Page 2 - HGS Suburb News 142 - Spring 2020
P. 2

Dr David Cohen CBE 1930 - 2019

                                 bombs dropping across the   holistic medicine (looking at   steeple would make his heart
                                 London skyline. The family had   both the mind and the body)  “leap with joy”. Ensconced back
                                 a bomb shelter in their garden   led to a seat on the board of the   in the Suburb, David threw him-
                                 and David recalled the nights   prestigious Balint Society which   self into the local community,
                                 when he and his family – and   deals with the understanding of   forming lasting friendships. He
                                 any extended family who might   the  emotional  content  of  the   joined the Residents Association,
                                 be staying – sheltered there.  doctor-patient relationship. David   was an active member of the
                                 David celebrated VE Day with   was an excellent diagnostic doctor   Wednesday Walking Group and
                                 friends in Trafalgar Square and   who “really listened” to his   sat  on  the  Management
                                 remembered sleeping on the   patients,  always  giving  them   Committee  of  Fellowship
                                 lawn in front of  the National   more than the allocated time.  House. In the words of Andrew
                                 Gallery, where years later, his wife   He would not have enjoyed the   Botterill,  Fellowship  House
                                 Jillian Barker, the prominent   strict  time  constraints  of  Management Committee member
                                 arts administrator, would work   modern GP practices.   and  friend  “David was  a great
                                 and have to deal with uninvited   Music was one of David’s   supporter of Fellowship and
                                 ‘guests’ who also chose the lawn   great passions. He played the   everything it embodies and we
                                 as a place to sleep.       piano and listened ‘wall to wall’  will  all  remember  his  gentle
                                    Being only the second   to Radio 3. Through the John S.  good humour… his incisive
                                 generation of Jewish refugees,  Cohen Foundation, set up by   wisdom provided an invaluable
                                 David was acutely aware of his   his father, David championed   guide to our deliberations.”
                                 family’s fate should Hitler win   emerging composers. He strongly   David also actively supported
                                 the war. He was extremely grateful   felt that if these new composers   the Proms at St Jude’s, attending
                                 to England and the security it   were not supported, music would   one  of  its  wonderful  concerts
      There have been numerous and   offered, something that he never  ‘ossify’. Through his dedication   just a few weeks before his death.
      high  profile  obituaries  of  the   took for granted. The wartime   to music and the arts generally,   David cared deeply about
      Suburb resident and philanthropist   fear of what the Germans would   David was invited to serve on the   nature. He loved birdsong and
      Dr David Cohen who died in   do  to the  British  Jews if  they   boards of several arts institutions   took great pleasure from walks
      August last year. They focus (and   invaded led him to comprehend   including the Royal Ballet Schools,  in Bigwood. Sadly, his fourth
      quite rightly so) on the illustrious   fully the precariousness of his   the Royal Opera House, the   battle with cancer proved too
      career, numerous awards and   comfortable life, fostering a   National Theatre Development   much and he spent his last few
      achievements and the philanthropy   deep seated need to “give back”.  Council  and  the  Royal  days in the place he loved best,
      of this extraordinary man. Hugely   David was clearly a bright   Philharmonic Orchestra Trust.   at  home in  the ‘cosy’ cottage,
      academic – his alma maters   boy and when he made it    Another of David’s great   with Jillian. They would take
      were Lincoln College, Oxford and   known he wanted to go to   passions was literature. The   walks around their garden        Clara’s
      Brandeis University (Massachusets)   Oxford University, his then   bookshelves in his Temple   together, looking at flowers and
      where he was a Fulbright Scholar   headmaster  bumped  him  up   Fortune home bear testament to   plants and listening to the bird-  foodbank collection
      – the recipient of several prestigious   from the B to the A stream,  this. He set up the David Cohen   song. And it was here in his
      prizes in the field of medicine   knowing David would apply   Prize for Literature in 1993 (he   beloved Suburb home that his   In December last year Gemma   a  food  collection.  Clara  also
      plus a number of distinguished   himself  to  fulfil  this  goal  –  had to be persuaded to add his   family (including his daughters   Chapman took her daughter   made pictures to sell to family
      Fellowships to boot. But, despite   which, of course, he did. After   name)  and  attended  all  the   Imogen and Olivia, his four
      all his many public achievements   completing his National Service   judges’ deliberations, enjoying   grandchildren and his sister) as   Clara, aged 6, along to Finchley   and neighbours and managed
                                                                                                                 Foodbank to donate food.
                                                                                                                                            to raise £11.20 which she then
      and family philanthropy, David   at Fontainebleau, David went to   the discussions on the merits   well as his friends were able to   Clara was really taken by the   spent on food to donate to the
      was a very private man who   Lincoln College, Oxford, initially   (or otherwise) of the potential   say their goodbyes before David   experience and was determined   foodbank. Clara and her Daddy
      loved the arts, nature and sense   reading  modern languages but   prize recipients. It was educative   finally died peacefully on 4th
      of community. He found and   subsequently  switching  to  and satisfied his constant   August 2019, listening to one of   that she and her family should   are now working on making
                                                                                                                                            candles at  home to  sell in  an
                                                                                                                 try to help more. Clara told her
      valued all of this in the Suburb,  Oriental Studies. This included   curiosity. David believed the   his favourite operas, with his   school (Annemount) about the   effort to raise more funds to
      a place where he spent his child-  Hebrew and fulfilled David’s   power of culture was both   cherished Jillian.   foodbank and it was decided   spend on food for the foodbank.
      hood. In later years, David would   desire  to  gain  a  greater  ‘healing and edifying’. It is   David Cohen was a modest,
      return to the Suburb, feeling that   knowledge of Judaism and his   worth noting that many of the   unassuming, perhaps even an   that the school would organise   Well done Clara!
      he had “come home”.        heritage. After graduating, David   winners went on to win the   old-fashioned man, who valued
