Map of Search Results
Marcus Roberts (2004)

Places of interest

Bookmark this page |  E-mail this page to a friend

The Historic Dockyard - Queen Street
Queen Street, the Hard and Common Hard
Daniel Row (later Daniel Street) - The site of the secessionist synagogue
Hawke Street - a Charles Dickens residence
Hanover Street - site of a Jewish pub
Union Street - home of the Levi family of engravers
Site of the synagogue - White's Row, (now Curzenhow Road) off Queen Street
Bishop Street
Site of Aria College - George's Square and 70 Union Street
College Street
St George's Square
Ordnance Row
The first synagogue - Oyster Street
Broad Street and the Point
Bath Street, the Point
The New Synagogue - Thicket Road, Southsea
The Esplanade, Clarence Pier, and the Peoples' Park (now Victoria Park)
Grove House, Grove Road South - the residence of Alderman Emanuel
The memorial drinking fountain to Alderman Emanuel - Canoe Lake Gardens, Southsea
The Cemetery - Fawcett Road
Kingston Cemetery (1855-1879) - the second Jewish cemetery
Kingston Prison
Church Path - off Lake Road and Alexandra Charles Street
Spring Street
Upper Arundel Street
Somers Road North
Albert Road - east of Elm Grove Road, Southsea
Sussex Street - Southsea

1. The Historic Dockyard - Queen Street

The Portsmouth Dockyard has been the home of the Royal Navy for 500 years. Through the main gates of the Dockyard can be seen a number of the listed buildings that provided facilities for the building and maintenance of the fleet. The Victory, the Flagship of Nelson and HMS Warrior (1860) are preserved at the yard. Nelson's close friendship with Jews in South London, at Roehampton and Merton, has been described previously indeed the night before he set off for Trafalgar he was with Benjamin Goldsmidt at Roehampton and after his death Aaron Goldsmidt purchased Merton Place and part of Nelson's estate at Merton from Lady Hamilton to help her. It has been mentioned earlier that Jews served with Nelson.

2. Queen Street, the Hard and Common Hard

Looking out from the Dockyard gates both Queen Street and the Hard and Common Hard can be seen. Many Jews lived on the Hard, the common harbour area, though most older buildings have been swept away and replaced by the bus station and railway station.

Inhabitants included, Daniel de Souza, Navy Agent and Grocer, 15 Common Hard (1819-20). Joseph Hart, Vice-President of Portsmouth Hebrew Congregation(1811), Navy Agent (1809-1821). John Moses (Jnr.), sword cutler and out-fitter, 25 and 26 the Hard (1845-65), John Edwards, Warden and President of the Synagogue, at no. 20 (1851). Also E and E. Emanuel, Jewelers to Her Majesty were at no. 3, 1894.

Other Queen Street, residents included Lazarus Franklin, Silversmith and Navy Agent, at no. 26 (1814-19), Mark Lazarus, Navy Agent, at no. 10 (1817-19), George Levy, Elder of the Synagogue, Navy Agent, Grocer and agent for the Albion Fire Office, at no. 115 (1822-26).

Going eastwards, up Queen Street, several streets of Jewish significance lead of (or led off) the thoroughfare.

3. Daniel Row (later Daniel Street) - The site of the secessionist synagogue

On the left (north side) of the street, opposite from Hanover and Union Street, was Daniel Row, the site of the secessionist schule established in Daniel's Row in 1766. It was abandoned in 1789 when the "New" congregation rejoined the main synagogue. The site later became part of an electricity works by early this century.

4. Hawke Street - a Charles Dickens residence

It is relevant to note that Charles Dickens' family lived at 18, Hawke Street (1813-14) nearby showing how the novelist was familiar with the presence of the Jewish community from an early age in both Portsea and Chatham.

Samuel Isaacs lived at no. 11, and was registered as a Navy Agent there, 1838-9.

5. Hanover Street - site of a Jewish pub

The Antelope Tavern was situated on the southern end of the street (on the western side) at no. 39 and was kept by Philip Barnard. He was also a Navy Agent registered, 1814-25.

Other members of the family traded in the street. David Barnard, an Elder of the congregation and pawnbroker and silversmith and Navy Agent was at no. 67 (1809-32). George Barnard ran a coal office from no. 67 as well (1827-34).

