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1. Brighton Station and Viaduct - Trafalgar StreetBrighton Station and Viaduct was designed by the Jewish architect, David Mocatta (1806-1882) a pupil of Sir John Soane. He was an influential railway architect; he was noted for Italianate style of railway buildings, that came to be a traditional railway style and for examples of standardized planning for railway stations of repetitious designs, a mode of modular planning and architecture which is now standard method world-wide for many types of commercial building.
Mocatta became the official architect to the London and Brighton Railway and the railway station was his first commission for the company. The station was opened on 11 May, 1840 and the main building was completed by 21 September 1841. The station was built on an artificial chalk platform and its Italian style was designed to blend with the aesthetic of the town and avoid a detracting industrial architecture. Its building was a vast undertaking involving 3,500 men and 570 horses. Part of the original main terminus building can still be seen behind the later canopy at the front. The original had a nine arch arcade at the front elevation, framed by adjacent pavilions with screens of columns, which can still be seen, albeit obscured by later accretions. There is also a road tunnel at the front dating from the opening of the station.
Mocatta also contributed to the design of the imposing Balcombe Ouse Valley Railway Viaduct in West Sussex in 1842, with engineer John Rastrick. This takes the line over the River Ouse. At 1,475 feet in length and with 37 divided red-brick arches, it is a huge construction, carrying the railway line 96 feet above the Ouse. However, it has a most elegant appearance, aided by the elegant baulestrades and pavilions designed by Mocatta as his part in the project.
2. D&K Rosen - 36 Church Street
No 36 Church street is the site of two old Jewish businesses in Brighton. The first was S. Shaffran's Hair Merchants (basically a hair-dressers, chiropody and wig-making thrown in!) which was founded in 1880. The second was D& K Rosen, second-hand clothiers which ran from 1919 to 2004 when the last owner, David Rosen, died. The shop sold good quality second hand suits and jackets.
In 1996 David Rosen was interviewed and gave the following account of the business:
"My great-grandfather, Mr Shaffran, had a business in Duke Street and then moved to Church Street in 1880. No 36 Church Street has now been in my family for four generations!
In 1918, when my grandfather came out of the army, the premises changed business to that of a second-hand clothiers, known as J Rosen.
In 1926 when my father reached the school leaving age of 14, he had to leave school in order to help my grandfather. That same year my grandfather had electricity installed. Previously the shop had been lit by gas, probably quite common then.
In the 1930s there was outside lighting and trading would have been from early in the morning to 9.00 at night - so shopping to 8.00pm is not a novelty. The only reason why late night shopping stopped was because of the 'blackout' in the 1939-45 war.
Like most people of his age my father was 'called up' and served in the army for six years. When he was 'demobbed', he came back into the business. Eventually my grandfather retired, leaving my father to run the business himself, which he continued to do until his retirement in 1988.
I have been here since my father's retirement and have seen quite a few changes in the North Laine in such a short period. There is a further generation who may work at 36 Church Street, but only circumstances and his own decision will govern that......"
[Previously published in the North Laine Runner, No 207, November/December 2010]
3. Jew Street - the Birth-Place of the Brighton Community, Founded Circa 1789 - 92Jew Street in Brighton is one of a number of 'Jew Streets' up and down the country. Jew Street in Brighton is believed to the original centre of Jewish community in Brighton as the first synagogue is understood to have been recorded there in 1792, as Anthony Dale's Churches of Brighton, states it was in operation from 1792 - c. 1808 when the congregation moved over to Pounes Court on the eastern side of West Street. David Spector's research indicates it could have been in operation as early as 1789.
This structure would have been a rented building, probably a work premises adapted for Jewish worship. The Churches of Brighton relates that it could accommodate 50 men at most with no accommodation for women and that it was also used as a school. The reputed site is at the southern end of the street and at the time of its use, there were perhaps only three houses on the street. The Churches of Brighton relates that at this time Jew Street was a narrow street leading out of Church Street and connected by a passage with Bond Street.
David Spector located what he believed to be the physical remnants of the building, at what is now the immediate rear of 14 Bond Street, and believed that a filled-in arch way, in the narrow passage way leading into Bond Street, was the original door to the synagogue. He also located what he thought to be other remnants of the original ground floor (windows and the archway already referred to) as well as a sound proofed basement, with an area which could have been used as a mikveh. However, this location is by no means certain.
The archways can still be seen today in the narrow entry next to 14 Bond Street, though the owners of the shop at no. 14 believe, that the rear cellar has been filled in, as the current cellar only lays under the front portion of the shop.
4. Regent Dance Hall - Adjacent to the Clock Tower, Brighton, on site of Boots the Chemist, North StreetAt the beginning of the Rock 'n Roll era numerous dance clubs opened in Brighton. The most famous was the Regent Dance Hall adjacent to the Clock Tower, Brighton, where Boots Chemist is now housed. This was a popular and cross-community hang-out of local Jewish teenagers who would find a suitable corner and drink soft drinks!
The teenagers would dance the waltz, cha chas, the 'slow creep', with the Jive being the most favoured dance.
Some Jewish parents regarded the Regent as a 'den of iniquity' and placed it out of bounds and if sons or daughters were found to have gone without permission, serious consequences could ensue!
The hall was host to many popular acts from the 50s onwards and it is related that Robert Feld was involved with the management of the venue.
The dance band leader and composer, Harry Leader, is also associated with the Regent Dance Hall from the late 1950s into the 1960s, when he had a residency there and at a time when the Regent boasted the finest sprung dance hall in the world. Leader eventually moved to Brighton as his main musical career wound down.
5. Ben Sherman 'Mod God' - 71-74 North StreetBen Sherman (Arthur Bernard Sugarman, born 1925 ) became famous as a fashion designer in the 1960s, when he designed clothes which epitomized the Mod movement.
The young Arthur Sugarman was born in Brighton, but did not wish to go into the family business, running a well-known gift shop called Rocko's. After the War, he sought his fortune in Canada and the USA ,and had two failed marriages there. Perhaps on the basis of third time lucky, he then took up with a girl, who became his third wife, and whose father owned the Lancia shirt company, and learned the shirt business. He returned to Brighton in 1962 to start his own business with his own designs and adopted the name Ben Sherman.
In 1963 he made shirts with distinctive button down collars and a black pleat, on one of the floors of the building, which is now Waterstones. He later opened the Jade House in Duke Street, before he conquered Carnaby Street, London's youth fashion quarter. He also had factory in Bedford Square in Brighton, but later moved production to Northern Ireland in the 1969. Sherman sold his business in the early 1970s and moved to Australia with a fourth wife, but died in 1987 due to heart disease. However, the Ben Sherman label lives on and is associated with both style and quality.
6. Lewis Cohen (Brighton & Sussex Building Society) 'Princes House' - 163 North StreetBy end of 1930s, Lewis Cohen's BSBS (Brighton & Sussex Building Society (Equitable Permanent Benefit)) was consolidated at Princes House at 163 North Street and the clerical staff above Mrs. Homer Herrings Hat Shop, at 4 New Road. In 1939 anti-aircraft guns were put on the roof and the business of the society was seriously disrupted. The assets of the company were stored in a special strong room 80 feet below a quarry in Saddlescombe.
Norwich Union House ('Princes House') was built in 1935-6 by H.S.Goodhart-Rendel, and was the purpose built head office for the BSBS. The society,was founded in 1863, and became the Alliance in 1945 and the Alliance and Leicester in 1985.
7. Levi E Cohen Office (site) - 34 North StreetLevi Emanuel Cohen's noted radical Liberal newspaper, the Brighton Guardian (f. 1827) and his office was situated at the above address. He advocated universal emancipation of men and women, supported the French Revolution, and attacked national and local government and the Corn Laws. After opining in an article of 18 August, 1830 that, 'the King is not a strong-minded man', a mob smashed the windows of his office and hung him in effigy. Cohen was to serve a sentence of 6 months in prison for libel, when he appeared to take the side of the rick-burners of the time against the local magistrates. He continued to edit his paper from jail.
8. Essoldo Cinema - North Street
North Street was once home to three cinemas, of which one was the Essoldo. The Essoldo was originally the Imperial Theatre opened in 1940, which had nearly 2,000 seats and originally put on plays and shows. It became the Essoldo Cinema in 1950, when it became part of the Essoldo group of cinemas, based at North Shields owned by Sol Scheckman . The name was derived from the first names of Sol's immediate family - Es-ther (his wife), Sol-omon, and Do-rothy (his daughter). The Essoldo remained open until May 1964. The Essoldo was also owned by Harry Pearl, who was one among several Jewish cinema owners in Brighton. After it became the Top Rank Bingo hall. The site has been redeveloped and is approximately where Sports World is now.
9. Cinescene Cinema (Now Burger King) - North StreetPart of Myles and Trudie Byrne's cinema chain was in North Street, across the road from the Essoldo. They bought and rented various theatres and cinemas and eventually came back to Hove where they bought the Embassy Cinema, and then another cinema in North Street, which was the original news cinema, and they called it Cinescene. It was opened on 10 September, 1979 and was in business until June 1983. It is now the Burger King in North Street. (Trudie Byrne - interview 28th July 2009)
10. Gardener StreetGardner Street was developed in 1805 on the site of a market garden, by its owner John Furner. The street consisted of small shops with stores and living spaces above.
Gardener Street was another Street in Brighton which has a number of Jewish shops and businesses and these places of Jewish business can be still traced in the street today, particularly as there has been no substantial redevelopment to the terraced buildings that house the shops that would make it difficult to follow the street numbering. Probably the best known and celebrated of these was the Cork Shop, whose facade is now preserved in Brighton Museum. A number of these businesses follow in this section.
11. Debby's (Mrs. F. Martin) grocers (Deb's Deli Kosher Deli) - 4 Gardener Street.
This business was originally owned by the Barrs family, who were of Dutch origin (information M. Carlebach).
Deb's Deli was very much part of the street scene in Gardener Street and back in the 1950s sold both, Jewish deli goods, as well as grocery and discounted food (unlabeled tins, some of which could sometimes turn out to be cat food!). The Jewish family who ran the shop apparently hailed from the East End and made all the delectable Jewish favourites - potato ladkes, chopped liver and smoked salmon bagels.
Debbie eventually sold the business on to Michael Rix-Martin and it was re-named Hell's Kitchen after the New York Jewish quarter.
12. Mark and David Gilmour, Corset Dealers - 7 Gardener Street (Martin Gilmour) Kelly's 1958Mark and David Gilmour, Corset Dealers - 7 Gardener Street (Martin Gilmour) Kelly's 1958(recalled by Martin Gilmour and in Kelly's Directory of 1958).
13. Maxam Clothiers, Ltd - 13 Gardener StreetMaxam Clothiers, Ltd - 13 Gardener Street (identified by Martin Gilmour and in Kelly's Directory of 1958).
14. The Brass & Copper Shop (M. Rosenberg) Antique Dealers - 20 Gardener StreetAntique dealing and dealing in curios was a trade favoured by some Jews. (In Kelly's Directory of 1958)
15. Beall & Co. Cork Merchants - 51 Gardener StreetThe now famous cork shop, was established in 1883, and stayed open until its centenary in 1983, when it closed on 1 October. It reminds of an era when there were small specialist and sometimes quirky shops. Its bay-windowed facade was moved and reconstructed in Brighton Museum in 1984 and can be seen there - an important relic of the traditional small Brighton Jewish shop and business. The shop is currently called 'New Fabric Fair'.
During the First World War the business appears to have been purchased from the original owners, and was linked by its new owners, the Abrahams, to a cork warehouse in Aldgate, and the shop was a manufacturing premisis. The Abrahams appears to have taken on the business partly to provide a bolt-hole away from the Zepplin raids on London of 1915.
The business remained in the hands of the Abrahams until its close, though the shop was ran by Doris Abrahams from the 1950s when both her father and sister died. In its last stages the shop was kept open to allow it to celebrate its centenary and it was Doris Abrahams who donated the shop-front to the Museum.
