The Survey of the Jewish Built Heritage in the UK and Ireland, begun in 1997, recorded more than 350 synagogues and Jewish sites that date from before World War II. Several dozen Jewish heritage sites have been included on the National Heritage List: Click to see a list of these sites, arranged by region.
English Heritage produced a PHOTO ESSAY on Jewish heritage sites in the UK, in 2006.
NOTE: Use the Search Function of this web site to find news items and updated information about various sites that may not be listed here.
GENERAL HERITAGE SITES
Arranged geographically, by region — a list from the JCR-UK web site.
Details of more that 1,200 present and former Jewish congregations across the British Isles, with searchable databases. It includes an easily consulted list of Jewish Heritage sites in the British Isles, arranged geographically.
The site also includes a list of synagogues in the UK that were damaged or destroyed by German bombing in World War II
Jewish Heritage UK closed its office at the beginning of 2017. Its extensive web site with information, news, photographs, project and threat reports and other details of Jewish historic architecture, synagogues, and cemeteries in the UK remains online, but it is unclear whether it will be updated, and some links to resources do not function.
A comprehensive web site, an initiative of the Spiro Ark, that explores “British Jewish physical and cultural heritage – synagogues, religious buildings, cemeteries, Jewish homes and communities, places of work, industry and technology, castles, historical sites, key personalities and more.” It now forms part of the AEPJ collection of European Jewish Heritage Routes.
The site has links to Jewish heritage trails in nearly 30 localities, with more planned. Routes include: London, Bath, Bradford, Brackley, Brighton & Hove, Canterbury, Cheltenham, Bury St. Edmunds, Dover, Guildford, Hull, Leeds, Lincoln, Northampton, Oxford, Ramsgate, Sheerness & Blue Town, Stroud….
The web site also has links to many institutions and other resources.
In setting up the routes, JTrails stated aims, including:
— Each trail will have a clear map of sites, places and heritage, with a history and chronology of the community and sites. There will be plenty of interactive features to allow contributions of photographs, memorabilia, family stories etc, and there will be special areas for school age children and educators, as well as discussion forums and archive areas.
— We will train and set up a national network of accredited Jewish heritage guides and work to make Anglo-Jewish heritage tourism part of mainstream tourism and to promote the growth of Jewish tourism in Engand.
— We will establish a group of Jewish ‘Heritage Guardians’ who will follow a course of Anglo-Jewish history, with a focus on their local heritage, and who will work with national and local Jewish heritage bodies in promoting and preserving it.
— We will work with museums and other heritage providers to improve the presentation, interpretation and visibility of Anglo-Jewish heritage, and help them to identify unrecognised Jewish heritage in their collections.
— We will introduce a physical presence for trails where possible, in the form of trail indicators, plaques, the provision of Jewish Heritage Guide books at tourism centres, heritage providers, book shops and faith and community buildings.
The project, funded by the National Heritage Lottery, has extensive photo and image collections that can be browsed online
Web site of a 4-year research project funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council commencing in October 2019. The project focuses on country houses owned, renewed and sometimes built by Jews and those of Jewish origin. Its aim is to “write these houses and their owners back into British, European and Jewish history and to establish their importance as sites of European – and Jewish – memory.”
Searchable database of Jewish Cemeteries in the U.K. – history, maps, epitaphs, inscriptions, photographs, numerous resources. It has a blog with news and articles.
An article by Rabbi Bernard Susser, providing history and details of Jewish cemeteries in the counties of Cornwall, Devon, Avon and Gloucester, the earliest dating back to the second half of the 18th century.
Kadish, Sharman. “The Situation, Preservation, and Care of Jewish Cemeteries in the United Kingdom.” In Jewish Cemeteries and Burial Culture in Europe. ICOMOS, 2011, 82-87
Anglo-Jewish Burial Grounds: Post-Resettlement Period. Report prepared for English Heritage, published January 2020.
