JCR-UK

Bristol Jewish Community

Bristol

 

 

 

JCR-UK is a genealogical and historical website covering all Jewish communities and
congregations throughout the British Isles and Gibraltar, both past and present.
NOTE: We are not the official website for this community.

City of Bristol

Bristol, the major city of the West of England with a population of about 400,000, is situated near the eastern end of the Bristol Channel and has a short coast line along the southern coast of the channel, facing Wales.  Bristol is unique in having been a city with county status since medieval times (it was named a county borough when the term was created in 1889), with only a short break, from 1974 to 1996, when it became a local government district of the short-lived county of Avon. It regained its independence and county status in 1996, when the county of Avon was abolished and Bristol became a unitary authority.

The Bristol Jewish Community

There had been a medieval Jewish community in Bristol. In modern times, Bristol has had a Jewish presence since at least the 1740s.

Jewish Congregations

The following are the Jewish congregations that existed in Bristol:

* An active congregation.

 

 


Bristol Jewish Cemeteries Information

 

JCR-UK HOSTED DATABASE

Search Bristol Jewish Cemeteries Database,
including burial records and photographs of the headstones,
and copies of the burial certificates, where available,
as well as a description of the cemeteries.

(See the Bristol Hebrew Congregation home page for additional databases)

Basic Cemeteries Information

There was a medieval Jewish Cemetery in Bristol in use from some time after 1177 until 1290.

 

Bristol's modern Orthodox Jewish cemeteries are:

  • Barton Road (St Phillips) in use from c. 1750, with last burial in 1944. Approximately 160 are included in the above Database.
    The Walls surrounding the Cemetery is a Listed Building, GradeII, listed from 4March 1977 (number 1203679). Historic England Listing & Description.

  • Great Gardens (Rose Street), small cemetery in use from mid-1800s until 1911. In 1924, 27 graves and headstones re-interred in Ridgeway Cemetery.

  • Ridgeway Cemetery, Eastville - the currently active Jewish cemetery in Bristol. First burial 1898. Approximately 640 burials (up to 2003) are included in the above Database, as are most burial certificates.

Bristol Progressive Jewish Community has burial plots at the following cemeteries:

  • South Bristol Cemetery, Bridgwater Road, Bedminster Down, Bristol.

  • Memorial Woodlands Cemetery, Earthcott Green, Alveston, South Gloucestershire.

Records of these cemeteries are also on the JOWBR and/or All-UK Database (see below).

(For additional information, see IAJGS Cemeteries Project - Bristol)

 

Search the All-UK Database


The records in the database associated with Bristol include:

  • Burials

    • JOWBR (JewishGen Online Worldwide Burial Register)

    • Ridgway Cemetery (639 records*);

    • St. Philips Cemetery (188 records).

  • Marriages

    • Bristol Hebrew Congregation 1834 - 1990 (307 records).

  • UK Jewish Communal Leaders Database

    • Jewish Directory for 1874 - (20 Bristol records);

    • Jewish Year Book 1896/97 (6 Bristol Records); and

    • JCR-UK Listings (127Bristol records - as of 30September 2021).

  • 1851 Anglo Jewry Database (updated 2016)

    • Individuals in the 1851 Anglo Jewry Database who were living in Bristol during the 1760s (1 record); 1770s (1 record); 1780s (4 records); 1790s (7 records); 1800s (18 records); 1810s (20 records); 1820s (60 records), 1830s (136 records), 1840s (208 records), 1850s (220 records), 1860s (97 records), 1870s (66 records), 1880s (29 records), 1890s (6 records), 1900s (2 records) and 1910s (5 records).

 

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

on JCR-UK

on third party's website

  • Jewish Encyclopaedia article on Bristol by Joseph Jacobs and Francis L. Cohen, c-1906.

 

Other Jewish Institutions & Organisations in Bristol

General Communal Organisations

  • Shechita Board established in 1927.(xxi)

  • Bristol Council of Jewish Women, founded by 1945.(xxii)

  • Council of Christian and Jews, founded by 1948.(xxiii)

  • Bristol Jewish Representative Council (known as the Bristol Jewish Liason Committee until about 1997), founded by 1984.(xxiv)

Institutions connected with the University

Other Educational

  • Polack's House, Clifton College. This was a boarding house (initially called Hamburg House), founded in 1878, dedicated for Jewish boys, at Clifton College, a public school in Bristol.(xxxiv)  It existed for some 125 years, complete with its own synagogue and kosher dining facilities. Polack's House closed in 2005.(xxxi)

    Housemasters of Polack's House were: Bernard Heymann (1878-1890); Rev. Joseph Polack (after whom the house was named) (1890-1922); Albert Polack (1922-1948); Philip Polack (1948-1964); Ernest Polack (1964-1979).(xxxvi)

    Jewish Alumni of Polack's House or other houses at Clifton College include:

    • Leslie Hoare-Belisha (later 1st Baron Hore-Belisha) (1893-1957), British politician and Member of Parliament, initially representing the Liberal Party, then National Liberal Party and later the Conservative Party. He served as the UK Minister of Transport (19341937) and Secretary for War (19371940).

