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1910 - 1920s

Southend started to emerge as a place where Jews could live comfortably, and Land Agents would regularly advertise this area within East End newspapers, both in English and Yiddish. A group of Jews who were well established in the town purchased some freehold land in Alexandra Road and a building Committee was constituted in 1910. On 9th August 1911 the foundation stone of Alexandra Road Synagogue was laid by the local MP, Sir Charles Henry, in the presence of Chief Rabbi Herman Adler and on 19th May 1912 the Synagogue was officially opened. Following the 1914-18 war a new generation came to live in Southend and gradually spread to the Westcliff area. In 1921 a local architect, Norman Evans, was approached by a break-away ultra-orthodox group to convert a house at 38 Ceylon Road, Westcliff, into a Synagogue. The foundation stone was laid in 1926 and the conversion was completed by 1928. The two congregations continued as separate entities until their amalgamation a few years later, however once the community joined together again services continued to be held at both Alexandra Road and Ceylon Road.

1930 - 1940s

At the time of the outbreak of the Second World War membership of SWHC had increased to about 300 families. At least six Kosher butchers traded in the town and Station Road in Westcliff began to emerge as the centre of Jewish commerce, with shops and businesses serving the growing Jewish population. The children of the Jewish community had many clubs to attend, such as the Study Circle, the Literary and Debating Society and Scouts, among others. The wars years disrupted the Congregation almost completely as very few people remained in the town due to evacuation, with only a dedicated handful remaining to maintain some sort of Jewish life. Jewish Soldiers from all over the country stationed at the Barracks in Shoeburyness were welcomed at services in Alexandra Road. When the religious education classes were re-opened in Southend in 1944 there were only ten children on the roll but within two years the Community began to function normally again. The Southend Association of Jewish Youth re-constituted as an individual social club with separate activities for table tennis, dramatics, debating and cricket, and Sunday night was the highlight of the week holding a social evening with dancing.

From 1946 a separate Jewish community was formed as part of the Liberal Jewish movement and meetings were initially held at 149a Leigh Road, Leigh on Sea. This hall was inaugurated as the Liberal Synagogue in 1947. Interestingly this location is now the local Jehovah Witness' meeting hall.

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