Stoke Newington: Judaism

Pages 215-217

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. 81)

Two Sephardi Jewish London merchants had property in Stoke Newington in the mid 18th century and another was a churchwarden in 1743. (fn. 82) There was one Jewish family resident in 1782, (fn. 83) probably that of Solomon de Medina, who married a Christian and had his children baptized but whose oath as churchwarden was refused by the commissary. (fn. 84) Isaac Furtado (d. 1801) had his children baptized in 1799 and was himself buried in the churchyard. (fn. 85) By 1820 there were seven or eight Jewish families in the parish, (fn. 86) all Sephardim who attended Bevis Marks synagogue in the City or whose children were baptized as Christians. (fn. 87) They included Benjamin D'Israeli (d. 1816), merchant and stockbroker and grandfather of the statesman, who lived at no. 7 Church Row (later no. 170 Church Street) from c. 1798. (fn. 88)

Ashkenazi immigrants began to arrive from the East End during the late 19th century and synagogues, later part of the United Synagogue, opened just outside the parish boundaries, in Hackney, though called Stoke Newington, in 1887 and at Finsbury Park in 1888. (fn. 89) Attendance at Jewish places of worship in Stoke Newington borough in 1903 totalled 343. (fn. 90) From the First World War the numbers of Jews leasing property in Stoke Newington multiplied, particularly north of Church Street. (fn. 91) Most of the 2,048 people classified as of foreign birth in the 1921 census were Jews from Europe, especially from Russia and Poland, and there were many others born in London of immigrant parents. More refugees, mostly from central Europe, arrived after 1933 and in 1939 many local shops and factories were said to be controlled by Jews. Another wave, mostly from eastern Europe, arrived after the Second World War, (fn. 92) accounting for many of the 3,883 classified in 1951 as born in foreign countries. (fn. 93)

A Liberal synagogue opened in 1921 but almost all the other synagogues which opened in the 20th century belonged to the Union of Orthodox Hebrew Congregations. Many of them belonged to the extremely orthodox Adath Yisroel and to the sects of Hassidim, which were often based on rabbis from Poland, Rumania, or the Ukraine and each synagogue or beth hamedrash tended to be small and to move from house to house. The first Adath Yisroel synagogue opened in Green Lanes in 1911 and another opened in Wiesbaden (later Belgrade) Road in the Palatine district in 1912. Most synagogues, however, dated from the late 1930s onwards: 14 opened after 1938. The influx of ultra-orthodox Hassidim, especially into the area of larger houses in northeast Stoke Newington, was accompanied in the 1960s and 1970s by the departure of the more prosperous and Anglicized United Synagogue members for north-west London. (fn. 94)

Finsbury Park synagogue was registered at no. 20 Portland Road, Brownswood (Hornsey), in 1888. It moved to Princess Road, a little to the north, in 1903 and was admitted as a district member of the United Synagogue in 1934. In 1961 it moved again, to a small brick building on the east side of Green Lanes, next to the reservior. (fn. 95)

The ultra-orthodox Adath Yisroel Synagogue was founded in 1909 and in 1911 built a Synagogue at the junction of Green Lanes and Burma Road, which in 1954 was replaced by a new synagogue seating 350 at no. 40 Queen Elizabeth's Walk. (fn. 96) As the headquarters of Adath Yisroel, no. 40 also housed the Central Mikvaoth board, the Adath Yisroel burial society, and the Association of Adath Yisroel synagogues in 1981.

In 1912 a house at no. 99 Wiesbaden Road was converted to use as New Dalston synagogue. (fn. 97) In 1923 the synagogue moved to the former Congregational Trinity chapel at the corner of Walford and Nevil roads. (fn. 98) It had joined the Union of Orthodox Hebrew Congregations by 1931 but had become independent by 1951.

North London Progressive synagogue was founded in 1921 by Liberal Jews meeting in the library hall in Church Street and, from 1922, in the Defoe assembly rooms. Attendances of 300 aroused local opposition. In 1926 a temporary building was erected in Belfast Road in Hackney but when the lease expired in 1936 the congregation returned to the library hall until 1941, when it moved to Montefiore House at no. 69 Stamford Hill in Hackney. A synagogue was consecrated in 1946 at no. 30 Amhurst Park in Hackney, which had been acquired a year earlier. In 1954 the council bought the site and the congregation bought the former Methodist church at no. 100 Amhurst Park, which was consecrated as a synagogue in 1956, when membership was 400. The main hall was reconstructed as a new synagogue in 1961, when membership was 900. (fn. 99)

