the former

Friern Hospital Synagogue

Colney Hatch, London N11





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Friern Hospital
The former Friern Hospital - (courtesy: Philafrenzy, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons)

Congregation Data(i)


Friern Hospital Synagogue


Friern Hospital, Colney Hatch, London N11. The hospital was one of the largest psychiatric hospitals in Britain and the only one with a kosher kitchen, and was situated within a mile of the Palmers Green and Southgate Synagogue.

Date Formed:

19 September 1957 (consecrated by Chief Rabbi Israel Brodie).


Closed 1991. (The hospital closed in 1993 and was converted into residential housing, known as Princess Park Manor.)


Ashkenazi Orthodox



Chaplains to the Hosptal:
(To view a short profile of a chaplian - hold the cursor over his name.)

Among the Jewish chaplains that served the hospital were:

Rev. Solomon Lipson - chaplain to the County Asylums for 47 years, particularly Friern Hospital. Prior to the opening of the synagogue, Rev. Lipson conducted services in various parts of the hospital. He blew the shofar for residents on the High Holydays, arranged for the provision of treats on special occasions and at weekends devoted himself to interviewing relatives of patients. He retired in 1953 (aged 78) as Jewish chaplain to the Mental Health Service. On his retirement, he was presented with an illuminated address by the medical staff, the text of which read as follows:(ii)

"We the medical staff of Friern Hospital present this address to you as an expression of our appreciation of your devoted service to the whole hospital community for the past 47 years. We wish to record the high esteem in which we have always held you and the affection held by all of us who have known you and worked with you at Friern. It is with much regret that we see an old friend and valued colleague leave our staff, but we hope you will enjoy your well-earned retirement for many years."

Rev. Samuel Morris Bromberger  - full-time United Synagogue hospital chaplain, who was attached mainly to the Friern Hospital from 1955 until 1966.(iii)

Rabbi Dr. Morris Ginsberg - post 1953.(iv)

Rev. I. Stanley - post 1953.(v)

Rev. Irving Chazen - chaplain for patients at mental hospitals on behalf of the United Synagogue Visitation Committee, from 1967 until his death in 1975. A Jewish club room at Friern Hospital was named the Chazen Room in his memory and which included a marble plaque, set in the wall, with the following inscription:(vi)

"This plaque is consecrated to the everlasting and cherished memory of Rev. Irving Chazen, Jewish Chaplain to this hospital from 1967 to 1975, who passed away on 17th February 1975 - 6th Adar 5735."

Rev. J.L. Salzedo - chaplain to the hospital from 1975 until his death in 1983. As he was not in a position to conduct Sabbath services, such services were conducting by members of the Palmers Green Synagogue Friern Barnet Committee, which formed a roster of voluntary officiants.(vii)

Rabbi Landy - chaplain to the hospital from 1983.

Jewish Patients:

The synagogue was for the hospital's patients.

In 1953, Rev. Lipson reported that there were over 600 Jewish patients.

In 1959, Rev. Bromberger reported that there were 545 Jewish patients of whom approximately 75 attended the synagogue on a regular basis.

Charitable Status:

No information as to charitable status of the synagogue itself, although the hospital would almost certainly have been a registered charity.

Local Government District:

Colney Hatch, a residential suburb in Northwest London, is in the London Borough of Barnet and was (until 1965) in the former Friern Barnet Urban District in the former County of Middlesex.(viii)

Registration District (BMD):

Barnet (since formation of Congregation)(ix) - Link to Register Office website

Notes & Sources ( returns to text above)

  • (i) Unless otherwise stated, the source of the congregational data below is the "History of the Friern Hospital Synagogue and its Congregants", an article by Harry Balkin, which appeared in Heritage No.4, pp. 97-105, published by the Jewish Research Group of the Edmonton Hundred Historical Society, 1993 ("Harry Balkin's article").

  • (ii) Information about Rev. Lipson from Harry Balkin's article and Jewish Chronicle obituary 27 November 1959.

  • (iii) Information about Rev. Bromberger from Harry Balkin's articlen and various Jewish Chronicle reports.

  • (iv) Stated in Harry Balkin's article, Rabbi Dr. Ginsberg was one of the chaplains who "followed in the wake of Rev. Lipson".

  • (v) Stated in Harry Balkin's article, Rev. I. Stanley was one of the chaplains who "followed in the wake of Rev. Lipson".

  • (vi) Information about Rev. Chazen from Harry Balkin's article and Jewish Chronicle obituary 21 February 1975.

  • (vii) Harry Balkin's article.

  • (viii) The London Borough of Barnet, an Outer London Borough within the Greater London administrative area, was created on 1 April 1965 upon the merger of the former Urban District of Friern Barnet and the former Municipal Boroughs of Hendon and Finchley (all of which had been in the former county of Middlesex) with the former Urban Districts of Barnet and East Barnet (both of which had been part of the county of Hertfordshire).

  • (ix) Barnet has been the registration district for Friern Barnet since 24 March 1883, prior to which it was Edmonton from 1 July 1837.


Friern Hospital Synagogue

The Synagogue at Friern Hospital - (courtesy: Harry Balkin z"l)

Bibliography, On-line Articles and Other Material
relating to this Congregation

  • Selected Bibliography:

    • History of the Friern Hospital Synagogue and its Congregants by Harry Balkin, Heritage No.4, Jewish Research Group of the Edmonton Hundred Historical Society, 1993 pp. 97-105.

    • Other London Borough of Barnet sources

List of Independent Askenazi Congregations in London

Jewish Congregations in the London Borough of Barnet

Jewish Congregations in Greater London

Greater London home page

Page created: 3 September 2006
Latest revision or update: 27 August 2021

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