From the website of the Jewish Virtual Library:
“Benjamin Disraeli was born Jewish and is therefore sometimes considered Britain’s first Jewish Prime Minister. In fact, he was a practicing Anglican. In 1813, his father’s quarrel with the synagogue of Bevis Marks led to the decision in 1817 to have his children baptized as Christians (ironically, when Disraeli was 13 and eligible for Bar Mitzvah). Until 1858 Jews were excluded from Parliament; except for the father’s decision Disraeli’s political career could never have taken the form it did.
Benjamin Disraeli, was born in London on 21st December, 1804. His father, Isaac Disraeli, was the author of several books on literature and history, including The Life and Reign of Charles I (1828). After a private education Disraeli was trained as a solicitor.
Like his father, Isaac Disraeli, Benjamin took a keen interest in literature. His first novel, Vivian Grey was published in 1826. The book sold very well and was followed by The Young Duke (1831), Contarini Fleming (1832), Alroy (1833), Henrietta Temple (1837) and Venetia(1837).
Benjamin Disraeli was also interested in politics. In the early 1830s he stood in several elections as a Whig, Radical and as an Independent. Disraeli’s early attempts ended in failure, but he was eventually elected to represent Maidstone in 1837.
Disraeli’s maiden speech in the House of Commons was poorly received and after enduring a great deal of barracking ended with the words: “though I sit down now, the time will come when you will hear me.” Disraeli was now a progressive Tory and advocated triennial parliaments and the secret ballot. He was sympathetic to the demands of the Chartists and in one speech argued that the “rights of labour were as sacred as the rights of property”.
In 1839 Benjamin Disraeli married the extremely wealthy widow, Mrs. Wyndham Lewis. The marriage was a great success. On one occasion Disraeli remarked that he had married for money, and his wife replied, “Ah! but if you had to do it again, you would do it for love.”…”
“After six years in opposition, Disraeli and the Conservative Party won the 1874 General Election. It was the first time since 1841 that the Tories in the House of Commons had a clear majority. Disraeli now had the opportunity to the develop the ideas that he had expressed when he was leader of the Young England group in the 1840s. Social reforms passed by the Disraeli government included: the Artisans Dwellings Act (1875), the Public Health Act (1875), the Pure Food and Drugs Act (1875), the Climbing Boys Act (1875), the Education Act (1876).
Disraeli also introduced measures to protect workers such as the 1874 Factory Act and the Climbing Boys Act (1875). Disraeli also kept his promise to improve the legal position of trade unions. The Conspiracy and Protection of Property Act (1875) allowed peaceful picketing and the Employers and Workmen Act (1878) enabled workers to sue employers in the civil courts if they broke legally agreed contracts.
Unlike William Gladstone, Disraeli got on very well with Queen Victoria. She approved of Disraeli’s imperialist views and his desire to make Britain the most powerful nation in the world. In 1876 Victoria agreed to his suggestion that she should accept the title of Empress of India.
The primrose was known as the “favourite flower” of Benjamin Disraeli, and so became associated with him. Queen Victoria sent a wreath of primroses to his funeral on 26 April 1881 with the handwritten message: “His favourite flowers: from Osborne: a tribute of affectionate regard from Queen Victoria”. On the day of the unveiling of Disraeli’s statue all Conservative members of the House of Commons were decorated with the primrose.”
From the Blue Plaques Guide:
“In March 1881, Disraeli fell ill with bronchitis, and both friends and opponents came to call on him as it became clear that this might be his final sickness. He declined a visit from the Queen, saying “She would only ask me to take a message to Albert.” On the morning of Easter Monday, he became incoherent, then comatose. Disraeli’s last confirmed words before dying in the early morning of 19 April were “I had rather live but I am not afraid to die”.
Plaque at 19 Curzon Street, Mayfair: “Benjamin Disraeli, Earl of Beaconsfield (1804-1881) died here.” (Although this is an ‘official’ blue plaque, the plaque itself is brown. Like many of the plaques from the Society of Arts and the Royal Society of Arts, some of the early LCC plaques were made of brown encaustic.)
(Disraeli) also has a rectangular blue plaque from the City of London Corporation at 6 Frederick’s Place, EC2, where he worked from 1821 to 1824.”