North-East England Jewry
in Victorian Britain
(Newcastle upon Tyne)




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: 27 July 2016
Latest revision: 11 December 2016

Papers on North-East England


Published Data

A  -  A community was in existence here by 1831. In 1830 a cemetery was purchased, and in 1838 a new synagogue holding about 100 seats was erected in Temple Street. The community was represented at the election of Chief Rabbi Nathan Marcus Adler. In 1845 there were 9 Ba'ale Batim, and in 1851 30 appropriated seats, 69 individual members, 50 attenders on Census Sabbath, and an estimated population of 100.


Newcastle on Tyne Old Congregation Synagogue, Temple Street, erected 1837. Has seat accommodation for 210 persons; 120 gentlemen's, 90 ladies'. Seat rental - from 1.6s. to 2.128.6d. per annum.
Butchers - Messrs. Dunn and Sons, Butcher Market.
The burial ground is situated in Elswick Road.

Newcastle on Tyne New Hebrew Congregation (temporary) Synagogue. 4 Charlotte Square. Has seat accommodation for 148 persons, 88 gentlemen and 60 ladies. Income 1872-3 176.13s.6d., expenditure 1872-3 144.2s.0d.

Congregational Schools, Arthur's Hill, Westgate Road.

Hebrew Philanthropic Society, established 1853. For relief of members during sickness and week of mourning.

Jewish Ladies' Benevolent Society, founded 1872. For relieving poor women and their families. and indigent lying-in women. Committee room, Synagogue Chambers, Temple Street.

Hebrew "Friend in Need" Society, founded 1873. Objects - to relieve Jewish Poor, Grant Loans, etc. Committee Room, 39 Prudhoe Street. Meetings held every Sunday evening.

"Hebrew Ancient Sacred Society". For attending the Sick and Dying; Providing Minyan during week of mourning, etc.

New Hebrew Friendly Society.


1900, Population of about 500 Jewish families; 15 marriages, 25 deaths.

Synagogue, Leazes Park Road (founded 1880). Income, about 1,200. The number of seatholders is 220. There was a Jewish community here in 1830, and probably earlier. The Newcastle Congregation dates from the year 1833, when the first Minyan was established. In 1838, a substantial synagogue was erected. At one time the congregation split up into two synagogues, but the schism was healed by a visit of the Rev. A. L. Green in 1873, and a United Synagogue was established in Leazes Park Road in 1880.

Hebrew Philanthropic Friendly Society (registered under the cont. Friendly Societies Act), Synagogue Chambers. Income 65; expenditure 50 (this does not include administrative expenses). Object - to provide Sick and Shiva benefits for its members.

Aid Society to the Jews' Hospital and Orphan Asylum. Income 13.7s.11d.

Jewish Ladies' Benevolent Society, Synagogue Chambers. Object, to provide medical attendance and a weekly allowance to poor Jewish women during confinement, and for the relief of the Jewish sick. Income 46, expenditure 43.

Jewish Board of Guardians (founded 1872). Object, relief of the deserving Jewish poor. Synagogue Chambers. Income 1900 215, expenditure 212.

Jewish Loan Society. To grant loans to the deserving Jewish indigent poor.

The Sabbath Meal Society. Object, to provide meals for poor Jewish strangers during the Sabbath.

Jewish Ladies' Dorcas. Meets at the Synagogue fortnightly to make clothing for the poor.

Chevra Kadisha. An amalgamation of the Ancient Hebrew Sacred Society and the Hebrew Burial Society. Income 50 per annum.

Beth Hamedrash, 12 Villa Place. There is a Chevra Mishnayoth in connection with this Institution and various other Chevras.

