Morris "Morry" Harold Davis (7 November 1894 - 15 March 1985)
Born at 47 Langdale Street, St George's in the East, son of Joseph and Bertha Davis. His father, a naturalised citizen born in Minsk, was a prominent member of the Orthodox Jewish community. A wholesale boot maker, he was the founder of a number of synagogues and active in Jewish friendly society movement. The family subsequently moved to Leman Street in heart of Jewish area of the East End, where his father became the landlord of a pub.
On leaving school Davis was apprenticed in the ladies' tailoring trade. In 1921 he succeeded his father as landlord of the "Brown Bear" public house. In 1926 he became landlord of a different pub, the "Bell Tavern", Shadwell. The Bell Tavern was closed in 1929 and thereafter he devoted himself to community and political activities, able to live on his parent's wealth.
In 1918 the Stepney Labour Party was formed and Davis became a member. In 1919 he was a candidate in the election to Stepney Borough Council. Labour won control of the council although missed out on winning a seat by 17 votes. In 1921 he became an alderman on the borough council, and in 1924 won a by-election to become a councillor.
In 1922 stood for election to the London County Council at Stepney, Whitechapel and St George's narrowly failing to win a seat. In 1925 he easily won the county council seat, and continued his membership of Stepney Borough Council, of which he was mayor in 1930-31 and leader from 1935.
By 1940 he had become a highly controversial figure, with rumours of bribery and pro and anti-Davis factions forming in Stepney. In August 1944 he was arrested at Hendon Station for alleged non-payment of a rail fare and inciting an employee of Stepney Borough Council to issue him with a false National identity Card. In November 1944 he was sentenced to six months imprisonment. The prison sentence ended his political career and he was disqualified from membership of the London County Council on 11 January 1945.
- Geoffrey Alderman. M. H. Davis: the rise and fall of a communal upstart. Jewish Historical Studies, vol.31.
- Oxford Dictionary of National Biography page