In 1894 H. Edwards, Tailor and juvenile outfitter traded at no. 70, and S. Jacobs, was a naval and yatching cap manufacturer, at no. 29.

6. Union Street - home of the Levi family of engravers

J. and W. Levi lived on the street from 1809 and were engravers. B. Levi, the engraver, had been one of the signatories for the burial ground in 1749.

Samuel Joseph lived on the street and registered as a Navy Agent there, 1815-19.

7. Site of the synagogue - White's Row, (now Curzenhow Road) off Queen Street

Slightly further along Queen Street is Curzenhow Road, once the site of the White's Row Synagogue. The synagogue stood on the eastern side of the junction of White's Row with Queen Street. There is now a modern housing block on the site.

The synagogue was originally known as White's Row Synagogue as its entrance was off White's Row. It became later became known as the Queen's Row Synagogue when the entrance was moved around the corner. The synagogue had an unusual site in that it was built confidently in a prime commercial area of the town and not in a more remote or poor suburb.

The synagogue was originally a house adapted for worship but in 1780 it was taken down an a purpose built synagogue was put in its place. At the time that the new synagogue was being suitably five inscribed foundation stones were put in place. It is interest that the Spanish and Portuguese congregation made a contribution of 50 pounds to the reconstruction of the synagogue. The foundation stones include the names of both the rabbis of the Great Synagogue (Rabbi Tevele Schiff) and Bevis marks (Haham Moses Cohen D'Azeveda)

The synagogue underwent further renovations and rebuildings in 1807. The synagogue was again heavily renovated in 1843 when the original columns were replaced, the screen surrounding the ladies gallery was removed. The bimah was moved to the eastern end and stained glass was put in.

More renovation took place in 1850 when a nearby shop, which was between the street and the synagogue, was brought and demolished to allow a new gated entrance to be made direct from Queen Street so as to replace the Whites Row entry. The reason for this was social - the surrounding area by this time had gone down and was rife with the dissolute and drunken life that characterised port areas. The new site also allowed minister's house to be built as well as four alms houses for pensioners. This entrance was impressive, including two flanking Neo-classical statues! In addition to all this the site included a hall and kitchen to complete the complex.

The synagogue was renovated again in 1876. This time additions included two new east windows with the Ten Commandments in Hebrew and English.

Financial decline prevented the rebuilding of the synagogue which caused the congregation to continue to renovate the building. The schule was rededicated in 1890, complete with a new reading desk. Electric lighting was installed in 1899. In 1909 the synagogue was expanded at which time the original foundation stones were found. A final renovation was made in 1930.

The synagogue was eventually moved in 1936 and the old building was used as furniture store until it was destroyed by wartime bombing.

8. Bishop Street

Lewis Lazarus, President and Elder of Portsmouth Hebrew Congregation, pawnbroker and Navy Agent, lived at no. 12 from 1817-19 and no. 16, 1819-28. He eventually moved to Bath.

Isaac Myers, a slopseller and Navy Agent, lived at no. 40 Bishop Street, 1819-24

9. Site of Aria College - George's Square and 70 Union Street

The Portsmouth Community were to play a significant role in Jewish education with the creation of Aria College in 1873. Aria College was founded with money from the bequest of Lewis Aria who had died in 1858 leaving some £25,000 towards his project. the college was intended for the Jewish Orthodox education of young men from Hampshire, aged 14-17 years old, intending to become Jewish ministers. It was intended that the boys would start their studies at the college (while also pursuing more conventional studies at Portsmouth Grammar School) and to finish their rabbinical studies at Jew's College, London.

The college was first established at St George's Square, but later moved to Union Street. The principals of the college were men of high calibre. The founding principal, Isaac S. Miesels, was educated at Breslau Rabbinical Seminary and Manchester Grammar School and preached at many of the London, Manchester synagogues. He was also assistant Dyan to the Chief Rabbi and was an examiner of London and Provincial Schools.

The Rev. Dr. M. Berlin (b. 1849), was a headmaster of Aria College. He was educated under Chief Rabbi Stern and Dr. Hildersheimer's Seminary. He was also educated at the Royal University College of Berlin and gained his P.H.D. at Halle University.

