Bristol Hebrew Congregation






Synagogue Buildings

1756 - 1786

Records show that the first Synagogue building used by the post-expulsion community was established in, or before, 1756 in a building known as the Stone Kitchen, located in Temple Street. This building was used as the Synagogue until 1786. The Braikenridge Collection in the Bristol Museum and Art Gallery comprises some 1400 works commissioned to capture images of Bristol in the early 1800s and includes the following three views of the Stone Kitchen (reproduced by kind permission of the Bristol Museum and Art Gallery).

Click on any of the images to enlarge

M2136 : West side, Temple Street, from White's Almshouses (1828), by Thomas Leeson ROWBOTHAM (1782-1853)

M2152 : Old House in Temple Street (1821), formerly residence of Sir John Knight, by Hugh O'NEILL, (1784-1824)

M2153 : Old House in Temple Street (1819), formerly residence of Sir John Knight, by Hugh O'NEILL, (1784-1824)

1786 - 1842

In 1786, the Congregation moved to the Weavers' Hall in Temple Street and this was used as a Synagogue until 1842. There is some evidence from available public records to suggest that there was a temporary rift in the Community from 1825 - 1835, during which time a second Synagogue existed between Temple Street and Temple Back.

A History of the Bristol, published in 1794, states; "The Jews's Synagogue in Temple-street, very well fitted up, painted, and furnished with altar-piece, branches, candlesticks, etc., in such a style that, though it is not one of the largest, it is one of the handsomest places of worship inBristol." (Jewish Years Books, 1901/1903)

1842 - 1871

In 1842, a new Synagogue was consecrated in the Quaker's Meeting House in a court to the West of Temple Street. This remained in use until it was demolished as part of the large scale destruction of built-up land required for the cutting of Victoria Street in the late 1860s.

The Congregation worshipped temporarily in a room on Lower College Green while a suitable location for a new Synagogue was sought.

1871 - Present Day

The location chosen for the new (present) Synagogue was in Park Row, on the site formerly occupied by the buildings of the Little Sisters of the Poor. The site was purchased in 1869 and the Synagogue (Bristol's first purpose built Synagogue) was consecrated on Thursday 7th September 1871.

A number of the fittings used in the Park Street Synagogue originate from the Weaver's Hall Synagogue, consecrated in 1786. These include:

  • The curved doors to the Ark
  • The scrolled ironwork surrounding the Ten Commandments
  • The Chanukah Menorah
  • The brass pillar candlesticks on the Bimah

In addition, the eternal light above the Ark is believed to be early Victorian, most likely from the Temple Street Synagogue consecrated in 1842.

To view any of 73 photographs of the present Bristol Synagogue, click on the appropriate link below and then scroll through the various photographs within that link:

Back to Congregation Home Page

Page created: prior to 31 December 2002
Latest revision or update: 7 September 2020


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