Page created: 9 February 2004
Latest revision or update: 19 June 2017

Sunderland Jewish Community

City of Sunderland

Sunderland, only granted city status in 1992, is an important seaport in the North East of England, lying on both sides of the estuary of the river Wear on the North Sea coast.  The present boundaries date from 1974, when the metropolitan borough of Sunderland was formed, within the then new metropolitan county of Tyne and Wear.  Sunderland became a unitary authority in 1986 when the Tyne and Wear was abolished except for ceremonial purposes.  Until 1974, Sunderland was a county borough and historically part of County Durham. Sunderland has been a registration district since 1 July 1837.

By the mid-18th century, Sunderland was probably the premier shipbuilding centre in Britain. 

Sunderland Jewish Community

The first Jewish settlement in Sunderland was in 1755 and the first congregation was established in about 1768.  Sunderland was the first regional community to be represented on the Board of Deputy of British Jews.  A vibrant Jewish community, numbering almost 1,400 individuals by the mid-1960's, developed in the town. However, the numbers dramatically dwindled to a mere handful by the mid-2000's, with the last remaining synagogue closing in 2006.

Jewish Congregations

The following are the Jewish congregations that existed in Sunderland:

The following are former or alternative names of the above congregations:

  • Adath Yeshurun - see Sunderland Hebrew Congregation

  • Chevra Torah - see Sunderland Beit Hamedrash

  • Israelites Congregation - see Sunderland Hebrew Congregation

  • Meaburn Street Synagogue - see Sunderland Beit Hamedrash

  • Moor Street Synagogue - see Sunderland Hebrew Congregation

  • Mowbray Road Synagogue - see Sunderland Beit Hamedrash

  • Ryhope Road Synagogue - see Sunderland Hebrew Congregation

  • Villiers Street Synagogue - see Sunderland Beit Hamedrash

  • Vine Street Synagogue - see Polish Synagogue

  • Zion Street Synagogue - see Sunderland Beit Hamedrash



Search the All-UK Database

The records in the database associated with Sunderland include:


1837 - 1985 (716 records).


Bishopwearmouth Cemetery, 1874-1996 (1,178 records*);
M Levy Salem Hill Jewish Funerals 1913-1941 (316 records*);
WWII Civilian Casualties (5 records).
*A search in the database may also reveal duplicates of some of these records on the JewishGen Online Worldwide Burial Register (JOWBR).

Communal Leaders

Jewish Directory for 1874  (26 Sunderland records).

1851 Anglo Jewry Database (updated 2016)

Individuals in the 1851 Anglo Jewry Database who were living in Sunderland during the 1780s, 1790s, 1800s and 1810s (1 record for each year); 1820s (13 records), 1830s (38 records), 1840s (81 records), 1850s (127 records), 1860s (58 records), 1870s (33 records), 1880s (21 records), 1890s (8 records), 1900s (3 records) and 1910s (1 record).


On-line Articles and Other Material
relating to the Sunderland Jewish Community


on third party's website


Other Sunderland Jewish Institutions & Organisations

Educational & Theological

  • Menorah School (Jewish school first founded 1862)

  • Sunderland Kolel, Centre for Advanced Rabbinics (now moved to Gateshead)

  • Sunderland Yeshiva (now moved to Gateshead)

Other Institutions & Organisations

Formed by 1900*

  • Anglo-Jewish Association, branch (from at least 1896)

  • Chevra Kadisha, Chevra Tehilim and Hachnasas Ourachim Society (from at least 1896)

  • Gemiluth Chasodim Society (founded 1900) to assist its members with the grant of loans without interest or other charges and to promote habits of industry, providence and self reliance amongst them.

  • Hebrew Benefit Society (founded 1870)

  • Hebrew Benevolent Society (founded 1869)

  • Hebrew Board of Guardians (founded 1869)

  • Hebrew Ladies Benevolent Society (previously Maternity Society) (from at least 1896) for assisting poor Jewish women.

  • Naturalization Society (from at least 1896)

  • Orphan Aid Society, branch (from at least 1896)

  • Young Mens Hebrew Benevolent Society (founded 1864)

Formed Later

  • The North East "Joel Intract Memorial" Home of Rest for Aged Jews

* As listed in the Jewish Directory of 1874 and the Jewish Year Books 1896 & 1900.


Sunderland Jewish Cemetery Information

The following four cemeteries have been used, consecutively, by the Jewish Community in Sunderland:

  • Ayers Quay Cemetery

    This is the earliest known of the Sunderland Jewish cemeteries, in use from about the 1770's until 1856.  Although it is estimated that up to 500 persons may have been buried at the cemetery, the site, some distance from the Jewish community, has been neglected, is overgrown and has been the object of vandalism over the years.

    All that remains visible and legible is a broken monument and two headstones. The monument bears the inscription - "This monument was erected by the children of David Jonassohn of Usworth Hall, Durham, in memory of his beloved parent who died on the 25th July 1859 in the sixty fourth year of ......".   One headstone is inscribed (in English) - "In memory of Leah Louise Lee, Widow of the late Aaron Levi Lee...", and the other stone bears the Hebrew inscription to Reb Moshe, son of Reb. Shlomo, who died aged 67 and whose date of death appears to be Friday 8 Nisan 5615 (which, if correct, corresponds to 25th May 1855.)  The remaining text on the stones was not decipherable.

  • First Bishopwearmouth Cemetery

    This plot, in use from 1856 to 1899, is at the northeastern corner of the main Bishopwearmouth Cemetery, adjacent to Hylton Road, Sunderland, and contains over 100 graves.  The inscriptions on many of the stones are still legible. A list of most of those known those buried here appears as an Appendix to Arnold Levy's "History of the Sunderland Jewish Community 1755-1955", Macdonald & Co. (Publishers) Ltd., 1956.

  • Second Bishopwearmouth Cemetery

    This cemetery, in use from 1899 to 1926, is situated in the central section of the western side of of the main Bishopwearmouth Cemetery, Sunderland.

  • Third Bishopwearmouth Cemetery

    This cemetery, dating from 1926 and still in use, is to the northwest of the main Bishopwearmouth Cemetery, Sunderland.  It is accessible from Hylton Road.

(For additional information, see also IAJGS Cemeteries Project - Sunderland)



150 to 200

(1851 Synagogue Census Return)



(Jewish Chronicle)



(Sunderland Hebrew Benevolent Society report)



(The Jewish Year Book 1935)



(The Jewish Year Book 1946)



(The Jewish Year Book 1956)



(The Jewish Year Book 1966)



(The Jewish Year Book 1991)



(The Jewish Year Book 2000)

Jewish Congregations in Tyne and Wear

Jewish Communities of England home page



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