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Page created: 21 August 2005
Latest revision or update: 30 November 2016

Birmingham & District Jewish Community

City of Birmingham
and the Boroughs of Solihull and Walsall

Birmingham, in the English Midlands, is the second largest city in England, with a population of approximately one million.  In the vicinity of Birmingham are a number of towns whose Jewish communities have looked to the Birmingham community for support or shares facilities, including Walsall immediately to Birmingham's northwest and Solihull immediately to Birmingham's southeast.  

Until 1974, Birmingham, Solihull and Walsall were county boroughs, the first two in the county of Warwickshire and Walsall in the county of Staffordshire. Each then became metropolitan boroughs within the newly created metropolitan county of West Midlands (the areas of Solihull and Walsall being increased at the time by the incorporation of adjoining areas).  These metropolitan boroughs became unitary authorities in 1986, when West Midlands lost its administrative county status, becoming purely a ceremonial and geographical county.  Solihull had been an urban district until 1964, when it received county borough status.
 

The Birmingham Jewish Community

Birmingham did not develop as a major centre until relatively modern time and, accordingly, there was no medieval Jewish community in Birmingham. There was, however, a medieval Jewish community in Warwick, (34 miles away) and in Coventry (23 miles away). The modern Jewish community dates from the eighteen century, the earliest records of a synagogue and a Jewish burial ground being about 1730.
 

Jewish Congregations

The following are the Jewish congregations that exist or existed in Birmingham:

The following are former or alternative names of the above congregations:

 


Search the All-UK Database

The records in the database associated with Birmingham include:

Burials (including images of grave stones)

Brandwood End Cemetery (Jewish Section) 1918 - 2005 (620 records)*;
Old Witton Cemetery 1875 - 1977 (1,767 records)*;
Witton Cemetery 1938 - 2006 (3,295 records)*;
WWII Civilian Casualties (12 records).
*Note: Database only includes details of legible stones and a number of section and row numbers may not be correct. Several of the Witton Cemetery images have the reflection of the photographer and will be replaced in due course.

1851 Anglo Jewry Database

Individuals in the 1851 Anglo Jewry Database who were living in Birmingham during the 1770s (4 records); 1780s (7 records); 1790s (18 records); 1800s (30 records); 1810s (34 records); 1820s (75 records), 1830s (187 records), 1840s (403 records), 1850s (910 records), 1860s (262 records), 1870s (264 records), 1880s (212 records), 1890s (52 records), 1900s (36 records) and 1910s (11 records).
 

 

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

on JCR-UK

on third parties' websites

 

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

Educational & Theological

  • Birmingham Hebrew National School, later Birmingham Hebrew School and ultimately King David School (founded 1840/43, paced under Government inspection, 1867). website - www.kingdavid.bham.sch.uk

Other Institutions & Organisations

  • Birmingham Hebrew Philanthropic Society (founded 1828 or 1838). In 1874, objects described to grant relief in cases of sickness or distress; render assistance by gifts of money; grant loans not exceeding 5; lend or hire sewing machines; distribute coals and blankets during the winter months; grant provisions to aged and infirm persons In 1896/1900 objects were: (a) the relief of indigent tradesman, (b) granting pensions to aged persons, (c) undertaking all cases of deserving people not eligible for consideration by the Board of Guardians.

  • Hebrew Benevolent Educational Society, later Hebrew Educational Society (founded 1851). In 1874, objects described to assist necessitous children to obtain education to provide them with books and clothing, apprenticeship. In 1896/1900 objects were to pay all necessary support of the Hebrew schools and to apprentice Jewish children leaving school.

  • Loyal Independent United Israelites Benefit Society (founded 1853) for relief of members during sickness and week of mourning, allowance to widows, etc.

  • Jewish Mutual "Birmingham" Benefit Society (founded 1862) for relief during sickness and week of mourning, medical attendance, pension in old age, funeral expenses, allowance to widows, etc.

