JCR-UK

Penzance Jewish Congregation

& Jewish Community

Penzance, Cornwall

 

              

         
 

 

PENZANCE SYNAGOGUE

A BRIEF HISTORY

INFORMATION IN SUPPORT OF APPLICATION TO ENGLISH
 HERITAGE TO REVISE LISTING OF THE STAR HOTEL,
PENZANCE, TO INCLUDE DETAILS OF THE FORMER
SYNAGOGUE AT THE REAR OF THE HOTEL IN NEW STREET
 


©Susan Soyinka 2014


Compiled by

Susan Soyinka


© Copyright reserved. Please do not copy, print or
distribute without the prior permission of the author.
 

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Page 2


CONTENTS

Purpose of this Document  (page 3)

Summary  (page 4)

Early History: 18th and 19th Centuries  (pages 5 to 11)

Pictorial Records  (pages 11 to 17)

Developments during the 20th Century  (pages 18 to 19)

Alterations to the Synagogue and 1 New Street  (pages 19 to 22)

Recent Developments  (pages 22 and 23)

Plan of The Star Inn site, showing Synagogue at rear  (page 23)

The Rescued Artefacts  (page 24)

 A Thrilling Discovery  (pages 25 to 26)

Listed Status  (pages 26 to 27)

Bibliography  (page 28)

Photo Credits (page 29)

Acknowledgements (page 30)

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Page 3

Purpose of this document

The former synagogue in Penzance is currently part of the Star Inn, situated on the corner of Market Jew Street and New Street. Specifically, the part of the pub which was once a synagogue is at the rear of the building in New Street.

The Penzance Synagogue is not listed separately by English Heritage, in spite of the fact that the Falmouth Synagogue is listed in its own right. However, the Star Inn is listed under the name of The Star Hotel, and the listing includes an 18th century building at the rear, which must be the synagogue, but does not specifically say so. Hence, it is not clear whether or not it is included in the listing. Perhaps due to this lack of clarity, when the synagogue passed through several hands in the mid-1980s, the interior fittings, including the ladies’ gallery and the altar, were removed, having survived intact for almost 200 years.

The owners of the Star Inn, the Scottish and Newcastle Pub Company, made an application on 19 September 2012 to alter their premises (PA12/08843). While this application was refused on 7 January 2013 on the grounds of noise and nuisance, my understanding is that the company intends to resubmit their application, and is considering the possibility of selling off the synagogue. There is every reason to believe that the historical and religious significance of the synagogue has been at best overlooked, and at worst disregarded, and that the building is now at risk.

Having discussed the matter with a number of people, it would seem that the most effective means of giving the synagogue due recognition, and ensuring some degree of protection for it in the future, would be to apply to English Heritage for the present listing to be amended and updated to include specific reference to the synagogue.

Nick Cahill, Head of the Historic Environment Service at Cornwall Council, has kindly offered to prepare and submit the application, and has asked me to provide him with the necessary historical evidence to enable him to do so. This has involved drawing together the body of knowledge which already exists about the synagogue, and also pursuing new lines of enquiry.


This application is supported by:

Vera Collins, member of Kehillat Kernow, the Cornish Jewish Community
Evelyn Friedlander, Chair of the Czech Memorial Scroll Trust, and former Director of The Hidden Legacy Foundation
Tony and Jean Gillman, former members of The Upper Room Fellowship, who rescued artefacts from the synagogue when it was sold
Dr Melissa Hardie, Founder-Director of the Hypatia Trust
Dr Anthony Joseph, Emeritus President of the Jewish Genealogical Society of Great Britain, and descendant of a Cornish Jewish family
Dr Sharman Kadish, Director of Jewish Heritage
Gerry Myers, member of Kehillat Kernow, who discovered two synagogue lamps, thought to have originated from Penzance Synagogue
Cornelius Olivier, Cornwall councillor for the ward in which the synagogue is located
Anne Sicher, artist residing in Mousehole since 1976, member of Kehillat Kernow
Godfrey Simmons, great grandson of Penzance Rabbi Barnett Asher Simmons, consultant and co-author, The Lost Jews of Cornwall
Professor Charles Thomas, first Director, Institute of Cornish Studies, and past President, Royal Institution of Cornwall
Penzance Civic Society

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Page 4

PENZANCE SYNAGOGUE: A BRIEF HISTORY1

Summary

Early history

  • 1768: first purpose-built synagogue constructed in New Street, Penzance, on a plot of land owned by a member of the Branwell family.

  • 1807-8: second synagogue built on same site.

  • 1837: 18c dwelling-house (no.1 New Street) and adjoining house (no. 2 New Street), previously owned by Joseph Branwell, sold to Jewish community, then added to existing synagogue.

  • 1906: 1807 synagogue sold to the Plymouth Brethren. It is likely that no. 1 New Street, added to synagogue in 1837, was included in sale.

  • Date unknown: 1 New Street (18c house added to synagogue in 1837) became a private residence. Owned at one time by a naval commander, bought in 1957 by Mr and Mrs Knight. Mrs Knight sold it to Mr and Mrs Franklin in 1975.

  • 1974: The Star Hotel listed by English Heritage, including 18c building at the rear, but no mention of synagogue.

  • c.1970s: synagogue sold to The Upper Room Fellowship (they owned 1807 purpose-built synagogue only).

Developments since 1980s

  • 1984: 1807 synagogue sold by The Upper Room Fellowship to Terry Winters, property developer, who let it out to Terry English, armourer. He used it to exhibit armour used in film, television and theatre.

  • 1984: Terry Winters sold synagogue to Graham Moffatt, his accountant, whose office was at no. 2 New Street, next to synagogue.

  • 1984: Mr & Mrs Franklin sold 1 New Street to Mr Lacey & ?Mr Moffatt.

  • 1986: 1 New Street and 1807 synagogue sold by Lacey & Moffatt to Devenish Breweries (Redruth). Both became incorporated into The Star Inn (formerly The Star Hotel).

  • At some point during these transactions, the interior fittings of original synagogue were removed, and 1 New Street was substantially altered.

  • 1993: Devenish Breweries taken over by Greenalls.

  • 1999: Greenalls sold its pubs, including The Star Inn (plus both buildings of former synagogue) to Scottish and Newcastle Pub Company, part of the Heineken company.

  • 2012: The Scottish and Newcastle Pub Company submitted proposals to Cornwall Council for refurbishment, including sell-off of synagogue.

  • Jan. 2013: Proposal turned down on grounds of noise and nuisance, but company plans to appeal this decision.

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1 Much, but not all, of the content in this document is based on information provided in The Lost Jews of Cornwall, eds. Keith Pearce and Helen Fry, Redcliffe Press, 2000. The book draws on the extensive archive of Godfrey Simmons, a descendant of one of the Penzance rabbis, who acted as consultant.

