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The Mond Bequest at King's College London: A Celebration

Frida and Ludwig Mond

Frida Mond's familyFrida Mond's familyThe collections which Frida Mond’s executors presented to King’s had been assembled over some forty or fifty years. They bear witness in equal measure to two things above all: Frida’s attachment to her German cultural roots, and the wealth, status and social ambitions which she and her husband, the scientist and industrialist Ludwig Mond, had acquired in their adopted home.

Frederike Löwenthal was born in Cologne in 1847. At the age of nineteen, in 1866, she married her cousin Ludwig (b. 1839), then an up-and-coming young industrial chemist. The couple moved to England in pursuit of Ludwig’s blossoming business interests almost immediately.

Frida Mond in later lifeFrida Mond in later lifeThere, his growing success saw them established first in Farnworth in Lancashire, then next to his new industrial plant at Winnington in Cheshire, and finally in London (from 1884) and at Combe Bank, near Sevenoaks (1907).

Ludwig Mond’s scientific and commercial achievement can be measured by the fact that the business he founded was eventually to become one of the principal constituent companies of ICI.

But growing financial and commercial status was also accompanied by increasing social standing for the both Ludwig and Frida, and a growing role in the worlds of learning and the arts.

Henriette HertzHenriette HertzLudwig’s scientific eminence and curiosity was matched on Frida’s part by an equally passionate enthusiasm for literature and art; and in these cultural interests, she was aided and abetted by her still more gifted former school-friend Henrietta Hertz (1846-1913), who had been summoned from Germany to keep her company in the early, lonely days in England, and had remained with her ever since.

By the time of their deaths, in 1909 and 1923 respectively, Ludwig and Frida had made an extraordinary contribution to British cultural life as well as to British science and industry.

References:

  • J.M. Cohen, The Life of Ludwig Mond (Methuen 1956)
  • J.L. Rischbieter, Henriette Hertz, Mäzenin und Gründerin der Bibliotheca Hertziana in Rom (Steiner 2004)
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