the former

Temple Street Synagogue

(Newcastle Old Hebrew Congregation)

Newcastle upon Tyne, Tyne and Wear



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Temple Synagogue, Newcastle
Temple Street Synagogue (Courtesy Peter Gatoff)

Congregation Data


Newcastle Hebrew Congregation
generally known as Temple Street Synagogue(iii)
and sometimes referred to as the Newcastle Old Hebrew Congregation(iv)

Formation and Address:

The congregation was the first Jewish congregation since the medieval period to be established in Newcastle upon Tyne.(v) 

Although a service had been held at the home of David Cohen in Westgate Street on 8 September 1831 for the first day of Rosh Hashanah, which also coincided with the Coronation day of King William IV, the congregation was not formally established until 8 October 1832.(vi)

Subsequently the congregation rented rooms for its religious services, starting with Pilgrim Street, and migrating to Bigg Market, Pudding Chare, Carliol Street and elsewhere.(vii)

On 4 July 1838, an agreement was signed for the construction of the city's first synagogue (including a mikva and an attached house for a minister) at Temple Street, in the West End of Newcastle upon Tyne, close to the recently acquired cemetery.(ix) The foundation stone was laid on 11 July 1838 by a Mr. Harris and the building was probably not completed until 1839.(x) The building was extended in 1864.(xi) It had seat accomadation for 210 worshippers, 120 men and 90 ladies. (xii)

Secessionist Congregation:

By 1867 the congregation had largely outgrown its relatively small premises, and a number of congregants, who were disgruntled at the lack of certain rights denied to them, broke away to form the Charlotte Square Synagogue.(xiii)

Final Status:

In 1880. the congregation ceased to exist, being amalgamated with Charlotte Square Synagogue, to form the Newcastle United Hebrew Congregation and its new Leazes Park Road synagogue.(xiv)


Ashkanazi Orthodox


Congregation was unaffiliated but was under the aegis of the Chief Rabbi.

Minister and Readers:(xvii)

(To view a short profile of a minister or reader whose name appears in blue - hold the cursor over his name.)

Rev. M. Franklin - from 1832(xviii)

Rev. Lewis Simon - from 1834(xix)

Rev. E Oppenheim - from and about 1836(xx)

Rabbi Samuel Hoffnung - c.1836-1840(xxi)

Rev. I. Caro - 1840-1855(xxii)

Rev. J. Caro of Meckleburg, son of Rev. I. Caro - 1850s(xxii)

Rev. Fibush Levinson - c.1855-1870(xxv)

Rev. S.H. Harris - preacher (minister), first reader and headmaster, 1871-1879(xxvi)

Rev. Ephraim Cohen - second reader, shochet, mohel and teacher, 1871 to mid 1870s(xxvii)


1832 - D. Cohen(xxxi)

1838 - W. Harris

1840 - R. Harris

1847 - B. Joseph

1852 - W. Harris

1854 - Trytle Joel(xxxii)

1850s? - S. Morris(xxxiii)

1858 - F. Cohen(xxxiv)

1875 - John H. Bernstone(xxxv)

Other Lay Officers, 1873:(xxxvi)

Treasurer - J. Jacobs

Beadle - Henry Solomon

Membership Data:

1845 - There were 9 ba'alai batim, the congregation comprising about 33 adults and 33 children  (Chief Rabbi's Questionnaire)


The congregation used the Thornton Street Cemetery until its closure in 1851, thereafter it temporarily used the Sunderland Bishopswearmouth Cemetery until the opening of Newcastle's Elswick Jewish Cemetery in 1857 (for details, see Newcastle Cemetery Information). .



On the left is the Entablature from the Temple Street Synagogue. The date unusually combines the Gregorian date with the Hebrew year (5598) in Roman numerals (last three digits 'III' having worn away).  The Entablature was removed to the Newcastle United Hebrew Congregation synagogue in Culzean Park, as noted in the plaque at that synagogue, on the right.
Click on image to view/enlarge in a new window.
(Courtesy Peter Gatoff)


On-line Articles and Other Material
relating to this Congregation



Congregational Records


  • Numerous records of the Jewish Communities in Northeast England (only a sample of which are listed below) are deposited with the Tyne and Wear Archives Service (http://www.legacyarchives.org.uk).

  • CLICK HERE to view a full list of these records (correct to December 2005).

Marriage Records:

  • Marriage Certificate 1877  -  Tyne and Wear Archives Service (see above)

Synagogue Records:

  • Deeds 1855-1892  -  Tyne and Wear Archives Service (see above)

Registration District (BMD):


Notes & Sources
( returns to text above)

  • (i) and (ii) Reserved.

  • (iii) Taking its name from the street in which the synagogue was situated from 1839. In certain sources the congregation prior to 1839 was referred to the Pilgrim Street Congregation, but this appears to be a misnomer as the congregation appears to have been situated in Pilgrim Street only for a short while from 1832.

