Sue Young Histories

Adolf Salis Schwabe 1800 – 1853

November 04, 2009

calico printerAdolf Salis Schwabe 1800 – 1853 was a German Jew who converted to Unitarianism, a calico printer and philanthropist, born in Berlin and an immigrant to Manchester, Chairman of the Manchester School of Free Traders,

Adolf Salis Schwabe was a patient of Edward Phillips, and he was a Patron of the Manchester Homeopathic Hospital and Dispensary in 1851,

James John Garth Wilkinson had the name of Mrs. Salis Schwabe in his address book in 1895, at Glyn Garth, Bassetts Bury, High Wycombe, and also at Ex Collegio Medico Largo, S Aniello, Napoli, and 28 Clarges Street, W London (Swedenborg Archive Address Book of James John Garth Wilkinson dated 1895).

Adolf Salis Schwabe was married Julie Salis Schwabe 1819 - 1897, who founded a number of elementary schools in Naples, and she also managed the Garibaldi Schools for orphans in Naples and Turin, no doubt she discovered homeopathy there, as Cosmo Maria De Horatiis’s famous scientific trials into homeopathy caused such a storm. Adolf Salis Schwabe and his wife also lived in Paris, so it is possible they also knew Samuel Hahnemann.

The Schwabe family originated outside Berlin in the town of Dessau in Germany.  Some of the family then moved to Hamburg, and at the beginning of the nineteenth century a succession of Schwabes emigrated to England, settling in Manchester.

The Salis Schwabes counted among their friendsFrederic Chopin, Jenny Lind, Ethel Smythe, Giuseppe Garibaldi, Giuseppe Mazzini, Charles Halle, Elizabeth Cleghorn Gaskell, Ary Sheffer, Wilhelm Richard Wagner, Friedrich Froebel, Florence Nightingale, Christian Karl Josias Bunsen, Thomas Carlyle, The Empress Victoria of Germany, and many others. Salis Schwabe and his wife also knew John Bright, Robert Browning, Richard Cobden, Mary Elizabeth Clarke Mohl, Ignaz Moscheles, Friedrich Max Muller, Francis William Newman, Samuel Smiles,

Very little has been written about the Salis Schwabes. One source is Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche’s close friend Malwida von Meysenberg who acted for a time as governess to their children.

The Clinical Hospital for the Diseases of Children, Manchester: Salis Schwabe, a German industrialist who had become a wealthy Manchester businessman.

He and his wife were Unitarians and adherents of the Manchester School of Free Traders, as well as liberal supporters of good causes. Mrs Salis Schwabe was, with Richard Cobden’s wife, a prominent member of the Society of Friends of Foreigners in Distress, which raised money, among other things, to help patients of the German Hospital in London find employment when they were discharged.

Salis Schwabe would probably have done the lion’s share of the fund raising without interfering in the doctors’ work as he was already prominent and influential in Manchester and didn’t need the prestige of involvement in a hospital management committee.

In 1853 there was a meeting of “a number of friends” with the two doctors with Salis Schwabe as Chairman to discuss the project. Unfortunately, Schwabe died before any progress was made with founding the hospital and the efforts were discontinued for a time as they were deprived of the scheme’s “most efficient promoter.”

From A strong proponent of the Friedrich Froebel system of education was Julia Salis Schwabe (1819-1896), widow of a Manchester industrialist, Unitarian and educational benefactor.

She had discovered Friedrich Froebel’s philosophy during her travels in the German states, and had come to see it as the key to social progress. In 1884 she introduced Claude Montefiore, son of a friend of hers, to the Froebel Society, and he became Secretary almost immediately.

Another Manchester industrialist and friend of Julia Salis Schwabe who also became closely associated with the Froebel movement in England was William Mather.

Having established a successful kindergarten and school in Naples, Mrs Salis Schwabe proposed the establishment of a training college with a ‘demonstration school’ in England. As a result, the Froebel Educational Institute was inaugurated in October 1892 at a meeting in the Westminster Palace Hotel. William Mather became the first Chairman, followed in 1920 by Claude Montefiore.

The first Principal was Karin Michaelis (1834-1904), who had worked in kindergartens abroad and had jointly founded the Croydon Kindergarten in 1875.

As Patroness, Mrs Salis Schwabe secured the services of Her Imperial Majesty the Dowager Empress Frederick (1840-1901), the eldest child of Queen Victoria. After building delays, the college and school finally opened, in Colet Gardens, Talgarth Road, West Kensington, on 20th September 1894, and the Grand Opening by the Empress Frederick took place on 5th March 1895. The financial deficits were met by Claude Montefiore and Mrs Salis Schwabe.

Adolf Salis Schwabe’s Obituary is in The Gentleman’s Magazine in 1853,

Of interest:

George Salis Schwabe, son of Adolf and Julia, was a British army officer, calico printer and Liberal politician. He married Mary Jaqueline James, daughter of William Milbourne James, Lord Justice of Appeal in 1870.

Julia Rosetta Salis Schwabe, daughter of Adolf and Julia, married Frank Lockwood , an English lawyer and Liberal Party politician who sat in the House of Commons from 1885 to 1897.

See also /archives/2009/09/15/willmar-schwabe-1839-1917/


Any views or advice in this site should not be taken as a substitute for medical advice or treatment, especially if you know you have a specific health complaint