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Early History: 18th and 19th centuries

Jews have been living in Penzance since at least the early 18th century. The Royal Cornwall Gazette recorded in April 1817 that a Mr Levy of that town had died at the age of 100 and was said to be “the oldest Jew in the county”.2 The first purpose-built synagogue in Penzance, which no doubt Mr Levy attended, was constructed in 17683 in the back yard of 1 New Street, which was at that time “a killing place”, the phrase used in a conveyance document, sadly lost:

It was released to the congregation under contract to a member of the Branwell family. The Branwells also lent funds for the synagogue and were involved in its construction. They similarly leased and helped to build the second synagogue on the same site in 1807-8.4 It is this building, which is still visible today. Access to it was gained through a narrow alley off New Street.5

This alley now leads to a cycle centre. The fact that the synagogue was built in such an inauspicious location in a back street is itself of historical significance, as explained in an English Heritage document:

After the Resettlement of 1656, Jews were prohibited from building on the public thoroughfare. Consequently, synagogues such as Bevis Marks (1701) were tucked away in a yard, the façade turned at right angles to the street. Continuing hostility to Dissenters throughout the eighteenth century was a further reason for maintaining a low profile, explaining the plain façade and ‘back door’ entrance to Plymouth synagogue (1761-2, the oldest Ashkenazi synagogue in use in the English-speaking world).6

Bernard Susser makes a similar comment:

In common with most eighteenth-century synagogues, and nonconformist meeting houses, all the South-West synagogues had plain exteriors to avoid unwelcome attention and envy. For these reasons the entrances of many eighteenth-century synagogues were tucked away from main thoroughfares. Both the Plymouth and the Exeter synagogues have only one entrance and that fronts on to a narrow pavement which is used only as a pedestrian short-cut, whilst … (that of Penzance was) hidden away in the back streets.7

Of equal importance in this regard is the willingness of prominent members of the local Cornish community to offer their moral and financial support to the Jewish community, in order to enable its members to practice their faith. Such tolerance and acceptance was evident throughout the 18th and 19th centuries in Cornwall, at a time when Jews in other parts of Europe were victim to discrimination, oppression and vicious pogroms.

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2 Mr Levy was not necessarily born in Penzance. Some Jewish families had migrated from Europe.
3 Saundry’s Almanac for 1939 states “1768: Old Jews’ Synagogue built."
4 The Lost Jews of Cornwall,  p. 89, quotes Thomas, History of Mounts Bay (1820, p. 47): "the Jews have a synagogue, which was built in 1807; but prior to this, they had one that was erected in 1768."
5 The Lost Jews of Cornwall, op. cit. p. 295.
6 The Buildings of Judaism,  p. 15, part of an English Heritage document entitled Places of Worship.
7 Bernard Susser, The Jews of South-West England,  p.131, University of Exeter Press, 1993.

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Page 6

Bernard Susser adds that there may be an additional reason for not making the entrance on the main road, a reason which would indeed apply to the Penzance Synagogue, which faces east:

Ideally, the synagogue should be built with an east-west orientation so that the worshipper on entering the synagogue would be facing the ark and at the same time facing Jerusalem.8

The lease for the second synagogue was signed on 11 December 1807:

The parties concerned were Joseph Branwell, who made over "…a Meeting House or synagogue lately erected in New Street, Penzance where there was a slaughter house used by Branwell to "Lemon Hart, Hyman Woolf, Henry Ralph Elias Magnus and Lemon Woolf (all of Penzance).9


©Anne Sicher, November 2013
Above, the original of the 1807 conveyance, or indenture,
now in the home of a local resident.

One of the signatories to the above conveyance, Lemon Hart (1768-1845), was born in Penzance. He moved to London in 1811 but remained involved.  He was perhaps the most prominent member of the Jewish community in Penzance, and is best-known as one of the largest spirit merchants in the country, believed to have supplied the British Navy with rum for many years.10

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8 Bernard Susser, The Jews of South-West England,  p.131, University of Exeter Press, 1993.
9 The Lost Jews of Cornwall, op. cit. p. 89.
10 Ibid. p.72. Evelyn Friedlander wrote a chapter on Lemon Hart in The Jews of Devon and Cornwall.

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Page 7

Some interesting records about these transactions were made in the synagogue’s accounts in the early 19th century.

They are headed: "Mr Lemon Hart, President and Treasurer of the Hebrew Synagogue" and they demonstrate the importance of the connection with the Branwell family. One of the earliest entries records "….cash received of Mr Joseph Branwell towards the building of synagogue, 20 pounds”. …. Among other items noted was a payment of three shillings for three loads of hay, which was laid under the floor as an insulator and was still in place when the building was stripped in 1983.11

I have been informed by Dr Melissa Hardie, Founder-Director of the Hypatia Trust, who has carried out research into the Branwell family, that Joseph Branwell (1748-1813) was the first cousin of Thomas Branwell, whose daughter Maria Branwell was the mother of the Brontë sisters.

The synagogue was enlarged following a transaction which took place in 1837:

In 1818 Barbara Eva, wife of William Eva, inherited a dwelling-house in New Street, together with an adjoining property, from her aunt Temperance Branwell (note: widow of Joseph Branwell)…… On 27 December 1837, a release (conveyance) was signed between William Eva of Gwinear, a wheelwright, and his wife Barbara to “….Lemon Woolf, merchant, Aaron Selig, jeweller, Henry Levin, jeweller, Moses Woolf, brewer, and Benjamin Selig, watchmaker, all of Penzance." The consideration was the sum of £160 for the sale of a dwelling-house and the adjoining house "formerly two messuages." The latter was then added to the existing synagogue and the lease records that (the enlarged building) “… is now used as a Synagogue.12

The two dwelling houses were almost certainly numbers 1 and 2 New Street, and must have been inherited by Temperance Branwell from her husband, Joseph Branwell.13 Number 1 New Street is virtually attached to the 1807 synagogue, while number 2 is separate, and a little further down the street. It is likely that the former dwelling houses were used for meeting rooms, and the 1807 building continued to be used for worship. A document has come to light, written by some former owners of 1 New Street, which explains how the former dwelling place may have been linked with the synagogue behind it:

Many years ago there may have been a wide passageway through what is now the kitchen of the house – a curved arch of granite facings can be seen on the front of the house near the kitchen window, and at the rear of the kitchen there was a very large curved wooden lintel over the old rear windows. There are a few steps under the kitchen floor near the doorway into the living room down to a lower floor level, so it is feasible that small horse drawn carts could have passed through to the rear to where there were believed to have been stables beside the Chapel.14

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11 The Lost Jews of Cornwall, op. cit.  p. 91.
12 Ibid. p. 90.
13 There is a note in the late Graham Moffatt’s correspondence, which I am unable to verify, that Temperance Branwell lived at number 1 New Street until 22.11.1818, the property and the synagogue then being owned by Thos. Thos. Mason, see footnotes 32 to 37.
14 Mr and Mrs Franklin, from a document I found in the correspondence of the late Graham Moffatt, see footnotes 32 to 37.