It turned out that the college could attract too few young men from Hampshire so the trust was eventually opened for all-comers from this country and indeed many of those who went through its doors did not want to go into the Jewish ministry. The college was threatened with closure in 1902 due to low student rolls but it survived. At one point between 1924-8 the college set up its own synagogue due to a dispute with the Queen Street Synagogue. In 1928 it accepted students from around the world. Changes in Jewish education and attitudes meant that the college had to finally close in 1957 as it had too few students to carry on.

On winding up the college in Portsmouth the remaining assets were used to establish a new trust fund, the Aria College Trust, for students at Jew's College.

The college in its time enjoyed an excellent reputation and provided a small but highly esteemed supply of rabbis who served well at home and abroad.

Among the alumni of Aria College was the renowned J.F.Stern, minister of the famous East London Synagogue. Less well known - but representative of the role the college played at home and abroad - was Rev. Solomon Jacobs (b. 1861) who was at various times between 1886-1900, Master at Manchester Jews School, the minister of the Newcastle on Tyne Congregation, the United congregation of Israelites in Jamaica, the Holy Blossom [sic.] Synagogue, Toronto.

Another was the Rev. Samuel Friedburg (his name changed to changed to "Frampton" in 1916) who was the first appointee or "lecturer" in the Liverpool Old Hebrew Congregation under the terms of the Braham Bequest in 1891. He was born in 1862 in Portsmouth and trained at Aria College then took a BA in London University. Before serving at Liverpool he was five years minister at Newcastle and visiting minister to the Shields and Hartlepool Congregation.

Among modern non-ministerial students of Aria College can be numbered Ian Mikardo the well known labour politician of a local family.

10. College Street

Phineas Abrahams, a silversmith, jeweller and Navy Agent was resident in the street in 1814-19. Nathan Abrahams, a Navy Agent, was also there 1816-19.

Isaac Moses, and Elder of the congregation and Navy Agent, resided at no. 30, 1819-21.

11. St George's Square

S.H.Lorie, Financial Agent, was at Rochester House in 1894 and was established in 1849 in both London and Portsea.

12. Ordnance Row

Part of Ordnance Row still survives - a pleasant row of Georgian Houses which had some notable Jewish residents. All the houses from nos. 1 - 14, had Jewish residents at various stages and this was evidently popular and high status place to live for Jews in Portsmouth.

J. Moses, Navy Agent, was at no. 1, from 1816-19. Samuel Moses, a Navy Agent, was at no. 2, from 1809-14, Isaac Moses, Elder of the congregation and Navy Agent, was also at no. 2, from 1821-26. John Emanuel, a Navy Agent, was registered at no. 3, from 1818-25. David Israel, Navy Agent, was registered at no. 5, 1817-20, as was Solomon Solomon, from 1819-21. Mary Elizabeth Jacobs (widow) and Navy Agent was at no. 5, 1824-28. Judah Jacob, slopseller and coach booking office was at no. 6, from circa 1795-1812. Judah Jacobs was found guilty of fraud in 1802 and resigned as a Navy Agent in 1812.

Moses Solomons kept a curiosity shop at no. 8, as well as practicing as a Navy Agent, from 1835-65. Henry Isaacs was at no. 10, 1819-21. Joseph Emanuel, another Navy Agent was at no.12, 1818-25. Daniel de Souza, a grocer and Navy Agent, was at no.10 from 1815-19. Barnett Solomon, Navy agent, was at no. 13, 1814-20. The noted Alderman, A.L.Emanuel lived on Ordnance Row in 1894. H.M.Emanuel, a Jeweller, was at 12 and 13. Marks Weiner, tobacconist, was at no. 14, in 1894 and had established his business in 1887.

13. The first synagogue - Oyster Street

Oyster Street can be found by following Gunwharf Road, past the IOW car ferry into White Hart Road. Oyster Street lies behind White Hart Street just to the south, though the main street access is from High Street around the turn with Broad Street.

The first synagogue in Portsmouth was probably in rented rooms at Oyster Street before 1749. These rooms might have in fact been rented from a pub.

14. Broad Street and the Point

Solomon Alexander, Navy Agent, was at no. 62, 1795-1815. Jacob Nathan, slopseller and navy Agent lived at no. 73, 1809-19. Lewis Moses, slopseller, watch and clock maker, was at no. 94, 1791-1815.

