Sir Joseph Nathaniel Lyons was a pioneer of mass catering. Chairman of J. Lyons and Co.
Born Kennington,his father being a Jewish itinerant watch seller. Joseph was apprenticed to an optician. Moved into mass catering in partnership with the Gluckstein brothers, Isidore and Montague, and Barnett Salmon, but using his name. They started in about 1887 by providing catering at large exhibitions. The first teashop was opened in 1894 in Piccadilly and this led to a chain of teashops across London, which seems to have had a strict classification - see Angel Corner House Tea Rooms. A good frontman, Lyons was made Chairman for life but apparently the power and the business acumen lay with the Gluckmans and Salmons.
Lyons successfully painted watercolours and wrote some novels, was actively involved in the Territorial Army and supported a number of charities. He married but had no children. Died at the Hyde Park Hotel, Knightsbridge.