She described the business of the cork-shop thus:
'...We used to import cork from Spain and Portugal, then cut it to size to make bottle corks for pharmacies, brewers, and home wine-makers, all along the south coast. We also made cork bath mats, carved cork pictures and cork tops for stools. There were originally very many uses for cork, but when plastics and laminates came into being it became almost redundant and, by the 1980s, if I could show a profit of about £5 I'd had a good week. However, by that time my mother had died, so the shop was carried on almost as a hobby.' (L. Abrahams, 'We're not all Rothschilds!'(1994))
It may have been the last retail cork shop in this country in its final years.
16. Mrs G. Martin. Ladies Hairdressers - 54 Gardener StreetThis shop is now the 'Two-Way Books', shop and exchange, and former record store (Identified by Martin Gilmour and in Kelly's Directory of 1958)
17. Jewish Businesses - Bond StreetBond Street was first developed from the 1750s and was one of a number of Brighton streets which had a significant concentration of Jewish businesses along its length, some of which we have identified, using the memories of the Brighton Jewish community and local trade directories. The businesses which follow in this section were typical of Jewish trades in the 20th century:
18. Harry H. Woolfe Second Hand Furniture Dealer (1958) - 16 Bond Street
Second-hand furniture dealing was a typical business Jewish business in both the 19th and 20th centuries (Identified by Martin Gilmour and in Kelly's Directory of 1958)
19. Mrs. Mary Black Costumier (1958) - 25 Bond StreetMany Jewish women were skilled seamstresses and dress makers and many towns with Jewish communities had shops ran by Jewish women supplying fashion, fabrics and dress-making materials. Jewish women were often independent in their own businesses. (Identified by Martin Gilmour and in Kelly's Directory of 1958).
20. Authorised Kosher Butchers - 20 Bond StreetThis shop was home to three kosher butchers. In 1886, H. Miles was at the address, a 'family butcher, by appointment to the Hebrews'! This seems to have been taken over by, C. Ballards, and continued as an authorised kosher butcher's shop, on the corner of Bond Street and Church Street. In c. 1900-1915, Abraham Schneider (b. 1887) also had a kosher butchers, at 20 Bond Street.
21. Kosher Butchers (Schneider) - 20 Bond Street & 39/40 Bond StreetAbraham Schneider (b. 1887) was a Russian immigrant who had the kosher butchers already mentioned, at 20 Bond Street, and later at 39/40 Bond Street, and then Waterloo Street, which was later sold to Brummer's. On the present streetscape, No. 20 is Gresham Blake and 39/40 is Café Nero.
22. D.A. Friend - Leather Merchants (1936) - 29 Bond StreetFriend's has been on Bond Street since the 1930s, if not before. While the shop opened a leather merchants, it now sells bags and other goods. This means that it is probably the oldest surviving business in Brighton today, of Jewish origins. There was at least one other Jewish leather merchant in Brighton and this was a popular Jewish trade. (Identified by Martin Gilmour and in Pikes Directory 1936-7).
23. Theatre Royal - 35 Bond Street (Stage Door) and New Road (front)The continued existence of the Theate Royal in Brighton owes much to two local Jewish figures: Lord Lewis Cohen and David Land.
Lewis Cohen became involved with the theatre in the 1937 when he ensured that the impresario, J. Baxter Somerville became manager of the theatre, during a period when it was fighting for its existence and Cohen was critical in keeping it going during the period of the war in particular. In 1946 Lewis became Chairman of the Brighton Theatre Royal (Stage Plays) Ltd., the charitable company which owned both the Royal and the next-door Dolphin theatre. During this period the theatre was successful and booked the best acts. From 1962 Cohen became the Chairman of the Royal itself and intensified his involvement with the theatre and many great stars of their day came and performed. Player included Sir John Gielgud and on one celebrated occasion, Marlene Dietrich, who came out of retirement and re-launched her career on the stage of the Royal. Cohen also subsidised the theatre out of his own pocket and he gave away tickets on for Monday evening performances to employees of the Alliance, Brighton Council and the hospitals.
However, Cohen was more controversial in regard to the Dolphin theatre, as once he had concluded it was impossible to keep both theaters going he was determined that it should be demolished and replaced with a new development and to use the profits accrued to help the Royal. Baxter Somerville kept the theatre going, now as the Paris Continental Cinema, in the teeth of great opposition by Cohen, but with the support of many of the great and good of the theatre world, with Cohen now cast as the villain of the piece. While Somerville lived the building survived, but as soon as he died suddenly in 1963, it was up for development within two months because the campaigners could not raise the £2,500 which Cohen had set them as a target if he was to re-lease the building to them.
David Land the show business impresario of Brighton saved the Theater Royal in New Road Brighton in 1984 from closure and ran it for ten years, subsidising it from his own pocket to £400,000 a year. Due to his connections, he was able to get many stars and top shows, such as Evita, to come. After his death his family ran it for a while then it was sold to the Ambassador Group. The Theatre also hosts Jewish charity events.
24. Lewis Sidney - 40 Bond StreetWe have no additional information about this business, other than it was a Jewish business and invite any recollections. (Identified by Martin Gilmour and in Kelly's Directory of 1958)
25. The Bagelman - 7 Bond StreetOne of the few Jewish shops in Brighton today, is the Bagelman, founded by Julian Engelsman in 1999, who has adapted the traditional Jewish staple, the bagel, to a modern market, even if it means satisfying the demand for bacon bagels, alongside some of the old favourites! There are other shops now in Brighton and Hove and a store in Bond Street, London and the chain won Sussex best business in 2007-8 with perfect scores.
The Bagelman is not the first Jewish shop on the site, as there was a business selling liners in 1936 (L. and M. Martin), who proprietor was Samuel Levene.
26. Quaker Meeting House - Meeting House LaneThe Quaker meeting House has some significant Jewish connections, over and above the cordial relations often enjoyed historically between Jews and Quakers, who were often close neighbours. In the aftermath of the Second World War some Holocaust survivors no longer wanted to affiliate with the Jewish community after the humiliations, tragedy and dangers they had had to over-come and in many English towns and cities there are Jews who have become Quakers.
In Brighton this has held true. For example Trudie Byrne, who came from Straubing in Bavaria, survived the Holocaust and came to England. She had an unfavourable experience of the Jewish Refugee Council who rejected her aspirations to become a Doctor. Instead she took a secretarial course and came to work at the Friends House, the Quaker headquarters, where she eventually felt moved to become a Quaker and met her husband and moved to Brighton, where her husband Myles and herself, were noted impessarios.
27. David and Samuel Cohen Curio Dealers - 22 Meeting House LaneTrade directories reveal the above business near to the Quaker meeting house - trading and antiques and curios was an established line of Jewish business and one of several in Brighton.
28. Jewish shops - Cranbourne RoadCranbourne Road is another Brighton Street, which had a lot of Jewish shops, and which have been recalled by members of the Brighton Jewish community (M. Carlebach).
29. Morris and Esther Collins - 13 Cranbourne RoadThis business was owned by Morris and Esther Collins, grandparents of Lilian Wenble, and they sold china, glass, furniture, silver. The business started in c. 1915, when the family came to Brighton from London, due to World War I. Their grandfather was a furniture designer. Lilian's mother took over shop around outbreak of World War II and Lilian started there in 1944 at 17, sourcing goods via house auctions.
30. Lionel Collins - 17 - 18 Cranbourne RoadNo. 17 Cranbourne Road, was owned by Lilian's uncle, Lionel Collins, who ran a furriers, having previously worked at Dudkins Furrier in Western Road. He later bought no. 18 and created a double-fronted shop.
During the era of the Collins family, other Jewish shops and other business along the road, included, Rice, who made hand-made baskets; Hatfield fruiters; Bostle's hardware, a bookshop, chemist's and a taxidermist. The bookshop later became a Jewish shoe-shop (Lyons Provisa?) and there was also a another shoe shop in the street, whose owner attended the Liberal synagogue. There were also two pubs in the street.
31. Brighton Town Hall and Former Police Station, scene of the murder of Henry Solomon the first Jewish police chief (1838) - BartholomewsBrighton Town Hall formerly contained the Police Station and was the head quarters of Henry Solomon, when he became the first Chief Constable of Brighton and the first Jewish policeman in 1838, when the Brighton police force was founded. It was also the scene of his tragic murder, recalled earlier when he was murdered in cold blood in his own police station on March 13, 1844 by a mentally deranged felon, John Lawrence, who had been arrested for the theft of a carpet and who was to club Solomon brutally across the head with a poker which was to lead to his death just hours later. Lawrence was then handcuffed and lead down to the lock-up below.
The scene of the murder was the main police office situated at the rear of the building, on the lower ground floor. It was a small room of only 12 feet square with a desk, table and the Night Constable's sleeping chair and fatefully for Solomon there was a fireplace opposite the entry half-door containing the murder weapon. If you go to the middle of back of the town hall, the site of the Police station is easily traced, as one of the windows still has the word 'Police' etched in a glass pane in large letters. The Police station remained in use into the 20th century, but is now used as a post room by the Town Hall.
The basement of the Town Hall, the site of the lock-up, which were formerly nick-named the 'black hole', still contains some of the former Police cells, and there are now regular tours available of this part of the former Police station and a recitation of the history of the police station.
The former police station also has a quixotic link to the eccentric Flora Sassoon because she once sent melons for the police officers because she had seen one of the constables suffering from the heat!
Lord Cohen was Mayor of Brighton - 1956-57 and his mayor insignia can also be seen at the Mayoral Offices Town Hall, Brighton.
32. First Recorded Jew in Brighton - 22 East StreetThe first recorded Jew in Brighton was Israel Samuel Cohen (1766-1796), who is recorded as a member of the Great Synagogue in London, and was a silver smith and toy man of the above address. Descendants of Cohen now live in New Zealand and have contacted JTrails.
Other Jewish businesses are also known to have traded out of the building at a later date.
The bow-fronted houses at 22-23 are on the local council's local list of buildings of special interest and the present property was probably contemporary with Cohen and as far as can be deduced this is the correct property. It is intended that a Blue Plaque will be fixed to the property in 2016 to celebrate the foundation of the Jewish community.
33. The site of Pellegrine Treves Traverses - The Steyne and 18 Old SteinePellegrine Treves (1733-1817) was a well-known as part of the Prince Regent's circle in Brighton, the first British Court Jew and he frequently took fashionable promenades at the Old Steine, in an era when promenades were an important social event and a meeting place of the great and good. A caricature by Dighton in 1801 portrays Treves walking the Steyne (close to the Royal Pavilion) with the sub-title (playing on his name) 'A Fashionable Jew Travers-ing the Steyne at Brighton. Brighton was very fashionable with the Jewish upper classes at the time it is likely that one of the reasons for its popularity was the greater ease of social mixing possible in the more relaxed etiquette of a spa or resort which assisted social assimilation. Contemporary reports, in Brighton emphasise the mixing of people. In August 1807 the Morning Post states that, 'The front of Donaldson's Library is a complete Stock Exchange. Jews and Gentiles are speculating upon the sport of the day.'
Donaldson's Library was situated at 18 Old Steine, until it became a telegraph office in 1865. The site of no. 18 is the eastern side of the Old Stein, east of the Victoria Fountain, probably where St James's Mansions is today, or close by.
34. Sassoon Statues - Victoria Gardens (Near Old Steine)Sir Edward Sassoon presented five eight foot high statues that had originally been made for Barney Barnato, from his London mansion at 45 Park Lane to Brighton Corporation and were placed in Victoria Gardens close to the Steyne, in 1898. The statues represented, Night, Morning, Truth and Fidelity, etc., but disappeared in mysterious circumstances in 1922, when they were sent to Council workshops for restoration, never to be seen again!
