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THE JEWISH COMMUNITY OF STROUD, 1877-1908

by Harold Pollins

Initially published in The Jewish Journal of Sociology, volume 38, no.1, June 1996, pp.27-41.
Reproduced with permission from The Jewish Journal of Sociology.
 


 

". . . a stranger here in Gloucestershire" Richard II, Act 2, scene 3

The organized Jewish community in the small town of Stroud lasted a mere three decades, from 1877 to 1908. A few individual Jews had lived there earlier, as some have done more recently. It was, it might be thought, just one of many new settlements, associated with the contemporary immigration from Eastern Europe. But most of these were located within the major, heavy industrial areas of northern England, Scotland, and South Wales, and there were only two new ones in the southern part of England. Moreover, the West Country in general, and the county of Gloucestershire in particular, have not been areas of significant Jewish settlement. The earlier-established congregations in that county, at Cheltenham and Gloucester, were always small and they declined during the nineteenth century.(1) In Gloucestershire at the 1891 Population Census of England and Wales, only 134 people were recorded as having been born in Russia and Russian Poland. Not all were Jews; one was the Revd Thomas Hodson, the incumbent of Slad Vicarage in Stroud, whilst at the 1881 Census the birthplace of Mary Haines Butcher, the wife of the curate of Painswick, was given as Russia.

Stroud, being one of the two southern English towns in which new communities of Eastern European Jews were formed in the late nineteenth century - the other was Reading - is thus worthy of study. However, the community's records have not survived apart from the marriage registers which are in the custody of the Board of Deputies of British Jews; more information must be sought elsewhere. The Revd Brian Torode, an ordained Church of England minister, the first to write its history, was able to make use of the records of the nearby Cheltenham congregation, which have references to Stroud, as well as of a variety of local items. Moreover he was able to trace some descendants who provided him with family histories as well as some private records of the Hebrew classes. This paper is primarily concerned with a description of the sources which can be used and the data of the 1881 and 1891 Censuses are presented to indicate major sociological features of the community. There is also a discussion of the validity and deficiencies of such material.(2)

Newspapers 

The Jewish press is the first obvious source, but the weekly Jewish Chronicle, while containing greater coverage of the provinces during the existence of the Stroud community,(3) had to rely on whatever news reached it from local, lay correspondents. The first reference to Stroud came early - an advertisement in 1879 referring to funds collected for the burial in the Cheltenham Jewish cemetery of newly-born twins and their mother(4) - and regular news does not start for another eight years. Later, news items about Stroud are infrequent, on occasion the only reference being the names of Hatan Torah and Hatan Bereshith or of those elected to lay office. But such news as it published provides some (albeit incomplete) information about the community. Usefully the paper for several years gave the names of members elected to office at dates more accurate than in the annual reports of the Board of Deputies.

The two local Newspapers, the Stroud Journal (SJ) and the Stroud News and Gloucestershire Advertiser (SN), printed news of the community. Indeed, the first reference to the new Jewish community that I have come across is a letter in SJ in January 1878 (reprinted from a London newspaper) complaining about 'German' Jewish tailors being brought to Stroud. This thus fixes as 1877 the year of origin of the community.(5) It was followed by a letter entitled 'Messrs Holloway and Jew Tailors', from Messrs Holloway Brothers, wholesale clothiers, the largest employers in Stroud, justifying their recruiting Jewish tailors, and answering what it described as the 'venomous and untruthful' letter of the previous week.(6)

It is quite true that we are engaging some workpeople from London, and although we have not enquired as to the fact, it is very likely that some of them profess the Jewish faith; but as we never allow bigotry to influence our business transactions, their religious convictions are no concern of ours. We believe them to be honest, as we have employed them for some time past in London, and that, with the quality of their work, is all we are justified in enquiring about.

 The Holloway Brothers' letter continued:

Perhaps it is not generally known in Stroud that many thousands of the best tailors in London are Jews, and every wholesale and retail clothing firm of any importance employs them without let or hindrance, and we would ask why should our firm be singled out.

