Page created By John Berman: 2002
Congregations researched and page reformatted by David Shulman: September 2005
Page redesigned by Louise Messik: November 2011
Page reorganized by David Shulman: January 2013
Latest revision or update: 10 October 2016


City of Leeds

The present boundaries of the officially-named City of Leeds metropolitan borough, in Northern England, date from 1974, when the county borough of Leeds was merged with a number of other localities from West Riding of Yorkshire to form the metropolitan district (later borough) within the then new metropolitan county of West Yorkshire.  Leeds became a unitary authority in 1986 when West Yorkshire lost its administrative status, becoming purely a ceremonial county.

The Leeds Jewish Community

The Leeds Jewish community is the second largest provincial community in Britain (exceeded only by Manchester), currently numbering over 8,000 (out of a total population of approximately for 430,000 for Leeds itself and 730,000 for the whole metropolitan borough).  The community only really became established in 1840, much later than many other communities.  By the 1870's, most of the community lived in, or close to, the very poor Leylands district, which was almost a Jewish ghetto. The Jews gradually moved to the north, partly as a result of slum clearance schemes which started in 1907 and very few were left in Leylands by the late 1930's. They initially settled in the Chapeltown district, and from the 1950's, moved further north to the vicinity of Moortown and the Ring Road (Alwoodley).

The Jewish Congregations in Leeds

The following congregations are, or were, considered to be part of the Leeds Community. (If you cannot trace the congregation in the list below, try searching in the list of alternative names.)

*  Denotes active congregation

(1) Congregation records (as listed) in All-UK Database.

(2) Pages with their own searchable databases.

(3) Pages with press reports on the congregation.

(4) Pages with photographs.

(5) Pages with articles and other contributed material.

(6) Pages with browsable lists.

Alternative Names for Leeds Synagogues

The following are former, alternative or unofficial names for some of the congregations listed above:






Search of Leeds Cemeteries Records,
in respect of all Leeds Jewish Cemeteries,
each with a brief article by A. Tobias describing the cemetery

BHH Cemetery - 2,200 records from 1955 to February 2016, including photographs of most headstones.

Hill Top Cemeteries - Records of all burials, generally in use from 1875 to 1970 (but with some later burials), including photographs of all headstones.

New Farnley Cemeteries - Nearly 10,000 records from 1896 to February 2016, including photographs of 80% of headstones.

Sinai (Reform) Synagogue Cemetery - Approximately 350 records from the early 1950's to June 2014, including photographs of headstones.

UHC Cemetery - Over 6,500 records from 1840 to February 2016, including photographs of some 5,000 headstones.

Cemeteries Information

The following are details of the five Jewish cemeteries in Leeds - for database details see above:

  • BHH Cemetery, Gelderd Road, Gildersome - Opened 1955 and still in use primarily by the Leeds Beth Hamedrash Hagadol (BHH), but also shared with a number of other congregations.

  • Hill Top Cemeteries -  Purchased in 1873 by the New Briggate Synagogue and shared with other congregations. It was generally in use until 1970 (but with some later burials). The cemetery has been closed to visitorrs due to subsidence causing the ground to collapse into disused coal-minesbelow and engineers declaring it dangerous.

  • New Farnley Cemeteries, 717 Whitehall Road, Leeds LS12 - In use from 1896. This cemetery is administered by the Etz Chaim Synagogue, except for the Louis Street Synagogue section, which is administered by the United Hebrew Congregation.

  • Sinai (Reform) Synagogue Cemetery - The Leeds Sinai (Reform) Synagogue section of the Harehills Cemetery, Leeds, in used from the early 1950s.

  • UHC Cemetery, Gelderd Road, Gildersome - The cemetery of the Leeds United Hebrew Congregation (UHC), but also includes a number of other congregations), in use from 1840.

(For some additional information, also see IAJGS Cemetery Project - Leeds Cemetery)


 Search the All-UK Database

In addition to the Special JCR-UK Leeds Database (above), records in the All-UK Database associated with Leeds include:


1855 - 1973 (5,044 records).