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Page 8

The curved arch mentioned above can be seen at the far end of the two photos shown below and on the next page.15 The second photo, taken in 2004, shows more clearly that the arch extends over the door at the end of the building and over a window next to it, which was the kitchen window described above.


©Philip Knight

Philip Knight, who lived at 1 New Street as a child, has told me that the door used to open onto a passage leading down to the back of the house and out onto the narrow yard between 1 New Street and the synagogue. (This would have given direct access to the west wall of the synagogue behind the house, which is the preferred way of entering a synagogue.16) Interestingly, after his family purchased the house in 1957, the Plymouth Brethren, who at that time owned the synagogue, claimed that they had legal right of way to this internal passage, and took the case to court. Although the right of way was ultimately granted to the Knights, the fact that the Brethren thought that they had a case suggests that the passage may have been used at one time for access to the synagogue. Indeed, there is reference to a right of way in both the 1807 conveyance (page 6) and the 1906 conveyance (page 10).

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15 Both photos were kindly passed to me by Philip Knight, nephew of the Franklins<.
16 Dr Kadish has written to me the following explanation: “The convention is generally to enter the building and proceed in the direction of the Ark without turning around. The Ark should be facing towards Jerusalem (at E or S/E) in this country). Thus the main entrance is usually on the west wall. However, sometimes variant - non ideal - plans are dictated by the site on which the synagogue is built.” This corresponds with the comment made by Bernard Susser, quoted on page 6.

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Page 9
 


©Philip Knight

The document written by former owners, Mr and Mrs Franklin, gives some further intriguing information about 1 New Street:

In the course of the work on the roof, some small wood carvings were removed from the old fascia boards – these are now on battens attached to the roof trusses in the attic, and may be of some interest.

The 1768, 1807 and 1837 conveyances indicate that the synagogue was leased, as Jews had no right of freehold. Freehold must have been granted at some point, as records show that the freehold was passed from Henry Joseph and Israel Levin to Barnett Henry Joseph and Israel Oppenheim in September 1880.17 In 1843, the Congregation bought the freehold for the Jewish cemetery in Penzance for £50 from the estate of Canon Rogers.18

The consecration of the enlarged synagogue was reported in The Penzance Gazette on 30 September 1840, in a manner suggesting that this was an event celebrated by the Cornish and Jewish communities alike:

On Sunday last, the Jews of Penzance consecrated their splendid new Synagogue. It was a very interesting ceremony, and was witnessed by a great number of the most respectable inhabitants, who appeared highly delighted.

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17 The Lost Jews of Cornwall, op. cit. p.90.
18 Information given by Godfrey Simmons in a letter found in his correspondence with Graham Moffatt.

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Page 10

In similar vein, a most interesting entry is made in the synagogue's minutes in 1848 relating to a meeting about the petitioning of parliament for the removal of Jewish disabilities (i.e. the continuing discrimination in law at that time):

…the thanks of this meeting is due to our Christian Brethren of Penzance, in having so readily and nobly supported the petition for the Removal of the Jewish disabilities, being the last vestige of religious intolerance now remaining on the statute book of this free and enlightened nation.19



The 1906 conveyance when the synagogue was sold to the Plymouth Brethren, original now part of legal pack belonging to Star Pubs and Bars. Reference was made to this document in The Lost Jews of Cornwall.
©The Scottish and Newcastle Pub Company

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19 The Lost Jews of Cornwall, op. cit. p. 93.

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Page 11

Here again, we see the degree of acceptance of the Jewish community into Cornish society. A fascinating article originally published in The Cornishman in August 1889, describes a Bar mitzvah ceremony. It begins with the words:

Jew and Gentile alike flocked to the modest little synagogue in New Street, Penzance on Saturday morning to see the ancient and interesting ceremony of Harry Bischofswerder’s admission to his Church.20

The words “Jew and Gentile alike” are yet further evidence of the level of integration of the Jewish community of that time into Cornish society. Sadly, however, the Jewish community in Penzance declined during the latter part of the 19th century, as people died, or moved away for family or business reasons:

The end came in 1906 when, on 31st May, Thomas Lean of Marazion bought the premises at auction for £172 on behalf of the Plymouth Brethren. The building was formally conveyed to him on the 23rd June 1906 by Barnet H Joseph, Israel Oppenheim and Morris Bischofswerder. It was then used by the Brethren as a meeting-house for prayer.21

 

Pictorial Records

The interior of the 1807 synagogue remained more or less intact until 1984-1987, during which period it was removed (see pages 19 to 22). Happily some written and pictorial records have survived. Chapter 9 of The Lost Jews of Cornwall gives several detailed descriptions of the interior of the synagogue as it was during the 19th century, based on communal records, and also on articles which appeared in various publications, including The Cornishman.22

The 1889 article in The Cornishman, quoted earlier, described the interior of the synagogue as follows:

Two spacious windows admit abundant eastern light. There is no other means of illumination except from the gas-jets and standards. Towards the light and Jerusalem, the congregation turns when it prays for the advent of its Messiah and the grand reunion of its scattered tribes. Between these windows the space from floor to wall-plate is occupied by the modern substitute for the ark or the chest of the Book-of-the-Law…. Above the ark is an inscription. A wooden screen, topped by pillars, and two gates of the same material and pattern surround it. The gates are approached by two steps. Between the sanctuary, with its eight-branched lamp on the right and the entrance doors, is another raised and railed-in platform, reached midway on either side by a step. Inside this space at its west end is a plain, uncushioned bench. Its east end, which faces the ark and the windows, has a sloping desk. On this rests the sacred scroll. ….As you open the entrance doors directly facing you, and fixed to the other and west end of the reading desk are three almsboxes - a reminder of that care for their poorer brethren in which the Hebrew sets so excellent an example to the Gentile. All the floor space is devoted to the male portion of the congregation. Females sit in two galleries at the west end and the south side of the synagogue.23

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20 The Cornishman, August 1889, republished 25 June 1998, p.28.
21 The Lost Jews of Cornwall, op. cit. p. 90.
22 Ibid. pp 295-301. Chapter 9 was written by Evelyn Friedlander and Helen Fry.
23 The Cornishman, August 1889, republished 25 June 1998, p.28.

