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East London Synagogues, London

The Rothschild family have traditionally been strong supporters of London's synagogues. Although the United Synagogue only came into existence in 1870, the roots of the movement toward unification can be traced back to 1835.  This year saw the signing of the treaty between the Hambro', Great and New synagogues which centralised the distribution of aid to the poor affiliated to all three synagogues.  The proposer of the treaty was Nathan Mayer Rothschild (1777-1836). Nathan served as warden of the Great Synagogue in 1818 along with his brother-in-law Solomon Cohen. He first proposed the idea in 1823 and hosted negotiations at New Court in 1824. 

The Hackney & East London Synagogue

From 1881 to 1885, the Congregation worshipped in a private house in 43 Darnley Street, Hackney, London E9, anf from 1885 to 1896, the Congregation used an iron building on a site in Devonshire Road (now Brenthouse Road in Hackney. The 1885 opening ceremony was carried out by Samuel Montagu MP and the building consecrated by Rev D. Wasserzbug. The Devonshire Road site, which had initially been leased by the Congregation at a rental of £22 per annum, was purchased in June 1892 for £500, and a new synagogue was built in 1896 and opened by Lionel (Walter) Rothschild (1868-1937), with a gold ceremonial key. It was consecrated in 1897 in a ceremony led by the Chief Rabbi, Rev Dr. Hermann Adler. In 1910, the synagogue was renovated and rededicated and, in 1936, it was enlarged and reconstructed. The building included a large hall on the lower ground floor, which could be converted into nine classrooms, a main shul on the ground floor and a ladies gallery on the first floor. The synagogue could accommodate a congregation of 500 along with 300 children. It was a constituent synagogue of the United Synagogue since 1897, the congregation's members having earlier been admitted the organisation's burial society in 1886. In 1935, the Congregation (then known as the South Hackney Synagogue) amalgamated with the Central Hackney Synagogue, and was thereafter known as the Hackney Synagogue. This was the first amalgamation of synagogues in the history of the United Synagogue. As a result of the amalgamation, the Synagogue building was enlarged and reconstructed (which also entailed the purchased of the adjoining site at 22 Devonshire Road). In 1976, Stoke Newington Synagogue was incorporated. In 1993, East London Synagogue was incorporated, whereupon the Congregation (then known as the Hackney Synagogue) changed its name to East London and Hackney Synagogue, shortly afterwards adopting its present name.

The East London Synagogue (former)

The synagogue was located at 52 Rectory Square, Stepney Green, London. Formed in 1877, it was the first synagogue to be erected under the auspices of the United Synagogue. The synagogue was closed and sold in 1987, and the building converted to into apartments. Congregates initially moved into an adjoining community centre. In 1993, remaining congregants merged with Hackney Synagogue, which changed its name to Hackney & East London Synagogue. It was a constituent synagogue of the United Synagogue from 1877 until its closure. Nathaniel, 1st Lord Rothschild (1840-1915) left money to the synagogue in his will to support education.

East London Synagogues: sundry publications and ephemera, 1927; 1947; 1997

000/1674/1-3, 3 items

East London Synagogues: sundry publications and ephemera, 1927; 1947; 1997

  • Hackney Synagogue 50th Jubilee 1897-1947, Jubilee booklet (photocopy) (000/1674/1)
  • Hackney & East London Synagogue Centenary 1897-1997, Centenary booklet (photocopy) (000/1674/2)
  • Bookplate for East London Synagogue Stepney, 1927, in the name of the Nathaniel, 1st Lord Rothschild Memorial. Bookplates such as these were pasted into books given as prizes, gifts or awards at the Synagogue. (photocopy) (000/1674/3)