Tuesday, 12 December 2017

It started with two medals and a name ........... Moses Bianco 1892-1969

Now the medals were awarded to Moses Bianco who served from 1914 through to 1920 in the British Army.

The medals 
And right from the beginning I was drawn in by the name.

I thought there might be a Jewish and Italian connection but it turns out that Mr Bianco’s parents came from Syria when it was still part of the old Ottoman Empire.

I can’t be sure where his father was born but I do know that his mother, Simha, was born in Alleppo in 1848.

When the two came to Britain is also unclear but they married in the January of 1867 in Manchester when Simha was just 18 and became British citizens three years later.

Mr Bianco was a merchant but in 1883 he established the Cafe Royal just up from South Street on the northern side of Peter Street.

And it was a good choice of location given that next door was the Gaiety Theatre of Varieties and opposite was the Theatre Royal.

cafe Royal, date unknown
In 1883 he applied for permission to sell beer and wine on the premise and in 1905 Mrs Bianco sought to extend the music license from 10 pm to 11 pm because “her customers came in after the theatres were closed” and some of her trade went across the road to the newly opened Midland Hotel.*

There is no doubting Simha’s enterprise.  She had been running the Cafe Royal since the death of her husband in 1891 and four years later drew up plans to spend £10,000 and “pull down the existing premises, and a warehouse at the back ... and erect a first class hotel”.**

The Cafe Royal, 1895
She argued that this would enhance the success of the business which “had grown with the growth of Manchester, and which dined on average one hundred persons a day”.

Many of these were “commercial travellers who travelled by the Midland railway, to Central Station” which was close by and might be expected to stay at the proposed hotel given that “there was no residential hotel nearer than 600 or 700 yards away in Deansgate".

But the application was turned down with the suggestion that Mrs Bianco’s real motive was the acquisition of a spirits license which would sit beside the existing beer and wine license.

The Bianco family, 1911
And that for now is all there is.

She died in 1923 and it is unclear whether the family retained the business and what part Moses played.

Before the war he and his three brothers had worked as clothes salesmen possibly in the family business which by 1911 was being run by Albert who was the eldest brother.  Moses might alternatively have been working for his other brother Isaac who in the same year had a catering business.

The medals
I just don’t as yet know.

Nor do I have any idea how his war went, or what happened to him after he left the army.

So far there is a record of his marriage in 1920, the birth of his son three years later and the death of his wife in 1944.  I also know that he died in 1969.

Not much I know but a start.  Later I will trawl the directories  and obituaries to find our more.

Pictures; medal of Moses Bianco, courtesy of David Harrop, and the Cafe Royal, Peter Street, date unknown from Goads Fire Insurance Maps, courtesy of Digital Archives Association, http://digitalarchives.co.uk/

*A Question of Competition, Manchester Guardian, December 8, 1905

**The Cafe Royal Peter-Street, the Manchester Guardian, August 23, 1895

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