It was clearly most unusual for immigrant Jews to be specifically recruited in this way, especially by a non-Jewish firm. Most British Jews made their own arrangements about where they settled. This might be done through family or other connections; or the place where they came to live might have been alighted upon by chance.(7)

It is a common complaint in social history that often the main available information is of the pathological kind, and it is the case that in the first few years of the Stroud Jewish community virtually the only items about Jews in the local papers are reports of court cases. The end of the community in 1908 was, symmetrically, the occasion of a court case, this time about the ownership of various synagogue appurtenances.(8)

In the late 1870s there were so many cases that the chairman at a session in January 1879 of the Stroud Police Court, at the end of hearing cases of assault (by Solomon Bloom and Lewis Cohen on George Isaacs, and by Isaacs against the other two), exasperatedly stated(9) that he

hoped there was an end to these cases among the Jews. They had had more strife since this colony of tailors came to the town than they had amongst all the other inhabitants in the borough of Stroud. They seemed to lead a cat and dog life. It was only the other day that he remarked it would take the whole of a magistrate's time to dispose of their trivial cases.

The headlines in the local newspaper reports of the court cases echoed his sentiments: 'Another Jewish Dispute'; 'A Jewish Vendetta'; 'Mr. Holloway's Jews Again'; 'More of the Jews'; More Disputes Among the Jews'; 'A Jewish Dispute ; 'A Jewish Squabble'; The Jews Again' - some of these being after the assault cases of January 1879 mentioned above. In one of the assault cases, the 'vendetta', the same Solomon Bloom was accused of an assault in Stroud synagogue. This was in October 1878, thus establishing its existence at that early date.(10) The reasons for some of these conflicts, whether leading to physical action or not, are not necessarily apparent from the published reports, but it is clear that some arose from the methods of recruitment and from arguments over wage payment.

Quite clearly various master tailors were the recruiting agents, of whom Isidor Greensweig, the father of the first Jewish child born in Stroud, was one (and one with many frequent appearances in court). They would recruit from London or other towns - Leicester and Bristol are mentioned - by personal visit or an invitation by telegram, and inveigle tailors to go to Stroud sometimes at slightly higher pay than their current income (for example, £2 a week instead of a man's present 38 shillings).(11) Or if the pay were the same - for example, 34 shillings a week - more regular work was offered.(12) Sometimes the employer would also be the worker's landlord and there would be disputes about unpaid board and lodging.(13)

The evidence at the court cases is of interest for other reasons. Almost all the Jewish witnesses spoke English, only one or two needing interpreters, even though (as the 1881 and 1891 Censuses show) most Jewish adults in Stroud were born abroad. Work was given out by Holloway's to be completed at various workplaces, sometimes no more than a room in another building - Solomon Bloom's was in the clubroom of the Crown Inn.(14) Sometimes the evidence reveals kinship connections, especially among the master tailor/recruiters. Elias was brother to Isidor Greensweig whose brother-in-law was Adolph Cohen;(15) Hymen [sic] Levi was Isaac Levi's brother.(16)

The various court cases provide the names of about 30 Jews living in Stroud in the first few years. Given the chaotic nature of recruitment and wage payment it is not surprising that many of the employees were only temporarily in Stroud; only a few of them were recorded at the 1881 Census. Several of the employers had also disappeared by then. Later on, once the community had settled down, the newspaper reports indicate a greater degree of acceptance and of integration. In 1889 a purpose-built synagogue was opened, apparently with some financial support from local non-Jews, and the local newspaper report of its consecration was full and detailed.(17) And one finds reports of events, which included names of Jews as a matter of course. Thus in 1896 a report of 'a grand assault-at-arms, in the guise of a series of keenly contested fistic encounters with the gloves' listed the bouts, including 'two little boys, brothers, sons of Mr Englishman' as well as 'Goldstein'.(18)

There is indeed some evidence of easy integration of the Jews into Stroud society, of involvement in Stroud activities and cordial relationships with locals. In 1890 Isaac Minden Shane, for long the congregation's honorary secretary, was captain of the Stroud Bicycle and Tricycle Club (for which the Club members presented him with a gold medal at a dinner at the Imperial Hotel); Michael Greensweig won a silver cup at a meeting of the local athletics club; and he and Barnet Goldstein, a son of Joseph Goldstein, won prizes at sports at Cirencester and Stroud.(19)

On August Bank Holiday, 1896, Isaac Goldstein, the 23-year-old son of Joseph Goldstein, then President of the synagogue, organized a stage performance at a fête at Rodborough before an audience of a thousand. In June 1891, Revd G. T. Coster, a leading Nonconformist minister in Stroud, delivered a special Sunday evening address on 'The Glories and Sorrows of the Jewish People'. Many Jewish residents were in the audience and the synagogue committee decided to thank him officially for 'his sympathetic utterances'. A few months later another local Christian clergyman, Revd A. Rodway, wrote to the Tsar protesting against the persecution of Jews in Russia and expressing the belief that the famine in that country was a visitation of God.(20)

The Population Census

The most useful source for much sociological data is the Population Census. Two of those held during the life of the community, those of 1881 and 1891, are available for research. Census materials comprise lists of names of those present on census night, written down by employed enumerators. There are details of age, marital status, family connection with head of household (or visitor, lodger or servant), occupation and whether employed or employer, place of birth, and (if appropriate) notification of naturalization as British Subject.

