This attractive silk waistcoat from the 1860s was owned by a gentleman from Llandegfan, Anglesey. It is typical of the decorative waistcoats worn by men in the mid 19thcentury. Storiel has a small vibrant collection of them in its collection of costume. It is marked with the shop’s name where it was bought: John Aronson, Bangor. John Aronson was a Jewish immigrant from Prussia who with his brother Saul sold things door to door, before opening a silversmith’s and jeweller’s shop in Bangor by at least 1828. Storiel has a silver pocket watch dated 1828, inscribed Bangor 1399 S & J Aronson. In 1851 John Aronson had moved premises twice and was listed in the Bangor Electoral Register as trading independently in the building that is now the HSBC bank. In the 1850s and 1860s he produced Eisteddfodau medals, some of which may be in Storiel’s collection.
In the 19th century many Jews immigrated to Britain, escaping persecution in Eastern Europe. Several settled in Bangor and established successful businesses, also becoming part of the cultural, social and political life of the area. The two most famous figures in Bangor were Phillip Pollecoff who emigrated from Russia in the 1880s and set up successful shops in Bangor, Caernarfon and Pwllheli – the dress shop in Pwllheli still exists- and Morris Wartski who opened a jewellery and fine clothing shop in Bangor in 1895. It was the start of the very prestigious Wartski jewellery empire that specialised in Fabergé eggs in the early 20th century. It benefited from the patronage of Edward VII and the colourful 5th Marquis of Anglesey. Morris Wartski’s son Isidore became mayor of Bangor.
Phillip Pollecoff’s Russian Empire passport is on display in Storiel in Gallery 5.