The Sandys Row Synagogue

Middlesex Street, London E1




Page created: 30 August 2006
Latest revision or update: 2 October 2017

Views of the exterior and interior of the Sandys Row Synagogue
© David Shulman 2007

Congregation Data

Latest Name:

Sandys Row Synagogue (sometimes spelled Sandy's Row Synagogue)

Former Name

Sandys Row Associate Synagogue
Parliament Square Congregation (also known as the Dutch Congregation), which developed from
Hebrath Menahem Abelim Hesed Ve'Emeth
(Society of Kindness and Truth).

Address and Location:

Sandys Row (or Sandy's Row), corner Middlesex Street, Bishopsgate, London E1 7HW. (i)

This was a converted French Chapel, built 1766, acquired in 1867. The entrance was originally from the alley at the current back of the building, accessed from Artillery Passage which runs along the southern side of the building, and was moved to the Sandys Row side of the building in 1870, at the time of the consecration of the synagogue. The consecration ceremony was performed by the Haham (the head rabbi of the London's Spanish & Portuguese Jews Congregation), as the Chief Rabbi was unwilling to do so (as he was opposed to the establishment of small independent congregation close to the large established City synagogues).

The synagogue is a Grade II Listed Building (number 1260323) designated on 21 July 1987. View description on Historic England website.

Former Address:

The congregation initially met in a room in White's Row, Spitalfields,(ii) holding festival services in Zetland Hall, Mansell Street.

Date Formed:

Founded by about 50 Dutch Jews in 1853 as a hebra, which was the first of its kind (although many more were to be founded in the East End during the latter part of the nineteenth century).  A hebra was initially more in the nature of a friendly and benefit society with a small synagogue attached.
The founding members agreed to provide the following:
(i) a benefit of ten shillings during Shiva (the seven day confined mourning period);
(ii) a minyan (the requisite prayer quorum of ten adult Jewish men) during the Shiva; and
(iii) payment for a Rabbi to speak speak at the morning and evening shiva prayers and during the Sabbath through the 30 day mourning period (the Shloshim).
Subsequently, the members decided to utilize the services of the Rabbi to give discourses (derashot) on Sabbath afternoons and, for this purpose the members initially met in the small room in White's Row.

Current Status:



Ashkenazi Orthodox


Currently unaffiliated, except for an affiliation to the West End Great Synagogue for burial rights.

One of the 16 congregations that attended the meeting on 16 October 1887 to form the Federation of Synagogues(iii), and was the largest of the original 21 or 22 federated synagogues when the Federation was formed on 6 November 1887.(iv) It left the Federation in 1899.
It was then associated with the United Synagogue for burial rights, and formally became an Associate Synagogue of United Synagogues in 1922, but seceded in 1949.



Selected Early Ministers:

Rev. I. Van Praag - c. 1874(v)

Selected Early Presidents:

Jacob Fontyn - from at least 1896 until at least c.1905 (vi)

Membership Data:

1896  -   318 members (Jewish Year Book 1896-97)

1898  -   338 members (Jewish Year Book 1898-99)

1905  -   340 members (Jewish Year Book 1906

1915  -   300 members (Jewish Year Book 1916)

Local Government Districts:

The synagogue is on the eastern side of Sandys Row, which is in the London Borough of Tower Hamlets (as is White's Row). (The boundary of "the City" of London runs down the centre of the road and accordingly the western side of Sandys Row is in the City of London.)

From 1899/1900 until 1 April 1965, the eastern side of Sandys Row and White's Row were in the Metropolitan Borough of Stepney.(vii)

From 1856 to 1900, the eastern side of Sandys Row and White's Row were both constituents of the Whitechapel District in the now defunct County of Middlesex.(viii)


Notes & Sources ( returns to text above)

  • (i) Sandys Row is a short narrow street in London's East End, running north-south from Artillery Lane into the northern section of Middlesex Street, lying just to the east of Bishopsgate. It originally extended approximately a further 400 feet along what is now Middlesex Street.

  • (ii) White's Row (some 400 feet long) is approximately 300 feet to the east of Sandys Row, running west-east from Bell Lane to the junction of Toynbee Street (formerly Shepherd Street) with Commercial Street.

  • (iii) Orthodoxy in Anglo-Jewry 1880-1940 by Bernard Homa (1969), p.15, repeated in The Federation of Synagogues 1887-1987 by Geoffrey Alderman (1987), p.20.

  • (iv) Social History of the Jews of England by V.D. Lipman, pp.120/1.

  • (v) Based upon listing in Jewish Directory of 1874.

  • (vi) Based upon listing in the first Jewish Year Book, 1896, and subsequent Jewish Year Books until at least 1906, and may have been listed in later editions.

  • (vii) The London Borough of Tower Hamlets, which covers much of the traditional London East End, was created on 1 April 1965 upon the merger of the former Metropolitan Boroughs of Stepney, Bethnal Green and Poplar. These had been within the (then abolished) County of London.

  • (viii) The eastern side of present-day Sandys Row was also within the historic Liberty of the Old Artillery Ground and White's Row was within the civil parish of Spitalfields, both of which entities were in the former County of Middlesex until 1889, when they became part of the then newly created County of London. They were absorbed into the civil parish of Whitechapel in 1921, within the Metropolitan Borough of Stepney. The civil parish of Whitechapel was itself abolished in 1927, being absorbed into Stepney Borough parish (until that parish's abolition in 1965). From 1856 to 1900, the Liberty of the Old Artillery Ground and the civil parish of Spitalfields were both constituents of the Whitechapel District.


Search the All-UK Database

The records in the database specifically associated with the Sandys Row Synagogue include:


1894-1930 (832 records).

Jewish Communal Leaders

Jewish Directory 1874 (17 records).

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


Bibliography, On-line Articles and Other Material
relating to this Congregation


on Third Party Websites



Congregational Records

Registration District (BMD):

  • Tower Hamlets (since 1 January 1983) - Link to Register Office website

  • Previous Registration Districts:
       Stepney - from 1 January 1926 until 1 January 1983;
       Whitchapel - from founding of congregation until 1 January 1926.
       (All records would now be held by current office.)

Synagogue & Other Records:

  • At least 10 marriage registers (first entry 19 June 1894) are deposited with Tower Hamlets Register Office (ref: s10)

  • The Board of Deputies may also hold copies of some or all of the registers.


List of United Synagogue Congregations

List of Congregations in the Federation of Synagogues

List of Independent London Congregations

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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