35. Brighton Pier (Palace Pier) - Financed by Jewish entrepreneur, Sir John Howard in 1899Sir John Howard (c. 1830 - 1917), a Jewish entrepreneur, railway director and philanthropist, financed the construction of Brighton Pier in May 1899 (Brighton's third pier). He was described in a contemporary article in the Jewish Chronicle (28.12.1906) as a devout Jew of Brighton, an engineer who laid down the water works at Egham, a Director of the North British Railways, as well as being the chief proprietor of the Pier at Brighton. Work had in fact begun on the Palace Pier in 1891, but the company undertaking the development got into trouble and Howard rescued the project by forming a new company to complete the work. His pier was a great success and today draws four million visitors each year, one of the most attractive tourist attractions in England.
The idea of building into the sea for pleasure activities was first realised by the construction of the Chain Pier in 1823, followed by the West Pier in 1866, and Palace Pier in 1899. The Brighton Marina can be seen as an extension of this desire to be close to the sea.
Howard's Jewish origins are somewhat mysterious and family research has failed to make any definitive discoveries about his family back-ground, except that his family were not recent migrants. Howard is buried in the Florence Place cemetery and his tomb is a distinctive column, which unusually bears just his name and a Hebrew inscription concerning his charity. Howard's philanthropy was particularly directed to women's health (see also, 'Howard Convalescent Home' and 'Royal Sussex County Hospital').
36. Middle Street SynagogueThe Middle Street Synagogue replaced the Devonshire Place synagogue, once the plot has been purchased in 1874, on the eastern side of Middle Street and the foundation stone was laid, with the synagogue being completed and opened on in September 1875 by the Chief Rabbi Dr Nathan Adler. The main financial backer of the building was community magnate, Louis Cohen and the building was designed by Thomas Lainson (who was not Jewish) and who was architect to the Goldsmid and Vallence estates at Hove. The new synagogue offered more space and a central location.
When the building was first opened, it was almost unadorned apart from a little gilding, but this deficit was made up by generous donations largely by the Sassoon family and by the Rothschilds.
It has a rich polychrome brick exterior, which was favoured by Victorians, (the dominant light yellow bricks are Chichester bricks supplemented by red and blue glazed bricks in the arches over the windows) with additional granite pillars and carved stone dressings, the granite columns either side of the main door are of Aberdeen Granite on Portland stone bases. There is a large circular window divided into 12 at the top with the shafts comprising of red Mansfield stone.
Architecturally, the building incorporates a classical Byzantine basilica style with the interior divided onto a lobby, nave and two isles and an ark in an apse, with the ladies galleries above, with their own separate lobby and entry room, with a vestry above that. A passage to the north of the synagogue leads to the minister's house, and a passage on the south leads to the school rooms, which in the late 19th century was home to 20-25 school children and are now recently converted for use as the Hillel student centre. The succah in Victorian times was situated in the yard between the Minister's house and the synagogue.
The now more muted exterior hardly hints at the splendid and jewel like ornamentation within. The galleries in particular are supported by highly ornate cast iron columns decorated with biblical fruits (and which are then extended to carry the round-headed arches forming the clerestory). The galleries are further edged with elaborate iron and brass rails and screens.
The Ark and Bimah are also highly ornate, the Ark has elaborate railings and rose wood shutters, while the Bimah takes up a considerable part of the central floor space. Contemporary reports thought it was a demerit of the design to have such a large Bimah, along with restricted views from the women's galleries. There is also extensive stained glass in beautiful abstract patterns, as well as two windows dedicated to Lady Roseberry (Hannah Rothschild) d. 1890, the Prime-minister's wife.
The Sassoon connection with Middle Street lead to the synagogue receiving electric light at the very early date of 1892, as Sir David was a pioneer of electric lighting at his home at Broomhill, and so it was the first British synagogue to do so and its power come from the Hippodrome. In this era it was still considered rabbinically correct to operate electric lights on the Sabbath, so this would have been a great advantage to congregants - the modern prohibition dates from decades later.
The building today is a grade II listed building with a star, received after recommendation by English heritage in 1994. The synagogue has recently ceased to be a regular place of worship for the Brighton and Hove Hebrew Congregaton and its future at the time of writing is still under discussion, though in 2009 much needed building works were completed to secure the fabric and some of its funding has been secured through English Heritage, and by letting the school room at the back to Hillel House as a new student drop-in centre. There are aspirations for it to become a Jewish heritage centre and museum for Brighton and Hove.
The building also has another unique feature - since it is built on the shingle of a former beach, it is said that at each high tide the sea flows under the building! It may also be noted that a mikveh was discovered under a house at the rear of the synaogogue.
Historically Middle Street provided the Jewish great and good, during the season, with a building grand enough to befit their class, though in reality it also catered for all classes of Brightonian Jewry, though the permanent resident (and working) members of the community numbered about 45 Jewish families in the later 19th century. This cross-section of Jewry is suggested by how historically the seats on the ground floor were divided into seven classes ranging from 1gn - 5gn per annum and the ladies galleries were divided into 3 classes at 10/- to 3 gns. The poorest Russian immigrant congregants, who arrived in Brighton between 1905 and 1910, and who could not afford a seat, had to worship standing behind a red rope stretched across the rear of the synagogue. About a quarter of annual synagogue income also came from a meat-tax, a near universal and usually unpopular device.
The demise of the synagogue as a regular place of worship has come about as a result of both the general decline in the Jewish population in Brighton as well as the fact that most of the congregants moved to other parts of town. However, the synagogue is still opened for visitors and it is the intention of the English heritage grant and the trustees that it remains accessible to the public as merits a building of national architectural importance.
37. Hippodrome - Middle StreetThe Hippodrome was originally an ice-rink in 1897 and by 1901 it had become a circus, now called the Hippodrome. However, in 1902 it became a variety theater, with an emphasis on family entertainment. Over the period of its history as a theater, until it became a bingo hall in 1967, it was host to many of the leading acts of the day, including Jewish entertainers. Auguste van Biene (1849-1913), who was Dutch-Jewish and a celebrated cellist, even died on stage during a performance!
It was also used for over-flow services on Jewish High Holydays when the synagogues became too full in the 1940s - 50s.
Local Jewish community members, have their own special recollections of the Hippodrome. Betty Sharpe, aged 100 years, recalled in 2009, how her late husband, Sydney Sharpe, became musical director of the orchestra at the Hippodrome in the mid 1930s, where he remained director for over 30 years. The Sharpe's were also founding members of Brighton and Hove Reform Synagogue (SJN 2009).
Anita Lewis also remembers being taken into the Hippodrome by her school (which was opposite) during air raids. She enjoyed skipping school work until the teachers got wise and took work!
38. Hop Poles (Formerly the Spotted Dog) - Middle StreetThe Hop Poles has another Jewish Brighton Beatles link. While it was still the spotted Dog, Brian Epstein used to drink in the pub when the Beatles were in Brighton in 1964.
39. West StreetWest Street is now one of the busiest thoroughfares in Brighton and a centre of local eating, drinking and entertainment. Back in the late 18th century it was regarded as one of the superior residential streets in Brighton. The street and its close environs were important to the Jewish community, as it was the site of the second synagogue and there were Jewish businesses in the street into the 20th century, including Sugarman's, who sold buckets, spades, sweet rock and was first place to import and demonstrate 'Diablo' in Brighton.
40. Poune's Court Synagogue, Brighton's Second Synagogue - 75a West StreetThe Poune's Court synagogue, was a little east of West Street, and nearly opposite to St Paul's Church. After it ceased to be used as a synagogue, it was a warehouse for Messrs. Copestake and Co. and was approached by a passage from West Street. In Kelly's Directory in 1890, the address of Copestakes Lindsay Crapton & Co., (whole sale lace warehouse) is given as 75a, West Street (Willow's Court). This information has enabled us to accurately deduce the original location for the first time as part of this project.
The site of the former synagogue can be readily deduced in the current streetscape. There is a red-brick brick building, in the former court, just set-back to the east of West Street, not far from its junction with the sea-front (between the 'Family Leisure' pleasure arcade and the 'Kulture' bar) i.e. the entry next to 77 West Street (Kulture). This is almost certainly the site of the former synagogue, though I was unable to ascertain whether it is still designated 77a.
It seems that the former synagogue was in an (unusually) good area of the town, as some other contemporary synagogues were in rough surroundings.
41. Half-Moon Pub - Boyce Street off West StreetHalf-Moon Pub (along with the Full Moon Pub) was off West Street in Boyce Street and was run by Ruby Rosenbloom, and owned by the family of Rabbi Rosenbloom. The site is also supposed to haunted by James Botting, Brighton's notorious hangman, who lived nearby in the 19th century.
42. Kemp Town and East Brighton Trail - Henry Solomon - 9 Charles StreetCharles Street was the home of Brighton's first Chief Constable Henry Solomon, who was murdered in his offices at the Town Hall.
43. Howard Convalescent Home - Roedean Road, Kemp TownSir John Howard founded and funded the Howard Convalescent Home in Kemp Town, in 1914, as a convalescent home for gentlewomen, though it was used for wounded officers in the First World War. It continued as a hospital afterwards and since 1974 has been the Royal Hospital and Home for Incurables.
Sir John Howard's work in benefiting the health of women, is also to be noted at the former New Sussex Hospital for Women in Hove, at Windlesham House, where a new Sir John Howard wing was opened in 1928. While the hospital is no more, parts of Windlesham Hall still survive, in Windlesham Road.
44. Royal Sussex County Hospital - Eastern RoadThe Royal Sussex Hospital (founded 1828) has attracted the support of leading members of the community including members of the Jewish community.
Mrs. Ralli funded a bacteriological department, opened in 1895, and the late Sir John Howard's trust, also funded a wing of the Royal Sussex County Hospital in 1923. Two wards are named after Howard and a plaque to the generosity of Bernhard Baron, is to be found just to the left of the main entrance.
45. Devonshire Place Synagogue (1824)The Former Synagogue at Devonshire Place was established 1824, after the congregation had purchased a 99 year lease on the ground. The synagogue dates from the great expansion in Jewish population in Brighton, with the advent of the new railway, which in this exceptional case brought growth rather than decline to a Jewish community and which lead the community to out-grow its second synagogue at Pounes Court. The original building was a very small and simple square building designed by Benjamin Bennett. It was not more than 29ft long by 26ft wide and 20ft high and stood back from the street. The new synagogue had seating for a much expanded 50 congregants compared to the second synagogue of 1808 established at Pounes Court.
The synagogue facility at Devonshire Place was itself improved again in 1837, once the congregation had been able to purchase the freehold for £300, when it was revised to larger and superior specification, with plans drawn up by the noted Jewish architect, David Mocatta who also designed Brighton Station in 1838. He built out to the street line, to form a new lobby for the building, and built two floors up-wards to accommodate the minister. There was a two-storey workshop on a rear plot of 40 by 100 feet and a school to the rear as well. A lantern appears to have inserted into the synagogue, to make up for the loss of lighting caused by building the workshop. The addition of a work-shop is not a unique synagogue feature (there was one at Stroud as well) and this was probably used to relieve Jewish poverty in Brighton.
The congregation continued to grow and on the Sabbath of the 1851, the religious building Census, it is recorded that there were 75 seats in the synagogue and that 40 Jews attended service in the morning, 16 in the afternoon and 40 in the evening. The building appears to have been enlarged again in 1867 and ultimately had seating for 140 persons. The adjacent school had accommodation for 100 children, but an actual roll of only 27 children.
A site for a new synagogue was sought in the early 1870s as the synagogue was not large enough to accommodate the swelling number of visitors to the town (as opposed to the permanent residents whose numbers were growing less quickly) which were partly accounted for my Jewish refugees from the Franco-Prussian War. A new site was found in Middle Street in 1874, which spelt the end for the old synagogue.