    • Edwin Samuel Montagu (1879-1924), British politician and Liberal Member of Parliament, who served as Secretary of State for India (1917-1922).

    Following the closure, the Polack's House Educational Trust makes available scholarships to the Clifton College, which offers a wide Jewish programme at its Polack Centre, and includes a synagogue and a social centre. Commencing 2019 the school appointed  its own (non-orthodox) Jewish chaplain, Rabbi Anna Gerrard served in such capacity from 2019 until 2023.(xxxvii)

Welfare and Friendly Societies

  • Bristol Jewish Welfare Society, a society of the Bristol Hebrew Congregation(xl) formed on 23 November 1952(xli) upon the merger of:

    • Bristol Hebrew Ladies' Benevolent Society, founded in 1845 for the relieve the poor families resident in Bristol above one year, pecuniary or otherwise during confinement, sickness, mourning, general distress, and at the festivals, also for the education and clothing of children.(xlii)

    • Bristol Board of Guardians, founded 1890 for the relief of the poor.(xliii)

  • Jewish Loan Society, founded October 1896.(xliv)

  • Jewish Ladies Loan Society, founded by 1903.(xlvii)

  • United Jewish Friendly Societies (formerly Order Achei B'rith and Shield of Abraham)

    •  Sir Julian Goldsmid Lodge No. 26, Bristol, in existence from about 1904 until 1950s.(xlviii)

    • Bristol (Ladies) Lodge No. 60, in existence from about 1918 until 1950s.(xlix)

  • Refugee Aid Committee, founded by 1939.(l)

  • Joint Committee for the Religious Education and Welfare of Jewish Refugee Children, formed during Worls War II.(li)

Social, Literary and Religious Organisations

  • Anglo-Jewish Association, branch initially established on 12 May 1878 by John G. Levy but defunct by 1880s.(liv)  A Bristol branch was re-established 3 November 1899.(lv)

  • Jewish Literary & Social Society (which until about 1939(lvi) was known as the Jewish Literary Society, having in 1915 changed its name from the Jewish Social and Debating Society(lvii)), was founded in 1894 according to some sources,(lviii) although in 1893 there was a Bristol Jewish Literary and Debating Society.(lix) (An earlier Bristol Hebrew Literary and Debating Society had existed in about 1880/81.(lx))

  • Jewish Social Society, founded by about 1937(lxiii) with Entertainment, Catering and Juvenile committees.

  • Jewish Girls Club, founded 1902.(lxiv)

  • Jewish Working Men's Social Club, founded by 1903.(lxv)

  • Chevra Tillim, founded by 1903.(lxvi)

  • Jewish Boys' Sabbath Observance Society, founded by 1903.(lxvii)

  • Jewish Club and Institute, founded in 1909.(lxx)

  • Jewish Discussion Group, founded by 1932.(lxxi)

  • Jewish Dramatic Society, founded by 1932.(lxxii)

  • Davar (Jewish Institute in Bristol), founded by 1996, a cultural and educational organisation to encourage Jewish Identity with the widest possible spectum.(lxxiii)

Israel and Zionist Organisations

  • Chovevei Zion founded in 1890, but of short duration.(lxxvi)

  • Zionist Society founded by about 1921,(lxxvii) although an earlier Bristol Zionist Association in existence from January 1900 until about 1905.(lxxviii)

  • WIZO, branch founded by 1956.(lxxxi)

  • JNF Commission, branch founded by 1927.(lxxxii)

  • Bristol Committee for the Jewish Agency, formed by 1930.(lxxxiii)

Miscellaneous Organisations

  • British Legion (Polack Branch), founded by 1936.(lxxxvi)

  • Association of Jewish Ex-Servicemen and Women (AJEX), branch founded by 1949.(lxxxvii)

 

Community Records

 

Bristol Jewish Population Data

1845

300 (estimate)

(Provincial Jewry in Victorian Britain)

1903

850

(The Jewish Year Book 1903/4)

1908

200 families

(The Jewish Year Book 1909)

1918

150 families

(The Jewish Year Book 1919)

1945

500

(The Jewish Year Book 1945/6)

1955

410

(The Jewish Year Book 1955)

1985

450

(The Jewish Year Book 1996)

1990

375

(The Jewish Year Book 1991)

2003

423

(The Jewish Year Book 2004)

 

Notes & Sources
( returns to text above)

  •  (i) to (xx) Reserved.

  •  (xxi) Jews in Bristol by Judith Samuels, 1997, p.167 and first listed in the Jewish Year Book 1928.

  •  (xxii) First listed in the Jewish Year Book 1945/6.

  •  (xxiii) First listed in the Jewish Year Book 1949.

  •  (xxiv) First listed in the Jewish Year Book 1985.

  •  (xxv) and (xxvi) Reserved.

  •  (xxvii) First listed in Jewish Year Book 1952.

