North-East England Jewry
in Victorian Britain




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 July 2016
Latest revision: 23 August 2016

Papers on North-East England

GATESHEAD (Co. Durham)

Published Data


Jewish population, 123.

Synagogue, 14 Redheugh Bridge Street (founded 1887), seatholders,  24.

Friend in Need Society (founded 1892). Object, relief of the Jewish Poor. Mode of election, majority of votes.

Benevolent Loan Society

[b - Jewish Year Book]


Board of Deputies returns

births marriages seatholders


no register




no register



prepared by L. Olsover

The story of the Gateshead community is linked with that of Newcastle. The union there of the two congregations in 1880 was not altogether to the taste of some of their members, and in particular to one Zaccariah Bernstone, glazier, picture-framer, and peddlar in gas mantles. Dissatisfied with the Anglicised ritual of Newcastle he moved to Gateshead circa 1881 and did his best there to establish a very strictly orthodox community.

The origins of this community were diverse; some were from Galicia, some from Lithuania, and some from Poland. All were very Orthodox however and within two years, in 1883, they had managed to pay the weekly rent of one shilling for a room over a hay loft in Clayton Street as their first place of communal worship.

They were unwilling to be dependent upon or even connected with the Newcastle community, and were fortunate enough to be given a Sefer Torah by a wealthy lace manufacturer in Nottingham. Early fissiparious tendencies were soon met, but overcome, so that two of these early Chevras combined in 1887 to form a rather bigger place of worship at Redheugh Bridge Road which by 1889 had 24 seatholders and served a total Jewish population of a little over 100.

In 1892 the congregation extended its activities in order to help the newer immigrants by forming a Friend in Need Society and a Benevolent Loan Society. One local resident stated that he believed that the Loan Society was initiated as a result of a gift of 100 donated to the community, part of a bequest of 100 to each provincial Jewish community in England, and that in order to avoid unfair distribution of the gift this society was formed.


Conference Paper on North-East England by L. Olsover

Provincial Jewry in Victorian Britain - List of Contents

Gateshead Jewish Community home page

Formatted by David Shulman


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