The Building survives today in Devonshire Place. It is classical or Georgian in style, three stories high carried over a basement. The front is stuccoed, and with a pediment and four Tuscan pilasters. The interior of the three storied building is much altered and there is little evidence of its original use. However the Georgian exterior, with its classical colonnades and central doorway, is striking, as the front still bears the large legend 'JEWS SYNAGOGUE A.M. 5598'. This bold self-advertisement suggests the confidence of builders of the synagogue as to their place in Brighton society. There is also a blue plaque on the right-hand side of the building to David Moccatta, noting that he designed `the building - the first purpose built synagogue in Brighton - in 1838. The Building is a grade II listed building.
During recent renovation works on the building important remnants of the original interior, from Mocatta's rebuild (they are probably the ceiling works which cost £40 in 1837) were revealed in the form of a plastered ceiling and decorations, which have now been conserved. These remains are important, not only for the history of the building, but also nationally, because they are, 'one of the few early 19th Century synagogue ceilings remaining in the United Kingdom.'
It was reported that part of a lath and plaster ceiling survived surrounded by a fine cornice , 'the ancient ceiling is an area of approximately 26ft x 29ft bounded by an in-situ-run lime-mortar cornice with fine cast ornamentation.' The centre of the ceiling also contained four surviving lime-mortar ceiling centres, decorated with, 'a perimeter of egg & dart and fillet,' and they all originally had central bosses.
The ceiling is also pierced with a rectangular sky-light (the lantern referred to earlier), which also betrayed traces of fine cast decoration, both around its perimeter and within the faces of the sky-light itself
When the synagogue was sold to Edward Ash, Auctioneers a stipulation was inserted into the lease that it was not to be used in future as a place of worship in the future or as a pub, or refreshment hall of any kind or a music hall. The building remained an auction house for some time, but in 1899 it became Davis & Son - Lamp Manufacturers and then in the 1907 Kelly's Directory, it was the show-room of Henry Davis & Son, Furnishing Ironmongers and remained so until c.1924. It is likely that these Davis's were Jewish, as there were Jewish Davis's living and working in Brighton (some of whom were relatives of my wife's family and whose memorials are to be found in Florence Place cemetery). After this (by 1930) the site became a chemists (Barclays & Sons, Wholesale Chemists) and then from the early 1990 the Shape Health Studio. In 2005 Sophie Curtis Property purchased the building, converting the site into nine luxury residential apartments and communal gym, but retaining the relict and restored plaster work.
Two paintings of the exterior and interior of the synagogue survive from 1853, by William Delamotte.
46. Sassoon Mausoleum - Bombay Bar and Function Room / Proud Cabaret, junction of St. George's Road and Paston Place, Kemp Town.One of the most unexpected of all Jewish monuments in this country is the Sassoon family mausoleum (grade II listed). What marks it out is its location on the street in a residential area - it is not part of a cemetery or set away from habitation, it is in the center of its local scene in Kemp Town. Further its oriental Indian style gives it an altogether exotic air, more curry house than sepulchre.
It was built by Sir Albert Sassoon in 1892 in a style evocative of the Royal Pavilion, while evoking the Bombay origins of the family.
Both Sir Albert and his son Edward were buried there, but their rest was interrupted in 1933, when his grandson Sir Philip Sassoon sold it in 1933 and the remains of his family were transferred to London. In the Second World War it became an air-raid shelter. After the war it was bought by the adjacent Hanbury Arms in 1953. They turned it into a function room
When I visited it much of the interior had been obscured and a false ceiling had been interposed beneath the dome and it most distinctive features were best visible from the street. From the street it is a single-storey block of a building, on a corner plot. There are no windows intruded into the walls of the structure, though some oriental-headed niches relieve the plainness of the walls. It major decorative flourish are Moghul style crenellations at the roof line, set on top of a braided molding, similar to those used at the Royal Pavilion. The leaden concave dome is elegant, with a decorative finial very similar again to those at the Royal Pavilion.
There are currently plans to use funds from the Heritage Economic Regeneration Scheme to restore the burial chamber, by removing the false ceiling to reveal the dome and to reveal the dome with its decorative glazing and a painted ceiling. The other interior decorations would be restored by a conservator as well. The intention would be to attract tourists and to make it an attractive entertainment venue.
47. Albert Sassoon - 1 Eastern Terrace, Kemp TownOne Eastern Terrace was the home to members of the Sassoon clan, who were among the richest and most influential of Brighton's Jewish residents and were certainly the most exotic.
Their home (now a listed building) was said to be 'one of the finest mansions in Kemp Town' by the Jewish Chronicle.
Sir Albert (Abdallah) David Sassoon, the 'Indian Rothschild', or 'Rothschild of the East', was resident at the house. He was one of the most distinguished and in some ways exotic member of the Sassoon clan -the 'Indian Rothschild'. He was a companion of the Order of the Star of India and a member of the Council of Governors of the Bombay for Making laws and regulation. He was an East India Merchant, he had the Freedom of the City of London, was known as a philanthropist, and was made a knight in 1872, Baronet 1890, and received the Persian Order of the Lion and Sun. He was resident at 1 Eastern Terrace, Brighton.
He is noted for having given a dinner to the Sultan of Zanzibar at Eastern Terrace, 1875, the Shah of Persia also visited and he also twice entertaining Edwrd VII, when he was the Prince of Wales.
Sir Albert died of a heart attack at his home, but did not have far to go for his interment in the family mausoleum at the top of the same street!
His son, Sir Edward Albert Sassoon, (b. 1856) Second Bart (1890), was also to live with his wife, Aline, the daughter of Baron Gustav de Rothschild, at 1 Eastern Terrace, Brighton. Edward had been born in Bombay and served in China - he was a captain in the Middlesex Yeomanry and something of a dandy. His wife Aline, was both beautiful and accomplished, and it was Edward who had made the best catch by marrying her. Her allure was such that the Prince of Wales even named his Yacht after her. At his death, his ashes were interred in the family mausoleum.
The house may be found to day (Court Royal Mansions) at the sea-ward end of Eastern Terrace and the corner of the house is rounded - almost turret like - to afford the best views of the sea and seafront - a prime location in its day.
48. Brighton Marina and Village - Henry CohenHenry Cohen is the second notable Jewish engineer and developer, who built out into the sea at Brighton and created what was the largest man-made marina in Europe. It will be recalled that the first was Sir John Howard, who created Palace Pier.
Henry Cohen was able to follow in his foot-steps with plans for the creation of a marina in 1963 that had been first proposed, but never carried out 120 years before. Cohen was in the motor car business in Brighton and was a motor boat enthusiast, who wanted to be able to keep a motor boat close to Brighton. However, he gained experience building the London Marina in the Royal Albert Docks, as well in Den Helder in Holland. He aimed to create a harbour for 1,500 boats, with accomodation, entertainment and conference facilities involved 127 acres of reclaimed land.
The Marina harbour was built Between, 1971-77, and opened by the Queen in 1978, to boats and included a massive lock to access the inner habour - one of the largest in Europe. However, Henry Cohen was not to see through the completion of the project, because the budget had gone hugely over budget and so the Brighton Marina Company went into receivership without completing the buildings.
The project then went to Brent Walker, in 1985, who introduced a super-store and housing, and other shops and restaurants - but they too went bust and the project was finally completed by Parkridge Developments, who built the Waterfront development.
Henry Cohen has been remembered in the Brighton Walk of Fame, at Brighton Marina.
49. Sudeley Place, Kemptown - Playhouse Theatre / The Continental CinemaTrudie and Myles Byrne, rented the Playhouse Theatre, in Sudeley Place, Kemptown in Brighton. The Theatre was not very successful, so they decided to turn it into the first Foreign films cinema outside London - it was renamed the Continental and became another Jewish owned cinema in Brighton.
50. Meadow View Cemetery (off Bear Road) - Holocaust MemorialMeadow View Cemetery eventually replaced the original Jewish cemetery at Florence Place, and by the 1920s, the majority of burials took place at Meadow View and were organized by the Joint Burial Committees of Brighton and Hove Synagogues. Jewish funerals in this period were conducted by H Goldberg, funeral directors of 15-16 Trafalgar Street, Brighton.
This cemetery is notable for airy location on top of the downs and has a large Ohel (burial hall) and close to it is a Holocaust memorial and some of the earlier monuments are of interest including some war graves. The cemetery is still in use via a new extension adjoining the original burial ground, though the character of the tombstones is markedly different to the original cemetery and reflects modern tastes in memorials.
51. Oldest Brighton Jewish Cemetery - Florence PlaceThe Jewish cemetery at Florence Place is the oldest Jewish cemetery in Brighton and was set up in 1826 on land given to the community by Thomas Reid Kemp, one of the major developers of modern Brighton. Additional costs were met by raising a meat tax on kosher meat sold in the town.
The cemetery is notable for its hexagonal brick ohel which appears to have replaced an earlier shed and cottage on the site formerly used for those attending burial services. It also is notable for its burials of famous Brighton Jewish residents. There are tombstones to the murdered Police Chief, Henry Solomon and to Levi Emanuel Cohen, Founder of the Brighton Guardian Newspaper (1827) and Sir John Howard.
There is an elaborate and beautiful Tombstone, to Martin Loewe who died of a brain hemorrhage in the sea at Brighton in 1859, aged 14 years. The tombstone has one of the most elaborate inscriptions of any Jewish tombstone in the country. It is an extended Hebrew poem relating how the youth was cut down in his prime, but affirming faith in the Almighty, and was penned by Dr. David Loewe (1809-88), who was secretary to Moses Montefiore, and a noted Orientalist. He was also principal of Jew's College and had his own school in Brighton, from which the young boy sallied forth on his fateful last morning. It turns out that Dr. Raphael Loewe, the contemporary distinguished Hebrew scholar, is a relative, as the boy was the brother of his grandfather.
During the era of body snatching a bathing machine was used as an impromptu watch-post - a resort used in other Jewish cemeteries of the time as well.
The cemetery is on a small side road, off Ditchling Road, opposite Downs Junior School. There is a pub with dome on the corner of Florence Place. The cemetery is usually locked and the key needs to be obtained from the congregation.
52. Hove Trail - Winter Gardens, Metropole Hotel, King's RoadDuring the 1950's, 60's and 70's, regular charity dinner dances and fund-raisers, were held at the Winter Gardens, Metropole Hotel, and were very well supported by the Jewish community and attracted big-name speakers.
Among the top personalities who came to Brighton, were Yitzchak Rabin, Shimon Perez, Harold Wilson, Abba Eban and Manny Shinwell.
The hotel was also the venue of many community simchas (celebrations) and is credited as being the place where the plan to start a Reform synagogue in Brighton was first mooted.
53. The King's Hotel - 139 - 141 King's RoadIn the 20th century there were a number of very well-known Jewish hotels. The Kings Hotel was a Hotel regarded as a Jewish and kosher hotel, which had a succession of Jewish owners. Recollections provided to JTrails, name a married couple by the name of Barnett, as the owners for some years, followed by Malcolm Green, and then for a short period, Ruth and Jack Goodman. In the early 1950s the Hotel became the venue for the beginnings of the Hillel movement, which seeks to provide kosher food and accommodation for Jewish students, as will be described later and which makes it important in Jewish communal history.
The King's Hotel was infamous for a fatal fire (when the Barnetts were owners) when part of the hotel was burned down in 1967, claiming four victims, at least one of whom was Jewish. By coincidence, Leo Sayer the entertainer (then Gerard Sayer the hotel lift-boy), was involved in an act of bravery during the fire. A contemporary new report stated that, 'Hotel staff came into work this morning still shaken by the tragedy. Back at work as usual was the hero of the fire slightly-built Gerard Sayer, the 18 year old hall porter and lift boy. Gerard took his lift up to the third floor through smoke and choking fumes and tried to save two elderly guests. He was rescued himself by ladder. Gerard of Upper Shoreham Road Shoreham, said this morning "I didn't really think about the risk at the time, I had the lift and I used it."
