Born in London to a German father who worked as a ladies tailor, Max Joseph was living at The Ridge, Knowle Hill at the time of the 1939 Register. This property is just within the Wickhamford parish boundary. He was described as a surveyor and company director and was living with his wife, two young children, two nurses and a domestic servant. At some stage he enlisted in the Royal Engineers and achieved the rank of Lance-Corporal. Details of his War service are not known.
After the War he moved back to London and became a wealthy owner of hotels and eventually Chairman of Grand Metropolitan Ltd. He was knighted, as Maxwell Joseph in 1981, but died the following year: his estate was valued at £17 million.