Hornsey, including Highgate


Victoria County History



T F T Baker, C R Elrington (Editors), A P Baggs, Diane K Bolton, M A Hicks, R B Pugh

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'Hornsey, including Highgate: Judaism', A History of the County of Middlesex: Volume 6: Friern Barnet, Finchley, Hornsey with Highgate (1980), pp. 189. URL: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=22530 Date accessed: 29 November 2014.


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Defoe found Highgate a favourite retreat of wealthy Jews, who lived there 'in good figure', served by their own butchers and other tradesmen. He also heard that there was a private synagogue, (fn. 1) which presumably was part of a house. Jewish residents, such as the Da Costas, (fn. 2) probably led Hyman Hurwitz to open his school by 1802. (fn. 3) A synagogue adjoined Hurwitz's buildings (fn. 4) but did not survive the school's closure. (fn. 5)

Public worship was confined to neighbouring parishes until a temporary building was opened by Hornsey and Wood Green affiliated synagogue in 1920. A new building on the same site in Wightman Road, seating c. 200, was founded in 1958 and opened in 1959. (fn. 6) In 1976 the congregation remained a local synagogue, affiliated to the United Synagogue in Upper Woburn Place, St. Pancras. (fn. 7)

Highgate district synagogue, so called from 1947, (fn. 8) originated in a community which bought no. 88 Archway Road in 1929. A synagogue for c. 400 was opened in 1937 (fn. 9) but superseded by no. 200, on the corner of Wembury Road, in 1950. The building, a converted Baptist chapel partly refaced with yellow bricks, was damaged by fire in 1975. (fn. 10) Services thereafter were held in a room attached to St. Augustine's church and in the former Congregational church in South Grove, while new premises were sought.

Muswell Hill Jews at first worshipped in hired halls and a house in Methuen Park. (fn. 11) In 1946 they registered a hall on the ground floor of the Athenaeum (fn. 12) and in 1962 they bought a site at no. 31 Tetherdown, for a synagogue to hold 500. The congregation formed a district synagogue of the United Synagogue by 1962 (fn. 13) and a constituent synagogue from 1976. (fn. 14)


1 D. Defoe, Tour through Eng. and Wales (Everyman edn. 1928), ii. 3.
2 Trans. Jewish Hist. Soc. xxi. 80; see above, p. 135.
3 See p. 197.
4 Brewer, Beauties of Eng. and Wales, x(5), 216.
5 Howitt, Northern Heights, 398.
6 Hornsey Jnl. 20 June 1958; 15 May 1959.
7 Ex inf. the hon. sec.
8 Except where otherwise stated, the para. is based on information from the rabbi.
9 The Times, 23 Aug. 1937.
10 Ibid. 31 Oct. 1975.
11 Ex inf. the sec.
12 G.R.O. Worship Reg. no. 61365.
13 Hornsey Jnl. 28 Sept. 1962.
14 Ex inf. the sec.