Extract from papers on
Provincial Jewry in Victorian Britain
Papers prepared by Dr. (later Prof.) Aubrey Newman
for a conference at University College, London,
convened on 6 July 1975 by the
Jewish Historical Society of England
(Reproduced here with Prof. Newman's kind consent)
Paper first published on JCR-UK: 21 February 2004
Reformatted: January 2012 and November 2015
Latest revision: 27 November 2016
BIRMINGHAM - Introductory Data
(For the Community's early history, see
"Birmingham" in Cecil Roth's "The Rise of Provincial
A. The Birmingham community was one of
the oldest in England; during the eighteenth century it attracted a certain
notoriety as being the congregation where Lord George Gordon was converted to
Judaism. It was an ideal base for the itinerant hawkers and pedlars of the
time and it was a leading centre of the manufacture of a wide range of cheap
jewellery. By 1850 it had a community of up to a thousand souls, and in 1851 its
Sabbath attendance was the largest of any single provincial synagogue. In
1845 there were 83 Ba'ale Batim and 99 seatholders; in 1851, 300 appropriated
seats and 169 individuals. [Primarily from
The Rise of Provincial Jewry
(1950), by Cecil Roth]
[extracted from The Jewish Directory for 1874, by Asher I. Myers]
Singer's Hill, Blucher Street. Founded about 200 years. Present building
erected in 1855. Has seat accommodation for 870 persons, 500 gentlemen's
seats, 370 ladies seats. Seat rentals - gentlemen's seats from 26s. to
£18.10s. per annum. Ladies' seats from 8s.8d. to 26s. per annum. Governed
by a Council consisting of 21 members. The council is divided into various
committees, e.g. Finance and General Purposes Committee, School Committee, Choir
Committee, et., etc. Income 1872, £3474.18s.10d., expenditure 1872
Schools, Founded 1840. Placed under Government inspection, 1867.
Building attached to the Synagogue. Supported by the Congregation, the
cost of the school being defrayed from the subscriptions of the members.
Additional income - Government grant averages about £140, fees about £40.
Subscriptions from Hebrew Educational Society, £50 per annum and books.
Governed by a Committee appointed annually by the Council of the Congregation.
Expenditure in 1872 estimated at about £530. Average number of pupils 90
boys, 70 girls, 75 infants.
Hebrew Board of
Guardians, founded March 1870. Income 1872, £822.2s.1d., expenditure
£732.19s.9d. Applicants relieved: residents 104, casuals 355. Number
of grants: residents 1795, casuals 398. Total grants 2193.
Benevolent Educational Society. To assist necessitous children to
obtain education to pprovide them with books and clothing,
1872, £411.17s.10d., expenditure £365.12s.4d.
Hebrew Philanthropic Society, found 1828. 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. Income
1872, £445.14s.5d., expenditure 1872. £890.14s.2d.
Co-operative Matza Association, founded 1870
Independent United Israelites Benefit Society, established 1853. Relief of
members during sickness and week of mourning, allowance to widows, etc.
Benevolent Society. Relief of sick women and children, supplying
clothes and other necessaries to women in confinement, etc.
1901 [Jewish Year Book]
3,500. 1900 - 21 marriages, 69 burials
Singer's Hill, founded 1855. Congregation more than a century old. Seatholders 634. Income 1900, £4507.16s.10d., expenditure £4278.9s.4d.
Benevolent Visiting Society. Relief of sick women and children.
Care of women during confinement. Visiting the homes of the poor
generally. Income 1900, £165.1s.6d., expenditure £143.3s.7d.
Jewish Charities Aid Society (founded 1892). To make annual grants to
the Birmingham Jewish Charities. Income 1899, £94.6s.6d., expenditure
£89.19s.8d. (usually £85 distributed amongst the local Jewish charities).
Society of the Jews' Hospital and Orphan Asylum (founded 1888). To
assist the parent institution by purchasing life governorships. Income
1900, £52.7s.2d., expenditure £50.12s.8d. (excluding £42, produce of four life
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.
Philanthropic Society (founded 1838). Objects: (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. Income 1899-1900, £447.14s.4d., expenditure £472.15s.4d.
Educational Society (Founded 1851). To pay all necessary support of
the Hebrew schools and to apprentice Jewish children leaving school.
Income 1900-1901, £362.4s.6d., expenditure £362.1.5d.
Hebrew Board of
Guardians (founded 1870). Relief of the Jewish poor and casual.
Income 1900, £940.11s.2d., expenditure £888.2s.9d.
Society. To provide meals on Sabbaths and festivals to poor Jews
passing through the town. Income 1900, £52.6s.6d., expenditure £31.2s.11d.
(founded 1840). There are 488 scholars, 179 boys, 174 girls, and 135
Tent No 20
Association. Income £93.17s.3d., expenditure, including £70 remitted
to London, £75.8s.6d.
Bikur Cholim. To supply visitors to the sick poor and watchers for the dying.
Independent United Israelites Friendly Society. This society is in a
very flourishing condition, and has invested funds amounting to £1387.10s.3½d.
Membership 163. Income, 1900, £312.16s.6d., expenditure £212.4s.6d.
Jewish Working Men's Educational Institute. To provide an English education for foreign co-religionists. Income
1899-1900, £142.3s.9d., expenditure £130.19s.7½d.
Birmingham Naturalisation Society (founded
Birmingham Hebrew Schools Old Boys Association
(founded 1898). Members 136. 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. Income
1900, £32.11s.0d., expenditure £28.19s.9d.
Birmingham Hebrew Ladies' Boot Fund
Court 'Jacob's Pride' No. 5946 AOF. Invested funds £1376.9s.5d. Income 1900, £241.6s., expenditure £139.4s.2d.
Birmingham Beth Hamedrash
Birmingham Talmud Torah
Birmingham Jewish Working Men's Club (founded 1899). Number of members March 1901, 265. Lady Associates
105. To afford its members the means of social intercourse and rational
recreation. Income 1901, £768.5s.11d., expenditure £779.11s.8d.
Birmingham Jewish Lads' Brigade
Board of Deputies returns
A Portrait of Birmingham Jewry 1851
by Birmingham Jewish Local History Study Group
(with references and tables).
Acknowledgment is made to Zoë Josephs and her group of fellow enthusiasts who
produced three volumes on the History of Birmingham Jewry
Provincial Jewry in Victorian
Britain - List of Contents
Birmingham Jewish Community
Birmingham Hebrew Congregation home page
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Reformatted by David Shulman