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North Salford Synagogue

Willerby Road

Basic Information

The latter part of the 19th century saw a large immigration of Jews into the United Kingdom, most of them fleeing from persecution or economic hardships. Unlike most other provincial centres, Manchester seemed to have attracted Jews from very wide areas, in contrast with say, Leeds, which only attracted Jews from the Baltic States. Jews came to Manchester from all over Eastern Europe and even from the Levant.

Among them were immigrants from Romania, from towns such as Jassy, Vaslui, Roman and Negresti, mainly in the north east of the country. On their arrival here, they found a well established community dominated by middle-class German Jews following the German or Ashkenazi rituals.

The Romanian Jews, in common with many from Eastern Europe, used the Chassidic ritual known as Nusach Sephard, not to be confused with the Sephardic ritual used by the Jews from Arab speaking countries. Although no doubt many Romanian Jews joined the established Synagogues, others must have felt somewhat alienated, and they founded their own Romanian Shtiebel in Bridden Street, Strangeways (200 yards from Victoria Station) on 1 November 1888.

During the early 1920s, the Synagogue was substantially altered and extended; the architect was Peter Cummings (Caminsky) who would achieve greater frame as a specialist in cinema design (Cornerhouse, Apollo Theatre). According to Sharman Kadish in her recent “The Synagogues of Britain and Ireland” it was a substantial Synagogue and its decorative exterior brickwork was deemed worthy of a brief description and illustration in The Builder. The Synagogue seated over 350 people and was one of the major Synagogues in the area. The 1920s also saw the appointment of Rev Aaron Gross as Chazan and he served with great distinction for over 40 years.

The 30s, 40s and 50s saw a marked emigration of the community away from Lower Broughton towards Higher Broughton, Broughton Park and Prestwich and the Synagogue suffered an almost catastrophic decline in membership and when it finally moved, its membership had dwindled to around 60. These remaining members represented the more Orthodox elements in the community.

In 1953, the Synagogue moved to its current site on Vine Street thanks to the generosity of one of its members-Sydney Beenstock; the building was previously the former banqueting hall of a kosher caterer.



Willerby Road Manchester
M8 9YG

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