54. Luxury Jewish Holiday Flats - Embassy Court, Junction King's Road and Regency Square, BrightonDuring the 1930s luxury holiday homes and flats were built in Brighton to cater for a rich clientele, who at this stage still considered Brighton and particularly Hove, a fashionable resort. Embassy Court, opposite the sea front, is a well know example of such a holiday residence and was built in a fashionable Art Deco style. Embassy Court was reputed to be particularly popular with the Jewish community and many had their second home or holiday flat there. The flats are supposed to only have small kitchens as the families would prefer to eat out rather than cook in when on their holiday.
Diana White (b. 1922), in an interview of 2004, recalled how Hove was up-market and that, 'There were more blocks of flats being put up - I'm talking about the Thirties, middle Thirties and people were getting used to living in blocks of flats. Embassy Court is one of the blocks of flats from the early Thirties. Many a rich Jewish person went into Embassy Court.'
55. Alfred Feld - Norfolk Hotel 149 Kings Road (Now Jarvis Norfolk Hotel)Alfred and Lily Feld, were well known Jewish hotel proprietors. They firstly ran the Beach Hotel, in Regency Square, and then the Norfolk Resort Hotel at 149 Kings Road from 1969 (Now the Jarvis Norfolk Hotel). The Felds came to take over the hotel, when the owners, AVP, (who also owned the Bedford and Metropole), decided to sell it because they had been refused permission to develop the site. The Felds had transformed it from a run-down establishment, into one of the most handsome buildings on the front, complete with a new rooftop room for entertainment, a swimming pool, car parking and extra bedrooms, but one that still retained it Victorian character. The Norfolk was was later taken over by his son Robert, but the business was to fail under his management. The Norfolk is now part of the Ramada group.
56. Sassoon Statues Peace Statue on the seafront - KingswayThe Sassoons contributed statues, not only to Victoria Park, but also contributed towards the costs of the 'Peace Statue' on the seafront. The Peace Statue, equipped with a winged figure with an orb and an olive branch representing peace with honour, commemorated King Edward VII, the 'peace-maker', who was also a regular visitor to Brighton and Hove and, a guest of the Sassoons. The statue also marks the boundary between Brighton and Hove, a shift also indicated by the change in design in the lamps standards.
57. Maccabi Beach - Near Brunswick SquareOne of the most fondly recalled locations in Jewish Brighton and Hove was the so called 'Maccabi Beach', situated just below Brunswick Square, the great gathering ground of Jewish youth in the 1950s and 60s. Here Jewish youth met, listened to the new transistor radios and where many new friendships and romances began. The beach had two manifestations - the earlier version of the beach was a little further along the way to Hove, but apparently a storm lowered the level of the shingle at the sea wall at that point and the young Jewish men, who had been accustomed to show off their prowess by jumping down off the sea wall found that it was now somewhat tricky and had therefore to move a little futher down where the feat was still possible!
58. Sir David Lionel Salomons (Bart.) - 18 Brunswick TerraceSir David Lionel Salomons (1851-1925), was the most famous Victorian Anglo-Jewish engineer, and the son of Philip Salomon and was nephew of Sir David Salomons MP. He was born in 18 Brunswick Terrace and educated in Brighton and later at Cambridge. After an initial vocation in Law, he was noted as an innovative electrical engineer and patented a number of electrical devices, as well as promoting the use of electrical lighting and early motor vehicles. His house at Broomhill has electricity as early as 1874 and his son was the first baby to be born under electric light in 1875!
59. Philip Salomon Private Synagogue - 26 Brunswick Terrace, HovePhilip Salomon, who was the brother of Sir David Salomon, the first Jewish Mayor of London, was a member of the Brigton and Hove congregation from 1849 and became President in 1855. He also has his own private synagogue, at 26 Brunswick Terrace, the use of which did not find favour with the congregation (as it was against synagogue regulations) and was the subject of tension until the matter was resolved. The synagogue was fitted with fine antique fittings and was described as both 'pretty' and also 'charming' when it was decked out in white for the festival of Roshhashana.
David Spector also states that the synagogue was also effectively the first Jewish museum, as Salomons kept his own collection of both Jewish books and religious appurtenances in the structure and which were influential collections.
The property and its penthouse synagogue still survives and can be recognized by its 'pepper pot' on top and middle of the terrace. For some time I thought it impossible to see the penthouse structure, but discovered by chance, that if you look obliquely along the terrace, it can in fact be clearly seen. However, it is important to remember that the terrace is in two halves and it is easy to look for the building on the wrong part of the terrace!
60. Hannah House the first Jewish Old Age Home in Brighton - 12 Brunswick Terrace
Hannah House was the first Jewish Old Age Home in Brighton, and the original home was opened in 1954, though the home has now moved to a larger purpose built facility in Kemp Town, not far from the sea front. Larger Jewish communities have often made excellent provision for the elder or infirm members of their community, as this is an important and traditional part of Jewish charity.
61. Southdown College - 69 Brunswick PlaceSouthdown College was one of two Jewish girls' schools in Brighton and Hove.
Diane White (b. 1922) recalls the following about her time at the school.
'I went to a Jewish school. In those days there were five Jewish schools down here. I went to a Jewish school from the age of 5 until I was 11. It was called Southdown College for Young Ladies. It was situated at the top of Brunswick Place, next door practically to our own synagogue. Our own synagogue was then a gymnasium, so in those days I used to do knees bend, arms stretched with my little blue bloomers, whereas, that's where I pray nowadays. And the office where I worked for ten, twelve years, was Matron's office where every Friday night we used to have to go in there to be given syrup of figs if we had tummy troubles. So the synagogue has not only been my synagogue where I pray but it was part of my education right from the age of 5.'
62. Louis Davidson Jewish Communal Worker - 18 Adelaide CrescentLouis Davidson (b. 1841) was very active in Jewish community and held many influential communal positions (largely on the boards and committees of major Jewish charities), in a way which was typical of some of the richer members of the community with independent means. He was the President of the Westminster Jew's Free School, Hon. Sec. of the Jew's Free School, Member of Council of the United Synagogue , Chairman of the Visitation Committee of the United Synagogue , Chairman of Managers, Hayes Industrial School for Jewish boys and President of the Brighton Congregation.
63. Baron De Worms - 27 Adelaide CrescentSir Isaac Lyon Goldsmid (1778-1860) was instrumental in the growth of the Brighton and Hove and crucially in 1830 he brought the remains of the Wick estate from Kemp upon which Adelaide Crescent and Palmeira Square were developed and named after his Portugeuse title. Many important Jews lived in this prestigious area. Baron De Worms was one of them and lived at 27 Adelaide Crescent in the 1890s. George de Worms was a hereditary Baron of the Austrian Empire and his mother was the eldest sister of Baron de Rothschild.
64. Flora Sassoon - 37 Adelaide CrescentFlora Sassoon (1859 - 1936) was a notable female member of the Sassoon clan in Hove. She was a strong and devout Jew who was also to some degree an eccentric, character, as well as a philanthropist. She was noted in later years for always wearing black and carrying a rolled-up umbrella.
She was born Fahra Reuben in Bombay, India, and was married to Sassoon David Sassoon (S.D.) at fourteen years of age, when he was aged just eighteen. He was the devout and scholarly member of the family, who lived under the shadow of his father and was not a natural socialite. They first lived in Baghdad and then Bombay, where they ran the family business. In 1853 David became a naturalized English subject and a great Anglophile though, he could not master the English language. He came to London and purchased Ashley Park, near Walton on Thames, as the Sassoon family needed a European out-let, with Sassoon David arriving first in 1858, followed by Flora in 1860. Sassoon David died young in 1867, leaving Flora and her four children and she moved to Adelaide Crescent, once her eldest son Joseph has got married. A photograph of her in her later years shows her sense of self-pre-possession - she was said to be both kind and by turns imperious. She is locally remembered and commemorated by her gift of croquet lawns at St Anne's Wells Gardens. Flora died aged 91 in 1919 after five decades of being a widow. The poet Seigfreid Sassoon was Mrs Flora Sassoon's nephew.
65. 4 Palmeira Square - Home of Sir Julian GoldsmidSir Julian Goldsmid, Bart., the younger son of Sir Isaac Lyon Goldsmid, lived at no. 4 Palmeira Square, the address his grand-father had developed. He was a barrister, an M.P. for various seats and was also the Vice-Chancellor of London University and a director of the LBSCR.
66. Reuben Sassoon (1835-1905) - Brunswick Gardens & 7 Queen's Gardens (site)Reuben Sassoon was brought to England on the death of his brother Sassoon David Sassoon to take his place in London, though he suffered badly from gout. He brought his wife Kate with him, who was over-fed, indulged and mainly lived in her own separate apartments in the London House, where she chain-smoked a hookah and was always carried up and down stairs and was rarely seen in public. Her style of life was not so far devolved from that of the wife of a Sultan in her own harem and she avoided her husband's society.
Reuben included Lillie Langtre among his friends and she wrote that his house at Brunswick Gardens was large and 'they had numberless horses and carriages of every description, and it was not rare to see members of the large family driving up and down the sea-front. Reuben also had a special Victoria with a high-stepping horse, and I often drove about with him. The result was that the local papers thought it funny to call us "Othello and Desdemona," he being of a very swarthy complexion.
Lillie Langtree also recalls that he had a great capacity to bear pain, typified by an accident at Sir Albert Sassoon's family Christmas celebration. He slipped on the polished floor and broke his arm and after the doctor had set it carried on dancing for the rest of the evening to everyone else's discomfort! He later became a very close friend of the Prince of Wales who entrusted his racing commissions to him.
Reuben also entertained the Prince of Wales at the Queen Garden's House as well as the Shah of Persia in 1889.
She also recalls going to his home at no. 1 Belgravia Square in London - which boasted roof-top stables for his horses - having been driven there at a mad pace by a Lord D----- who had posed as a hansom cab driver, so that he could drive Lillie after she left the theatre. She was met at the door by Reuben, who she stated 'never went to bed' and once they had discovered the cabbies imposture, they all settled down to eating bacon and eggs cooked by Reuben Sassoon himself in a little kitchen just off his den.
At other times Reuben entertained with curry and the best pink champagne!
67. 36 First Avenue - Hove home of Chief Rabbi Dr Nathan AdlerIt appears that not only did Brighton and Hove attracted rabbis as well as aristocrats to its fashionable location. The noted Chief Rabbi of the United Synagogues, Dr Nathan Adler, lived in 36 First Avenue, Hove, in 1880 and died there in 1890. The house is a respectable terrace, but perhaps not as expensive as the properties on the more exclusive Palmeira Estate.
68. Aaron Sassoon (1841-1907) - 35 First Avenue.Aaron Sassoon was another brother of Sassoon David Sassoon and was resident in First Avenue.
69. Arthur Sassoon C.V.O. (1840-1912) - 8 King's GardensArthur Sassoon, another brother of Sassoon David, was brought over to London, to reinforce the London office, after his brother Reuben had come over. This had been occasioned by the great increase in business created by the opening of the Suez Canal in 1869. He came with his wife Louise Perugia, who was both beautiful and a scion of an old Italian Jewish aristocratic family.
70. Marrocco's Ice Cream Parlour - King's EsplanadeMarocco's is still a favoured haunt of tourist and visitors to Hove. The ice-cream parlour has also been very popular with the Jewish youth of the town as well, in the 1980s.
71. Medina House, Diamond Workshop - King's EsplanadeIn an area of interesting and historic housing, Medina House stands because of its Dutch / Flemish influenced architecture. The building has distinctive decorative Dutch gables and a pantile roof. One of our contributors informs us that the building was built by a Dutch Jewish family, who came to Brighton in the 1930s, as a diamond workshop.
72. David Mocatta - Italianate Villas in Osborne Villas, HoveAmong Mocatta's lesser known building commissions, are Osborne Villas in Hove. These villas are an essay in a comfortable Italianate style, with simple but pretty details, such as the canopied bay windows, embodying the rising middle-class desire for the semi-rural residence and its life-style.
73. 8 Hove St - Goodman's Kosher DelicatessenOf various Jewish businesses on Hove Street, Goodman's Kosher Deli has been recalled to us by a number of community members as a popular, Jewish owned business.