Since religion is not stated in the Censuses of England and Wales one has, usually, to select Jews on the basis of names, with obvious dangers of omission and commission. In the case of Stroud the dangers are fewer. The total population of the town was small and there is less likelihood of overlooking entries. And the Jews can normally be identified by a combination of name, occupation (almost all were tailors), and place of birth (mostly Poland or Russian Poland).

The difficulties of using this Census material are well known and do not need elaboration here. Apart from illegibility (indecipherable handwriting sometimes obscured by blots or other stains, as well as faded or torn originals) the enumerators had to rely on the information they were given. Spellings of names often varied (making comparisons between Censuses difficult), and ages might be approximate.(21) One comes across, in 1881, the occupation of Leon Finkelstone as tailoress.

Transcriptions of the Jews of Stroud in 1881 and 1891 have been published.(22) The main findings are set out here in Tables 1-6. The bald Census data sometimes raise many questions to which answers can be given from other sources. The footnotes to the Tables indicate these and the adjustments which have been made.

A few examples from the two Censuses indicate some of these points. The 1891 Census somewhat surprisingly listed three young grandchildren, named Goldstein, living in a family headed by Edward Williams. There was no mention of parents. The answer was found by reference to the marriage certificate of Emanuel Goldstein and Alice Williams in Slad Parish Church in 1880. Edward Williams was the bride's father. The 1881 Census listed Emmanuel Goldsteen living on his own and Alice Goldstine with her son David visiting elsewhere. I have counted them as one family in 1881 Table 1.

Table 6 shows the numbers leaving and arriving at Stroud between the two Censuses. The turnover was large. The Table gives 40 as the number recorded in both Censuses, whereas the 'Alphabetical Index of Stroud Census returns - 1881, 1891'(23) lists only 37. The difference of three arises as follows. The 'Alphabetical Index' lists separately two names: Morris Molicuski (1881) and Morris Malinskie (1891). The latter was a well-known member of the congregation and, indeed, his family was the last of the community to live there. He was there until the early 1930s and died in Bristol in 1933. Malinskie (more usually, Malinski) was certainly in Stroud in the early 1880s - he appears at that period on birth certificates as the father. No doubt the enumerator in 1881 got his name wrong.

TABLE I.

Stroud Jews, 1881 and 1891 Population Censuses: Main Demographic Features

1881

1891

No. of families

28 [+1]

20

Total in families

124 [+6]

132

Average family size

4.4 [6]

6.6

No. of families with non-Jewish servants

10

4

No. of parents

53 [+2]

40

No. of offspring

71 [+4]

92

No. of in-laws

7

5

Lodgers on own

29 [+2]

4

Total

160 [+8]

141

Non-Jewish wives and children

6

17

NOTES:

1881

1. Figures in square brackets for 1881 refer to 'probable' Jews.

2. A single mother whose child is at separate address (as 'boarder') counted as a family.

3. A married couple at separate addresses counted as a family.

1891

4. A husband separately recorded as hospital in-patient included with his family.

5. A widow on her own included as in-law in one family.

6. One Jewish woman, described as 'servant' in family with same surname, included in the family as in-law. Otherwise all other servants were non-Jewish and not included in above figures.

Both Censuses

7. Non-Jewish wives excludes two women converted to Judaism.

 

TABLE 2.

Stroud Jews. 1881 and 1891 Population Censuses: Place of Birth

Country

1881

1891

Eastern Europe (Russia. Poland)

74 [+1]

31

Germany (incl. Posen, Prussia, Austria)

15

8

Holland

5

3

Belgium

1

1

USA

2

-

-----

------

TOTAL IMMIGRANTS

97 [+1]

43

Stroud

26*

67**

UK

37 [+7]***

31****

-----

------

TOTAL POPULATION

160 [+8]

141

NOTES

 

* Includes two Stroud-born wives.

