Asher Asher: Victorian physician, medical reformer and communal servant

Asher Asher was born in Glasgow in 1837, the eldest son of immigrants. His father, Philip (or Pinchas), was of a rabbinical family from Lublin, Poland, and his mother, Hannah, from Holland.1 Philip Asher’s grandfather had been Rabbi Zev Wolff, a Dayan in Lublin, where his father, Asher Wolff, ran a small dry-goods store. Orphaned at the age of sixteen, Philip lived at first with an uncle, but soon decided to seek his fortune in Britain.

In London he adopted his father’s first name as his surname and worked for a while in the docks before moving to Glasgow in the 1830s. There he set up as a furrier. Glasgow was then home to only a few dozen Jews. The first synagogue had been established in 1823, although Jews had lived and worked there for some time. Like Philip Asher, the first Jews had been attracted to the rapidly expanding

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