74. David Jacobs and Brian Epstien - No.2. Princes SquareThe first house, past the corner from the block of flats, links Brighton's Jewish history to that of the 'Fab Four', the Beatles. It was formerly owned by Brian Epstein's Solicitor, David Jacobs and Brian Epstein, the Beatles manager, was a frequent guest there. Sadly, Jacobs committed suicide at this address.
75. New Church Road SynagogueThe Orthodox congregation was also to experience an expansion in this period, as in c. 1961, a sister synagogue to the Middle Street Synagogue was opened in New Church Road, Hove, on land bequeathed to the Hebrew congregation by Louis Cohen. The expansion came about as more of the congregants came from Hove and needed a synagogue at a more convenient walking distance. This synagogue is now the main orthodox synagogue in Brighton and Hove, now that Middle Street is no longer the focus of active Orthodox worship in Brighton. However, there is little information available on this synagogue and building and further information would be welcomed.
76. Sephardic Tombs at St Andrew's (Old Church) - HoveThe church of St Andrew's is an unusual destination on a Jewish heritage trail, but it has some exceptional Jewish connections, not least because it was rebuilt by a Jewish architect who was a first cousin to Benjamin D'Israeli and because it contains the memorials and tombs of aristocratic Sephardic families who converted to Christianity to further their social ascent in English society. It is stated in the Talmud that, 'a name made great is a name destroyed' and for the great Sephardic families most were unable to keep hold of their Jewish identity once they has ascended the social ladder of the their time.
The church was rebuilt by George Basevi, a Jewish (convert) and notable society architect, who had been a favorite pupil of Sir John Soane. Basevi was born a Jew, but was baptised secretly at 17 years old, along with his family, and he was additionally able to pass himself off as Italian: this helped him to have a successful career as a society architect, who designed many fashionable houses for the rich. His commissions included Bromsberrow Place, Gatcombe Park (Glouc.) and Titness Park (Berks) and Beechwood, in Highgate Village, London, the latter designed for his brother Nathaniel. He was also commissioned by the Jewish financiers of the Haldimand syndicate to design Belgrave Square in London. After his death his memory was commemorated with a brass plaque in Ely Cathedral, where he died falling off scaffolding.
Inside the church are memorials and tombs to converted aristocratic Sephardic families. This includes a wall memorial to the Basevi family who lived in the parish as the family vault of George Basevi, in the floor of the church near the pulpit, containing the mortal remains of George, his wife Bathsheba, and daughter Emma. There is another wall memorial to Ephraim Lindo (d. 1838).
The conversion and assimilation of Sephardic families for social reasons was long and well established. Many of these families found the ultimate prizes of English society denied to them until they converted. The Basevis are a key example of this process, as Benjamin D'Israeli's mother was a Basevi from Hove, and Benjamin D'Israeli himself could never have become Prime-Minister without his prior conversion, though few people in public life ever forgot his essential Jewishness.
Another interesting wall memorial of, c. 1857, is to the martial exploits of two members of the Campbell family, Lt. Col. Patrick Campbell and to his so (?) Col. Robert Parker Campbell, who died in 1857 of wounds sustained in the relief of Lucknow. Col. George Campbell, who raised the memorial, to what was presumably his father and brother, may well have had an important Jewish connection, as it is very likely that he was the business partner of Samuel Isaac, an important Jewish military contractor, who had formed Isaac Campbell & Co. which operated in the 1850s and 60s. and gained some notoriety as the main European military supporter and supplier of the Southern States during the American Civil War.
Lieutenant -General Sir George Charles D'Aguilar, KCB, who was born a Jew, is also buried in Old Hove Parish Church.
77. Pomball House - 11 The Drive, West BrightonPomball House was a Jewish boarding school for young ladies, ran by Miss Pyke, and advertised itself in 1887, as providing a modern education for young women leading to preparations for university examinations. It was still unusual for women to be prepared for university exams as the attendance of women at university was still not well established.
78. Ralli Memorial Hall Brighton and Hove Jewish Centre - 81 Denmark VillasRalli Hall was purchased for use as a cross-community Jewish Center in 1975. Harry Beckerman was the main instigator and the centre opened a year later. The center has since then been an important centre and venue for a great variety of Jewish organizations and events and has kosher kitchens and is a charity. Part of its importance lies in the fact that it serves the whole community and is largely ran by volunteers and is in many respects a shared community focal point.
79. The Palmeira Pub - Holland Road, HoveThe Palmeira Pub is a visible reminder of the Palmeira Estate of Sir Isaac Lyon Goldsmid. The pub also contains some memorabilia relating to Sir Isaac Lyon Goldsmid and the creation of the Palmeira Estate.
80. Brighton and Hove Reform Synagogue - New Synagogue, Palmeira AvenueThe Reform synagogue originated in 1955, as an alternative to the Orthodox Synagogue. After a long struggle to establish a small community the community were able to appoint Rabbi, Erwin Solomon Rosenblum as the first rabbi of the community in 1956.
After a number of temporary homes for the congregation, the community were, at last, in a position to seek a permanent home and a purpose built facility. This was found at the junction of Eaton Road and Palmeira Avenue ('Sleepy Hollow).
The form of the building was partially dictated by the instability of the ground underneath the hollow it was to stand in and the need to have a street level entrance to the main synagogue. The building has an AJEX Hall for social functions, on the lower ground level with the main synagogue above and reached from the main street level. The building was completed and consecrated in 1967 and accommodated about 640 congregants
The main synagogue is wood-paneled and is dominated by its splendid Ark and stained glass, by the artist John Petts, at the east end of the building. The decoration is designed to commemorate the Holocaust, though the series of designs treat the Holocaust abstractly by using Biblical images and stories and symbols which allude to the bondage under the Nazis. Petts was not Jewish but Christian and was a member of the Royal College of Arts, however he was also one of the liberators of Bergen Belsen. The commission for the glass had originally been given to Chagall, but his ill-health (he was 80) meant that the project had to be passed to Petts.
The design is dominated by the vibrant and bright colours of the scene representing the burning bush, to represent God's presence. The rest of the composition is mainly in blue. From the left hand side there are scenes of; the Ram caught in the thicket at the conclusion of the Akedah the binding of Isaac (with the thorns of the thicket looking like barbed wire), Jacob's Ladder with the wings of an ascending angel, the pillars of cloud and fire, the menorah cutting asunder barbed wire, to represent freedom from the enslavement of the Nazis and the victory of light (the Menorah also represents the spirit of God). There are also representations of a shofar, Noah's Dove, and a grape vine, as well as a scene which probably represents the streams of water flowing from the rock that had been smote by Moses. Across the windows of the right-side of the Ark, the panels are traversed by broken chains, with, closest to the Ark; the Pesach egg, which is both represents a sacrifice and is a symbol of both life and death, the cup of Elijah (the promise of the Messiah and the Messianic Age), broken chains, Torah scrolls, the Tree of Life combined with the eight lights of Hannukah (recalling the defeat of the Greek tyranny of the Temple and Jerusalem and the restitution of Divine worship), and a Sukkah. The scenes present a combination of symbols of the covenant of God with the Jews, episodes of Jewish bondage, oppression and liberation, as well as the abiding presence, light and power of God. The series of glass panels reminds one of God's covenant with the Jewish people and his power to deliver the Jewish people, though the reality of Jewish suffering through the ages is also evident too. There is a gently implied, but not over stated theodicy, as the suffering of the Jewish people is a Divine mystery, but one that has been permitted by the Almighty.
The window is also special, as it essentially pairs with a window that Petts made previously at a chapel at Birmingham, Alabama, with its subject, the oppression and liberation of black Americans.
81. Hove Hebrew Congregation - 79 Holland RoadThe Hove Hebrew Congregation was created when a group from Middle Street broke away from the congregation in the c, 1927. These appear to have been Eastern European immigrants, who disagreed with the Anglicized worship at Middle Street, which was very different from more traditional practices in the home country.
Until Whittingehame College moved to Surrenden Road in early 1936 the boys attended Holland Road, and went there on Friday nights, Saturday mornings and religious high holidays and festivals in smartly-dressed and orderly files monitored by the school prefects.
(Any further information on this congregation, for the trail, will be welcomed)
82. A Donation to Hove by Flora Sassoon 1913 - St Anne's Well Gardens Croquet Lawns, Somerhill Road HoveDuring the Victorian era charitable and philanthropic works were considered a fitting occupation for upper class women and it is not surprising that Flora Sassoon, of the leading Sassoon family, should exercise her own philanthropy in the provision of a new croquet ground at St Anne's Well Gardens, where healthful activities could take place in what the Victorians regarded as the all-important healthful air.
The park itself had already been opened by the Borough of Hove for the first time on 23 May 1908, complete with its famous healing chalybeate spring, sylvan grotto and cave and was advertised as 'The only Country Resort in the heart of the town'. In its early life it was something of an amusement and theme park for both adults and children (but with an accent on the amusement of children), as it offered balloon rides, early cinema shows ('bioscope animated pictures'), monkeys, rides, concerts, teas and illumination at the famous well and much more!
A Plaque at the gate still reads, 'The Plots of Land Comprising the Two Croquet Lawns with Frontages North & South of this Entrance were Presented to the Borough of Hove by Mrs. Flora Sassoon and Opened to the Public 1st May 1913. Ald. Barnett Marks Mayor JP. Therefore the former croquet lawns are to the immediate left and right of the park entrance.
83. Brighton and Hove Progressive Synagogue - Lansdowne RoadThe Brighton and Hove Progressive Synagogue was founded in 1935 by a group headed by, John de Lange and Gertrude Heilbron. Unusually, this Progressive synagogue was founded before the Reform synagogue of 1955.
The first services, those for the High Holy Days, were held at the Hove Town Hall. Then the community were able to use 29 New Church Road for worship and it was simply furnished as a synagogue (with a wardrobe acting as the Ark and the services lit by gaslight).
By 1936 numbers had reached 120, and the community were able to purchase and convert the gymnasium at 6 Lansdowne Road in 1938.
The conversion of the 19th century gymnasium to a synagogue, was carried out by Edward Lewis, in a minimalist, modernist, style.
The architecture was described in the Architectural Review, (January 1939).
"The main feature internally, providing the focal point for the whole scheme, is the Ark....In this case the Ark, which is a shallow recess 18 inches in depth by 7 feet 6 inches in width, has been given a considerably greater height than is customary, 20 feet, in order to dominate the several elements of the interior ... The main hall of the synagogue is lit entirely, with the exception of the symbolic oil lamp hanging before the Ark, by a concealed lighting trough, 14 inches deep, at the back of the gallery....The wall finish internally is in a textured buff-coloured wallpaper, with woodwork painted in cream and light brown. The Ark recess is finished in gold leaf, with curtains of deep red velvet. The six-pointed star of the shield of David is the dominating decorative motif, appearing externally over the main entrance porch, in blue-painted deal, and in the form of a window to the main hall, illuminating the Ark."
The outbreak of the Second World War severely hampered the congregation's development. German refugee Rabbi Dr H Lemle, who had replaced Marcus Goldberg, was interned. Without a Minister and with a diminishing membership, the difficulties facing the congregation in May 1940 seemed insuperable. Then Archie Fay, with the assistance of other Lay Readers, came to the rescue. He and Charles Berwitz agreed to lead the congregation on a temporary basis, and an Extraordinary General Meeting in August 1940, unanimously voted to continue. Mr. Fay became an Ordained Lay Reader and in 1950 an Ordained Lay Minister. Until his death in 1962 he was to remain the Spiritual Leader of the congregation.
The post-war years witnessed a recovery in the synagogue's fortunes. The Religion School grew rapidly and all manner of activities, including a Youth Group, developed. Confirmation at age seventeen was introduced on a regular basis. (At that time, Bar and Bat Mitzvah at 13 were not marked.)
