Moneylender and philanthropist. A jew, born in a slum in Birmingham, who worked his way into being an established travelling jeweller by 1867, when he married and came with his wife, Ada, to London. He set himself up at 17 Cork Street, Mayfair, as a moneylender to the landed aristocracy and was soon foremost in that role. With homes in Grosvenor Square, Maidenhead, and on the front at Brighton the Lewises mixed in high society.
Shortly after retiring he died at 23 Grosvenor Square, leaving an estate of £2.6 million.
His will set up a charitable trust to provide housing for the poor, the first being in Liverpool Road, where the plaque has been erected. In 2001 the Samuel Lewis Housing Trust changed its name to Southern Housing Group.
Most of our information comes from the ODNB which quotes Lewis's motto 'I lend to the Lords; I give to the poor'.