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Dukes Place, north of Aldgate
HistoryThe Great Synagogue was the first Ashkenazi synagogue built in London, after the Jews returned to England in the late 1600’s. The Great Synagogue was built in about 1690 at Duke’s Place, north of Aldgate. As the congregation grew, the need for a larger building led to the construction of a larger Synagogue on the same site in 1722. The cost of construction was covered by Moses Hart. Between 1788 and 1790, the third and final Synagogue was built upon the same site. Although there were minor renovations in the 1800’s, that building stood until being destroyed by German bombs on 10 May 1941. A descendant of Moses Hart, Judith Hart Levy was the principal donor of the third synagogue. Following the German Air attacked that destroyed the Synagogue, a temporary building was built upon the same location. That site was in use until 1958. After 1958 the few remaining members worshipped in a location on Adler Street, London. The reconstructed synagogue finally closed in April of 1977.
The Great Synagogue in London was one of the original 5 synagogues that formed the United Synagogues in 1870, of which it remained a member. Prior to the 1870 forming of the United Synagogues, the Great Synagogue had two branches. The first, from 1853 to 1870 was the synagogue at Great Portland Street, which became the Central Synagogue. The second, from 1863 to 1870, was the Bayswater Synagogue. Throughout its history the Great Synagogue had only a small number of Rabbis. They however were for the most part long in that position for many years. They are:
- Aaron Hart 1704-1756
- Hart Lyon 1758-1764
- David Tevele Schiff 1765-1792
- Solomon Hirschell 1802-1842
- Nathan Marcus Adler 1845-1890
- Herman Adler 1890-1911
Records at the Family History Library
- Register of births, marriages and deaths of the Ashkenazi Jews, 1791-1885 (FHL film # 94658-94666).
- Great Synagogue Marriage Records, 1791-1850 (FHL book #942.1/L1 K2)
- Banks, John, Transcripts of the Registers of the Great Synagogue, London (FHL book 942.1/L1 F2b)
- Berger, Doreen, The Jewish Victorian: genealogical information from the Jewish Newspapers, 1871-1880, (FHL book #942 F2bd 1871-1880).
- Berger, Doreen, The Jewish Victorian: genealogical information from the Jewish Newspapers, 1861-1870, (FHL book #942 F2bd 1861-1870).
- Mordy, Isobel, Collection of Jewish records (FHL film #1279240-1279250).
- Pollack, Miriam, The Jewish Chronicle Project: Personal Announcements, 1900-1909, (FHL CD-ROM # 2697).
Vital Records available online
- www.theus.org.uk/the_united_synagogue/burial/our_cemeteries United Synagogue Burials
- www.theus.og.uk/support_services/find_your_family/marriage_records United Synagogue Marriage Authorisation Database.
- www.jgsgb.org.uk/An_1851_Study1.asp The Jewish Community in Mid 19th Century Database.
- www.jeffreymaynard.com Historical and genealogical information about the Jewish community of England.
- The Knowles Collection
Websites of Interest
- www.jgsgb.org.uk Jewish Genealogical Society of Great Britain
- [http://www.cemeteryscribes.com/ CemeteryScribes recording inscriptions from UK Jewish Cemeteries also includes mini family trees
- Roth, Cecil, The Great Synagogue London 1690-1940, London 1950.
- Lindsay, P. The Synagogues of London, London 1993
- Renton, Peter, The Lost Synagogues of London, London 2000. (FHL book # 942.1/L1 F2r)
- www.jgsgb.org.uk The Jewish Genealogical Society of Great Britain