Chatham Memorial Synagogue

& Jewish Community of Medway

Medway, Kent




Page created: 25 July 2003
Latest revision or update: 6 December 2015

Chatham Memorial Synagogue
Chatham Memorial Synagogue

Chatham and the Borough of Medway

The Kentish towns of Rochester, Chatham, Gillingham and one or two other small towns near the Thames estuary in southeast England, form a single conurbation, and are known as the Medway Towns, named after the river Medway on, or close to which, the towns are situated.  In 1974, the local government district of Medway was formed, within the county of Kent, by the merger of the municipal boroughs of Rochester (which then had City status) and Chatham, together with adjoining areas. In 1982, the district was renamed the City of Rochester-upon-Medway.  In 1998, it was enlarged by the incorporation of the adjacent district of Gillingham, was renamed the Borough of Medway and become a unitary authority.

Chatham & District Jewish Community

The has been a Jewish community in the Chatham and Rochester for nearly 300 years, and prior thereto, there had been a medieval Jewish community in Rochester. 

Search the All-UK Database

The records in the database associated with the Chatham and Rochester include:


Chatham Magnus Memorial Cemetery, 1786-1982 (190 records) see also introductory article

1851 Anglo Jewry Database

Individuals in the 1851 Anglo Jewry Database who were living in Chatham, Rochester or Gravesend (6 miles to the west) during the 1770s (2 records), 1780s (7 records), 1790s (6 records), 1800s (15 records), 1810s (31 records); 1820s (67 records), 1830s (92 records), 1840s (135 records), 1850s (188 records), 1860s (84 records), 1870s (27 records), 1880s (14 records), 1890s (6 records) and 1900s (2 record).

Congregation Data

The community's synagogue, although called the Chatham Memorial Synagogue, is actually situated in Rochester. 


Chatham Memorial Synagogue

Predecessor Synagogue:

Cottage Jews' Tabernacle Synagogue


366 High Street, Rochester (rebuilt 1869/70, in memory of Captain Lazarus Simon Magnus, on site of previous synagogue)

Date Founded:


Current Status:



Ashkenazi Orthodox

Marriage Certification:

Group for Certification: Board of Deputies
Appears in 1998 General Registrar Official List
Worship Number: 30747
Registration District: Chatham

Membership Numbers:

1852 - 30 seatholders (Board of Deputies return)

1860 - 31 seatholders (Board of Deputies return)

1870 - 34 seatholders (Board of Deputies return)

1880 - 30 seatholders (Board of Deputies return)

1890 - 15 seatholders (Board of Deputies return)

1900 - 10 seatholders (Jewish Year Book 1896/7)

1905 - 10 seatholders (The Jewish Year Book 1906)

1999 - 38 members (Board of Deputies return)



Articles on the Chatham Jewish & Rochester Community

The Rise of Provincial Jewry - Chatham by Cecil Roth, 1950. Available on JCR-UK as part of the Susser Archive.

Chatham from "Provincial Jewry in Victorian Britain"  - Papers for a conference at University College, London, convened by the Jewish Historical Society of England, prepared by Aubrey Newman - 6th July 1975.  Reproduced here with his kind consent.

A Brief History of Chatham Memorial Synagogue, reproduced from the Community's website.

Chatham Cemetery, by Martyn Webster, includes an introductory article to the Chatham Cemetery database (above).

Jewish Population Data
(excluding student population)



(The Jewish Year Book 1901)



(The Jewish Year Book 1906)



(The Jewish Year Book 1916)



(The Jewish Year Book 1935)



(The Jewish Year Book 1946)



(The Jewish Year Book 2056)



(The Jewish Year Book 1966)



(The Jewish Year Book 2005)


Other Chatham & Rochester Jewish Information

Jewish Congregations in Kent

Jewish Communities of England home page

Explanation of Terms Used


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