the former

Chatteris Jewish Community





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Town of Chatteris

Chatteris, with a population of about 11,000, is a market town in the middle of The Fens the lowest-lying area in the United Kingdom in eastern England. It is situated about 25 miles north of Cambridge, about 10 miles northwest of Ely, about 15 miles southeast of Peterborough and about 25 miles southwest of King's Lynn.

Chatteris was an Urban District until 1974, governed at county level by the Isle of Ely County Council until 1965, when that county was merged with Cambridgeshire to form the Cambridgeshire and Isle of Ely County Council. In the 1974 local government reorganisation, Chatteris became part of the District of Fenland within the somewhat enlarged County of Cambridgeshire.

Jewish Community

There is no knowledge of any organised Jewish community in Chatteris, except that during World War II, evacuee and refugee children were billeted in the town, for whom a "Junior Synagogue" was established.

Congregation Data

Name and Services:

Junior Synagogue.

The synagogue was established by 1939(ii) and there are references to weekly services being held in Chatteris until at least 1943 at Zion Hall.(iii) This was probably attached to the Zion Baptist Chapel in Park Street, which is currently (2023) the Triovet veterinary surgery.(iv)


Schools evacuated to Chatteris and surrounding areas included the Robert Montefiore L.G.C. School, which was accommodated from 1939 at Westwood House, Park Street, Chatteris, and the Davenant Foundation School. Both these schools were from the East End of London and thus had a significant number of Jewish pupils. Some pupils of the Jewish Free School were also evacuated to Chatteris.(vii)


Services were probably terminated in about 1944.(viii)


Orthodox - Ashkenazi

Lay Officers 1939:(ix)

Hon. President - S. Rosen, BSc

Wardens - A. Feiner and S. Mason

Hon. Secretary - G. Melnick

Religious Classes:(x)

These were held under the auspices of the Joint Emergency Committee

Primary Classes Superintendent - S. Goldstein

Secondary Classes Superintendent - S. Rosen, BSc(xi)

Registration District (BMDs):

Cambridgeshire (since 1 October 2007)(xii) - Link to Register Office Website.


There is no Jewish cemetery in Chatteris. The nearest Jewish cemeteries are in Cambridge.


Online Articles and Other Material
relating to the Jews in Chatteris

 on Third Party Websites

Press Reports relating to Jewish Evacuees in Chatteris

  • The Jewish Chronicle, 27 October 1939
    May I appeal to the generosity of our coreligionists on behalf of many East End schoolchildren, boys and girls between the ages of six and fourteen, who have been evacuated to this town. Many of them come from very poor parents who are unable to provide them with clothing necessary to protect them from the severe winter weather of this Fen district Our particular needs are shoes and boots, underclothing, socks and stockings, overcoats, suits, and raincoats. The helpers here have formed themselves into a Welfare Committee and many very necessitous cases have been brought to our notice. A play centre is being established to occupy the children's time out of school hours, and we should be very glad to receive games of all sorts, a gramophone, and particularly wool, which will be made up by the older girls and helpers into garments for the evacuees. - MRS. BEATRICE SIMONS (Hon. Secretary Welfare Committee), Robert Montefiore L.G.C. School, Westwood House, Chatteris; Cambridgeshire.

  • The Jewish Chronicle, 26 November 1943
    When, at the weekly Sabbath service at Zion Hall, three evacuees were Barmitzvah, Mr. S. Rosen (Superintendent of the classes) paid a tribute to Pastor C. B. Morton and Mrs. Morton, the foster parents of one of the boys, a Czech refugee, for the attention they had given to his religious welfare during the past four years. Refreshments were provided for the congregants by Mr. and Mrs. Matyon and the parents of the Barmitzvah boys.

Notes & Sources
( returns to text above)

  • (i) Reserved.

  • (ii) Listed in Jewish Year Book 1940.

  • (iii) The Jewish Chronicle report of 26 November 1943, see Press Reports section.

  • (iv) Chatteris Cambridgeshire Community Archive Network (Zion Chapel) website, accessed July 2023

  • (v) and (vi) Reserved.

  • (vii) Chatteris Cambridgeshire Community Archive Network (Reunion) website, accessed July 2023

  • (viii) The latest reference to religious services was The Jewish Chronicle report of 26 November 1943, see Press Reports section.

  • (ix) As listed in the Jewish Year Book 1940.

  • (x) The superintendents were listed in the Jewish Year Book 1940.

  • (xi) S. Rosen is still referred to as superintendent in The Jewish Chronicle report of 26 November 1943 (see Press Reports section) and was also listed as hon. president of the Junior Synagogue.

  • (xii) Previous Registration Districts: North Witchford (from 1 July 1837 to 1 April 1938); March (from 1 April 1938 to 1 July 1980); and Fenland (from 1 July 1980 to 1 October 2007). Any registers would be held by the current register office

World War II Evacuee Communities

Jewish Congregations in Cambridgeshire

Jewish Communities of England home page

Page created: 16 July 2023
Page most recently amended: 10 September 2023

Research by David Shulman and Steven Jaffe
Formatting by David Shulman

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