Portsmouth and Southsea Hebrew Congregation

& Jewish Community

Portsmouth, Hampshire




Page created: 22 March 2003
Latest revision or update: 14 December 2015

City of Portsmouth

The city of Portsmouth, with a population of about 195,000, is an important naval port on the south coast of England, sitting almost opposite the Isle of Wight.  Most of actual city of Portsmouth lies on Portsea Island. Portsmouth, a unitary authority since 1996, lies geographically within the county of Hampshire.  From 1974 to 1996, it formed a local government district in the administrative county of Hampshire and, prior thereto, it was a county borough in Hampshire. Southsea is a neighbourhood of Portsmouth, that has its own town council with very limited powers.

The Jewish Portsmouth Community

Portsmouth is one of the oldest Jewish communities in Britain, having been established in 1746, and during the early nineteenth century, was one of the four major Jewish congregations outside London.

Search the All-UK Database

The records in the database associated with Portsmouth include:


1840-1981 (309 records)

1851 Anglo Jewry Database

Individuals in the 1851 Anglo Jewry Database who were living in Portsmouth or Gosport (across the harbour) during the 1760s (4 records), 1770s (12 records), 1780s (30 records), 1790s (34 records), 1800s (69 records), 1810s (107 records), 1820s (83 records), 1830s (114 records), 1840s (189 records), 1850s (302 records), 1860s (84 records), 1870s (50 records), 1880s (25 records), 1890s (6 records), 1900s (2 records) and 1910s (2 records).


Congregation Data

Official Name:

Portsmouth and Southsea Hebrew Congregation

Former Name:

Portsmouth Hebrew Congregation (until about 2001)


The Thickett, Elm Grove, Southsea PO5 2AA

Previous Addresses:

White's Row, off Queens Street, in use from 1749 until 1936.  Until it closed, it was the oldest provincial synagogue still in use.

From 1766 until about 1789, there was a split in the community resulting in a rival community.

Previously, Oyster Row (from about 1746 until about 1749)

Current Status:


Date Formed:



Ashkenazi Orthodox


A provincial synagogue under the aegis of the Chief Rabbi.

Marriage Certification:

Group: Board of Deputies;
Appears in 1998 General Registrar Official List: Yes;
Worship Number: 57016;
Registration District: Portsmouth

Web Site:


Membership Data:

1845 - 22 ba'ale batim and 20 seatholders (C. Roth, The Rise of Provincial Jewry)

1851 - 160 appropriated seats (ibid.)

1896 -   82 seatholders (The Jewish Year Book 1896/7)

1898 - 104 seatholders (The Jewish Year Book 1898/9)

1900 - 117 seatholders (The Jewish Year Book 1900/1)

1905 - 180 seatholders (The Jewish Year Book 1906)

1915 - 150 seatholders (The Jewish Year Book 1916)

1999 -   96 (Board of Deputies)


ęDavid Shulman 2012

A photograph of the gate to Portsmouth & Southsea Synagogue,
 taken at twilight, November 2012


Articles on the Portsmouth Jewish Community

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

Portsmouth 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.

Jewish Encyclopaedia article on Portsmouth by Joseph Jacobs and Isidore Harris, c-1906.

Jewish Population Data



(The Jewish Year Books 1895/6 through 1900/01)



(The Jewish Year Book 1920)



(The Jewish Year Book 1935)



(The Jewish Year Book 1946)



(The Jewish Year Book 1966)



(The Jewish Year Book 1991)



(The Jewish Year Book 2005)

Other Portsmouth Jewish Information

Jewish Congregations in Hampshire

Jewish Communities of England home page

Explanation of Terms Used



About JCR-UK   |   JCR-UK home page  |   Contact JCR-UK Webmaster

JGSGB  JewishGen

Terms and Conditions, Licenses and Restrictions for the use of this website:

This website is owned by JewishGen and the Jewish Genealogical Society of Great Britain. All material found herein is owned by or licensed to us. You may view, download, and print material from this site only for your own personal use. You may not post material from this site on another website without our consent. You may not transmit or distribute material from this website to others. You may not use this website or information found at this site for any commercial purpose.

Copyright © 2002 - 2016 JCR-UK. All Rights Reserved