In 1949 the sanctuary was altered but it was not until the death of Archie Fay in 1962, that property adjoining was acquired as an annexe, housing the classrooms, office and council chamber, and named in his memory.
Many years later in 1975 a similar honour was to be bestowed upon his widow with the construction of the Elizabeth Fay Memorial Entrance a mark of the importance of their role in the life of the synagogue.
After the departure of Rabbi Baylinson, the synagogue had a series of Ministers: Richards, Sirtes, Benjamin and Ginsbury. Reverend Benjamin encouraged the establishment of the Friends of Religion School in the early 1970s.
"The idea was for the many parents who arrived on Sunday mornings with their charges to socialise with one another and with others of the congregation. At that time, there were some 50 children in the Religion School and the FRS included several older members of the synagogue who did not have children in the classes. For a number of years the FRS organised the vast majority of the social functions, with the exception of the Annual Dinner Dance and one or two other large events, these being organised by the Functions Committee. Many social events were organised, such as travelling suppers, quizzes, and music evenings in members' homes. All were very well supported by a wide cross-section of the congregation.
Reverend Benjamin gained his semichah [ordination] and later returned to his home in South Africa. The FRS continued to flourish under various student rabbis and our own lay leaders, continuing through the time that Rabbi Charles Wallach was minister. The FRS was a great unifying force in the synagogue at that time, long-term friendships were formed and several people who were active in the FRS are very active with us today." (pers. comm. Ivor Miskin)
Rabbi Charles Middleburgh remembers: "I attended services regularly from the early 1960s to the mid-1970s. I especially enjoyed services conducted by Rabbis David Baylinson, Nick Ginsbury and Myer Benjamin. Nick Ginsbury had a beautiful Israeli wife and two lovely children, was thin and dark with a luxuriant beard, and officiated at my Bar Mitzvah. Myer, also known as Sonny, came to us from South Africa, where he had served as a rabbi for many years, but without ordination, and studied for semichah at Leo Baeck College, while ministering to us. His wife Nina and three children were welcome additions to the life of the congregation. Rabbi Benjamin officiated at my Kabbalat Torah service, which I shared with Aelie Scher. He inspired me to become a rabbi, and helped me pursue my goals, offering me wonderful advice throughout. He was practical, down to earth and incredibly sincere, and he had a wonderful sense of humour and an infectious laugh. Between 1975 and 1977, I conducted services regularly, commuting from university in London to do so, and I also ran the Religion School until the synagogue employed a new rabbi."
After another brief period without a rabbi, in December 2000 the congregation appointed Rabbi Elizabeth Tikvah Sarah, a rabbi with eleven years experience and a teacher at Leo Baeck College. It was a potentially controversial decision. As the prospective new rabbi was a woman, a lesbian and an outspoken supporter of LGBT rights. However, Rabbi Sarah has successfully established herself in her role at the synagogue.
The community has just celebrated its 75th anniversary and continues its now long established contribution to the Jewish life of Brighton and Hove.
[Trail entry abstracted from a 'History of BHPS' produced for the 75th anniversary of the community, in conjunction with JTrails]
84. Maccabi House, Rochester Gardens, HoveA great many members of the community have shared their fond memories of the Maccabi Association, which provided a full range of both sporting and social opportunities for young Jewish people in Brighton and Hove.
Many community members based their social life around the Maccabi House at Rochester Gardens, though some felt the fact that boys and girls danced together at the club a little racy!
The original Maccabi House was a small flat above a shop in Western Road near Lansdowne Place, organised by a group of local Jewish youth. This flat became too small, but with fund-raising efforts in the 1940s, the group were able to buy their own premises at Rochester Gardens in 1948. The final push in fund-raising came when the group were lent a cinema for an evening and in a fund raiser led by Tommy Trinder, Max Miller, and other local celebrities, the celebrities were able to prise the required remaining monies from local donors.
The Maccabi Association fielded numerous table-tennis teams, a cricket and athletics team, as well as a football team, which won the first Jewish Chronicle cup in 1958, in a final played against Sheffield Maccabi.
Other than the dances and socials, there were regular debates, quizzes, drama sessions, talent shows and a magazine was even published.
The membership included a senior section for the over 18s and quite a number of marriages resulted from participation at the club.
The Maccabi Association at 118 Edward Street, has also featured in local memories.
There was much other Jewish sport across Brighton and Hove, for example the Carmel Tennis Club on St Hellier's Avenue, was very popular on Sunday mornings with all ages.
85. Amy Levy Lodgings - 4 Brunswick Square and 27 St Michael's PlaceAmy Levy, the notable Jewish poet, who wrote 'Xantippe', and was later a friend of Eleanor Marx , was educated for a period at Brighton High School, where she was sent aged 15, in 1876. While she was in Brighton she lodged at both 4 Brunswick Square, and 27 St Michal's Place, both of which address can still be found.
86. 23 Hampton Place - Emanuel AguilarGrace Aguilar was a frequent visitor to 23 Hampton Place, her Uncle Emanuel's House. Grace was one of the most notable of female Anglo-Jewish writers. She wrote part of her celebrated work, 'The Spirit of Judaism', while in Brighton in 1837.
87. Mrs. Julia Goodman Artist - 56 Clarence SquareMrs. Julia Goodman was a notable portrait artist. She was born in London in 1812 and married in 1836 and for 60 years, worked as a portrait artist in oil and pastels. She exhibited at the Royal Academy, the Royal Society of British Artists, and the Society of Lady Artists and at the Brighton Exhibition. There were a number of female Jewish artists and it seems that art was one of a limited number of professions open to middle and upper-class women, though it is a matter of observation that Jewish women seem to have had more levity in pursuing a career than their Christian counter-parts.
88. Western Road HoveWestern Road in Hove was another street which was well known for its Jewish businesses and its Jewish scene. The Curzon Cinema was owned by Harry Jacobs, and Stanley Dudkin's Fur Shop in Western Road was well remembered for its huge stuffed bear outside the shop. The Cordoba Coffee Bar, which was owned by Sam Levy, and which no longer exists, was another favoured watering hole of Jewish youth, from the 50s onwards. A community member recalls: '...As this was the age of the coffee bars (no pubs for us), it was at certain coffee bars that we met and spent whole evenings talking over one cup of espresso coffee, which I believe cost nine old pence. The best known of the coffee bars was the Cordoba which was in Western Road, Hove and was owned by Sam Levy.
Apparently, Sam Levy used to be somewhat vexed when the teenagers, who were already nursing their cups of coffee, would insist on sharing a plates of ladkes, because they could not afford more.
89. Eleanor Marx lodgings - 6 Vernon Terrace and 2 Manchester Street,The association of Eleanor Marx with Brighton is of special interest, as she was a young, Jewish women, who was a writer, a social and political radical, a union agitator, thinker and inheritor of her father's legacy. Very often in the past the role of women in Anglo-Jewish history and the real influence of Jewish women, has been unnecessarily, over-looked.
Eleanor Marx is associated with three sites in Brighton. After she was returned from France, because of her father's disapproval of her would-be fiancé, Hyppolite-Prosper-Olivier Lissagaray, the ex-Communard, he took her to Brighton, where she decided to stay.
Apart from working as an actress in Brighton, she taught French at Miss Hall's School, at 29 Sussex Square and she took modest lodging at both, 2 Manchester Street and 6 Vernon Terrace.
90. 33 Vernon Terrace - Kinder Transport HostelMany Jewish communities, up and down the country decided to care for kindertransport children and refugees of the Holocaust. Such a centre was set up in Brighton at Vernon Terrace and was for 20 - 30 boys from Austria and Germany and operated from c. 1937 to the mid 1940s and was sponsored by members of the community.
91. Wellesley House Collegiate and Commercial School - Wellington RoadWellesley House School is recorded in a Jewish directory of 1874. The school taught Hebrew and Religion and further three languages as well as the usual subjects of the day. The title suggests that the school was designed in part to prepare pupils for commerce.
The Churches of Brighton recalls that there were at least four Jewish boarding schools in Victorian Brighton.
92. Brighton and Hove Liberal Cemetery (part of Hove Cemetery)This is a large Jewish cemetery, in two sections (one a more modern extension) with a simple modern brick ohel (burial house). It is part of the larger Hove municipal cemetery (f. 1882) on the north side of the Old Shoreham Road, off the A270, in Hove. The burials at the cemetery, include Rabbi Rosenblum, founding rabbi at Brighton and Hove New (i.e. Reform) Synagogue, Sydney and Doreen Lovegrove, who were Mayor and Mayoress of the Brighton, from 1972-74, and Norman and Dorothy Freedmand, Mayor and Mayoress of the Brighton, from 1969-70 (Norman Freedman was also President of the Brighton and Hove Chamber of Commerce, 1968-9)
93. Whittingehame College and Jacob Halevy - 62, The Drive, Hove and Surrenden RoadWhittingehame College, is one of the most interesting of all historic Jewish schools in this country, largely down to the personality and vision of its founder Jacob Halevy.
The school, founded in 1931, saw itself as the 'Jewish Eton' and believed that its business was to deliver a high-standard of education that would turn out Jews fully able to take their place in the world, as British and patriotic Jews, without apology for their Jewishness.
The school was also a strongly Zionist organisation, but what made it stand out was the school evolved to take in many Arab and Muslim students as well, since Jacob Halevy believed that the state of Israel should be inclusive, a view which probably stemmed from his experiences growing up in Palestine alongside Arabs, before the creation of the modern state of Israel radicalized and worsened relations between Jew and Arab.
It is the background of Jacob Halevy that helps explain much about the later character of the school. He had been born in Palestine in 1898 in the Rishon le-Zion, Zionist settlement, founded by Russian Jews. However at age two his parents went back to Poland and Russia, and it was only after being caught up in the great Warsaw Pogrom of 1905 (and it is said they had to sleep with stones under their pillows for possible self-defence) that they and Jacob went back and settled permanently in Tel Aviv, where Jake attended the famous Herzliya Gymnasium and learned English.
As a young man he started his teaching career by tutoring maths. At the out-break of World War I, the Halevys opted to become Turkish citizens, else leave the country.
Jake was then conscripted by the Turkish to fight the British, which he did not want to do, so he and fellow Jewish conscripts managed to escape from a train and founded the Jewish Regiment in anticipation of the arrival of the British.
Jake then married Esther Goralsky from Poland (who was of a wealthy family), in 1920. He went to England to study Chemistry at Manchester University, in c. 1921, on a scholarship scheme for former service-men and while there met both Dr. Chaim Weizmann, who taught there and Albert Einstein, when the latter visited. Jacob came to move in very high-circles in the Jewish world and was always well connected.
He took up teaching Hebrew in Manchester, with great success, especially as he taught modern Hebrew pronunciation. On his graduation in 1925, he progressed on to further research of various sorts, for two years or more, until his true calling to be an educator took over, when he was urged by supporters to start his own Jewish boarding school, on English lines, but with a Jewish and Hebrew curriculum, in 1931. His supporters included the great Jewish genius, Brodetsky, and Weizmann, and he was urged to setup at Brighton alongside with all the other major Jewish schools already there. Jacob's connections with leading Zionists and his continuing and deep engagement in Zionism, was to lead to him becoming the Chairman of the Zionist Federation in 1951.
Therefore in September 1931 he founded Whittingehame College in a house at 62, The Drive, Hove. The name of the school derived from the birthplace and ancestral seat of Earl Balfour of Whittingehame, in Whittingehame, East Lothian, Scotland, and as representing a positive form of Jewish identity as evinced by Balfour himself.
The school aimed to imbue its pupil with Jewish ethics along with its monotheism, the belief in the unity of the Jewish people and the central role of Zion in Jewish tradition. Perhaps above all else the school represented Zionist values, but with British patriotism and indentity. Contemporary advertisements in the Jewish Chronicle boasted that the institution was 'The only school wherein a serious endeavour is made to synthesise Hebraic and British Cultures'.