15. Bath Street, the Point

Abraham Franklin, Silver Smith, Navy Agent, was at 13 Bath Square, the Point, 1809-15.

16. The New Synagogue - Thicket Road, Southsea

The foundation stone of the new synagogue was laid in the presence of the Chief Rabbi in 1936. The completed synagogue was opened later the same year. The synagogue was now established in a rather more plush residential suburb of the town.

It consisted of a large Victorian House called "Chilcote" at the front with the new synagogue appended at the rear via a linking vestibule. The new synagogue is of considerable interest, as it is in many respects a copy of the earlier synagogue and includes many of the fixtures from the original building. Therefore the new synagogue has considerable historical interest and resonance.

A glass dome was included above the bimah but was damaged by bomb blast. This was replaced with plaster dome in 1951. Another addition in 1961 was the adaptation of a nieghbouring house (South Lodge) of the building as a community center but was later sold off.

The new synagogue is a light and airy building given its distinctive character by the old appurtenances from the former building. The current synagogue is galleried and has an apse which contains the ark and reading desk.

The ark is a beautiful gilded construction in the classical style, flanked on both sides with double columns. The top of the ark is surmounted by two classical urns at the side and a florid decorative support for the tablets of the Ten Commandments in their turn supporting a Torah crown. Underneath the Ten Commandments is an oval cartouche containing the Hebrew inscription "Nothing was left of the Ark save the tablets" alluding to 1 King, 8: 9.

There are a variety of simple but pleasing chandeliers. The main chandelier is made distinctive by the fact that a dedication plaque hangs from it by a chain!

At the rear of the synagogue above the (now plastic) clock is a Hanoverian coat of arms made of painted cast metal. This feature was almost certainly a patriotic gesture and replicates the coats of arms that were in the past mandatory in all parish churches to show allegiance to the state. While other synagogues have had such devices in the past this is a rare survivor and is unique as it is made of metal rather than wood. It is worth speculating that this may have had its origins in the Portsmouth shipyard as its stylistic features are similar to figurative work at the yard and the fact it is metal suggests that it was probably intended for some sort of exterior use.

The seating is of a simple upright benches divided into seats by arms. There is the traditional lift up lid in the seat for books and religious items. The tops of the dividers and bench backs are hinged to provide a small book rest.

Outside in the foyer is one of the foundation stone of the former synagogue is set in the wall and are in a good state of preservation, even if heavily painted over. Other than the inscription, the Hebrew date of 5540 is given in large Arabic characters and there is a simple and small decorative device in the centre of the rectangular stone.

17. The Esplanade, Clarence Pier, and the Peoples' Park (now Victoria Park)

Alderman Emanuel was influential in the creation of the Esplanade and what was called the Peoples' Park, in Southsea and Portsea respectively. These were created as part of his effort to attract tourists to the town.

Before Emanuel transformed the area the Common at Southsea was, "...a waste, polluted by open drains, and frequently swept over by the sea." However Emanuel had the Clarence Esplanade constructed and then had the common levelled - largely using convict labour. He was one of the major promoters of the Clarence Pier at the Esplanade, as well as for the provision of the railway to Portsea to bring visitors and tourists in. Emanuel also obtained Victoria Park in Portsea from the Board of Ordnance

The Clarence Pier still survives and is at the very North-western end of Clarence Esplanade, and Pier Road, as well as being close to the "Hovertravel" terminal for the Isle of Wight. The sign-posts for the terminal are convenient for finding the esplanade and pier. The Southsea area is still promoted as a tourist destination with a "village atmosphere" with bracing walks, good shopping and night-life.

Victoria Park is just south of the junction of Queen Street and Commercial Street, east of the dock yard.

Thus it can be said that Emanuel Emanuel had a powerful impact on the Landscape and development of Southsea as well as on the development of the port and town at Portsea due to his bringing in of the railway.

18. Grove House, Grove Road South - the residence of Alderman Emanuel

Emanuel's crenelated house still survives in Portsmouth as part of St John's College, a sixth form college. Grove Road South is South , off Elm Grove Road not far off the Thicket and the synagogue.

19. The memorial drinking fountain to Alderman Emanuel - Canoe Lake Gardens, Southsea

Emanuel Emanuel's children set up a drinking fountain recording in their father's honour at Canoe Lake Gardens. The gardens are just east of South Parade Pier, between the fork of Southsea Esplanade and St Helen's Parade.