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Page 12

A survey of the building was made in 1958 by the architect, Edward Jamilly, who drew up a plan, shown below, which has been reproduced in The Jews of Devon and Cornwall, the catalogue of an exhibition mounted at several venues during 2000.24 The plan here shows access from the side alleyway, rather than through 1 New Street, which may have originally given access.

Using information provided by Edward Jamilly, Bernard Susser described the building as a single room 20 foot high and 24 foot square.25 He continued:

The walls are of thick, stone rubble, the upper part hung with slates and covered by a low-pitched, slated roof. First impressions are of a sound and solid, if unexciting structure.26

Photographs of the exterior and interior of the synagogue are shown on the next page.27 The structure seen immediately in front of the synagogue is, unbelievably, an electricity substation. The ladies’ gallery and ark can be seen in the photograph of the interior, which was taken by David Giddings in the early 1970s for a friend who wished to use it for a talk she was giving in Israel.

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24 The Jews of Devon and Cornwall, Essays and Exhibition Catalogue, p.23, The Hidden Legacy Foundation, 2000.
25  I imagine this must have been 24 feet by 24 feet, i.e. 576 square feet. The dimension given in a 1984 planning application (84/538) was 70 square metres (see pages 20 & 21).
26 Rev. B. Susser, “When Jews Worshipped at Penzance,” in The Cornishman, 16 July 1964, quoted in The Lost Jews of Cornwall, op. cit. p. 296.
27 Both photos were shown originally in The Lost Jews of Cornwall, op. cit. p. 297.

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Page 13


©Frank Dabba Smith



©David Giddings

The two windows seen above are the only windows in the entire building, and are east-facing in accordance with convention, as explained in footnote 16

It had been thought that the bottom photograph was the only surviving one of the interior of the synagogue, but I have recently obtained photos from Terry English, shown on the next page, of an exhibition of theatrical armour which he mounted in the synagogue in June 1984 (see pages 19 and 21). The railings of the ladies’ gallery are just recognisable.

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Page 14



©Terry English

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Page 15

The 1984 planning application made to Cornwall Council (which sought permission to mount the exhibition), includes a plan of the synagogue, shown below. This is more detailed than the 1958 plan as it includes a first floor plan showing the position of the ladies’ gallery and the stairs leading up to it. It also appears to show the altar, to be used for a removable display, and the Ark


©Terry Winters

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Page 16

Below is a photograph of two Decalogue tablets, showing the Ten Commandments inscribed in Hebrew, and also a picture of a plaque from the synagogue bearing the inscription in Hebrew “Open to us the gates of mercy.”28 Both items were rescued by Tony and Jean Gillman who were members of The Upper Room Fellowship, which owned the synagogue during the 1970s and early 1980s, and with whom I have spoken at some length.


©Ian Lillicrapp



©Frank Dabba Smith

The wording on the plaque above has been inscribed on a menorah given in 2010 to the people of Mousehole by former World War Two Jewish evacuees. The menorah, shown on the next page, is now in St Clement’s Chapel, Mousehole, where it has been given pride of place in front of the altar.

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28 Both photos appeared in The Lost Jews of Cornwall, op. cit. p. 299  and also in The Jews of Devon and Cornwall, op. cit. pp. 76 & 77.

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Page 17


©Susan Soyinka 2014
 


©Susan Soyinka 2014

The evacuation story was told in From East End to Land’s End, The Evacuation of Jews’ Free School, London, to Mousehole in Cornwall During World War Two. The eminent Cornish historian, Professor Charles Thomas, when providing a review for the book, commented:

The Penzance District, Cornwall’s western-most port, has assimilated Jewish families – often distinguished, always welcomed – over the last three centuries. Susan Soyinka’s book is the latest, most detailed, and probably the happiest of works chronicling this contact. We are indeed fortunate that she wrote it in time to involve wartime evacuees and their remarkable memories.29

Professor Thomas attests not only to the welcome always given, but clearly also recognises a continuing Jewish presence in Cornwall throughout the 20th century and beyond. Indeed, quoting the 2001 census, Professor Tony Kushner comments that there were 435 people living in Cornwall at that time who described themselves as religiously ‘Jewish’, considerably more than were known to be living in Cornwall during the 19th century.30

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29 Susan Soyinka, From East End to Land’s End, The Evacuation of Jews’ Free School, London, to Mousehole in Cornwall During World War Two,  p.1, DB Publishing, 2010, paperback edition.
30 Tony Kushner, “Jewish Local Studies and Memory Work: A Case Study of  Cornwall”, in Journal of Jewish Studies, 2004.

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Page 18

Developments during the 20th century

When the synagogue was sold to the Plymouth Brethren, the wording of the 1906 conveyance would appear to indicate that at this time, the two buildings (the original 1807 purpose-built synagogue and the 18th century house at number 1 New Street behind which it was built) were sold together:

….(a) messuage and house or building situate in New Street, Penzance aforesaid for many years past used as a Jewish synagogue.

If correct, the Plymouth Brethren would at that stage have had access to the synagogue through 1 New Street, which perhaps explains the legal action they took in 1957 claiming right of way. The 1807 synagogue remained in the ownership of the Plymouth Brethren for several decades. An article written in 1964 by Bernard Susser31 refers to it as the New Street Gospel Hall, Gospel Hall being the name given by the Brethren to its meeting places. At some point, however, the two parts of the synagogue were sold off separately. Certainly, when the synagogue was eventually sold to The Upper Room Fellowship in the 1970s, they only owned the 1807 building. It would appear that number 1 New Street was sold well before that date.

There is now evidence that 1 New Street eventually became a private dwelling, as it originally had bee.32 I understand that it was owned at one time by a Commander Hole, who ran a sailing school in the attic, then bought in 1957 by Mr and Mrs Knight. Mr Knight died in 1962, and his widow Winifred Knight sold the house to Mr and Mrs Franklin in 1975, but remained living in the property (Mrs Knight and Mrs Franklin were sisters).33 As we have seen, the Franklins carried out extensive renovations to the house in 1975.34

As mentioned above, the 1807 synagogue was sold to The Upper Room Fellowship in the 1970s, almost certainly by the Plymouth Brethren, and continued to be used as a house of prayer. Because of the beliefs of both the Brethren and the Fellowship regarding the Old Testament, the interior of the synagogue was respected and left largely intact. However, the synagogue was sold in 1984, and by coincidence, number 1 New Street was sold in the same year. Both buildings subsequently underwent extensive alterations.

