peter Stansky, Yale University Press, 2003, p. 16

External links

Wikisource has the text of the 1885–1900 Dictionary of National Biography's article about Sassoon, Albert Abdullah David.
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Albert Abdullah David Sassoon.
Baronetage of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
New creation
(of Kensington Gore)
1890 1896
Succeeded by
Edward Sassoon
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