20. The Cemetery - Fawcett Road

The cemetery was established in 1749. The original was a part of a field adjacent to Lazy Lane, belonging to Wish Farm but was only 25 feet square. The land was granted on a thousand years lease to the community. The four leaseholders named on the document were Benjamin Levy (of Wiesenbaden), an engraver, Mordecai Samuel (of Rodelheim), a Jeweller, Lazarus Moses of Furth, a chapman and Mordecai Moses of Konigsberg, another chapman. Interestingly the path that ran near Lazy Lane and which is now Fawcett Street, was long called "Jew's Lane" before it took its modern name.

The cemetery was extended in 1800, 1844 and 1882. The extension of the cemetery westwards in rectangular strips can be readily traced by the tombstones, breaks in slope and pathways. There is also evidence of a variety of different entries used for the cemetery at different times in its history. The original ohel was rebuilt in brick in 1888. Some of the rebuilding of the boundary walls seem contemporary with this. The caretaker's lodge was demolished in 1961 to create a little more space for interments.

The oldest tombstone - if not the earliest interment in the cemetery - is probably that of "The child Alexander, son of Isaac" dated 1763. Other tombstones include that of Sephardim, one to Grace Rachel (d. 1864), daughter of Moses Henriques, no doubt of member of the famous Henriques family, as well as to a Jamaican Jew, Jacob Bassan (d. 1834). A number of tombstones belonging to the merchants and Navy Agents can be identified. For example close to the path near the entrance is the tombstone to David Barnard. The records show he lived at 67 Hanover Street, Portsea, married to Rebecca and that he was a licensed Navy Agent (1809-32) as well as trading as a pawnbroker and silversmith. He also served as an elder of the congregation and was therefore a leading figure in his community. There is close by another tombstone for Joseph Levy, a Navy Agent in 1814-19.

The new part of the cemetery is less striking but contains tombs of historical interest. A number state that the deceased was a graduate of Aria College, showing how well esteemed the institution was in its time. As to historically important individuals the tombs of Alderman Emanuel Emanuel J.P. (1808-1888), Alderman Henry Michael Emanuel (d. 1880) and Mayor Harry Sotnick can all be readily found. Mayor Sotnick's tomb is exceptional large and visible.

The cemetery has a number of notable features. The main public frontage on Fawcett Road is railed and not walled, giving a good public view into the cemetery. Given the usual efforts to conceal Jewish cemeteries behind high walls one suspects that this "open" design is of social significance and is of a piece with the traditional high visibility that the community maintained in town.

As to the tombstones themselves, among the older bi-lingual tombstones (some of which are very early) is the unique feature that most bear their inscriptions on two sides. On the road side of the stone is the English (often in a cartouche) and on the inner side is the Hebrew. This unique custom may well be of social significance. A cursory view from the street could give the impression this is a Christian or Dissenters grave yard. It is only on entry that the real Hebrew and Jewish character would become obvious. In many ways this can be seen a metaphor for the situation of provincial Anglo-Jews - wishing to be seen as English and integrated on the outside, while wishing to maintain a discreet core Jewish character on the inside.

The oldest tombstones are the most interesting in the cemetery and are of considerable importance as they are among the best Jewish memorials in the country. Most have elaborate and beautiful Hebrew inscriptions. Added to this there are numerous Levitical and Cohanic motifs which are among the best that one is likely to see. Other tombstones also incorporate pseudo-armorial devices, usually punning references to Jewish names. There are also elaborate decorative motifs of drapery and vegetation. In many respects these tombstones are comparable with those in the Old Sephardi Cemetery in London.

The cemetery has a large brick built ohel at the entrance which replaced an earlier structure and contains a dedication plaque taken from its predecessor which is mounted on its south wall. While I was visiting the cemetery I turned over a dressed decorated stone in the classical style which might well be a stray stone left from the door or a cornice of the original ohel.

The cemetery was virtually filled up at the time I visited it. The most recent burial have had to be put in the lines of the paths. There is now a new Jewish section at Catherington Lane, Horndean, outside of Portsmouth.