Jewish Burial Grounds: Understanding Values. Report prepared for English Heritage, December 2015.
Mainly oriented to genealogy, with a searchable database of Anglo-Jewish community records.
SITES (England – see other pages in sidebar for Scotland, Northern Ireland, Wales, Gibraltar)
Links and information for many if not most heritage sites in London and around the UK can be found in the web sites listed above. Here below, we provide links to heritage sites that have their own web sites or other more extensive online information.
Probably the most comprehensive listings for Jewish London. The page has many links, maps, articles, including list of cemeteries and link to synagogal organizations.
Detailed site, with photos, descriptions, walking routes, etc., in East London’s historic Jewish district.
4 Heneage Lane
London EC3A 5DQ (Entry on Bevis Marks)
Tel: +44 (0) 20 7626 1274
Britain’s oldest standing synagogue, founded in 1701 and still in use by the Spanish and Portuguese congregation.
41 Dunstan Road, London NW11 8AE
Tel: 020 8455 2460
A grade II listed building that opened in 1922 and celebrated the centenary of its inception in 2015.
Click to see an online exhibit marking the anniversary.
St. Petersburgh Place, Bayswater
London W2 4JT
Tel: +44 (0) 20 7229 2631
Grandly opulent synagogue, dedicated in 1880, designed by George Audsley and similar in design to the Princes Road synagogue in Liverpool which Audsley also designed. A Grade 1 Listed Building, it features magnificent stained glass windows designed and made by N. H. J. Westlake.
When it opened, the Jewish Chronicle described its opulence and eclectic architecture: “…Externally, the building is constructed of red brick, with the leading ornamental portions in red stone…the central gable rising to the height of about 77 feet is flanked by two square turrets 94 feet in height finished with open tabernacles and domes…In the central gable is placed a magnificent doorway deeply recessed and elaborately ornamented. The doors are of teak hung with bold wrought iron hinges…The seating, which affords accommodation for about 800 persons throughout, and the doors and gallery fronts are of polished pitch pine; the doors and panels of the gallery fronts display wood of remarkable richness and rarity. Probably no such wood is to be seen in any public building in London…“
The synagogue web site has extensive information on the architecture and history of the building, as well as a visitors’ guide and useful information for visitors and links to other articles and resources.
4a Sandys Row Spitalfields, London | E1 7HW
Tel: +44 (0) 20 7377 6196
London’s oldest Ashkenazi Synagogue, established in a converted French chapel in 1867-70, and the last fully functioning Jewish community in what was once the heart of the Jewish East End.
Hoop Lane, Golders Green London. NW11 7EU
Tel: +44 (0) 20 8455 2569
Founded in 1897 and the burial place of many notables.
Queen Mary University of London
Mile End Road, London, E1
Listed in 2014 as a Grade II site on the Register of Parks and Gardens, the cemetery is situated entirely within the grounds of Queen Mary University of London. It is the sole remaining portion of one of Britain’s earliest post-Resettlement Jewish cemeteries, whose connection with the London Sephardi community goes back nearly three centuries; an expression of distinctive Sephardi burial practices, and especially the avoidance of all upright monuments; and one of only two exclusively Sephardic cemeteries in England.
Willesden Jewish Cemetery
Tel: 020 8950 7767
The cemetery, opened in 1873, includes more than 20,000 graves and one of the largest and most important of England’s Victorian-era Jewish burial places. It is currently framing plans for its conservation and development as a heritage site as well as to make it more accessible to the public.
In 2017 its complex of three Victorian buildings was entered as a Grade II site on England’s National Heritage List. The complex was built in Gothic Revival style in 1872-73 by Nathan Solomon Joseph as part of his comprehensive design for the cemetery. It includes a Prayer Hall or ‘ohel’, a Cohanim Room, and a Mortuary or ‘bet taharah’, together with a WC Range (extended in the early C20). (An Assembly Hall or ‘Portico’ was added to the Prayer Hall in 1929, to the design of Harry Wharton Ford, and an additional WC block was added to the Mortuary and WC Range in the early 20th century).