  • Birmingham Hebrew Board of Guardians (founded 1870) for relief of the Jewish poor and casual.

  • Birmingham Provident Co-operative Matza Association (founded 1870).

  • Ladies' Benevolent Society (from at least 1874) for relief of sick women and children, supplying clothes and other necessaries to women in confinement, etc., later Hebrew Ladies Benevolent Visiting Society for relief of sick women and children.  Care of women during confinement.  Visiting the homes of the poor generally.

  • Recreation Classes for Girls (founded 1887) to instil into the minds of Jewish working girls a profitable method of spending their leisure time.  To improve their tastes generally.

  • Birmingham Aid Society of the Jews' Hospital and Orphan Asylum (founded 1888) to assist the parent institution by purchasing life governorships.

  • Birmingham Jewish Charities Aid Society (founded 1892) to make annual grants to the Birmingham Jewish Charities.

  • Sabbath Meals Society (from at least 1896) to provide meals on Sabbaths and festivals to poor Jews passing through the town.

  • Jewish Working Men's Educational Institute (from at least 1896) to provide an English Education for foreign co-religionists and Mutual Improvement

  • Birmingham Naturalisation Society (founded 1897).

  • Birmingham Hebrew Schools Old Boys Association (founded 1898) to promote good fellowship among the former pupils of the Hebrew Schools, and to unite in any movement calculated to advance the interests of the school or the community generally.

  • Birmingham Jewish Working Men's Club (founded 1899) to afford its members the means of social intercourse and rational recreation.

  • Chovevi Zion Association - Tent No 20 (from at least  1900).

  • Anglo-Jewish Association, branch (from at least 1900).

  • Bikur Cholim (from at least 1900) to supply visitors to the sick poor and watchers for the dying.

  • Jewish Young Men's Association (from at least 1900).

  • Birmingham Hebrew Ladies' Boot Fund (from at least 1900).

  • Court 'Jacob's Pride' No. 5946 AOF (from at least 1900).

  • Birmingham Jewish Lads' Brigade (from at least 1900).

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

 

Birmingham Jewish Cemeteries Information

Listed below are the cemeteries used by the Birmington Jewish Community:

  • The Froggery Jewish Burial Ground. In used by 1730. Situated in the garden of The Froggery Synagogue. (Now site of New Street Railway Station.)

  • Granville Street Burial Ground. In use from 1766 to 1825 (Redeveloped as part of railway redevelopement.)

  • Betholom Row Jewish Burial Ground, between Bath Row and Islington Row, Edgbaston, Birmingham B15. Opened about 1823 and closed many years ago.

  • Witton Jewish Cemeteries. Comprises two sections at the Witton municipal cemetery - the Witton Old Jewish Cemetery and the Witton New Jewish Cemetery. Opened in 1868 and still in used. The (New) cemetery is used by both the City's Orthodox and Progessive congregations.

  • Brandwood End Cemetery, Jewish Section, Woodthorpe Road, Kings Norton, Stirchley, B 14. Acquired in 1918 by the Birmingham New Synagogue.

Records of the Witton and Brandwood End cemeteries are on the All-UK Database (see above).

(For additional information, see IAJGS Cemetery Project - Birmingham)

 

Birmingham Jewish Population Data

1730

 First Jewish settlement (possibly earlier)

1851

752

Paper by Birmingham Jewish Local History Study Group)

1895

3,000 to 4,000

(The Jewish Year Book 1896)

1900

3,500

(The Jewish Year Book 1901)

1909

5,000

(The Jewish Year Book 1910)

1934

6,000

(The Jewish Year Book 1935)

1946

6,000*

(The Jewish Year Book 1947)

1955

6,300

(The Jewish Year Book 1956)

1969

6,300

(The Jewish Year Book 1966)

1990

3,500

(The Jewish Year Book 1991)

2004

2,342

(The Jewish Year Book 2005)

*Same source also gives 49 for Walsall in 1947

 

Jewish Congregations in West Midlands

Jewish Communities of England home page

 

 

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