the former

Maiden Lane Synagogue

Covent Garden, London W.C.2.




Page created: 3 November 2006
Last revision or re-format: 25 February 2015

A Brief History of the Maiden Lane Synagogue

David Shulman

In 1810, a congregation, which styled itself in Hebrew as Amudae Yesharim (Translation: Pillars of the Upright), was established in Dean Street, Soho, as a result of a rupture with the Westminster Congregation (later known as the Western Synagogue), which at the time met in Denmark Court, off the Strand.  The Amudae Yesharim congregation later moved from Dean Street to Brewer Street (which also appears to have been known as Queen Street), Golden Square, Soho. There were a number of attempts to reconcile the differences with the Westminster Congregation, to no avail.  However, the congregation declined and, at the end of 1826, the synagogue was closed and its effect were sold in a public auction in liquidation of a debt to one of its members.

In 1829, the congregation was re-established in Maiden Lane, Covent Garden, consecration of the synagogue taking place on 17 April 1829. For many years the congregation was referred to as the "Brewer Street" Synagogue in light of its origins.  Membership was never large, reaching about 90 in 1904.  In 1907, the synagogue (which was adjacent to the stage door of the Adelphi Theatre) closed and the congregation was re-incorporated into the Western Synagogue.

The Dean Street congregation had purchased a cemetery in Bancroft Road, Brompton, Mile End (which used to be known as Globe Fields) in 1811, which continued to be used by the Maiden Lane congregation. The cemetery was small (1,600 square yards) and was practically full by 1895.  It fell into neglect and at the time of the reunification of the Maiden Lane Congregation with the Western Synagogue, the latter refused to assume any responsibility for the future maintenance of the cemetery.  There were however a number of public appeals in the early part of the twentieth century and it appears that the cemetery subsequently passed into the custody of the Board of Deputies for future maintenance. The cemetery was bombed in a German air raid in World War II and has been greatly neglected. (The Tower Hamlets Family History Library provided a list of inscriptions made by a former Chief Librarian, Henry Wootton, in 1987, which were reproduced in Shemot (Journal of the Jewish Genealogical Society of Great Britain - JGSGB) Volume 8, No. 2. June 2000.)

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