Jewish Working Men's Club, 'Reindeer' Hotel, High Bridge. (Founded 1900). Membership, 250 gentlemen and 130 ladies

[A - Primarily from The Rise of Provincial Jewry (1950), by Cecil Rot
[a - The Jewish Directory for 1874, by Asher I. Myers]
[b - Jewish Year Book]

Board of Deputies returns

  births marriages burials seatholders

Old Congregation only



















New Congregation only



















Both Congregations (amalgamation for statistical purposes)

















prepared by L. Olsover

(For a brief outline of the Community's early history, see "Newcastle" in Cecil Roth's "The Rise of Provincial Jewry", 1950)

The first recorded meeting of a Jewish congregation took place on 18 September 1831. At this date there were nine Jewish families when a certain Martin Valentine of Poland delivered a discourse at a meeting held at the house of D. Cohen of Westgate Road. In his address he stated that 'The Jews here do not often meet here having no proper place of worship and have had to be brought here in and around Newcastle for the purpose of this meeting.' At about this time a burial ground was acquired in Temple Street off Westgate Road. The community was steadily growing, so that in 1838 there was laid the foundation stone of the first synagogue in Newcastle. This building did service for the community for 42 years and was later pulled down, but the tiny cemetery is still in existence.

Over the years there was a steady inflation of settlers from the Continent and. from London. Many of these London arrivals, themselves originally from the Continent, were persuaded to spread themselves into the provinces so as not to be a burden on the London communities. Many of those who came directly from Eastern Europe tended to set up small Chevras for worship, and these small units came together into one Chevra in a building in Charlotte Square. The building in Temple Street was becoming too small to hold all the new congregants, but there would have been the grave danger of a split in the community had the new community been allowed to grow. It was an intervention by the Delegate Chief Rabbi and various other ministers which persuaded the two congregations to come together and form the Leazes Park Road [Synagogue]. The building cost 5,180, with seating capacity for 400 men and 300, women; there were also schoolrooms and committee rooms. The appeal, which attracted gifts from many outside Newcastle (Rothschilds gave 200 guineas), left a balance owing of 1,300. The day after the building was dedicated Dr. Adler presided at a conference to regulate the administration of the congregation, and pointed out the necessity for securing a properly trained minister who could speak English and above all the need for a qualified headmaster.

The tide of immigration from Eastern Europe swelled after 1880. Many of the new arrivals were uncomfortable in the surroundings of Leazes Park Synagogue; the services were too formal and too anglicised for their tastes. On the other side they were frowned upon and regarded as intruders by the older settlers of the community. The newer immigrants, preferring the intimacy and warmth of their customary places of worship, set up in 1895 a new place of worship. The congregation was known as the Beth Hamedrash, and was established at 12 Villa Place, a humble building consisting of a main room with a central table and wooden benches.

The number of charitable institutions increased rapidly at this period. They were the Board of Guardians (annual expenditure 180), Hebrew Philanthropic Society (annual income 65), Ladies Maternity Benefit Society (income 46), Chevra Kadisha (Burial) Society (income 50), Society for providing meals to strangers, 1891, Aid to London Jewish Hospital Society (income 46), and a Zionist Society, founded in 1895. Of these societies four were concerned with local charities; neithor social nor cultural societies existed other than the synagogues and the Hebrew classes. By 1900 a long-felt need was remedied by the formation of a Jewish Workmen's Social Club with 400 members, 250 men and 150 women.

The type of immigrant that was now arriving were artisans and workmen. Others were credit drapers and wholesalers mainly of textiles or haberdashery. These were attractive ways of livelihood for orthodox Jews, because they did not call for work on Sabbaths. Money-lending fell into the same category. Wholesalers, who often had originally peddled goods themselves, were established mainly in the Westmoreland area.

Within the next few years the congregation expanded even more rapidly, not merely in numbers but in its institutions. A Literary Society, another synagogue, a Naturalisation Society, and a Social Institute, as well as a Jewish Travellers' Institute, a trade protection society.

As a footnote to the history of the Jews of the Newcastle area, the North Eastern Reformatory (later called the Netherton Training School) was situated near Morpeth, and for many years during the period 1880-1910 the school housed between 25 and.30 Jewish boys. These boys came from all parts of the country, and some of them were Bar Mitzvah in the Leazes Park Road Synagogue.

Conference Paper on North-East England by L. Olsover

Provincial Jewry in Victorian Britain - List of Contents

Newcastle Jewish Community home page

Formatted by David Shulman


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