The Jewish Chronicle reported on 6 April 1984 that the “Penzance Synagogue…. is presently up for sale.” It then passed through several hands in a short space of time and while it has not been possible to pinpoint exactly the dates of the sales, enough evidence has emerged to show in which year they were most likely to have taken place. In addition to documentation I have uncovered, I have spoken to several people involved in these transactions.35

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31 Rev. B. Susser, “When Jews Worshipped at Penzance,” in The Cornishman, 16 July 1964.
32 I discovered this in correspondence of the late Graham Moffatt, who bought the synagogue in 1984 and probably also no. 1 New Street, again in 1984.
33 Information provided by Philip Knight, who lived in the house from the age of eight.
34 The late Graham Moffatt’s correspondence contains a detailed description by the Franklins of the renovations they carried out in 1975. I was able to track them down and spoke on the phone to Mr Franklin, who provided me with the information about the history of ownership of 1 New Street.
35 I have also spoken with Allan Franklin’s nephew Philip Knight, and have held conversations with Terry Winters, Terry English and David Lush, the solicitor acting for The Upper Room Fellowship. I have also met several times with Jean and Toy Gillman, former members of the Fellowship.

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Page 19

In 1984, the 1807 synagogue was sold by The Upper Room Fellowship to Terry Winters, a local property developer, who let it out to Terry English, a world-renowned armourer. In a front page article on 28 June 1984, The Cornishman reported that Terry English was working on a “unique exhibition of his work….to transform the old synagogue in New Street into a medieval pageant, dripping with history”. The theatrical armour to be displayed had been made for film, television and theatre, including, I understand, costumes worn by many famous actors, such as Sean Connery and Vanessa Redgrave. This must surely be one of the most unusual uses of a former synagogue.

Terry Winters then sold the synagogue in late 1984 to Graham Moffatt, his accountant, whose office was at 2 New Street, next to the synagogue. A short time earlier that year, Mr & Mrs Franklin sold 1 New Street to Mr Lacey who was Mr Moffatt’s partner, and almost certainly also to Mr Moffatt.36 Both 1 New Street and the 1807 synagogue were then sold together to Devenish Breweries (Redruth) in 198637 and were incorporated into The Star Inn.
 

Alterations to the Synagogue and 1 New Street

At some point during these transactions, the interior fittings of the 1807 synagogue (the ladies’ gallery and the altar) were removed and 1 New Street was also substantially altered. Tony Gillman has written an unpublished article, dated 25 August 2006, where he describes the ripping out of the synagogue, which he attributed to the person who set up an exhibition:

The Synagogue was in a poor state of repair and the roof needed extensive and immediate attention as it was collapsing and dangerous. The church had no money to carry out the repairs…. In hindsight to sell this building was a tragic mistake…. (Some) people got into the building and were stripping it out prior to when they had permission, the Hebrew text and the Ten Commandments were about to be thrown on a skip. Mercifully I came at just the right moment to rescue these items, a God-given opportunity.

In December 2013, I spoke to a builder who carried out some repair work in the synagogue during the 1980s, before it was sold to the pub. He said that the building was a “wreck”, suggesting that some stripping out had already occurred (perhaps what was witnessed by the Gillmans), but the gallery was still in place. This is confirmed by the photos and plan on pages 14 and 15, which show that the exhibitor used the gallery to mount his displays. The exact sequence of events in the 1980s is difficult to establish because both the synagogue and 1 New Street had a rapid succession of owners, but it is likely that the alterations occurred in stages, and at different hands.

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36 Mr Franklin only remembers selling 1 New Street to Mr Lacey, but Mr Moffatt’s correspondence and also the planning applications indicate that he was involved in the transaction. A letter in Mr Moffatt’s correspondence from Lacey, Moffatt & Co., dated 28 August 1984, includes the words: “We have purchased no. 1 New Street.”
37 A letter to Godfrey Simmons in Mr Moffatt’s correspondence, dated 8 July 1996, indicates that the synagogue was in the possession of the pub by 1986.

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Page 20

A document copied to me by Cornwall Council, headed: “Rear: Star Hotel, New Street, Penzance,” shows that between 1984 and 1989, there was a series of applications for change of use to the two buildings at the rear of The Star Inn. All the applications relate to either 1 New Street, or the 1807 synagogue behind it, or to both together. The entries on the document, reproduced below, include a specific reference to the synagogue and also to the Upper Church Room, presumably The Upper Room Fellowship. It is to be noted that all these changes of use were subject to a planning application, each of which was approved, with the exception of 84/759, which appears to have been withdrawn. However, only one application, 87/H/84, made by the brewery, was for listed building consent, even though all of the applications were in respect of the same two buildings, suggesting that all of the changes of use should have required listed building consent.

It is also of significance that the 1st to the 5th applications were made prior to the time when the buildings came into the ownership of the pub, in spite of the heading of the document which suggests that they were made during the pub’s ownership. The fact that these applications were made before the buildings were incorporated into the pub may possibly explain the oversight concerning listing. The listing of the synagogue, as it stands at present, is only as part of The Star Hotel, which was listed by English Heritage in 1974. The listing includes reference to an unspecified 18th century building at the rear, which must have been 1 New Street and the synagogue. Confusingly, at the time of the listing, neither of these buildings was part of The Star Inn. Since the synagogue and 1 New Street were not listed in their own right, the parties concerned, including the Council, may not have realised that they were listed.

 APP. No

Type

Proposal - Address

Date/ Dec

BR. No

Notes

84/404

F

Change use dwelling to office no. 1 New St.

10.6.84

C/P

 

 

84/538 

 

F

Change use meeting hall to exhibition hall & studio

 

 

Upper Church Rm.

84/759 

F

Change use public exhibition hall to studio & flat

WD

Incomplete

 

Upper Church Rm.

84/926

F

Conv building to form restaurant & exhibition place (1 NEW ST)

14.1.85

C/P

84/R0980

SW buildings

85/1209

F

Change use synagogue to office (rear no.1)

16.1.86

 

 

 

 

3 further entries not of relevance here

 

 

 

87/1180

 

Change use offices to play area & erect rear glazed play area

19.1.88

C/P

 

 

87/H/84

 

“  “  “  “  “  “  “  “  “  “  “  “  “  “  “  “  “  “ 

 

 

 

89/P/0886

FE

CHANGE USE OF DWELLING TO OFFICES

25.8.89 C/P

 

1 NEW ST

A perusal of newspaper articles38 of the time and of the planning applications listed above has revealed some interesting information. Application 84/404 was submitted on 10 May 1984 by the representatives of the “prospective buyers” of 1 New Street (almost certainly Lacey and Moffat), which at that time was still owned by Mr and Mrs Franklin, but who had already moved out. The application to convert I New Street to offices was approved on 20 June 1984, and it is clear that Lacey and Moffatt subsequently bought the building. Certainly it was in their possession by August of that year (see footnote 36). 

________________

38 A newspaper search was most kindly carried out on my behalf by Peter Waverly, a Penzance historian specialising in the archiving of newspaper articles.

