Robert Bradlaw

(22/02/1840 - 27/02/1904)

Robert Bradlaw, born Reuven Brudno, on 22 February 1840 in Smorgon, Belarus, emerged as a prominent figure in Dublin’s Jewish community. His journey from Russia to Dublin, spanning community leadership and dentistry, showcases his multifaceted contributions. He was the catalyst in creating the Jewish Cemetery on Aughavanagh Road, leasing the land in 1898l

Having relocated to England in 1867, Bradlaw settled in Dublin in 1880, marking the beginning of his significant impact on the local Jewish community. Affectionately known as “the prince of the immigrants,” Bradlaw became a linchpin in Dublin’s Jewish life.

His commitment to community work manifested in various initiatives, starting with the establishment of the Machzikei Hadass orthodox congregation at 7 St. Kevin’s Parade in 1883. This synagogue catered to the practices of Eastern European Jews who were migrating to Ireland in the late 19th century. Notably, the decision to form this synagogue was a response to alleged denial of membership by the Dublin Hebrew Congregation, a move that reflected Bradlaw’s determination to foster inclusivity.

In 1898, Bradlaw undertook another pivotal endeavour by founding a new chevra kadisha and cemetery on Aughavanagh road, which replaced the Ballybough Cemetery. His dedication to this project extended to personally securing donations amounting to £300 to fund the chevra.

Bradlaw’s involvement in communal matters reached a high point during the foundation ceremony for the Adelaide Road Synagogue in 1892, where he played a significant role in the proceedings.

Family legacy was also a cornerstone of Bradlaw’s life. His grandson, Professor Robert Vivian Bradlaw (1905–1992), achieved renown as a dentist, founding the Faculty of Dental Surgery at the Royal College of Surgeons of England and serving as Dean of the Eastman Dental Hospital from 1959 to 1970.

In the broader historical context, Robert Bradlaw’s impact as a community leader is further underscored by his role in Dublin’s Jewish Cemetery at Dolphin’s Barn, where he served as president of the Dolphin’s Barn Jewish Burial Society for several years.

Robert Bradlaw passed away on 27 February 1904 at his residence on 4 Harrington St., Dublin. His marriage to Russian-born Hannah resulted in a family that continued his legacy. His daughter, Jessie, a physician and surgeon, married Dr. George Selig Wigoder, a prominent community worker in Dublin and author of scholarly Talmudic treatises.

Robert Bradlaw’s enduring contributions to Dublin’s Jewish community and dentistry solidify his place as a trailblazer whose legacy continues through generations.

Person Photo
Connection with area: Jewish community leader and oculist who founded the Jewish Cemetery on Aughavanagh Road