Stoke-on-Trent & North Staffordshire Hebrew Congregation




Brief history of the Synagogue in Hanley,

Prior to 1873 Hebrew services were held for a few years in a private house in Marsh Street, Hanley. In that year efforts were made to find a more permanent and suitable home and the community purchased an old Welsh Chapel in Hanover Street, Hanley, where services since that date have been conducted.

In 1902 at a general meeting of the congregation, the then Chief Rabbi, the late Dr. ALDER, urged for the erection of a new Synagogue. The suggestion was taken up with enthusiasm and ultimately resulted in the purchase of a new site in Birch Terrace, Hanley. This site has been occupied for over 50 years by a school building, where in the early days, a private school for boys was conducted by a Mr MILLS. 

Some few years after 1902, additional land was purchased adjoining the school site, this land having being a Stone Masonís yard. These two purchases now form the site of the new Synagogue. It has a frontage of about 79 feet and an area of about 880 square yards.

The seating for the Synagogue is arranged on slightly raised platforms on the North and South walls and provides seating for 94 worshippers. The Reading desk is placed in a central position. The ladies gallery extends over the entrance hall, and has seating for 81 worshippers. The Ark containing the Scrolls of the law is placed on the east wall and is on a raised platform of three steps, the Ark is made from Oak and as Ionic pillars, and broken pediment. In the centre of the pediment is placed two tablets, lettered in gold in Hebrew characters, abbreviations of the ten Commandments.

The total cost of the work, exclusive of the site, will exceed £4,000:00. the architects are Messrs W. CAMPBELL & son of Hanley, who have also designed the Reading desk, Ark and other fittings. The contractors for the building are Messrs H. HOWLETT & sons of Hanley. The electric lighting by Messrs BLACKBURN, Starling & Co Ltd, of Hanley. The heating by Messrs W.R. BLACKSHAW & Co, of Longton.

The Synagogue was opened by Mr T. ALEXANDER of London. A gold key was presented to him for the occasion. At the Consecration Ceremony the Rev Dr J. ABELSON, M.A., D. Litt., of Leeds officiated.

In 2004 the Synagogue in Birch Terrace was sold to developers who will demolish the Synagogue to make way for new building. The congregation will replace the Chapel at the Hebrew cemetery in Newcastle-under-Lyme with a new Synagogue which will hold about 36 worshippers. The Reading desk and Ark with the many memorials will be placed in the new Synagogue; also the windows will be re-used with a slight modification to them to make them fit the new Synagogue.



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Page created and formatted by David Shulman: 27 June 2005
Latest update or revision: 3 November 2011




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