  • (iv) To distinguish it from an 1867 breakaway congregation known as the New Hebrew Congregation. This was the name listed in Jewish Directory for 1874, edited by Asher I. Myers, p. 77.

  • (v) The Jewish Communities of North-East England by Lewis Olsover (1980) ("Olsover's Book"), p.115. 

  • (vi) Olsover's Book, p.17.

  • (vii) Olsover's Book, p.18.

  • (viii) Reserved.

  • (ix) Olsover's Book, p.18.

  • (x) Olsover's Book, p.19.

  • (xi) Olsover's Book, p.20.

  • (xii) Jewish Directory for 1874, edited by Asher I. Myers, p. 77.

  • (xiii) Olsover's Book, p.23.

  • (xiv) Olsover's Book, p.26.

  • (xv) and (xvi) Reserved.

  • (xvii) Appendix 1 to Olsover's Book provides lists of various office holders of the congregations in Newcastle. These lists include the ministers and readers of this congregation (p.203), together with the year of commencement (but not year of termination) of the term of service of the respective office holders. For the purposes of the data provided here, we have used these lists to indicate the year of commencement of service unless such year is inconsistent (which is the case in a number of instances) with information provided elsewhere in Olsover's Book or from other sources.

  • (xviii) Rev. Franklin's date of termination is not known, but would not be beyond 1834.

  • (xix) No date of termination is known for Rev. Simon, but is presumed to be about 1836.

  • (xx) No dates are given in Olsover's Book for Rev. Oppenheim, but he is listed between Rev. Simon and Rabbi Hoffnung.

  • (xxi) Date of commencement for Rabbi Hoffnung is listed in Olsover's Book as 1836, although other authorities give it as 1837. He officiated at the laying of the foundation stone for the Temple Street synagogue in 1838 and is believed to have served until shortly before Rev. Caro's term commenced in 1840.

  • (xxii) Olsover's Book, p. 20, refers to Rev. J. Caro of Mecklenburg as the son of Rev. I. Caro and on p. 203 lists him as minister from 1857. However, on p. 77 it states that Rev. [I.] Caro "left the city in 1855 and was succeeded by Rev. Fibush Levinson" which would exclude Rev. Caro from having served the congregation from 1857. It is unclear when, or indeed if, Rev. J. Caro served the community and may have been merely a visiting minister during the term of his father or his father's successor.

  • (xxiii) and (xxiv) Reserved

  • (xxv) Although Olsover's Book, p. 203, lists Rev. Levinson as minister from 1868, on p. 77 it states that Rev. Caro "left the city in 1855 and was succeeded by Rev. Fibush Levinson, who retained his post as minister until 1870."

  • (xxvi) Rev. Harris's appointment was at the same time as Rev. Cohen, from the summer of 1871 (Olsover's Book p.78) and he remained in office until shortly before the move to Leazes Park (Olsover's Book p.27).

  • (xxvii) Rev. Cohen's appointment was at the same time as Rev. Harris from the summer of 1871 (Olsover's Book p.78), and he stayed for several years.

  • (xxviii) and (xxix) Reserved

  • (xxx) Based upon Appendix 1 to Olsover's Book (see note (xvii) above), which also lists the presidents of this congregation (p.203), together with (presumably) the year of commencement of service, generally as shown here. No year of termination is given, nor are any other lay officers listed.

  • (xxxi) Olsover's Book p. 17 also states that at the formal establishment of the congregation in October 1832, Mr. D. Cohen was (initially) appointed president for "one twelve-month" from 8 October 1832.

  • (xxxii) Mr. T. Joel had earlier been appointed treasurer of the congregation, on the formal establishment of the congregation in October 1832, (initially) for "one twelve-month" from 8 October 1832 - Olsover's Book p. 17.

  • (xxxiii) Olsover's Book p. 203 lists S. Morris as president from 1862. However, F. Cohen is believed to have served as president from about 1858 to 1875 (see next note). Accordingly, S. Morris would have served in the 1850s or possibly served, say, a single term of office in about 1862.

  • (xxxiv) Olsover's Book p. 203 clearly inaccurately lists F. Cohen as president from 1875. On p. 25, it states that F. Cohen resigned after serving 17 years as president and was succeded by J.H. Berstone, who served from 1875.

  • (xxxv) J.H. Berstone, who served as president until the congregation amalgamated to form the Leazes Park Road congregation and then served as president of that congregation until 1886.

  • (xxvi) Jewish Directory for 1874, edited by Asher I. Myers, p. 77.

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Page created: 9 October 2005
First major enhancement: 7 May 2017
Data further significantly expanded and notes first added: 15 February 2024
Page most recently amended: 12 March 2024

Research and formatting by David Shulman

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