Jacob's school was self-consciously elitist and it fees helped to ensure this as the fees were similar to those of Eton. The school uniform also included a boater, similar to that of Eton, which proved useless in the gales of Brighton and had to be tied on with string!
The school educated boys aged 6 - 18, as well as a few girls. From and early date Jacob and his school had a reputation for eccentricity and the school for its sometimes quirky curriculum. There was at times a delightful sense of improvisation in the school and Jacob would introduce novelties to the school on personal fancy.
Victor Gollanz wrote fondly of his experiences at the school thus: 'There was a quality of inspired improvisation about Whittingehame College which I found most appealing. It is symbolized for me by my memory of arriving late at the school one boiling hot morning in June during my second term and coming unannounced upon a semi-circle of small boys squatting cross-legged before a blackboard and easel which had been erected on the lawn. Standing, pointer in hand, in front of the blackboard, clad only in blue and white striped bathing trunks and wearing his mortar-board was the Headmaster giving an Algebra lesson. It was a sight I shall carry with me into Eternity.'
By 1934 the college has seventy-two pupils and twenty-three teachers and ancillary staff. The school was also successful in getting a 100% pass rate for its pupils through the key examinations. This success meant that he was able take over nearby buildings, one at 66, the Drive, Hove, and then the intervening residence at 64, the Drive
Eventually, in the early 1930s, Jacob decided the school needed to expand by taking on new premises. Backed with a huge bank loan from his supporters, Jacob bought a very large Victorian mansion, standing in large grounds, called Woodlands, in Surrenden Road, Brighton.
He then set to building new school on the site, in 1936, in cast-concrete in the modernist style, the so called 'International Style' on the site and which would take 150 pupils. The building was designed by Amnon Vivian Pilichowski, whose father, Leopold Pilichowski (1867?- 193I), was famous for his portraits of Jewish life and the founders of Zionism. Pilichowski had also have successful commissions building flats and houses, he had worked on the interior of Hendon Synagogue and designed the outpatients department of the London Jewish Hospital.
The building was technologically advanced with monolithically cast walls and floors in concrete, an impressive cantilevered concrete main spiral staircase, with many modern features, including special under-floor heating systems in the class rooms. It was also designed to let in maximum light. It looked good to with clean lines and an impressive Loggia.
Sadly, the building had been completed on the cheap and it had not been built on its original planned orientation, which meant that it was often quite dark in the building. Also, critically, it was decided that the concrete had been made with the wrong sand and that the flat roof would not bear any further extension up-wards. This latter fact, though unforeseen at the time, would play a significant part in the demise of the school as it prevented further significant expansion on the site.
The school broadly followed the prevailing Orthodoxy of the United Synagogue and was acceptable to the Orthodox community, but its Orthodoxy was easy going and this was ultimately to be a factor that counted against the long-term survival of the school.
During World War II the ascent of the school ground to a halt as the buildings were requisitioned to be used as a military Hospital in 1940. This meant that suddenly the school had to temporarily find a new home and one that would be away from any bombing. After searching Jacob found a new home for the school in the wilds of mid-Wales in Llangadog, near Llandovery, Carmarthenshire.
It was in a large early-nineteenth century house called Dan-yr-Allt (or 'Under the Slope'). This proved rather more temporary than anticipated as it burned down, one hot August afternoon, by causes unknown in 1940.
From thence and temporary shelter in a church hall, another large country house was found at Edwinsford, near Llandeilo, Carmarthenshire, near the villages of Llansawcel and Talley. The school came with an irascible landlord - Sir James - who was apt to find fault with the school. However, the school came with a trout and salmon stream and on one occaision two of the boys appear to have succeeded in harpooning a large fish with a home-made fish spear fashioned out of a serrated knife and a bamboo pole.
At this time, in 1942, Frederick Eldon Smith, a pacifist, socialist and a south-Waleian, joined the school as History Master. He was to become Deputy Head in May 1948 and a force in the future history of the school (and after) and who helped keep the wheels on the train as he took care of the day to day running of the school, which might otherwise have descended into chaos! One of Eldon Smiths first acts, as Deputy Head, was to declare a holiday in May 1948 - his appointment coinciding with the creation of the modern state of Israel.
The war was eventually won though the school has inevitably been touched by the war as some of three old boys were casualties (one of whom had had half of his head cut off with a propeller blade whilst servicing an aircraft) and of course the Holocaust had claimed lives of relatives and family of the boys past and present. Jacob's son, as described elsewhere, was one of the casualties, a great blow to both Jacob and Esther.
The return home to Brighton was like many war-time home comings, not without out difficulties and the school went through a very unsettled period. However, through the 1940s and 1950s, student numbers attained the 200 mark.
The creation of the modern state of Israel was to have a dynamic effect on the school, which was especially sensitive to the effects of events and politics in the Middle East and which was to lend the school its most distinctive character, as the creation of the modern state of Israel saw an influx of boys from the region - from Palestine and the Arab States. In fact the school was to become one of the most international schools in the country at the time, as the boys came from no less than 36 different countries, and it accepted Jews, Arabs, Muslims, Zoroastrian and Bahai.
This came about as Jacob believed that the state of Israel should be a pluralistic state accepting different peoples and religions and he wanted peaceful relations between Jews and Arabs. Jacob had of course he himself had grown-up with Arabs, in the period before the creation of either the British Mandate or the Modern State of Israel has radicalized Arab and Jewish relations, when Jews and Arabs still lived side by side.
On a practical level the school was acceptable to Muslims, as kosher food was acceptable as an alternative to Halal, and Jacob went to some trouble to enable the boys to practice their religion and to fully accommodate the religious needs of boys over Ramadan. In 1961, a Muslim boy, Ali Jamil, became Head Boy of the college, an exceptional statement of the ideals of the college and one that was Zionist through and through.
The school gained its official recognition by the Ministry of Education in 1956, which gave the college an exceptional level of academic recognition and status. It also meant that Whittingehame could join the government pensions' superannuation scheme, and attract many top teachers who expected a pension as part of their conditions of service.
All of these factors combined led to the College enjoying its golden age of academic excellence, reputation and success, between 1948 and 1964, when both boys and staff gave of their best. The school became notable for both its Speech Day and it month long Arts Festival which enabled the full-rein of the boys talents to flourish. However, this success, along with other factors (such as the weak concrete of the school building), that became apparent later, were to prove the undoing of the school.
The demise of the school started when it was decided that the school needed to expand to keep up with it growing success and numbers. However, the existing site was inadequate for further expansion, especially as the weak concrete of the main building meant that, even though the building had been designed to be extended upwards, this was deemed to be impossible because it was unsafe to do so.
It was decided to therefore to split the school into a lower and upper school, with the upper school and the oldest pupils, staying on the existing site, with the best facilities. To this end Handcross Park, an extensive mansion, with many ancilliary buildings, and large grounds, situated near the village of Handcross, about eighteen miles north of Brighton was chosen. All of the school from aged fourteen years and under, were relocated to Handcross Park, in the summer term of 1958. However, the move did not prove successful from the start.
Matters were compounded when it was decided that provision had to be made for Jacob Halevy, who had turned 60, to retire. To do so, and to fund his retirement, he would need to realise his assets, by selling the Surrenden Road school and site, decanting all the students across to Handcross Park, and turning the school into an educational trust, with a board of governors who would ultimately be able to continue the governance and organise the management of the school. The creation of the trust and governing body, was achieved on 2 June 1966 and Jacob Halevy agreed to stay in post for a further two years.
However, as has been observed in the Jewish community, at other places and times, the creation of a governing body, even if consisting of the great, good and well-funded, of Jewish north London, is no guarantee of success and in may cases they may have other concerns and agendas, not shared with the founders of an organisation. To be fair to Jacob, his original board also contained Lord Cohen of Brighton, who dynamism and local commitment could well have, not only saved the day, but ushered in new success. However, Cohen was on his appointment, terminally ill with cancer and unable to help.
The site at Surrenden Road was sold to a developer in 1965, and here a fatal mistake was made, as Jacob assumed that he would be able to make a more leisured transfer of the pupils across to Handcross, in pace with the conversion of the facilities. However, this was never formally agreed with the developers and Jacob found that the developers (not unreasonably) wanted a rapid possession of their new site within six months, by the end of September 1965.
The move of all of the pupils to Handcross, was quite disastrous, as the school facilities and staff were simply not ready to take the numbers, and boys were consequently removed from the school by parents and the intake of new boys fell off sharply as well. By 1967 the school was in significant debt, and the lack of new boys meant that the shortfall was unlikely to be met, compounded with desertion of support by existing parents of boys at the school. The denouement was rapid - at a Governors' meeting held in London in November 1967, the decision to close the school was taken and the school was shut at the conclusion of the autumn term, on Thursday, 14 December 1967.
While the demise of the school had clear causes in the management of the school, it may also be observed that the concept of the Jewish public school had essentially had its day by this point. This was because integration of Jews into society and schools was virtually complete in the 1960 and the essential need was no longer there. This is attested to by the fact that the school was in fact the last surviving Jewish school in Brighton by the time it went out of business.
While Carmel College, the rival to Whittingehame College, continued with some success afterward, partly as it was more Orthodox in its school ethos, its day were numbered too, for the same reasons.
Jacob continued with Zionist causes in his retirement, but he died at Cuckfield Hospital on 9 February 1978 of cancer and he was interred at Holon, outside Tel Aviv.
Even though the school officially closed in 1967, it has had a remarkable after-life, as its has a devoted following of old-boys ('Whitniks') led by Eldon Smith, with events held across the world.
Old Boys of the school include Danny Gillerman, who until recently was Israel's Ambassador at the UN and in June 2005 served a term as Vice President of the UN General Assembly. Eli Harari , the founder of ScanDisk, old boy. Joseph Safra, the philanthropist and banker (the Safras bank is the First National Bank of New York). Another pupil was Theodore Herzl's only grandson.
All of the Old Boys are all united by their experiences of a unique institution and head-master, Jacob Halevy, whose vision of a pluralistic Israel where Jews and Arabs could live in harmony, is still valid.
(This account is based on the official history of Whittingehame College 'Jake's Legacy', by Eric Shanes, and is available in full on the school's excellent and extensive website at http://www.whittingehame.com/ or as a printed copy. The length devoted to this section merely denotes the editor's interest in educational matters!)
94. Sassoon Mausaleum -- Bombay Bar and Function RoomSassoon Mausaleum -- Bombay Bar and Function Room, junction of St. George's Road and Paston Place, Kemp Town.
One of the most unexpected of all Jewish monuments in this country is the Sassoon family mausoleum. What marks it out is its location on the street in a residential area -- it is not part of a cemetery or set away from habitation, it is in the center of its local scene in Kemp Town. Further its oriental Indian style gives it an altogether exotic air, more curry house than sepulchre.
It was built by Sir Albert Sassoon in 1892 in a style evocative of the Royal Pavilion, while evoking the Bombay origins of the family.
Both Sir Albert and his son Edward were buried there, but their rest was interrupted in 1933, when his grandson Sir Philip Sassoon sold it in 1933 and the remains of his family were transferred to London. In the Second World War it became an air-raid shelter. After the war it was bought by the adjacent Hanbury Arms in 1953. They turned it into a function room
When I visited it much of the interior had been obscured and a false ceiling had been interposed beneath the dome and it most distinctive features were best visible from the street. From the street it is a single-storey block of a building, on a corner plot. There are no windows intruded into the walls of the structure, though some oriental-headed niches relieve the plainness of the walls. It major decorative flourish are moghul style crenellations at the roof line, set on top of a braided molding, similar to those used at the Royal Pavilion. The leaden concave dome is elegant, with a decorative finial very similar again to those at the Royal Pavilion.
There are currently plans to use funds from the Heritage Economic Regeneration Scheme to restore the burial chamber, by removing the false ceiling to reveal the dome and to reveal the dome with its decorative glazing and a painted ceiling. The other interior decorations would be restored by a conservator as well. The intention would be to attract tourists and to make it an attractive entertainment venue.