         David  Cohen  was  the  did a  postgraduate  degree in   Nobel Prize for Literature,  people, culture and community
      grandson of Eastern European   Jewish Philosophy at Brandeis   Seamus  Heaney  and  V.S.  and spent his life nurturing them.   Free Church
      immigrants who had fled the   University as a Fulbright Scholar.  Naipaul to name just two.  He will, clearly, be remembered   food bank update
      pogroms of the 1800s and   He was the first of his family to   David  moved  back  to  the   for his philanthropy but also,
      settled in London’s East End   go to university and their pride   Suburb in 2001. He and Jillian   by those who knew the private   Throughout the year the Free   However, due to the restrictions
      where they set up a dairy   must have been immense given   chose a “simple and authentic”  man, for his wonderful dry wit
      business. At the age of 12,  such prestigious institutions.  Arts and Crafts style cottage in   which he maintained right up   Church  collects  and  delivers   in place it isn’t possible to deliver
                                                                                                                 food weekly to the food bank in
                                                                                                                                            at the moment. They understand
      David’s father, John, had to   David’s parents understood the   Temple Fortune (within the   until the end of his life. David   Colindale.  Pat  and  Lisa,  the   this, and would be pleased to
      take over the dairy when his   value of a good education and   Suburb boundary). As a young   had wished heaven to be a place   friendly helpers there are always   receive money gifts as they have
      father died. Clearly an astute   David would have quite happily   boy, David had often walked   where there were no mobile
      and   prescient  businessman,  remained an academic. However,  around the streets of the Suburb   phones,  all  grammar  was  grateful for contributions of non-  ways of accessing supplies directly.
                                                                                                                                              You may be supporting other
                                                                                                                 perishable food and many people
      John started to speculate and   his father, John, wanted his son   with  his  father,  discussing  the   correct, composers’ names were   within the church and from the   requests for help, but if you
      invest in property, purchasing a   to do something more worldly   rich and varied architecture and   pronounced right and there   Suburb community add to this   would like to learn more about
      plot of land in, what is now   and David became an estate   he wanted to be back in the   were double portions of ice
      Winnington Road but back then   agent – an unlikely career move   place he had loved so much. On   cream. Let’s hope he was   collection. Food is given out   their work, or make a donation,
                                                                                                                 twice a week and they welcome
                                                                                                                                            further details can be found at
      was  merely  farmland.  John   for such a shy academic.  return journeys to the Suburb,  pleasantly surprised.  and serve many needy families.
      built a family home and moved   David’s interest in people   the first sighting of St Jude’s   SHELLEY-ANNE SALISBURY
      his family there in 1938. The   finally led him to change
      Cohen family became members   direction and he went on to                                                    Tell the grandchildren
      of Hampstead Garden Suburb   study Medicine at the age of 30,
      Synagogue in Norrice Lea and   qualifying when he was 36 at                                                While we have unexpected time   record  them  on  your  phone.
      the young David walked across   Westminster Hospital.  He  took
      fields to University College   his career as an NHS GP                                                     to mull over our own lives as we   Not only will your own memories
                                                                                                                                            be there for your family, but the
                                                                                                                 sit at home self-isolating, how
      School in Hampstead. War broke   seriously and, true to the                                                many of us wish we had asked   HGS Virtual Museum (www.
      out soon afterwards and David   academic he was, never stopped                                             our parents and grandparents would love
      recalled hearing and seeing   learning. His deep interest in
                                                                                                                 much   more  about  theirs?  to hear from you too. The plan
                                                                                                                 Whether old or young, this   is to pull together all the memories
                                                                                                                 might be a great time to write   we receive and create a unique
                                                                                                                 down and record your own   perspective on Suburb history.
                                                                                                                 memories of life on the Suburb   Over to you... Memories to
                                                                                                                 – little anecdotes, memories of   marjorie.harris@hgsheritage.
                                                                                                                 past friends and neighbours, things, or send them to HGS
                                                                                                                 that happened here on great   Heritage, 48 Erskine Hill, NW11
                                                                                                                 occasions or just little family   6HG. Don’t forget to include
                                                                                                                 ones, photographs... Write them   your name and phone number.
                                                                                                                 by  hand  or  on  the computer,        MARJORIE HARRIS

         ✓                                                                                                             P R HARTLEY
         ✓                                                                                                          CHARTERED ACCOUNTANT

                                                                                                                      & REGISTERED AUDITOR
                                                                                                                   Accounting & Taxation Services

                                                                                                                     Call 020 8731 9745 or 07850 634395

      2                                                                                         SUBURB NEWS IS PRODUCED AND DELIVERED TO YOU BY RESIDENTS ASSOCIATION VOLUNTEERS
   1   2   3   4   5   6   7