** Includes five Stroud-born wives.

*** Includes one wife born elsewhere in Gloucestershire, one wife born in Sunderland.

**** Includes one child born Bristol although family resident in Stroud, one wife born Somerset, one born Leicester.

 

TABLE 3

Stroud Jews. 1881 and 1891 Population Censuses: Lodgers and Boarders

MALE

FEMALE

Married

Single

Married

Single

TOTALS

1881

Jewish House

2

5

1

-

8

Non-Jewish House

3

17 [+2]

1

2

23 [+2]

TOTALS

5

22 [+2]

2

2

31 [+2]

1891

Jewish House

-

1

-

1

2

Non-Jewish House

-

2

-

-

3

NOTES

1881 1. Four of the male married lodgers and one female lodger unaccompanied by spouses.

2. One child aged one year described as boarder not included here.

 

TABLE 4.

Stroud Jews. 1881 and 1891 Population Censuses:

Age Structure and Place of Birth

AGES

1881

0-14

15-30

31-44

45+

TOTALS

Male

37 [+1]

45 [+2]

8 [+1]

4

94 [+4]

Female

30 [+3]

28 [+1]

4

4

66 [+4]

67 [+4]

73 [+3]

12 [+1]

8

160 [+8]

1891

Male

38

13

18

2

71

Female

42

13

10

5

70

80

26

28

7

141

 

PLACE OF BIRTH

UK

Eastern

Elsewhere

TOTALS

Stroud

Elsewhere

Europe

Abroad

1881

Children (14 and below)

23

35 [+4]

4

5

67 [+4]

Adults

3*

2 [+3]

70 [+1]

18

93 [+4]

TOTALS

26

37 [+7]

74 [+1]

23

160 [+8]

NOTES

Stroud totals include one adult (wife) and one child born in Wotton under Edge, south of Stroud.

*Three non-Jewish wives.

 

1891

Children (14 and below)

62**

15

0

3

80

Adults

5***

16

31

9

61

TOTALS

67

31

31

12

141

**Includes one female recorded in Census as born in London but whose birth certificate shows birth in Stroud.

***These are non-Jewish wives, two of whom converted to Judaism.

 

The other two refer to Mark and Dora Leevy (1881) and Mark and Dora Levi( 1891) The former were both aged 23, birthplace Germany. The latter were aged 34 and 29 respectively and born in Russian Poland. Moreover, the 1891 family recorded three children born in London and only one, aged one year, born in Stroud. I assumed these were two different couples, the latter arriving in Stroud in the late 1880s. However, the birth certificate of their eldest child, Sarah, supposedly born in London, gives her birthplace as Middle Street, Stroud. She was born there on 15 April 1881, 12 days after the Census - at which date Mark and Dora Leevy were living in Middle Street. I now conclude these are the same people, and although it seems their stay in Stroud was interrupted they are properly counted in Table 6 as being in Stroud in both Censuses. Given also the daughter's different birthplace I make the necessary adjustment in Table 4. (24) The age structure - Table 4 - shows that this was a young group and a fertile one. Moreover, the statistics of births, marriages, and deaths published annually by the Board of Deputies (beginning in 1882, the year when Jewish religious marriages were first authorized) indicate that it was a healthy community. No stillbirths were recorded and I have been able to trace only nine infant deaths (including those born to non-Jewish wives), most within 12 months of birth, between 1879 and 1898. Few births occurred after that year.

In 1881 there was a large number of lodgers and boarders, mainly single men. Most lodged in non-Jewish houses and most moved on quickly. But some remained, a few marrying local, non-Jewish women, three in the 1881 Census and five in 1891 (plus one from Somerset). Two of the 1891 wives were converted to Judaism and married in the synagogue (though both couples had produced offspring before marriage). It is not known if the unconverted wives and children were accepted in any way within the congregation. No guidance comes from the fact that Charles Berman, the husband of the woman from Somerset, became a lay officer of the community.

 

Indexes of Births, Marriages, and Deaths

It will be evident from the discussion so far that much useful supplementary information to help interpret the Census material can be found in the details of births and marriages. One can get a more precise date of birth of those born in England and Wales than the age given in the Census, from the Registrar-General's Index. Moreover, using the known family names one can find other Stroud births, not recorded in the Census - those who died young and children of families which moved from Stroud before the next Census. Yet there are gaps. The names of several people, stated in the Census to have been born in Stroud, cannot be found in the Index.

 

TABLE 5.

