the former

Widnes Synagogue

& Jewish Community

Widnes, Halton, Cheshire




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congregations throughout the British Isles and Gibraltar, both past and present.

Town of Widnes

The town of Widnes (population about 60,000), close to Liverpool in North West England, was a municipal borough in the county of Lancashire. In 1974, it was merged with neighbouring areas of Cheshire to the south (across the Mersey), in particular, the urban district of Runcorn, to form the district (later borough) of Halton, within the county of Cheshire.  In 1986, Halton became a unitary authority, but remains within the ceremonial county of Cheshire.

The Jewish Community

There was a small Jewish community in Widnes, with a Jewish congregation being established at the beginning of the twentieth century but which had closed by the 1930s.

Congregation Data


Widnes Synagogue


The synagogue was opened and consecrated in 1902,(iii) although members of the community may have previously held services in members' homes.


St. Paul's Chambers, Widnes.(iv)

The consecration service for the synagogue was performed by the Rev. S. Friedeberg, B.A., of Liverpool, and Mr. S. Claff, of Manchester, opened the synagogue.(v)

Final Status:

The synagogue closed prior to 1930(viii) and by 1935 had become a masonic lodge(ix) .

Following closure, for some years, a minyan was formed for the High Festivals, several former residents, usually from Liverpool, being impressed into service and a chazan was engaged for the necessary period.(x)


Ashkenazi Orthodox


The congregation was an unaffiliated provincial congregation, presumably under the aegis of the Chief Rabbi.

Ministers and Readers:

There are currently no known ministers or readers recorded for the congregation.

Lay Officers of the Congregation:

The following data on lay officers has been extracted primarily from listings in Jewish Year Books, as well as a few of the extracted Jewish Chronicle press reports (as indicated in the footnotes). As regards the Jewish Year Books, the information listed there for the congregation did not change between 1920 and the last listing of the congregation in 1929. Accordingly, although we have shown the relevant officers as continuing in office until 1929, it is quite likely that some or all of them may have stepped down somewhat earlier without notification to the publishers.(xiii)



1902-1910 - Eliu Steinhart(xiv)

1910-1912 - A. Zantenberg

1912-1913 - L. Lautenberg

1913-1916 - Eliu Steinhart(xv)

1916-1929 - L. Lautenberg(xv)

Vice President

1916-1929 - B. Weirauch(xviii)


1916-1929 - A. Solomon(xix)

Hon. Secretaries

1905-1908 - Charles Prosser

1908-1909 - M. Lautenberg

1909-1914 - Charles Prosser

1914-1929 - Joseph Yochel(xxii)

Registration District:

Halton, since 1 April 1974(xxiii) - Link to Register Office website

Cemetery Information:

There is no Jewish cemetery in Widnes.


Online Articles and Other Material
relating to the Widnes Jewish Community



Widnes Jewish Population Data





3 or 4 families

(The Jewish Chronicle of 28 June 1935.)


Notes & Sources
( returns to text above)

  • (i) and (ii) Reserved.

  • (iii) The Jewish Chronicle of 3 January 1902 reported on the opening of the congregation.

  • (iv) This was the address listed in Jewish Year Books from 1905/6 through 1929.

  • (v) The Jewish Chronicle of 3 January 1902.

  • (vi) and (vii) Reserved.

  • (viii) The Jewish Year Book 1930 reported that the congregation had closed and ceased listing it. The 1940 edition (p.231) stated that there had been a Jewish community in Widnes from 1902 until about 1928.

  • (ix) The Jewish Chronicle of 28 June 1935.

  • (x) The Jewish Chronicle of 28 June 1935.

  • (xi) and (xii) Reserved.

  • (xiii) Where a person was first listed in a year book as holding a particular office, it has been assumed that his term of office commenced in the year of publication of the relevant year book and that he continued in office until the commencement of office of his successor, unless the office was shown as vacant. Initially year books corresponded to the Hebrew year, and thus ran roughly from autumn of one year - the year of publication - until autumn of the next year. From 1909, year books were published according to the Gregorian year, being published generally towards the end of the year prior to the year appearing in the title of the year book. For example, if an officer is listed in Jewish Year Books 1909 through 1914, it is assumed that he commenced office in 1908 and continued in office until 1914. However, it should be noted that this is only an assumption and, accordingly, his actual years of office may differ somewhat from those shown here.

  • (xiv) Mr. Steinart's first name is initially listed in Jewish Year Books as Elu and later as Eliu. On the only occasion Harold Pollins refers to his name in the extracted Jewish Chronicle reports, he gives it as "Elu(sic)". The Jewish Chronicle of 3 January 1902 names him as president on the opening of the synagogue and he is listed as president in Jewish Year Books from 1902/3 through 1910.

  • (xv) The Jewish Chronicle of 27 October 1916 reports of the retirement of E. Steinart as president and the election of L. Lautenberg in his place. The Jewish Year Book listings are consistent with this as the former is listed until the 1916 edition and the latter from the 1917 edition.

  • (xvi) and (xvii) Reserved.

  • (xviii) The Jewish Chronicle of 27 October 1916 reported on his election in 1916 as vice president, in which report his name was given as B. Weihrauch. He is listed under the name B. Weirauch as treasurer in Jewish Year Books 1920 through 1929.

  • (xix) The Jewish Chronicle of 27 October 1916 reported on the election of A. Solomon in 1916 as treasurer. He is also listed as treasurer in Jewish Year Books 1917 through 1929.

  • (xx) and (xxi) Reserved.

  • (xxii) The Jewish Chronicle of 20 November 1914 reported on the Joseph Jochel's appointment as marriage secretary and it is unclear whether he was at the same time the congregation's hon. secretary (as C. Prosser was listed in Jewish Year Books as such from 1910 through 1916). However in the Jewish Chronicle of 27 October 1916 he is reported as being elected as hon. secretary and registrar (marriage secretary) He is also listed as hon. secretary in Jewish Year Books 1917 through 1929.

  • (xxiii) Previous Registration Districts: Prescot - from 1 July 1835 to 1 October 1964; and Widnes - from 1 October 1964 to 1 April 1974. All registers would now be held by the current office.

Jewish Congregations in Cheshire

Jewish Communities of England homepage

Page created: 4 November 2005
Data significantly expanded and notes added: 22 May 2024
Page most recently amended: 22 May 2024

Research by David Shulman, assisted by Harold Pollins
Formatting by David Shulman

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