The following were members of the Union of Orthodox Hebrew Congregations. Yeshuath Chaim synagogue was registered on the ground floor of no. 39 Bethune Road in 1941, moved to no. 61 Heathland Road in 1946, and to no. 45 in 1956. (fn. 1) Stanislowa beth hamedrash, registered in 1942 at no. 66 Allerton Road, moved to no. 55 Lordship Park in 1946, and to no. 93 in 1974. (fn. 2) Beth Chodosh moved from Dunsmure Road in Hackney, where it had opened by 1940, to no. 119 Lordship Road by 1945, and to no. 51 Queen Elizabeth's Walk by 1954. Beth Hacknesseth Schombre Hadass opened in 1949 at no. 93 Fairholt Road and moved in 1960 to no. 2 Heathland Road. In 1949 Zeire Yisroel bethhamedrash opened at no. 69 Lordship Road. It was enlarged in 1968, when it changed its name to Torah Etz Chayim, and seated 215 in 1981. A beth hamedrash of the Agudah Youth Movement opened on the first floor of no. 69 in 1959. Both were members of Adath Yisroel. (fn. 3) Moriah beth hamedrash was registered at no. 342 Seven Sisters Road from 1958 to 1971. (fn. 4) Yeshivah Horomoh beth hamedrash opened in 1958 in the synagogue in Green Lanes vacated by Adath Yisroel. It closed in 1972. (fn. 5) Beth hamedrash D'Chasidey Belz was registered in 1959 at no. 99 Bethune Road. (fn. 6) Beth Sholom, which opened in 1964 at no. 27 St. Kilda's Road, had existed as Brith Sholom society at no. 47 West Bank in Hackney in 1945. (fn. 7) Yeshiva Horomoh beth hamedrash was registered at the rear of no. 100 Fairholt Road in 1976. (fn. 8) Seven Sisters Road Hebrew congregation, which had been registered at no. 414 Seven Sisters Road in 1954, (fn. 9) moved in 1976 to no. 10A Woodberry Down.

The following did not belong to the Union: a beth hamedrash in two rooms at no. 83 Bethune Road from 1931 to 1952; (fn. 10) the Kol Jacob synegogue registered on the ground floor of no. 120 Manor Road from 1938 to 1952; (fn. 11) Holy Law synagogue, registered at no. 57 Lordship Park from 1952 to 1964; (fn. 12) a Sephardi Eastern Jewry synagogue at no. 7 Stamford Hill from 1956 to 1958. (fn. 13)


  • 81. Based on Jewish Year Bks.
  • 82. M.L.R. 1750/1/331; 1752/1/497; 1760/2/164; above, loc. govt.
  • 83. Robinson, Stoke Newington, 22.
  • 84. Vestry mins. 1784-1819, 35-7; above, Church Street, loc. govt.
  • 85. Cuttings of Stoke Newington 1722-1895, p. 5m.
  • 86. Robinson, Stoke Newington, 22.
  • 87. e.g. Jacob Mocatto and Moses da Costa: vestry mins. 1819-38, 8, 32.
  • 88. Vestry mins. 1784-1819, 239; D.N.B.
  • 89. B. A. Kosmin and N. Grizzard, Fews in an Inner Lond. Boro. (Hackney) (booklet 1975, in S.N.L. and HA); Highbury, Stoke Newington Dir. (1885).
  • 90. Synagogues not distinguished: Mudie-Smith. Rel. Life, 162.
  • 91. Guildhall MSS. CC. 329010, 345106, 351036, 359861, 366028, 369055, 369059, 372471, 375726; Kelly's Dir. Stoke Newington (1900, 1910).
  • 92. Kosmin and Grizzard, op. cit.; N. Lond. Recorder, 21 Apr. 1939 (S.N.L. cuttings 19.8, LC 3120).
  • 93. Census, 1951.
  • 94. Kosmin and Grizzard, op. cit.; Fewish Chron. 27 May 1977.
  • 95. G.R.O. Worship Reg. 31012, 39847, 68319; A. Newman, United Synagogue 1870-1970 (1977), 226.
  • 96. Inf. from sec. of Union of Orthodox Hebrew Congregations (1981); G.R.O. Worship Reg. 45149, 66114.
  • 97. G.L.R.O., AR/BA 4/249, no. 46.
  • 98. G.R.O. Worship Reg. 64453.
  • 99. Ibid. 61763, 64986, 65306; inf. from rabbi (1982).
  • 1. G.R.O. Worship Reg. 59948, 61437, 65563.
  • 2. Ibid. 60333, 61382, 73693.
  • 3. Ibid. 68039; inf. from warden (1981) and sec. of Union of Orthodox Hebrew Congregations (1982).
  • 4. G.R.O. Worship Reg. 66618.
  • 5. Ibid. 66649, 69328.
  • 6. Ibid. 67385, 72424.
  • 7. Ibid. 70267.
  • 8. Ibid. 74453.
  • 9. Ibid. 64493.
  • 10. Ibid. 53277, 59320.
  • 11. Ibid. 58199.
  • 12. Ibid. 63523.
  • 13. Ibid. 65598.