Fawcett Road is a direct southwards extension of the A2047 (sections named the London Road, Kingston Road, Fratton Road respectively) running North-South across Portsmouth and therefore can be picked up directly by joining the road and heading southwards.

21. Kingston Cemetery (1855-1879) - the second Jewish cemetery

A new municipal Jewish cemetery within Kingston Authority Cemetery was established in 1855 and an ohel built in 1858, by what was then the Portsea Burial Board. The cemetery was apparently founded due to the schism of 1856-60, which created a small new breakaway congregation, the "Hebrew New Congregation". A child, John Emanuel was reburied there in 1879, being one of the causes of original dispute.

The cemetery was also used to bury a Jewish prisoners. One prisoner, Eli Fermi, from Parkhurst Prison on the Isle of Wight was also interred there in 1870 and occasioned a dispute that spilled onto the pages of the Jewish Chronicle. This was because by this time the cemetery had reverted back to the Whites Row synagogue with the end of the secession and the congregation considered that the body had been buried without their authority. Both interments were finally transferred to Fawcett Road in 1879 and the site sold back to the authority.

On visiting the site I was unable to find traces of the cemetery, but according to the contemporary account of Abraham Leon Emanuel, Honorary Prison Visitor, the cemetery adjoined Kingston cemetery and had its own entrance and was divided from it by a wall and iron railings and had originally been set apart by the Home Secretary and the Parish Authorities with the additional sanction of the Chief Rabbi.

However there is still a later Jewish section is the cemetery, at New Road and was used between about 1900-10, and contains around 100 interments. New Road is on the north side of the cemetery.

Kingston cemetery is north along Fawcett Road and Fratton Road is then east off the Fratton Road by St Mary's Road

22. Kingston Prison

Kingston Prison has a distinct role in the Jewish history of the town. In 1865 it was decided that the religious needs of Jewish prisoners in England ought to be met by incarcerating them in the same place to create a religious "congregation" to enable worship and the provision of other needs. The Jewish Association for the Diffusion of Jewish Knowledge negotiated with the Home office and it was agreed that Kingston Prison would be the best location for a Jewish ward in a prison to be set up.

In 1865, 21 prisoners were moved to the prison and a synagogue was specially built by 1868 in Kingston Prison. At this point Abraham Leon Emanuel became Honorary Prison Visitor and acted as the rabbi for the prison community. Relations between Emanuel and the prison authorities were good and even enable special Pesach facilities to be made available to the prisoners. In 1890 the Chief Rabbi found himself in prison there to conduct a special service for the inmates.

By 1894 there were too few Jews in the prison to continue the special provisions and the synagogue was redundant.

The prison is on the other side of the railway line that forms the eastern side of Kingston Cemetery, and the junctions of St Mary's Road and Milton Road.

23. Church Path - off Lake Road and Alexandra Charles Street

By the later 19th century some Portsmouth Jews started to move out from the immediate area around the dock gates and Portsea into suburban areas of Landport and Southsea further east and south. These were many of the newcomers from Eastern Europe, working in tailoring and furniture. The tailors were clustered in Landport and the furnishers and furniture makers in Southsea.

J. Burkeman, a Master tailor of ladies and gentlemen's trade, was established in 1887 and traded at 40, Upper Church Path.

H. Polka traded as a Master tailor at 66, Church Path and was established in 1886.

24. Spring Street

Lesser Zeffertt, was a Master tailor at no. 30 (est. 1875). Spring Street is south of the Cascades shopping Centre.

25. Upper Arundel Street

Another Master tailor in the same area, was Harris Benjamin, at 34, Upper Arundel Street (est. 1875).

26. Somers Road North

Lewis Rubenstein was a Master tailor at no. 24 (est. 1880).

27. Albert Road - east of Elm Grove Road, Southsea

Andrew Wolff, a carver and gilder, lived at no. 90 Albert Road, in 1894. He was representative of a substantial group of Jewish craftsmen, such as cabinet makers who were a large occupational group in the late 19th and early 20th century. Halpern's Guide notes that he was the decorator of the drawing and dining rooms in "Carton Pierre",Southsea.

28. Sussex Street - Southsea

Jacob's and Co. had a furniture and bedding factory at 76-78, Sussex Street (est.1887). They had a shop at 50 Russel Street.

Post a Comment
Submit to this trail