Page created: 9 February 2004
Latest revision or update: 28 January 2016

Sunderland Jewish Community

City of Sunderland

Sunderland, only granted city status in 1992, is an important seaport in the North East of England, lying on both sides of the estuary of the river Wear on the North Sea coast.  The present boundaries date from 1974, when the metropolitan borough of Sunderland was formed, within the then new metropolitan county of Tyne and Wear.  Sunderland became a unitary authority in 1986 when the Tyne and Wear was abolished except for ceremonial purposes.  Until 1974, Sunderland was a county borough and historically part of County Durham. Sunderland has been a registration district since 1 July 1837.

By the mid-18th century, Sunderland was probably the premier shipbuilding centre in Britain. 

Sunderland Jewish Community

The first Jewish settlement in Sunderland was in 1755 and the first congregation was established in about 1768.  Sunderland was the first regional community to be represented on the Board of Deputy of British Jews.  A vibrant Jewish community, numbering almost 1,400 individuals by the mid-1960's, developed in the town. However, the numbers dramatically dwindled to a mere handful by the mid-2000's, with the last remaining synagogue closing in 2006.

Search the All-UK Database

The records in the database associated with Sunderland include:


1837 - 1985 (716 records).


Bishopwearmouth Cemetery, 1874-1996 (1,178 records*);
M Levy Salem Hill Jewish Funerals 1913-1941 (316 records*);
WWII Civilian Casualties (5 records).
*A search in the database may also reveal duplicates of some of these records on the JewishGen Online Worldwide Burial Register (JOWBR).

1851 Anglo Jewry Database

Individuals in the 1851 Anglo Jewry Database who were living in Sunderland during the 1780s, 1790s, 1800s and 1810s (1 record each); 1820s (13 records), 1830s (35 records), 1840s (81 records), 1850s (123 records), 1860s (57 records), 1870s (29 records), 1880s (19 records), 1890s (9 records), 1900s (3 records) and 1900s (1 record).


Jewish Congregations

The following are the Jewish congregations that existed in Sunderland:

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

  • Adath Yeshurun - see Sunderland Hebrew Congregation

  • Chevra Torah - see Sunderland Beit Hamedrash

  • Israelites Congregation - see Sunderland Hebrew Congregation

  • Meaburn Street Synagogue - see Sunderland Beit Hamedrash

  • Moor Street Synagogue - see Sunderland Hebrew Congregation

  • Mowbray Road Synagogue - see Sunderland Beit Hamedrash

  • Ryhope Road Synagogue - see Sunderland Hebrew Congregation

  • Villiers Street Synagogue - see Sunderland Beit Hamedrash

  • Vine Street Synagogue - see Polish Synagogue

  • Zion Street Synagogue - see Sunderland Beit Hamedrash



Other Jewish institutions that existed in the Community include the following:

  • Menorah School

  • The North East "Joel Intract Memorial" Home of Rest for Aged Jews

  • Sunderland Chevra Kadisha

  • Sunderland Kolel, Centre for Advanced Rabbinics (now moved to Gateshead)

  • Sunderland Yeshiva (now moved to Gateshead)


Articles on the Sunderland Jewish Community

From Kretinga to Sunderland, a Jewish chain migration from Lithuania 1850-1930, paper by Gordon Leigh (MA thesis 2002) on the history and origins of the Sunderland Jewish Community and its link with Kretinga.

The Rise and Fall of the Jewish DY - Sunderland Echo published 13 October 1998.

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


Sunderland Jewish Population Data


150 to 200   

(1851 Synagogue Census Return)



(Jewish Chronicle)



(Sunderland Hebrew Benevolent Society report)



(The Jewish Year Book 1935)



(The Jewish Year Book 1946)



(The Jewish Year Book 1956)



(The Jewish Year Book 1966)



(The Jewish Year Book 1991)



(The Jewish Year Book 2000)

Other Sunderland Jewish Information

Jewish Property and Heritage & Places of Local Interest

Bibliography and other sources

Sunderland Cemetery Information (IAJGS Cemetery Project)

Jewish Congregations in Tyne and Wear

Jewish Communities of England home page

Explanations of Terms Used



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