Stroud Jews. 1881 and 1891 Population Censuses: Immigrants - Years of Settlement in UK

Number of Immigrants

1891

Less than 10 years*

45

13

10-20 years*

10

19

Other immigrants without children:

in-laws, lodgers, childless marrieds, on own

42

11

TOTAL: Born Abroad

97

43

NOTE

*Based on ages of first-born children in Britain or youngest born abroad.

 

TABLE 6.

Stroud Jews. 1881 and 1891 Population Censuses: Turnover between Censuses

Population in 1881

160

[+8]

Population in 1891

141

[+8]

Total entries

301

[+8]

Same in both Censuses

40

Leavers 1881-91

(160-40)

120 [+8]

In 1891 new names

(141-40)

101

Of which

New arrivals

45

Births in Stroud 1881-91

in families in both Censuses

51

in newly resident families

5

101

One slight problem encountered when searching the Indexes is the variation in spellings of names which compounds the chances of overlooking them. Marian Englishmann, who appears in the 1891 Census as a domestic servant in the household of Isaac Englishmann (presumably a relative, so I include her as an in-law in Table 1) next appears as the mother of two children born in Stroud in 1895 and 1896. In the former her husband is Maurice Slafford, in the latter he is Maurice Slaforth (and she becomes Mariam). I am uncertain if he was the Jacob Morris Sladford who married Rachel Miriam Englishmann in Stroud synagogue in April 1892, or whether he was the Morris Slefford recorded in the 1891 Census.

More positively, birth certificates can solve questions raised by the Census entries. The 1881 Census includes a reference to Hymen Moses, aged one year, female!, born in Stroud, shown as a boarder in a household headed by a non-Jewish 57-year-old army pensioner. The child's birth certificate states that he is a boy and gives his name as Imon Moses Moses and his mother as Fanny Moses. 'Imon' was presumably his mother's version of 'Hyman' as told to the registrar. No father is indicated on the birth certificate. Fanny Moses, aged 20, is shown as a boarder at a different address. In Table 1 I put them together as one family.

Birth certificates can sometimes produce new but confusing information. One of the leading Jewish families in Stroud was headed by Samuel Hyman whose wife was Jeanette. The births Index indicated two Hyman children born in Stroud in 1884 and 1886. Their father, according to their birth certificates, was Samuel Hyman, tailor, but the mother was Eliza Park. Obviously there were two families, each headed by a Samuel Hyman. This second Hyman family is not in the 1891 Census so birthplaces cannot be confirmed and the family may not have been Jewish. As it happens the wife of Joseph Goldburg was also named Eliza Park (born in Stroud, according to the 1881 Census, and for that reason non-Jewish); they had two children, born in Stroud: Abraham in 1880 and Lilian Maud in 1881. I do not know if there were two women named Eliza Park.

Another question posed by a birth certificate concerns Maurice Malinski. His wife was born Sarah Ann Creed and the birth certificates of their children born before their marriage describe her as Mrs Sarah Ann Malinskie, formerly Creed. But the mother of Morris Malinskie's son Ahraham Jacob, born in 1886, is given as Sarah Malinskie, formerly Hunt.

Annie Levey, aged 18, daughter of Lewis Levey, is recorded in the 1881 Census. Two months later Annie Leah Levy, aged 18, daughter of Lewis Levy, married Lewis Wineberg in Stroud Register Office. This was a year before Jewish weddings began in Stroud; oddly, one of the witnesses was Samuel Shynman who was one of the two Jewish ministers in Stroud in the 1881 Census. Lewis Wineberg is not in the 1881 Census and neither partner is in the 1891 Census: in fact the whole of Lewis Levey's family must have left Stroud some time in the 1880s. Presumably the Winebergs returned after the 1891 Census since they had children born in Stroud in that decade: for example, lsaac Weinberg, 26 May 1894, father Lewis Weinberg, mother Annie Weinberg, formerly Levi. Three further points about such sources are worth making. First, not all oddities in the Census are soluble. In 1881 the household headed by Harris Levey (he and his wife born in Poland) contained three children with the same surname but also a daughter, Kate Soloman (born Poland), and a son, Wolf Rostel (born Russia). Perhaps they were kin of some sort, in her case taken in when her father died. (She was the bride at the first wedding in Stroud synagogue in June 1882. Her father was described as deceased.)