________________________________

Page 21

Application 84/538 was submitted on 26 June 1984 by Flagbaron Ltd., whose director was Terry Winters, by then the owner of the synagogue. The document contains a detailed plan of the synagogue, shown on page 15. Although the plan shows a ground and first floor, the latter is just a balcony with no ceiling in the centre, that is to say, the original ladies’ gallery was retained and still in place. The floor space was given as 70 square metres and access to the building at that stage was via the alleyway outside. Interestingly, the application stated that the main structure of the building was to be unaltered, though no reference was made to its listed status. Clearly, Mr Winters, as owner of the building, was applying for permission to mount an exhibition, on behalf of Terry English to whom he let the building for that purpose. The application was approved on 1 August 1984, and adverts about the exhibition appeared in The Cornishman in June and September 1984. The application indicated that the exhibition would commence in early July.

Application 84/759, submitted on 4 September 1984 also by Flagbaron Ltd., sought permission to convert the public exhibition hall (i.e. the synagogue) to a studio and flat. The application was withdrawn on 16 December 1984, because Terry Winters, the director of Flagbaron, had by then agreed to sell the building to Graham Moffatt, or most probably had already done so.

Application 84/926, which sought permission to convert the building to a restaurant, was submitted on 11 November 1984 by Goldstar Corporation, whose address was given as 1 New Street, of which they were said to be the freeholders. Furthermore, since the signature on the application is identical to the signature on application 84/404, and the plans on both applications are drawn by the same architect, it seems probable that Goldstar must have been acting on behalf of Lacey and Moffatt. In fact, the application includes both 1 New Street and the synagogue, so it seems almost certain that Mr Moffatt did own the synagogue by this date. The plans indicate that the intention was to use the former synagogue as the dining area of the restaurant, and, significantly, to retain the balcony. The application was approved on 14 January 1985, but there was no attempt to install a restaurant at that time. 1 New Street did later become a restaurant once under the pub’s ownership, as a restaurant sign is currently displayed on the building (see photo on page 9).

Application 85/1209, was submitted on 9 December 1985 by Lacey, Moffat & Co., by then definitely the owners (and freeholders) of the synagogue. They were seeking to convert the synagogue to offices, as they already had done for 1 New Street in application 84/404. Interestingly, the application states that existing access to the synagogue through 1 New Street is “to be retained and used” so it would appear that the original access through the house had been reinstalled by Lacey and Moffatt, confirming the story given to me by Philip Knight, a previous resident of the house (see page 8). The plans show a ground and first floor, this time with a full ceiling, and the floor space is given as 140 square metres, compared with 70 square metres given in application 84/538. This means that either prior to this application, or as a consequence of it, a ceiling was inserted in the 1807 building, to create a ground and first floor, which must have involved the removal of the ladies’ gallery. Significantly, it was stated that there would be “no external alterations to the existing building”, so presumably it was not felt necessary to mention alterations to its interior. Although this application is the only one to make specific reference to the synagogue, there is no reference to its listed status, and the application was approved on 22 January 1986.39

________________

39 The importance of the exterior as opposed to the interior is confirmed in a document dated 19 December 1989 (RB/11/239 at Cornwall Record Office), when the Council informed the pub that it could not paint the exterior of the building strawberry pink, as this was a Conservation Area

________________________________

Page 22

Vera Collins, a member of Kehillat Kernow, the Cornish Jewish Community, has informed me that in the spring of 1985 or 1986 (she is uncertain which), she read an article in The Cornishman, which I have been unable to locate, stating that the former synagogue had been purchased by Mr Moffatt and his firm of accountants, and she decided to pay him a visit. She was kindly received by Mr Moffatt, who offered to show her around the synagogue, via the side entrance in the alleyway. Vera declined, as she could hear the sound of banging coming from the synagogue, which was in the early stages of being converted to offices, and felt it would make her sad.

The two applications made in 1987 by Cornish Brewery sought to convert the offices at the former synagogue into a children’s play area, both downstairs and in the newly created first floor. The plans show that ground floor access to the former synagogue continued, as with application 85/1209, to be through the internal passage of 1 New Street. In addition, it was proposed to erect a glazed children’s play area in the yard between the two buildings. Application 87/1180 set out the proposed alterations, while 87/H/84 was an application for listed building consent. Both applications were approved on 19 January 1988, on condition that there should be no variation, without consent, from the approved external materials and design. Again, the interior seems not to have been given consideration, in spite of the recognition that this was a listed building (see footnote 39 above). Ultimately, the downstairs part of the former synagogue was converted to a cold cellar and toilets.

Until 1989, 1 New Street continued, officially, to be a dwelling, application 84/404 having never been implemented. Application 89/P/0886, submitted on 28 June 1989, sought for a continuation of permission for the change of use of the former dwelling to offices. This was granted on 4 July 1989.

Recent Developments

During 2012, the owners of The Star Inn made an application to Cornwall Council to refurbish the pub and sell off the rear part of the building, i.e. the former synagogue (application number PA12/08843). The existing floor and roof plan of the pub and synagogue, included in this application, is shown on the next page. The only objection to highlight the presence of the synagogue was made by Penzance Civic Society.40 The proposal was turned down in January 2013 on the grounds of noise and nuisance. However, there are plans to resubmit the application (the new plans can be seen on http://www.starpubs.co.uk/pub/20618-star-inn-in-penzance-cornwall).

The company is still considering selling off the two buildings which once constituted the synagogue. Any sale, and indeed any future use, is likely to be affected by the existence of an electricity substation almost attached to the synagogue, and visible from the Co-op car park on Jennings Street.41 The Star Inn is currently vacant and in a poor state of repair (one wall of the pub having collapsed), pending restoration, refurbishment and re-letting. Hence the fate of the former synagogue once again hangs in the balance.

________________

40 Their efforts were applauded in an article in The Jewish Chronicle, 24 January 2013.
41 The electricity substation is just visible on the bottom right hand corner of the plan shown on page 23.

________________________________

Page 23

Above, existing floor and roof plan of The Star Inn, showing the synagogue at the rear, drawn up as part of proposed refurbishment plans by JS Design Partnership on behalf of the Scottish and Newcastle Pub Company (application number PA12/08843).
©The Scottish and Newcastle Pub Company. Reproduced with the kind permission of the company. Notes by Susan Soyinka.