REGIONS OF ENGLAND
Located on Bradford Road, Combe Down, it was founded in the 1830s; earliest gravestone dates from 1842, latest from 1921; the prayer house is listed as an English Heritage site. It developed in the Georgian era, thanks to the growing number of visitors to Bath.
The cemetery was in overgrown and dilapidated condition, but underwent clean-up and repair around 2006 that to the Friends of the Bath Jewish Cemetery group.
BRIGHTON and HOVE
Designed by local architect Thomas Lainson and opened in 1875, the synagogue is a Grade II* Listed Building for its extremely ornate interior decoration, which is officially described as “an extremely sumptuous example of late 19th century craftsmanship.“
The web site includes a history of the building, description of the interior and a photo gallery.
Two former synagogues are also Grade II listed:
Former Synagogue – 37-39 Devonshire Place, Brighton. Built in 1837-8.
Former Synagogue – 26 Brunswick Terrace, Hove BN3 (Rooftop private Synagogue of Phillip Saloman ca. 1850s) – Listed Grade II
Florence Place Cemetery
Ditchling Road, Brighton BN1
Established in 1826 and the oldest Jewish cemetery in Brighton/Hove. The red-brick, peak-roofed, hexagonal Cemetery chapel, built in 1893 in “Queen Anne” style, is listed as a Grade II building.
Meadow View Jewish cemetery
off Bear Road
Brighton’s second Jewish cemetery, still in use, has a Holocaust memorial.
Paston Place Kemp Town
Today part of the Hanbury Arms pub, the mausoleum — a Grade II listed building — was constructed in 1892 by Sir Albert Sassoon in an oriental style resembling that of the Royal Pavilion. Sir Albert and his son Edward were buried there, but their remains were transferred to London when the building was sold in 1933.
Mary Arches Street, Exeter EX4 3BA
Built in 1763, it the third oldest in England and a Grade II listed building. A major restoration of the building took place in 1998. You can read about the restoration, with drawings and comments.
Located on Magdalen Road on the edge of Bull Meadow. It was established in 1757. The earliest legible tombstone is from 1807.
The site includes links to other resources about the Jewish community
Smithick Hill, TR11
Built in 1806-09 it remained in use as a synagogue until 1879. Today it is a dwelling, and also a Grade II listed building. Historic England describes it as “An early and historically significant example of an English synagogue, remarkably similar in style to contemporary non-conformist chapels.”
Ponsharden Falmouth TR11
Historic cemetery opened in 1780 and closed around 1913. It is one of only 25 extant Jewish burial grounds nationwide founded before 1830. It is listed by Historic England as a Scheduled Ancient Monument. It says:
The Falmouth Jewish cemetery in particular provides a good, relatively little-disturbed example of such a burial ground, situated outside the urban area as required by Jewish law and with simple upright gravestones in the Ashkenazi tradition but unusual in its NNE-SSW orientation of the graves, against the tradition of aligning graves towards Jerusalem. The surviving evidence for an ohel is very rare. The cemetery also provides important evidence of the social development of the Jewish community both nationally and locally. The well-documented circumstances surrounding its foundation confirm its origins in the mid-18th century expansion of the Jewish community from London into the English provinces.
The web page on the Cemetery Scribes web site lists burials and has photos of many of the gravestones and epitaphs.
Synagogue (Leicester Hebrew Congregation)
Highfield Street, Leicester LE2
Red brick synagogue with a tall central tower, built in 1897-8 and designed by Arthur Wakerley. It is still used by its Orthodox congregation. Historic Enland lists it as a Grade II building, saying it is a “well-designed, finely-detailed and virtually unaltered example of a synagogue of the period.”