Second, at the 1891 Census the oldest child of Morris and Sarah Malinski was Isaac, aged 12. This was obviously the boy who was bar mitzvah in Stroud in June 1891, the first bar mitzvah in the town. The Jewish Chronicle reported the event, noting that he had been 'made a ger eighteen months ago'.(25) He was Sarah Ann Creed's son, but Morris Malinski was not the father. The London Beth Din in December 1888, referring to her application for conversion, noted that she had a child by a non-Jew, Willie George, 10 years of age.(26)

Finally, it is noticeable that a large number of adults who signed marriage or birth certificates did so with a mark. This would be understandable if they had recently arrived from abroad and English was unfamiliar. But some of these marks were being made after many years in England.

 

Jewish Year Book 

Information about the community becomes thinner in the last decade or so of its existence, although there will be more when the 1901 Census returns become available. However, from 1896 there is The Jewish Year Book, which included information from each town with a Jewish community: Jewish population, date of foundation of the synagogue, number of seatholders, annual income, the names of the main officers, the name of the headmaster of the Hebrew school and the number of pupils, boys and girls, and usually, the number of births, marriages, and burials, the vital statistics being provided by the Board of Deputies. The information about Stroud for the first few years from 1896 appears to be reliable - the numbers change and so do the names of officers (apart from a surprisingly constant synagogue annual income of £75). But from about 1905 the annual entry hardly changes and from 1908 (after the synagogue closed) fictitious information about a phantom congregation continued to be printed (with typographical errors) until well after the First World War. Thus the (same) 22 boys and 10 girls were still at the Hebrew classes (which no longer existed) but the total is given as 38. The population remained at 100 when in fact it could have been counted on one hand. Even more bizarre was the supposed density of Jewish population in the town. For several years, in the early part of the century, the Year Book printed tables listing towns with Jewish communities in the United Kingdom, comparing their Jewish population with their total populations. Each community was ranked according to the ratio of Jews to total population. Stroud, with a supposed 100 Jews out of a population of just over 9,000, came near the top of the list.(27)

 

Conclusion

The names in the Census, in the Indexes of births, marriages, and deaths, in newspapers, and in other sources - such as the Register of Electors and local directories - produce a list of about 400 Jews who, mostly briefly, were in Stroud. If we deduct the non-Jewish wives and their children, we are still left with perhaps 380. More useful as an indication of the community's 'normal' size are the statistics of seating capacity in the 1889 synagogue, viz. 100, and the fact that its basement was intended for 40 children in the Hebrew classes. These are broadly consistent with the numbers in the Census. In fact the community relied on a small number of men to run its affairs. In the 1880s and 1890s there were normally, according to the figures published annually by the Board of Deputies, about 15 to 20 seatholders. The same names appear in the annual elections for office, which the Jewish Chronicle printed.(28) In the late 1890s and early 1900s several of the stalwarts moved away and it seems that very few replacements arrived. The number of seatholders fell to below ten, permanently, in 1899 and the congregation was no longer viable. The synagogue was sold and the remaining members dispersed.(29)


 NOTES

 

Abbreviations

JC Jewish Chronicle

SJ Stroud Journal

SN Stroud News

 

(1) See Brian Torode, The Hebrew Community of Cheltenham, Gloucester and Stroud, Cheltenham, 1989; Michael A. Shepherd, 'Cheltenham Jews in the Nineteenth Century', The Jewish Journal of Sociology, vol. xxi, no. 2, December 1979. Similarly the small community in Bath declined and even the larger community in the city of Bristol did not attract Eastern European Jews: Malcolm Brown and Judith Samuel, 'The Jews of Bath', Jewish Historical Studies, xxxix, 1988, pp. 153-54; and Alex Schlesinger, 'Victorian Bristol' in A. Newman, ed., Provincial Jewry in Victorian Britain, 1975, n. p.

(2) I have also been in contact with descendants of several Stroud families: those of Isaac Englishmann (Mr Linden Rees); Isaac Ostroff - who married a daughter of another family, that of Mark Levy - (Mr Herbert Ostroff); Maurice Malinski (Mr A. W. Malin); and Aaron Shainan (Mr B. G. Feld). They have provided useful information. I am grateful also to Revd Brian Torode for his help and advice.

(3) David Cesarani, The Jewish Chronicle and Anglo-Jewry 1841-1991, Cambridge University Press, 1994, p. 69: 'Between 1878 and 1906, its provincial coverage was expanded. . .'.

(4) JC, 5 September 1879, p.1; notices of deaths also in SJ, 30 August 1879, p. 4. A midwife was convicted of making a false statement that the children were still-born whereas they had lived for a few days: SJ, 6 September 1879, p. 5.

