Birmingham's First Jewish Congregations (to 1856)

Birmingham, West Midlands




Page created: 7 November 2005
Latest revision or update: 1 August 2017

Congregation Data


Birmingham's first Jewish congregations (until 1856)


From about 1730 to about 1791: - A small synagogue in the area then known as The Froggery, Birmingham (now the area of Station Road and New Street Station).

From about 1791 to 1809: - A small synagogue in Hurst Street. The following is the text of a report that appeared in Aris's Birmingham Gazette, on 26 September 1791 (page 3):

"On Friday last, the ceremony of dedicating the newly erected Jews' Synagogue, in this town, was performed by Mr. Phillips, Mr. Yates and Mr. Levi, who sung(sic) the appointed psalms and songs of praise ,in the sacred language, with great judgment and melody." 

From 1809 to 1856: - A synagogue in Severn Street. The Stone was laid in 1809 and completed in 1813. In 1813 the synagogue was wrecked in riots. It was largely rebuilt and enlarged in Greek Revival style in 1823-27 (architect Richard Tutin). The following was written by R.K. Dent in his Birmingham Old and New, 1880(i):

"The year 1827 is memorable in the history of the Hebrew Society of Birmingham as having seen the completion of a new and commodious synagogue in Severn Street where for the first time in Birmingham their solemn and impressive servicemight be conducted in a more fitting and becoming mannerthan in the small buiding which they had hitherto occupied."

It was later refurbished in 1851. In 1856, it was sold to the Freemasons and is now the Athol Masonic Hall.

From about 1850 to 1856:  A rival congregation was established in Wrottesley.

(Thereafter the congregation were reunited and moved to the new purpose-built synagogue in Singers Hill - the Birmingham Hebrew Congregation)


Ashkenazi Orthodox

Ministers (generally referred to as Lecturer:

Rev. Isaiah Phillips - 1785 to 1835(ii)

Rev. Dr. Morris Jacob Raphall - 1830's to 1849(iii)

Rev. A. Pereira Mendes - 1853 to 1858(iv)

Cemetery Information:

See Birmingham Jewish Cemeteries Information on Birmingham Jewish Community home page

Notes & Sources ( returns to text above)

  • (i) Birmingham Jewry, More Aspects 1740-1930, editor Z. Josephs, p.11.

  • (ii) Ibid., p.14.

  • (iii) Ibid., pp.14-15, However the precise dates and the exact position held by him are unclear. He left in 1849 for B'nai Jeshuran Congregation of New York.

  • (iv) Ibid. p.15. Rev. Mendes was in office for the consecration of the Congregation's Singers Hill Synagogue.

Birmingham & District Jewish Community home page

Jewish Congregations in West Midlands

Jewish Communities of England home page


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