________________________________

Page 24

The Rescued Artefacts

The Decalogue tablets were eventually placed in the Jewish Museum. Tony Gillman recounts in his article an amusing story about how the tablets found their way to London. While the synagogue was still in the ownership of The Upper Room Fellowship, a visiting Rabbi asked Mrs Gillman, who was conducting the visit, if she would inform him if ever the plaque with the Ten Commandments became available, and she agreed to this. Much later, when the tablets were recovered from the site, the Rabbi was duly informed, and arrangements were made for Jean Gillman to carry them to London by train:

On the day in question, I was at work in the British Rail travel centre in Penzance. I discovered that the train my wife had travelled on would arrive in Paddington an hour late. I thought it unlikely that the Rabbi would wait this long….I decided to resolve this dilemma by having the public address system at Paddington make the following announcement. “THE TEN COMMANDMENTS ARE ON THEIR WAY BUT WILL ARRIVE AN HOUR LATE.” Indeed, the Rabbi was at the end of the correct platform to receive his treasure….That is not the end of the story. (As part of her religious studies), our youngest daughter was required to….visit the Jewish Museum….Her tutor said that the commandments had come from the synagogue in Penzance, but how they got to London she didn’t know. My daughter quickly replied “My Mum brought them on the train.”42

The plaque bearing a Hebrew inscription now resides in the Gillman’s home in Heamoor. I have been told by Dr Sharman Kadish, Director of Jewish Heritage, that a chronogram embedded in the verse on the plaque dates it at 1820. This is the last relic of the synagogue to remain in Penzance.

________________

42 The tutor was in fact Keith Pearce, who recalls “the student’s timely and apposite observation”.

________________________________

Page 25

A Thrilling Discovery

In the course of my enquiries, I heard an unconfirmed story that during alterations, a secret cupboard containing artefacts was discovered. If true, I can only assume that the artefacts were kept or sold on. Intriguingly, when I circulated a draft of this document to the members of Kehillat Kernow, the Jewish Community in Cornwall, I was contacted by Gerry Myers who told me that, some ten years ago, he came across two synagogue lamps in an antique shop in Penryn, Cornwall. He alerted the curator of the Jewish Museum in London, Jennifer Marin, who immediately came and purchased them. She described herself as “absolutely thrilled” when she saw them. Following information provided by Keith Pearce, the lamps were identified as gasoliers and it was thought that they may have originated from the Penzance Synagogue. A press release issued by the Jewish Museum at the time stated:

The lamps are splendid pieces of Victoriana and have been maintained in excellent condition…. The (Penzance) synagogue minutes for 1869 record the receipt of a legacy for £50 which was put towards the installation of gas lighting, and the style of the lamps is typical of the period between candlelight and modern electricity. A source familiar with the Penzance building in later days believes that the lamps’ Moorish appearance would be very appropriate to the décor of the old synagogue.43

Furthermore, the 1889 article in The Cornishman quoted on page 11 states that, other than the two windows, the only source of illumination was “the gas-jets and standards.” Electricity was introduced in the early 20th century, by which time the Plymouth Brethren owned the synagogue. The lamps would then have been taken down and probably stored and forgotten.


©Gerry Myers

________________

43 This press release was kindly sent to me by Elizabeth Selby, Curator of Social History and Collections Manager, Jewish Museum, London.

________________________________

Page 26



©The Jewish Museum, London


Were these lamps among the artefacts discovered in the alleged secret cupboard? This cannot be proven but certainly seems possible, even likely.


Listed Status

The Star Hotel was listed by English Heritage in 1974, and the listing refers to an 18th century building at the rear. This could only have been 1 New Street and probably also the synagogue behind it, though at this time, neither of these buildings was part of The Star Inn. Below is the wording as it appears on the English Heritage website:

Mid C19. Stucco. Parapet, cornice, quoins. Centre breaks forward with segmental pediment on consoles in parapet over centre window. 3 storeys. 2 windows, sashes no glazing bars, raised architraves. 1st and ground floor 2 storeyed wide splayed bay with cornice and parapet. To left open pedimental doorcase. At rear C18 wing, part slate hung, 3 storeys.44

________________

44 List entry number: 1143981, listing NGR: SW4732030286. The reference number for the Cornwall Council document on which this information is based is 69514

________________________________

Page 27

Interestingly, the description given on the EH PastScape site is as follows:

A mid 19th century inn with a synagogue of 1768 standing to the rear. The inn is stuccoed and stands three storeys high whilst the rear synagogue wing is slate hung with a slate roof.45

Both entries, which contain inaccuracies,46 were made on 7 February 1974, so clearly come from the same source, that is, Cornwall Council. It would appear, therefore, that even though neither of the two buildings constituting the former synagogue was part of the Star Hotel at the time the listing was first made, the intention was to include the synagogue in the listing. Further evidence of this is that there is a photo of the synagogue, together with one of The Star Inn, on the English Heritage Archives website.47 Certainly, it could be argued that the synagogue is part of the curtilage of The Star Hotel.

This lack of clarity regarding the listing would explain some of the confusion which has arisen as to whether or not the synagogue is listed. Some sources say it is listed, while others say it is not. As already mentioned, only one of the planning applications discussed earlier makes direct reference to the synagogue, and only one application, 87/H/84, was for listed building consent, even though all of the applications are in respect of the same two buildings. Furthermore in the 1987 documents, when major alterations were made, the 1807 synagogue is incorrectly called 2 New Street. It is my belief that the ripping out of the interior of the 1807 synagogue and the alterations made to 1 New Street are unlikely to have taken place had there been a much clearer indication that the buildings were listed. An application to correct and update the listing of The Star Hotel to ensure accurate and appropriate reference is made to the synagogue would hopefully help to ensure some degree of protection for this historic and significant building in the future.

In 1965, the Penzance historian, Peter Pool, made this poignant comment:

Much of what is left in Penzance from the past is good and must not lightly be cast aside: in less that 50 years time there will come the 400th anniversary of our Charter (granted on 9 May 1614), and we owe it to those who will join in the celebrations of that day to ensure that they can do so in a town that can still be recognised as Penzance.48

That 400th anniversary is only weeks away at the time of writing. Let us hope that by the time it comes, and beyond, the former Penzance Synagogue will still number amongst the town’s historic buildings.
 

© Susan Soyinka, March 2014
 

________________

45 Source text: List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest, Penwith, 7.2.1974. The following information is added to the entry: “It should be noted that the list description for The Star Inn does not account for the rear wing being Penzance's first synagogue.”
46 The C18 wing is 2 storeys, not 3 storeys, and the 1768 synagogue was replaced in 1807.
47 Reference numbers AA037194 and AA037193 respectively. Photos taken in 2002.
48 P.A.S. Pool, Penzance, A Brief History of the Town and Borough, Penzance Old Cornwall Society, p.26, 2nd edition, 1970.