(5) SJ, 12 January 1878. This is confirmed by other material. When Hyman Levy left Stroud in 1899 it was noted that he had been an active member and officer of the congregation for 22 years. Isaac Levy, another mainstay, left Stroud in 1900 after 23 years, both dates consistent with their arriving in 1877: JC, 3 February 1899, p. 26, and 5 January 1900, p. 25. The first Jewish child to be born in Stroud was bar mitzvah in July 1891. As early as March 1878 two Stroud residents were married in Cheltenham synagogue. There was correspondence between the secretary of Cheltenham synagogue and Stroud's secretary in April 1878 about Stroud Jews use of Cheltenham's kosher butcher: Torode, op. cit. in Note 1 above, pp. 57, 58. In 1930 Maurice Malinski thought the settlement began 'about 55 years ago', that is, 1875. However, he was remembering in his old age. See Note 27 below.

(6) SJ, 9 February 1878. This was a very large company but, surprisingly, it is virtually unknown in the history of the British clothing industry. The Gloucestershire Chronicle, 4 August 1923, p. 5, has an account of the company. See also Victoria County History, Gloucester, vol. xi, 1976, p. 131.

(7) See Harold Pollins, Hopeful Travellers: Jewish Migrants and Settlers in Nineteenth Century Britain, London, 1989, pp. 27-33.

(8) The court case was reported in some detail in SN, 7 February 1908, p. 7, and briefly in JC, 7 February 1908, p. 28. The Board of Deputies, reporting the matter, complained that 'the petty differences in provincial congregations, dragged to the Courts as they sometimes are, not only make the local Jews a subject of derision and reproach, but reflect unsatisfactorily on the whole community'. It would have been better if the Board had been involved: London Committee of Deputies of the British Jews, 57th Annual Report, October 1908, pp. 38-39.

(9) SJ, 25 January 1879, p. 5. The newspaper report was headed 'Another Jewish Fracas'.

(10) SJ, 26 October 1878, p. 5. It seems that Solomon Bloom induced Abraham Jacobs by means of a 'few glasses of spirits' to strike Abraham Schnurman. Presumably this was the same Jacobs who lit a fire under Isaac Levi's gateway: Isaac Levi v. Abraham Jacobs, SJ, 21 August 1880, p. 2. This first synagogue was at Rose Cottage, Slad Road, and can be seen on the Ordnance Survey map, 1/2500, Glos XLI, 16, 1885 issue. I understand this had been the residence of lsaac Englishman, a tailor and publican, one of the earliest Jewish residents of Stroud. By coincidence the building became more recently the offices of the Stroud Creamery Ltd whose managing director was Mr Lutz Noack, who arrived in Britain in 1939 on a kindertransport and has spent all his life in Britain in Gloucestershire: letter from Mr Noack dated 4 February 1996.

(11) Solomon Goldberg v. Mark Sidney, SJ, 17 August 1878, p. 5. £2 a week was a common figure, e.g. Joseph Cohen v. Isaac Levi, SJ, 7 December 1878, p. 2; Mark Abrahams v. Lewis Cohen, SJ, 8 February 1879, p. 3. But piecework was another method of payment, e.g. lsador [sic] Greensweig v. Pysor Goldberg, SJ, 8 February 1879, p. 3 (2s. 1d. per garment).

(12) Isaac Greenbaum v. Israel [sic] Greensweig, SJ, 24 August 1878, p. 5. In Stroud, Greensweig offered him only 30s.

(13) Solomon Bloom v. Abraham Calisher, SJ, 24 May 1879, p. 5.

(14) SJ, 25 January 1879, p. 5.

(15) SJ, 24 August 1878, p. 5.

(16) SJ, 7 December 1878, p. 2.

(17) The consecration was reported in JC, 1 March 1889, pp. 5, 7-8, and SN, 1 March 1889. The latter article was reprinted in John Libby, Twenty Years' History of Stroud 1870 to 1890, Stroud, 1890, pp. 43-44. Libby refers to the Jews as 'a respectable body of citizens'. Stroud Jews were encouraged to contribute to the Stroud Hospital Centenary Fund just as non-Jews had contributed to the synagogue building appeal: JC, 16 September 1890, p. 15.

(18) SN, 14 February 1896, p. 4.

(19) JC, 12 December 1890, p. 16; 12 June 1891, p. 17.

