the former

Dorking Hebrew Congregation

& Jewish Communal Centre

Dorking, Mole Valley, Surrey




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congregations throughout the British Isles and Gibraltar, both past and present.

Town of Dorking

Dorking, a market town in southeast England (population about 11,000), lies about ten miles to the south of the administrative boundary of Greater London. It was an urban district from 1894 until 1974, when it was merged with adjoining localities to form the local government district of Mole Valley, still within the county of Surrey.

Dorking Jewish Community

An organised Jewish community in Dorking was formed during World War II but was disbanded in the 1950s. In 1989 the North West Surrey Reform Synagogue, centred in Weybridge, formed an area group in Dorking to organise welfare and social events.(i)

Congregation Data


The World War II congregation was known as Dorking Hebrew Congregation.(ii)

Post war, it was known as the Dorking Jewish Communal Centre(iii)


During the war, the congregation met in Leslie House, Church Street, Dorking.(iv)

After the war, from at least 1948, the Centre was at Windycroft Street, St Pauls Road, Dorking, Surrey.(v)


The congregation was formed in 1941.(viii) However, it is unclear whether the congregation developed directly into the Jewish Communal Centre or whether the latter was established (by 1948) sometime after the congregation became defunct.(ix)

Date Closed:

Closed mid 1950s.(x)


Ashkenazi - Orthodox


None known.


Dr. Charles H. Cohn was "Rab" minister from at least 1948 until early 1950s.(xiii)

Lay Officers:(xiv)

Treasurer - R. Leiserach from at least 1948 to about 1953

Hon. Secretaries - Dr. K. Brandl from at least 1948 to about 1953

Registration District (BMDs):

Surrey since 4 August 2008(xv) - link to register office website

Cemetery Details

There are no Jewish cemeteries in Dorking


Search the All-UK Database

The records in the database associated with Dorking include:

  • 1851 Anglo Jewry Database (updated 2016)

    • Individuals in the 1851 Anglo Jewry Database who were living in Dorking during the 1820s (1 record) and 1840s (1 record)..


Online Articles and Other Material relating to relating to
the former Dorking Jewish Community


Notable Jewish Connections with Dorking

  • Sir Louis Bernhard Baron, 1st Baronet (1876-1934), was the managing director of the Carreras Tobacco Company. His country estate, comprising 340 acres, was at Holmbury, near Dorking. His residence was located close to the top of Holmbury Hill.(xviii)

  • Jon Kimche (1909-1994) journalist and historian, and for 15 years editor of the Jewish Observer and Middle East Review, lived in the village of Westhumble, about a mile from Dorking.

  • Rebecca Markovitch (c1877-1971), an actress in the Yiddish theatre in London, who used the stage name Becky Goldstein, died at the Jewish Blind Home at Westcott village, near Dorking. She was the widow of actor and playwrite Joseph Markovitch.(xix)

  • Claude G. Montefiore (1858-1938), communal leader, scholar and founding President of the World Union for Progressive Judaism, lived at Hopedene, Holmbury St Mary, Dorking, from 1924.(xx) Hopedene was later the home of his son, Leonard Montefiore (1889-1961) communal leader and philanthropist.

  • Dayan Dr Eliezer Posen (c.1892-1969) senior Dayan of the Orthodox Hebrew Congregation, and previously Dayan at Frankfurt, Germany, lived at Leslie House, Church Street, Dorking from about 1941 for several years, before being appointed Dayan to the Adath Yisroel congregation in London. Rabbi Posen organised the first Jewish services in Dorking in 1941.(xxi)

  • Leopold Salomons (1841-1915), pioneer in selling employers' liability insurance, purchased Box Hill, overlooking Dorking, in 1914 to safeguard the hill from development. He then presented the 230 acre Box Hill estate to the nation. A memorial to Salomons is situated at the highest point of the hill. His residence was at Norbury Park, Mickleham, about three miles north of Dorking. Salomons is believed to have converted to Christianity and is buried at St Michael's church, Mickleham.


Other Dorking Jewish Institutions & Organisations

  • Rokefield House, Westcott village, about 1.5 miles west of Dorking town centre, was a home set in over 10 acres purchased, extended and run by the Jewish Blind Society (JBS) The Home was consecrated in June 1948. An additional wing was built the following year. From 1961 it was named the Leonard M. Alfred Home for the Blind on the retirement of the JBS's long-term chair. In the 1960s and 1970s the home accommodated up to 64 residents and a staff of 10 qualified nurses, and had a dedicated occupational therapy unit. The upkeep and improvement of the home near Dorking and the comfort of its residents was one of the main charitable endeavours of Anglo-Jewry. The home was taken over by Jewish Care and closed in about 1996. Click here for a picture postcard of the Home.


Notes & Sources
( returns to text above)

  • (i) Jewish Chronicle report of 12 May 1989.

  • (ii) This is the name that appears in the Jewish Chronicle report of 12 September 1941.

  • (iii) This was the name listed from the first appearance in the Jewish Year Books 1949.

  • (iv) This is the address that appears in the Jewish Chronicle report of 12 September 1941.

  • (v) This was the address listed from in the Jewish Year Books 1949 through 1954.

  • (vi) and (vii) Reserved.

  • (viii) Jewish Chronicle report of 12 September 1941.

  • (ix) The centre was first listed in the Jewish Year Book 1949 and there were no listings for Dorking in the two previous editions (1945/6 and 1947) published following the war-time cessation of publication in 1940.

  • (x) Last listing was in the Jewish Year Book 1954, but the congregation could have become defunct somewhat earlier.

  • (xi) and (xii) Reserved.

  • (xiii) Listed as "Rab" of the congregation in Jewish Year Books 1949 through 1954.

  • (xiv) These were the listed lay officers in Jewish Year Books 1949 through 1953.

  • (xv) Previous Registration Districts: Dorking (from 1 July 1837 to 1 April 1934); Surrey South Eastern (from 1 April 1934 to 1 April 1974); Surrey Mid Eastern (from 1 April 1974 to 1 October 1996); Mid Surrey (from 1 October 1996 to 1 May 2000); and East Surrey (from 1 May 2000 to 4 August 2008). Any registers would be held by the current register office

  • (xvi) and (xvii) Reserved.

  • (xviii) Jewish Chronicle report of 5 October 1934.

  • (xix) Jewish Chronicle report of 9 April 1971.

  • (xx) Jewish Chronicle report of 12 December 1924.

  • (xxi) Jewish Chronicle obituary of 28 November 1969.

World War II Evacuee Communities

Jewish Congregations in Surrey

Jewish Congregations in Greater London and its Outskirts

Jewish Communities of England homepage

Page created: 2 May 2006
Data expanded and notes first added: 11 January 2023
Page most recently amended: 10 September 2023

Research by David Shulman and Steven Jaffe
Formatting by David Shulman

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