Sir Joseph Nathaniel LYONS , 1847–1917 (aged 69 years)
- Sir Joseph Nathaniel /LYONS/
- Name prefix
- Given names
- Joseph Nathaniel
LYONS, Joseph Nathaniel (Sir) (1847-1917). Joseph Lyons was on 29 December 1847, of Nathaniel Joseph Lyons and Hannah (nee Cohen), at 50 Lant Street, Southwark, London. He was educated at the Jewish Borough School (Kennington) and although he came from a humble background he had a great love for the arts. He began his career as apprentice to an optician and invented a device called a chromatic stereoscope which he hawked around exhibitions and fair grounds. He turned his hand to water-colour painting, exhibiting at the Royal Institute where he sold several of his works. He also wrote detective stories and co-authored, Master Crime and Treasures of the Temple with Cecil Raleigh. As a youth he composed music hall sketches and songs, which he sold in the vestibule of the Pavilion Theatre, Whitechapel. It was here that he met Sarah Pysche Cohen whom he married on 24 August 1881. Joseph Lyons was a self-made businessman of huge energy, able to seize commercial and catering opportunities that frequently required mammoth logistics to organise. Outside his business interests he was also very active in the Territorial Army and played an active part in introducing athletics into its training curriculum. It has been said that he was largely responsible for organising the first Territorial Athletic meeting held at Stamford Bridge in June 1909, which attracted 1,700 entries. He received a knighthood in 1911 for his organisation of the messing arrangements for the Territorial Army. Joseph Lyons became the company's first Chairman in 1894 and remained a Director until 1917. Under his Chairmanship net profits of the Company were consistently high during the formative years, rising from £11,404 in 1895 to £268,474 in 1917 when he retired. During this time dividends to shareholders were frequently £30 per cent and in 1907-1909 as high as £42 per cent, the highest in the company's history. Sir Joseph Lyons died, after a short illness, at the Hyde Park Hotel on Friday 22 June 1917, aged 69 years.