Hill Top Cemeteries:
 Beth Hamedrash Hagadol Synagogue section (1,049 records*);
 Mariempoler (Old Central) Synagogue section (81 records);
 remaining section (1,659 records).

New Farnley Cemeteries:
 Louis Street Synagogue section (1,039 records);
 Psalms of David Synagogue section (630 records);
 remaining section (5,820 records).

New Beth Hamedrash Hagadol Synagogue Cemetery, Geldred Road (1,132 records).

United Hebrew Congregation Cemetery (6,113 records).

*A search in the database may reveal duplicates of some of these records on the JewishGen Online Worldwide Burial Register (JOWBR) or some records may be on JOWBR exclusively.

1851 Anglo Jewry Database

Individuals in the 1851 Anglo Jewry Database who were living in Leeds during the 1820s (9 records), 1830s (30 records), 1840s (60 records plus 3 records in Wakefield), 1850s (129 records plus 5 records in Wakefield), 1860s (50 records), 1870s (41 records), 1880s (24 records), 1890s (5 records), 1900s (6 records) and 1910s (1 record).


Additions to the Roll of Honour. Records of Jewish serviceman who died in service 1914-1921 and who were not listed on (At least 25 records of serviceman born in Leeds).


On-line Articles and Other Material
relating to the Leeds Jewish Community



Other Leeds Jewish Institutions & Organisations
(that had been formed by 1900)*

Educational & Theological

  • Jews Free School (Talmud Torah) (founded 1876) - just for boys

  • Hebrew Schools (founded 1888) - for boys and girls

Other Institutions & Organisations

  • Jewish Board of Guardians (founded 1878) for the relief of resident and casual poor.

  • Society for the Relief of the Sick (founded 1872)

  • "Social Union" Benefit Society (founded 1854)

  • Chevra Kadishs Burial Society (founded 1895) to profer the last solemn rites to the dead, to assist the necessitous during the week of mourning, and to keep the cemetery in order. 

  • Jewish Ladies' Benevolent Society (founded 1874), presumed successor to Ladies Lying-in Society (founded 1872) for assisting women during confinement..

  • Jewish Young Men's Association (founded by 1900).

  • Hebrew Literary Society (founded by 1900)

  • Bikur Cholim (founded 1876) for the relief of the sick poor.

  • Hachnasath Orechim (founded 1890) to provide poor strangers with shelter

  • Sick Charity Society (founded by 1900) for relief of sick poor, including medical attendance, surgical appliances.

* As listed in the Jewish Directory of 1874 and the Jewish Year Books 1896 & 1900.


Leeds/font> Jewish Population Data


Approximate date of earliest organized Jewish Community in Leeds



(9 families and 28 male lodgers) (1841 census, per Murray Freedman's  "Leeds - The First Hundred  Years")


Establishment of first Synagogue (see Great Synagogue)



(Murray Freedman's profile on Leeds Jewry)


about 500 families

(The Jewish Chronicle and E. Krausz - Leeds Jewry, 1964)



(Jewish Year Book 1896)



(Jewish Year Book 1935)



(Jewish Year Book 1945-6)



(Jewish Year Book 1956)



(Study of Louis Saipe)



(Murray Freedman's profile on Leeds Jewry)



(Jewish Year Book 2005)



(estimate - Murray Freedman)

* These figures are disputed in "Leeds Jewry - A Demographical and Sociological Profile" by Murray Freedman, in which it is claimed that the highest number Leeds Jewry ever achieved was possibly around 22,000 in the late 1920's and early 1930's.  The Jewish Year Book 1991 also gives a figure for Leeds of 12,000, substantially above Murray's figure for a couple of years earlier
** This figure is from the 2001 census, but includes approximately 1,000 students at university in Leeds

Other Jewish Congregations in West Yorkshire

Jewish Communities of England home page/a>


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