(20) Ibid., 14 August 1896, p. 18; 19 June 1891, p. 18; and 11 December 1891, p. 20.

(21) The Census material is on microfiche or microfilm. The task is sometimes made easier by the efforts of local historical societies and others who produce transcriptions and often indexes. The Church of the Latter Day Saints does the same. While the results are useful and helpful finding aids, the transcriptions are not always accurate.

(22) B. Susser, ed., Studies in Anglo-Jewish History. No. 1: The Decennial Census, London, Susser Press, 1995. Transcriptions by Bernard Susser of Jews in Devon and Cornwall at the Censuses of 1841-1891 form the bulk of this publication. The Stroud transcriptions by Harold Pollins are on pp. 93-107.

(23) 'Alphabetical Index of Stroud Census returns - 1881, 1891', in Susser, ed., op. cit., in Note 22 above, pp. 105-07

(24) In my introduction to the Stroud Census transcriptions in Susser, ed., op. cit. in Note 22 above, I stated (p. 94) that 'no Stroud-born Jew was married in its synagogue'. In fact Sarah Levy was married there in 1899. My statement thus needs amending.

(25) JC, 12 June 1891, p. 17.

(26) London Beth Din, Minute Book, 1876-1903, p. 91. I am grateful to Mr Charles Tucker for this information. I am told by Mr A. M. Malin that there was an Uncle Will in the family. The Malinskis were married in Stroud synagogue in April 1889. The Beth Din minute of December 1888 begins: 'Sarah Ann Creed married by Resigster [sic] to Morris Mallinski...'. This presumably refers to a past event, but I have not found any reference to a civil marriage of this couple.

(27) In 1930 J. M. Rich, the secretary of the Board of Deputies, was in contact with Maurice Malinski in Stroud. A surviving letter, dated 21 May 1930, refers to an earlier one which has not survived. Rich's letter asks for information about the Stroud community, noting that The Jewish Year Book of 1929 said that the Jewish population of Stroud was 100 and asking if this was accurate. The copy letter is annotated in handwriting, 'From Mr Malinski'. His message was: 'Quite inaccurate now, & for many years. As a matter of fact only one Jew in Stroud at present time, namely Mr. Malinski'. It continues that the Jewish population had been introduced 'by Messrs Holloway Brothers about 55 years ago' and the number probably swelled to about 100. Then 'after some 15 or 20 years numbers declined considerably & for last 17 or 18 years to one only'. Greater London Record Office, B4/ST 32.

(28) At one time the bulk of the [Stroud clothing] trade was in the hands of Jewish subcontractors, who had the work done by home-workers in the surrounding villages, fetching it from the factories and distributing it to the workpeople. This practice has now entirely disappeared': S. P. Dobbs, The Clothing Workers of Great Britain, London, 1928, P. 61. He refers to three clothing firms. I am grateful to Anne Kershen for this reference. These subcontractors were the Jewish master tailors. Brian Torode states that Holloway's 'also owned a retail shop which sold the garments made' by the master tailors: Torode, op. cit. in Note 1 above, p. 64.

(29) It is said that Stroud was one of the towns to which Jewish families From London were sent by the Jewish Dispersion Committee, formed in 1903: Geoffrey Alderman, The Federation of Synagogues 1887-1987, London, 1987, p. 37. The collapse soon afterwards of the Stroud community clearly indicates that few, if any, could have gone there under these auspices. In fact very few families in total were helped by the Committee to settle in the provinces: Cecil Bloom, 'Jewish Dispersion within Britain', in A. Newman and S. W. Massil, eds., Patterns of Migration, 1850-1914: Proceedings of the International Academic Conference of the Jewish Historical Society of England and the Institute of Jewish Studies, University College London, London, 1996, pp. 31-47. He refers especially to Stroud, noting that 'there is no evidence that the town was encouraged to receive immigrants from London' (pp. 44-45).

 

Additional Note:

The article was written in 1996. The reference to the transcriptions of the 1881 and 1891 Censuses (published in association with Bernard Susser) was to the 1995 edition of the transcriptions. There was a revised edition in 1996 and this is the one used in the Susser Archive. In my case the second edition only included one change. In footnote 24 I refer to an error in the Introduction to my transcriptions. Anyone reading the Introduction in the Susser Archive will see that I have corrected the error. The reference in footnote 27 to a MS at the Greater London Record Office may need correction: it is now renamed the London Metropolitan Archives.
 

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