Barnet & Freda Shenkin

Barnet Shenkin was born in Daugavpils, Latvia in 1882, and his wife Freda Monfried in Riga, Latvia in 1892. They moved to Glasgow, and in lived at 25 Moray Place (now 52 Marywood Square) from around 1925 to after 1949.

Barnet was an importer of oriental carpets, at Wolfson & Shenkin, 58 West Regent street, and later B Shenkin & Co. The firm merged with Mercado in the 1950s, when his son Lennie and Bobby Mercado developed a partnership over a game of bridge . Barnet died in 1950 in Glasgow.

Their son Louis Shenkin was born in Glasgow on 17 January 1917, and was educated at the fiercely academic Hutchesons’ Grammar School, on the south side of the city.

Shenkin then went on to study dentistry before being attracted into the family business, with which he remained for more than 60 years.

He was a leading administrator in bridge for more than a decade as Chairman of the British Bridge League, and an occasional non-playing captain of British teams, and an international bridge player in his own right. In 1949 he was a member of the first Scottish team to reach the final of the Gold Cup, Britain’s premier event, losing only narrowly.

He represented Scotland in the Home Internationals on eight occasions between 1949 and 1963, partnering his brother Lennie. His son, Barnet, represented both Britain and Scotland at bridge, and now lives in the US where he teaches and writes on bridge. In 1976 Louis Shenkin, as chairman of the BBL, presented the trophy for Britain’s leading Invitation Pairs event to the winner, his son. Louis died on 22 April 2003 .

His brother Lennie married Sarah Sar of Newark Drive in 1949 .

The family were prominent members of the jewish community in Glasgow, in particular Reform Judaism. Louis’ wife, Mamie, wrote a history of the Glasgow Reform Synagogue, 1934-94. Currently based in Newton Mearns, the synagogue was first located in the house at 39 Queen Square in Strathbungo for a few years from 1936, later in Albert Road and briefly Langside Halls, and then at 306 Albert Drive.


Forthcoming marriages. Glasgow Herald. 1949 Jul 8;
HeraldScotland [Internet]. [cited 2020 Jul 5]. Celebrating expansion with a Lang red carpet. Available from:
Louis Shenkin. 2003 May 12 [cited 2020 Jul 5]; Available from:


  1. Douglas Anderson

    July 8, 2020 at 5:57 pm

    I love these posts. What an interesting family. I wonder why they left Latvia in the twenties and what made them decide on Glasgow….but I am glad that they did.

    • They left because of extreme antisemitism in the late 19th century in Czarist Russia. Latvia was a part of the czarist empire. Barnett the elder was the second youngest of 9 siblings.
      Barnett’s sister Rokhel recalled that Jewish families had to board up their windows every Easter as Christians would throw stones at their windows after church.
      Barnett’s sister-in-law was the first to leave. She got to Glasgow and opened up a tobacconist shop and made enough money to send back to the family in Latvia for ships fares to Scotland. If you are interested to hear an interesting story involving a hidden stash of money and civilian clothes to enable another sibling to escape from the army, please provide me with your email address and I’ll send you the story

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