________________________________

Page 28

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Newspaper Articles and other Documents

The Buildings of Judaism, part of a document entitled Places of Worship (listing selection guide) available for download on the English Heritage website www.english-heritage.org.uk

Joyce Channon, “Memories of a community whose legacy has almost been erased,” in The Cornishman, 25 June 1998, pp 28-29. Includes an article about Penzance synagogue, first published in The Cornishman in 1889

The Cornishman, 28 June 1984 p.1, 5 July 1984 p.17, 13 September 1984 pp.1 & 8, 15 November 1984 p.21, 13 July 1989

Cornwall Council Planning Office, planning applications 84/404, 84/538, 84/759, 84/926, 85/1209, 87/1180, 89/P/0886, PA12/08843

Cornwall Record Office, RB/11/239 and RB/5/9 relating to Redruth Breweries

Tony Gillman, Torah, unpublished article, 25 August 2006

The Jewish Chronicle, 6 April 1984, p.27

Tony Kushner, “Jewish Local Studies and Memory Work: A Case Study of Cornwall,” in Journal of Jewish Studies, Volume 55, Issue 1, Spring 2004, pp 157-162

The Penzance Gazette, 30 September 1840 p.4, 24 March 1847 p.4

Peripateticus, “Some old provincial Jewries,” in The Jewish Chronicle, 22 July 1910

Cecil Roth, “Penzance: The Decline and Fall of an Anglo-Jewish Community,” Parts 1 & 2, in The Jewish Chronicle Supplement, May 1933

Cecil Roth, “Penzance: The Decline and Fall of an Anglo-Jewish Community,” Parts 3 & 4, in The Jewish Chronicle Supplement, June 1933

Royal Cornwall Gazette, 12 April 1817, p.2

Saundry, One and All Almanac, Interesting and Notable Events Connected with Penzance, 1939, Courtney Library, RIC

Bernard Susser, “When Jews worshipped in Penzance,” in The Cornishman, 16 July 1964

Professor Charles Thomas, “Jews left a legacy of culture and colour,” in Western Morning News, 8 February 2000, pp 20-21, with contributions by Simon Parker and Frank Ruhrmund


Books

Evelyn Friedlander, ed., The Jews of Devon and Cornwall, Essays and Exhibition Catalogue, The Hidden Legacy Foundation, 2000

Sharman Kadish, The Synagogues of Britain and Ireland: An Architectural and Social History, Yale University Press, 2011

Keith Pearce and Helen Fry, eds., The Lost Jews of Cornwall, Redcliffe Press, 2000

Keith Pearce, The Jews of Cornwall, A History, Tradition and Settlement to 1913, Halsgrove, May 2014

P.A.S. Pool, Penzance, A Brief History of the Town and Borough, Penzance Old Cornwall Society, p.26, 2nd edition, 1970

P.A.S. Pool,The History of the Town and Borough of Penzance, Penzance Town Corporation, 1974

Susan Soyinka, From East End to Land’s End, The Evacuation of Jews’ Free School, London, to Mousehole in Cornwall During World War Two, DB Publishing, 2010, republished by Eliora Books, 2013. The 2013 edition contains pictures of a menorah in St Clement’s Chapel, Mousehole, bearing a Hebrew inscription, see page 17

Bernard Susser, The Jews of South-West England, University of Exeter Press, 1993

J. Thomas, History of Mounts Bay, Penzance, 1820, Courtney Library RIC.

________________________________

Page 29

PHOTO CREDITS

The following have kindly given permission for the use of their images:

Page 6  - Anne Sicher, 1807 conveyance

Pages 8 & 9 - Philip Knight, Number 1 New Street

Page 10  - The Scottish and Newcastle Pub Company, 1906 conveyance

Page 13  - Frank Dabba Smith, Penzance Synagogue 1999

Page 13  - David Giddings, Interior of Synagogue c. 1970s

Page 14  - Terry English, Interior of synagogue used for exhibition

Page 15  - Terry Winters, 1984 plan of the synagogue, inc. in planning application 84/538

Page 16  - Ian Lillicrapp, Jewish Museum, London, Decalogue tablets

Page 16  - Frank Dabba Smith, Plaque with Hebrew inscription

Page 17  - Susan Soyinka, Menorah in Mousehole Chapel and part of inscription on it

Page 23  - The Scottish and Newcastle Pub Company, plan of Star Inn site

Page 25  - Gerry Myers, Lamp, ?Penzance Synagogue

Page 26  - The Jewish Museum, London, Pair of lamps, ?Penzance Synagogue

I have been unable to trace the copyright owners of Edward Jamilly’s 1958 plan of the synagogue on page 12.

________________________________

Page 30

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

I am indebted to the authors, Evelyn Friedlander, Helen Fry, Dr Sharman Kadish, and Keith Pearce, amongst others, whose diligent and meticulous research I have drawn upon to compile this document. I am also most grateful to those individuals who have offered me additional help, advice and support, in particular, Vera Collins, Evelyn Friedlander, Dr Melissa Hardie, Dr Anthony Joseph, Dr Sharman Kadish, Charlotte MacKensie, Gerry Myers, Elizabeth Selby, Professor Charles Thomas, Anne Sicher and Godfrey Simmons

Dr Kadish offered me very sound advice regarding how best to proceed with the issue of listing, and Nick Cahill, Head of the Historic Environment Service at Cornwall Council, has also been most helpful in this regard. I am most grateful for Nick’s unstinting support in relation to this project. Alan Hunter, Estates Support Team, Star Pubs & Bars, Scottish and Newcastle Pub Company, has always been ready to respond to my queries, and kindly provided me with a copy of the 1906 conveyance. My sincere thanks also to the staff of Cornwall Record Office and Cornwall Planning Office, particularly Jennie Hancock, Carly Evans and Alison Trembath, and also to Peter Waverly who kindly undertook a newspaper search on my behalf.

In pursuing my own lines of research, I have spoken to many people who were prepared to give me their time and share with me their memories, knowledge, insights and, in some instances, their photos and documents. This included, amongst others, Terry English, Allan Franklin, David Giddings, Philip Knight, David Lush and Terry Winters. I am most grateful to them all.

The involvement of Penzance Civic Society, most particularly Stevie Cocks, Heather Rowe and Paul Young, cannot go unnoticed. Of the eighteen comments made to Cornwall Council regarding the proposed refurbishment plans of The Star Inn, theirs was the only objection made on the grounds of the presence of the synagogue. The members of the Society have not hesitated in supporting this application.

Finally, I would like to thank Tony and Jean Gillman, whose efforts have resulted in the preservation of the only two artefacts known for certain to have originated from the Penzance Synagogue. Furthermore, my conversations with them (including one about the alleged secret cupboard) have led to a trail of discovery, which has enabled me, at the very least, to clarify some aspects of the synagogue’s history. I am especially delighted to have unearthed the original 1807 conveyance, and the plans of the synagogue contained in the planning applications submitted between 1984 and 1987. I am also thrilled to have been able to establish a possible link between the lamps discovered by Gerry Myers and the Penzance Synagogue.

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