Mrs. Amelia Collier
Some reminiscences by her granddaughter Norma Inch of Toronto
Updated 3 November 2011
Menu for the 1954 Dinner Celebrating the 25th
I know nothing of a previous synagogue on Edgar Road. When my grandmother moved to Cliftonville (an area of Margate), in 1904, with her three small children, she opened a kosher boarding house, which later became a hotel, the Severn Hotel, in Dalby Square. It is possible she had a previous boarding house on Edgar Road but I never heard of it. At the time, Ramsgate was the nearest place to go for services—a fair distance before the advent of mass transit. She started holding Shabbat services at her hotel until the other boarding house keepers complained that she was doing it to attract guests to her establishment! At this point she decided that Margate needed its own synagogue.
It was mainly her determination, efforts and fundraising that saw this come to fruition. Family and friends were all “strong-armed” into donating. My parents, Cicely and Jack Levy, donated one pair of doors to the sanctuary, my aunt, Sadie Hillman, donated the other set of doors, and my uncle and aunt, Marie and Asher Gold, donated one of the windows. Incidentally, she later worked to get an area of the Margate Cemetery separated off as a Jewish cemetery and she is buried there, as is my uncle, her son, Asher Gold.
The first wedding held in the synagogue was between Samuel Green and Daphne Edgard. Sadly, it ended in divorce. However, coincidentally, their middle daughter, Adele, married Amelia Collier’s grandson, and my first cousin, Alan Hillman!
A house — I’m not sure if it was next door, or further down the street—was purchased on Godwin Road for the Rabbi and his family.
There is a
story in our family with regard to the consecration of the synagogue by Chief
Rabbi Hertz. My grandmother was the president of the Ladies Guild and had set up
tables at the back of the synagogue with cups and saucers on them. When the
Chief Rabbi arrived he was horrified, stated this was a synagogue not a “Lyon’s
tea shop,” and that the tables must be removed. Apparently, my grandmother, who
was a very strong-minded lady, and not intimidated by anyone, told him that
people had driven 75 miles from London for the ceremony and had to return the
same day, and she was not sending them home without a cup of tea. If he didn’t
like it, he could turn around and go home and they would consecrate the
synagogue themselves! The Chief Rabbi agreed that if the cups and saucers were
covered with white cloths he would conduct the service. I don’t know how exact
this story is, but, having known my grandmother, it was entirely within
Illuminated Scroll presented to Amelia Collier
on the illuminated scroll (above) were major members of the Jewish community of
the time. Barney Hann, Julius Sokel, Lou Grader, W. Winter, H. Freeder, and
brothers Morrie, Hymie and David Black. The only one I don’t know is the
secretary, L. Ritz. Hymie Black had a gift shop on the front in Margate,
but I don’t know what the other signatories did. A later member of the
synagogue, who was president at the time of my grandmother’s death, was a Mr.
Anish. He later became a member of the Margate Town Council.
News Cutting from the Jewish Chronicle that appeared
Prepared for JCR-UK by Norma I
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