  •  (xxviii) Jewish Chronicle report of 8 August 2008 on the appointment of their successors, refers to Rabbi Natan and Ariella Levy as the previous chaplains. By 2007, they were serving in Shenley.

  •  (xxix) Press report on the University Jewish Chaplaincy website, on 14 December 2021, reported the sad death of Rabbi Baron, stated that Rabbi Baron and his wife Melissa had served the Bristol and Western Region Chaplaincy with distinction from 2008-2011.

  •  (xxx) The University Jewish Chaplaincy website, accessed November 2023, stated that Rabbi Michael Rosenfeld-Schueler, the University Jewish Chaplain for Oxford University, "will also be serving Bristol this year".

  •  (xxxi) First listed in Jewish Year Book 1981.

  •  (xxxii) and (xxxiii) Reserved.

  •  (xxiv) Jews in Bristol by Judith Samuels, 1997,  pp.152/3.

  •  (xxv) Clifton College website, accessed November 2023.

  •  (xxvi) Jews in Bristol by Judith Samuels, 1997,  pp.153/4.

  •  (xxvii) Clifton College website and Three Counties Liberal Jewish Community website, both accessed November 2023.

  •  (xxxviii) and (xxxix) Reserved.

  •  (xl)) Jews in Bristol by Judith Samuels, 1997,  p.55.

  •  (xli) Jews in Bristol by Judith Samuels, 1997,  pp.187/8.

  •  (xlii) Jews in Bristol by Judith Samuels, 1997,  pp.78 and note in Jewish Year Book 1896/7.

  •  (xliii) Note in Jewish Year Book 1896/7.

  •  (xliv) Jews in Bristol by Judith Samuels, 1997,  p.171.

  •  (xlv) and (xlvi) Reserved.

  •  (xlvii) First listed in Jewish Year Book 1903/4.

  •  (xlviii) On a plaque listing the presidents of this lodge (a picture of which appears as illustration No. 30 in Jews in Bristol by Judith Samuels, 1997), the names commence in 1904 and continue to 1936, although Jewish Year Books continue to list the lodge until the 1950s, without naming any officers.

  •  (xlix) On a plaque listing the presidents of this lodge (a picture of which appears as illustration No. 31 in Jews in Bristol by Judith Samuels, 1997), the names commence in 1916 and continue to 1938, although Jewish Year Books continue to list the lodge until the 1950s, without naming any officers.

  •  (l) First listed in Jewish Year Book 1940.

  •  (li) First listed in Jewish Year Book 1945/6, being the first edition following the war-time cessation of publication in 1940.

  •  (lii) and (liii) Reserved.

  •  (liv) Jews in Bristol by Judith Samuels, 1997,  pp.131, 162/3.

  •  (lv) Jews in Bristol by Judith Samuels, 1997,  p.163. It was first listed in the Jewish Year Book 1900/1.

  •  (lvi) The first listing under the name 'Jewish Literary & Social Society' was in the Jewish Year Book 1940.

  •  (lvii) Jews in Bristol by Judith Samuels, 1997,  p.171.

  •  (lviii) Jews in Bristol by Judith Samuels, 1997,  p.147 and note in the Jewish Year Book 1896/7.

  •  (lix) Jews in Bristol by Judith Samuels, 1997,  p.146.

  •  (lx) Jews in Bristol by Judith Samuels, 1997,  p.146 - Jewish Chronicle report of 18 February 1881.

  •  (lxi) and (lxii) Reserved.

  •  (lxiii) Listed only in Jewish Year Books 1938 and 1939.

  •  (lxiv) Note in the Jewish Year Book 1905/6.

  •  (lxv) First listed in the Jewish Year Book 1903/4.

  •  (lxvi) First listed in the Jewish Year Book 1903/4.

  •  (lxvii) First listed in the Jewish Year Book 1903/4.

  •  (lxviii) and (lxix) Reserved.

  •  (lxx) Note in the Jewish Year Book 1911.

  •  (lxxi) First listed in the Jewish Year Book 1933.

  •  (lxxii) First listed in the Jewish Year Book 1933.

  •  (lxxiii) First listed in the Jewish Year Book 1997.

  •  (lxxiv) and (lxxv) Reserved.

  •  (lxxvi) Jews in Bristol by Judith Samuels, 1997,  p.94.

  •  (lxxvii) First listed in the Jewish Year Book 1922.

  •  (lxxviii) Jews in Bristol by Judith Samuels, 1997,  pp.171/2.

  •  (lxxix) and (lxxx) Reserved.

  •  (lxxxi) First listed in the Jewish Year Book 1957.

  •  (lxxxii) First listed in the Jewish Year Book 1928.

  •  (lxxxiii) First listed in the Jewish Year Book 1931.

  •  (lxxxiv) and (lxxxv) Reserved.

  •  (lxxxvi) First listed in the Jewish Year Book 1937.

  •  (lxxxvii) First listed in the Jewish Year Book 1950.


Jewish Communities of England home page


Page created: 21 August 2005
Page significantly expanded and notes added: 2 November 2023
Page most recently amended: 6 November 2023


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