Islington: Judaism

Page 117

A History of the County of Middlesex: Volume 8, Islington and Stoke Newington Parishes. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1985.

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Judaism (fn. 48)

A few Jews had settled in Canonbury by the early 19th century, and the widespread building in Barnsbury brought a large number of middle-class Jews from the City from c. 1840. Regular religious services were not started until the 1860s, however, by which time there were nearly 1,000 Jews in the area.

Sephardim were the first to propose a synagogue, in 1860, although Solomon Haim Andrade's private synagogue at Spencer House, Lower Road, was opened only c. 1865. In 1886 Andrade's congregation opened a synagogue at no. 39 Mildmay Park. Attendance on the first day of Passover, 1903, was 96. (fn. 49) Mildmay Park synagogue closed in 1937. (fn. 50)

Ashkenazim had organized services at Barnsbury hall by 1864, and in 1868 opened the North London synagogue, John Street (later Lofting Road), Barnsbury, a two-storeyed rectangular building with a long ornate front, (fn. 51) built with aid from the Great Synagogue. It was admitted to the United Synagogue in 1878. (fn. 52) In 1872 it had 126 seatholders, but migration northward, especially to Highbury, and the opening of Dalston synagogue, caused its membership to decline before rising again to 271 in 1883. It fell again to 163 in 1890, and rose to 267 in 1913. Attendance on the first day of Passover 1903 was 275. (fn. 53) The synagogue was amalgamated with Dalston (see below) in 1958, and the building in Lofting Road was closed. (fn. 54)

From the late 1860s many Jews moved into Highbury and Mildmay Park, and by 1878 most members of the North London synagogue lived in Highbury or Canonbury. In 1874 there were said to be 700 Jewish families living within half an hour's walk of Dalston Junction but farther from the synagogue, whereupon a synagogue was established for Dalston and Ball's Pond Road. Services were held in Ridley Road, Hackney, and a synagogue opened in Birkbeck Road, Hackney; in 1876 it moved to a leased building in Mildmay Road, and in 1885 to Poet's Road off Newington Green, retaining the name Dalston synagogue, and was admitted to the United Synagogue. (fn. 55) Membership rose from 268 in 1886 to 365 in 1913. Attendance on the first day of Passover 1903 was 774. (fn. 56) The congregation from the North London synagogue joined it in 1958, but in 1967 Dalston synagogue was amalgamated with Stoke Newington synagogue, Shacklewell Lane, Hackney, and the building closed. (fn. 57)

South Hackney synagogue moved to Mildmay Road in 1885, and to Devonshire Road, in Hackney, in 1892. A Beth Hamedrash was established in Newington Green Road in 1886, moving to Ferntower Road in 1892. Another Beth Hamedrash was registered at no. 24A Highbury New Park in 1915, closing by 1954. (fn. 58) An orthodox synagogue was opened at no. 13A Highbury New Park in 1926, closing by 1971. (fn. 59) Highgate synagogue was registered 1930 at no. 88 Archway Road, bought by an orthodox Jewish community in 1929, was replaced in 1937 by a new building adjoining it, seating c. 400, and in 1950 moved to no.200 Archway Road, Hornsey. (fn. 60)

The West London Synagogue had opened a 1 1/4-a. burial ground and hall by 1851 in Kingsbury Road near the N.L.R. It was still in use in 1895, and was the West London Cemetery of British Jews in 1975. (fn. 61)


  • 48. Section based on Trans. Jewish Hist. Soc. xxi. 85-8, 100.
  • 49. Mudie-Smith, Rel. Life, 265.
  • 50. Jewish Year bk. (1937).
  • 51. Illus. Lond. News, 3 Oct. 1868.
  • 52. A. Newman, United Synagogue 1870-1970 (1976), 5, 216.
  • 53. Mudie-Smith, Rel. Life, 265.
  • 54. Newman, United Synagogue, 216-17; G.R.O. Worship Reg. no. 18455.
  • 55. Newman, United Synagogue, 216-17.
  • 56. Mudie-Smith, Rel. Life, 265.
  • 57. Newman, United Synagogue, 216-17; G.R.O. Worship Reg. no. 23059.
  • 58. G.R.O. Worship Reg. no. 46399.
  • 59. Ibid. no. 50458.
  • 60. Ibid. nos. 52413, 57262; V.C.H. Mdx. vi. 189.
  • 61. P.R.O., HO 107/10/2/33; L.C.C. Return of Burial Grounds (1895), 7; P.O. Dir. Lond. (1959, 1975).