Leicester LE3 9QG
Established in 1902, this is the only Orthodox Jewish cemetery serving Leicester and vicinity. There are about 900 burial plots. Thanks to volunteers, and supported by the National Lottery, the cemetery has been fully mapped and documented, with all headstones photographed — all can be accessed on the cemetery web site, which has a searchable database for gravestones.
Active Jewish community, one of the most magnificent synagogues in the UK, Jewish cemeteries and other institutions.
Liverpool L8 1TG
Tel: +44 (0) 151 709 3431
Fax: +44 (0) 151 709 4187
Designed by two Christian architects, the brothers William James Audsley and George Ashdown Audsley, from Edinburgh, and built in 1874 to replace an earlier shul, this magnificent synagogue with a big rose window above the arched portal is a Grade I listed building. Historic England calls it “one of the finest ‘cathedral’ synagogues in Europe” whose “eclectic orientalist design represents links with the both the Holy Land and western society. Lavish and ornate interior of exceptional quality displays Moorish, Classical, Egyptian Gothic and Romanesque influences.”
Greenbank Drive (former) synagogue
Red-brick, art deco synagogue designed by the noted Liverpool architect Sir Ernest Alfred Shennan and built in 1936/37. It served its congregation until January 2008, when dwindling numbers forced the community to move and close the building. A 2008 proposal to turn it into apartments was blocked — thanks to the efforts of the 20th Century Society, which got the building upgraded to Grade II* heritage status — and the building stood empty since then, in deteriorating condition. In 2017, the official go-ahead was granted to convert the disused synagogue into 22 apartments, as well as build 36 new apartments within the grounds.
Founded in 1835 and the burial place of leading Jewish business, the cemetery lay derelict for most of the past century: its last recorded burial was in 1929. A fullscale restoration of the cemetery was completed in April 2012 thanks to a £494,000 grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund.
The cemetery, on Thomas Drive, was established in 1904 and includes a small site containing the remains interred in the congregation’s first two cemeteries. These graves date back to the 1780s. There are also graves of Jewish soldiers who died in WW1 and WW2.
Second largest Jewish community in the UK after London; many synagogues and congregations, Jewish cemeteries, Jewish Museum and other institutions.
190 Cheetham Hill Road
Manchester, M8 8LW
Tel: 0161 834 9879
Red-brick, Moorish-style building; designed by Edward Salomons and dedicated in 1875 for the Sephardic community. A Grade II* listing building, it closed for worship in 1981 and in 1984 opened at the seat of the Manchester Jewish Museum.
Higher Crumpsall Synagogue
Bury Old Road, Salford, M7
A Grade II listed building, mainly because of its interior with cantilevered galleries, the congregation that long used the cathedral-style synagogue ended its use of the building in 2017. The building was taken over by a Haredi yeshiva.
Withington Spanish and Portuguese Synagogue
Built in 1925-6, designed by Delissa Joseph, under the supervision of Joseph Sunlight. It is listed as a Grade II building. Historic England decribes it as a “fine example of a synagogue of this period.” See architectural description.
Former synagogue, Cheetham Hill Road.
Red-brick building designed by W. Sharp Ogden and built in 1889; it has a central arch framing a star of David. Long closed, it is now a clothing company.
Wilbraham Road, South Manchester, M14
Built in 1912-13, designed by the local architect Joseph Sunlight, who was then only 23 years old. The Grade II listed synagogue was sold by the dwindling congregation in 2001 when the congregation, which could not maintain the upkeep of the building, moved to new premises. The synagogue was then adapted for use as a student center.
The Jewish Centre
21 Richmond Road
Oxford OX1 2JL United Kingdom
Jews first arrived in Oxford from France in 1070s, but this medieval community was expelled from Oxford and England by King Edward 1 in 1290. Jews were not officially allowed back to England until 1655. There are few remaining physical Jewish heritage sites. The Oxford Jewish Heritage website focuses on the long-neglected history of the medieval community as well as the modern Jewish presence from the 19th century. Highlights include detailed maps of Medieval Jewish Oxford, an Inventory of Hebraica and Judaica in the Oxford Colleges, Blue commemorative plaques for famous Oxford Jews and more.
