Salomons Family

  • This material is held at
  • Reference
      GB 2464 SF
  • Dates of Creation
  • Name of Creator
  • Language of Material
      English French Hebrew German Italian
  • Physical Description
      2 rooms

Scope and Content

Mostly comprises family heirlooms including letters, photographs, portraits, religious books, scientific books, official catalogues, testimonials, patent specifications, medals, embroideries, furniture and other memorabilia. The family also began the tradition of keeping visitors books, which has continued to the present day.

Administrative / Biographical History

The Salomons Family was a Victorian family renowned for scientific endeavour and for campaigning for the political rights of Jews and other religious minorities. The two main family members were Sir David Salomons (1797-1873) who became the first Jewish Lord Mayor of London and his nephew, Sir David Lionel Salomons (1851-1925) who was a scientist and engineer, particularly interested in photography and mechanical devices including the motor car and electricity.

The family residence from 1829 was Broomhill near Tunbridge Wells in Kent. The enlarging of the house and landscaping of the grounds continued for most of Sir David's life. Sir David Lionel continued to develop the house by adding the water tower, workshops, stables and motor-carriage houses (garages). He also added a science theatre with photographic studio and chemical laboratory attached. He also installed a Welte player pipe organ in the science theatre. This is now the only one of its type left in the world. Finally Sir David Lionel added a top storey to the house, which was made from local stone and bricks made on the estate.

Broomhill was the first building in England to use electricity for cooking and other domestic work. The first light was installed in the workshops in 1874 and in 1896 a dynamo was installed.

The house was presented to Kent County Council by a deed dated 1937 with the proviso that it be used in an educational, scientific, medical or museum capacity. From 1948 to 1971 the house was used as a convalescent home by the NHS. It then became a conference and training centre for the South East Thames Regional Health Authority until Salomons Centre was created as a trading agency of the Authority in 1993. In 1996 Salomons Centre was divested to Canterbury Christ Church College, later Canterbury Christ Church University College. In 2013 it was bought by Markerstudy Leisure (now Elite Leisure Collection) and runs as a wedding and events venue.

For a more detailed history of the family and the estate see


This collection is divided in the catalogue into the different family members and also has a section for the Goldsmid, Stern and Montefiore families.

Access Information

To view the collection please apply by email to the Curator, Chris Jones, Salomons Estate, Broomhill Road, Southborough, Kent, TN3 0TG. Email

Note that many of the items are on public display in the two museum rooms. To check opening times please contact Reception at the Salomons Estate. Telephone 01892 515152


Description created by Nicola Waddington

Other Finding Aids

Most material is numbered and catalogued in David Salomons House, Catalogue of Mementos by M. D. Brown (1968). An additional list was produced in 1995. There is also Catalogue of Medals relating to the History of Transport by M. D. Brown (1968) and Catalogue of Ballooniana .

Conditions Governing Use

Reproduction of these documents is at the discretion of the Curator and is subject to copyright and the preservation needs of the documents.

Custodial History

On the transfer of the house by Vera Bryce Salomons the family heirlooms and papers were collected together into the Memento Rooms. Anything which was left outside these rooms has not survived. This includes the majority of the estate and household records of the family, which cannot be found.


Further accruals are unlikely.

Related Material

The Salomons family had wide ranging influence and references to them appear in many types of documents held throughout the country. Other collections that have been traced so far are as follows:

  • Records of the David Salomons Society, reference SS, held at Salomons.
  • Records at the Public Record Office. On line catalogue available
  • British Library, Manuscript Collections. Correspondence with Sir Robert Peel, 1835-1849, and W.E. Gladstone, 1854-1871.
  • Other references are available at the National Register of Archives Persons Index
  • For a general survey of Jewish archives see the University of Southampton Library website
  • For early records of Broomhill Estate see Powell MSS U934 T2 and T3 held at the Centre for Kentish Studies, County Hall, Maidstone, Kent ME14 1XQ. Telephone 01622 694363.