the former

Princelet Street Synagogue

Spitalfields, London E1




Page created: 6 December 2006
Latest revision or update: 25 November 2017


Front view of the former Princelet Street Synagogue, taken October 2007
Leslie Bailey 2007
 and reproduced with kind permission


Congregation Data


Princelet Street Synagogue (until 1916 Princes Street Synagogue)


19 Princelet Street (building originally known as 18 or 19 Princes Street), Spitalfields, London E1, built 1719, adapted and extended as a synagogue 1870

The synagogue is a Grade II* Listed Building (number 1260421) designated on 20 August 1969. View description on Historic England website.

Successor to:

United Friends Synagogue of Fashion Street, Spitalfields, London E1 and the Loyal United Friends Friendly Society.

Incorporated Congregation:

Chevra Mikra, Fashion Street (January 1898)


Princelet Street, previously known as Princes Street, in London's East End, was originally only some 300 feet long and extended west-east from Wilkes Street to Brick Lane, running parallel to the eastern end of Hanbury Street (to the north) and Fournier Street (to the south). The continuation of Princes Street for some 500 feet beyond Brick Lane was originally known as Booth Street and this is now also Princelet Street.

Fashion Street (some 600 feet long), where the predecessor congregation met, is about 500 feet to the south of Princelet Street, and extends west-east from Commercial Street to Brick Lane, running parallel to Fournier Street (to the north).

The synagogue building is on the northern side of Princelet Street, about half way between Wilkes Street and Brick Lane. The building was erected in 1719 and  was previously a Huguenot master silk weaver's home.

Next door, at 17 Princelet Street, was the birthplace of Miriam Moses, JP, OBE (1886-1965) who, in 1931, became the first Jewish women mayor in the UK and the first women mayor of Stepney. On the other side of the street, at number 6 (previously number 3), was a Yiddish theatre.

19 Princelet Street is now the home of the Museum of Immigration (http://www.19princeletstreet.org.uk/about.html), although in a very bad state of repair. There are still many signs of the old Jewish presence, in particularly in the rear of the building, although it is only infrequently opened to visitors.

Rodinsky's Room:

The top floor of 19 Princelet Street was the location of the lodgings of the reclusive Jewish scholar David Rodinsky, who disappeared in the late 1960s and whose room was discovered undisturbed 20 years late. A non-fiction book, "Rodinsky's Room" by Rachel Lichtenstein and Iain Sinclair, is an oral history of Spitalfields and the East End in which the authors attempt to discover what became of Rodinsky.

Date Founded:

1862 (other sources give 1870)

Current Status:

Closed 1983.


Orthodox - Ashkenazi


One of the congregations that attended the meeting of 16 October 1887 to form the Federation of Synagogues, and became one of the original federated synagogues on 6 November 1887. 

Membership Data:

1870  -  120 members (source)

1896  -   80 members (source)

1905  -  105 members (source)

1915  -  100 members (source)

Local Government Districts:

Princelet Street is in the London Borough of Tower Hamlets, created on 1 April 1965, within the administrative area of Greater London.

Previously, Princelet/Princes Street was in the Metropolitan Borough of Stepney (established 1900) in the County of London (established 1889), both of which entities were abolished in 1965.

Princelet/Princes Street was also within the civil parish of Spitalfields (which was in the former County of Middlesex until 1889) and which, from 1856 to 1900, was a constituent of the Whitechapel District.

The civil parish of Spitalfields was abolished in 1921, being absorbed into the civil parish of Whitechapel, which itself was abolished in 1927 to be absorbed into Stepney Borough parish (until that parish's abolition in 1965).

Registration Districts:

From 1 July 1837 - Whitechapel
From 1 January 1926 - Stepney
Since 1 January 1983 - Tower Hamlets (which now holds the registers)


Search the All-UK Database

The records in the database specifically associated with this congregation include:


1897-1907 Princes/Princelet Street Synagogue (81 records).

For a list of other London records in the Database that may also include records associated with this congregation, click here.

Other Congregation Information

  • Synagogue & Other Records:

    • Four Marriage Registers (first entry 16 April 1897; last entry 28 August 1955) deposited with Tower Hamlets Register Office (ref: s41).
      The Board of Deputies also holds a copy of the registers: pre 1907 (ref:16/24a/1); 1907-1924 (ref:16/24a/2); 1924-1941 (ref:16/24a/3); and 1942-1955 (ref:16/24a/4).

  • Bibliography:

    • The Lost Synagogues of London - Renton, P., 2000 (Tymsder Publishing) pp. 172-173.

    • Princelet Street Synagogue - did you know that ...? -  Issue No. 6 (2008) of the Cable - the magazine of the Jewish East End Celebration Society, pp 47-48.

    • Princelet Street Synagogue"- Rosemary Wenzerul - March 2009 issue of Shemot - the journal of JGSGB pp 26-27.

    • Rodinsky's Room - Rachel Lichtenstein and Iain Sinclair.

    • A Giant Among Giants (The story of Rabbi Shmuel Kalman Melnick and the Princelet Street Synagogue) - Samuel C. Melnick, 1994 - reviewed in Shemot May 1994 vol. 2, no. 2, pp. 9-10.

    • Tower Hamlet sources

    • other London sources

  • Marriage Records of the Princelet (formerly Princes) Street Synagogue 1884-1988 held by the Tower Hamlets Local History Library and Archives.

  • Princelet Street Synagogue  - brief history and copy marriage registers on Idea Stores website

  • Cemetery Information:

List of Congregations in the Federation of Synagogues

Street Directory of Synagogues in East End and City of London

Jewish Congregations of the London East End

Greater London home page




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