Extensive historical background and itinerary to many sites associated with Jewish history or people.
A memorial marks the site of the Medieval Jewish cemetery, now the Rose Garden outside the Oxford Botanical Gardens. The cemetery is believed to have been in use from 1231 until 1290, when King Edward I expelled all Jews from England.
There is a Jewish section (opened i 1894, with burials mainly from the 20th century) in the city’s Wolvercote cemetery.
47 Banbury Rd
Oxford OX2 8EE
Jews formed a congregation in Penzance in the mid-18th century, but the community dissolved in the early 20th century. The town has a Grade II listed Jewish cemetery and former synagogue.
The Star Inn, a pub on Market Jew Street, is a Grade II listed building that includes No. 1 New Street and a former synagogue dating from 1807 which in turn stands on the site of (or is a modification of) the earliest synagogue in Penzance, built in 1768. The synagogue was sold in 1907 for use as a church.
Grade II listed Georgian Jewish cemetery, dating from the mid-18th century (or earlier). Surrounded by a high stone wall; includes about 50 gravestones and tahara house. Restoration work, funded by a grant from the national lottery, was carried out in the summer of 2015.
The long-disused cemetery, accessed via a passage between 19 and 20 Leskinnick Terrace, is owned by the Jewish Board of Deputies (BOD) but is maintained by the Penzance town clerk’s office and Penlee House Museum and Gallery. Access can be arranged via the museum.
Catherine St., Plymouth PL1 2AD
Tel (mobile): +44 (0) 7753 267616
Built in 1762, the synagogue is the oldest still active Ashkenazi synagogue in the English-speaking world.
Take a virtual tour of the synagogue:
The Old Jewish Burial Ground at Plymouth Hoe (Lambhay Green)
Founded in the first half of the 18th century, it is the oldest extant Jewish burial ground in England’s southwest and was long abandoned and overgrown behind its tall walls. “Rediscovery” and clean-up began in around 2015, although a full documentation had been made years earlier.
New Jewish Cemetery (established in 1868) is located at 49 Gifford Place, off Ford Park Road, Plymouth PL3 4JA
Built in 1928, the synagogue of The Sunderland Hebrew Congregation was designed by Marcus K. Glass in Byzantine/Art Nouveau style and utilizes red brick, turquoise mosaic and terracotta tiles. Its facade is dominated by a big arched window over a double-arched portal. It was altered with the insertion of a Bimah in 1968. Though listed as a Grade II historic building, the synagogue closed in 2006 and is in seriously decaying condition, having been sold by the Jewish community and with a row over its heritage status blocking either restoration or development.
Jewish Heritage UK writes:
Sunderland’s last remaining synagogue held its final service in 2006. Sold to Jewish developers, the building stood vacant for years in a town which was once a bastion of Jewish Orthodoxy. It was vandalised and the schoolhouse next door (Cyril Gillis 1936) was gutted by fire. Finally, in 2010 the synagogue was purchased by a neighbouring builder but no plans for redevelopment have yet been submitted. The unlisted sister Clapton Federation Synagogue in London, also by Glass, closed in May 2005 and was demolished by Jewish developers in July 2006.
There are four Jewish cemeteries in Sunderland, only one of them in use.
The earliest is the Ayers Quay Cemetery, in use from about the 1770’s until 1856. Despite some clean-up in recent years, it remains in very neglect and “at-risk” condition.
Jewish life flourished in Winchester in Medieval times, from the mid-12th century until Kind Edward I ordered Jews expelled from England in 1290. Almost no physical traces of this medieval Jewish history remain, but a Medieval Jewish Trail was launched in 2015 to trace sites, history and heritage.
Watch a video of Toni Griffiths, one of the Trail’s developers, discuss the Trail at the Venice conference on Jewish Heritage Tourism in the Digital Age, October 2017: