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Stroud's main claim to note has been as a woolen and worsted producing town in the west of England. The town lies quite dramatically on the steep flanks of a valley and is surprisingly remindful of one of the old woolen towns in the north of England.
In the late 19th century the town expanded into the manufacture of men's clothing and Jews were recruited specific to work as tailors in making these clothes. This brought into being a Jewish community which proved to have both risen and declined faster than virtually any other in the country. The community was established in 1878 and finished by 1908. This was not to say that Jews ceased to live in the town - indeed a few ‘hidden Jews’ remained and experienced considerable heart-ache because of their isolation.
The Jewish history of Stroud starts before 1878, as the town was almost certainly visited by Jewish hawkers and pedlars. Additionally one or two Jews, including a ‘Master Levy of Stroud’, settled in the town before 1844 and were affiliated to Cheltenham synagogue. Some Jews haD also been established in Gloucester from even as early as 1685, even if the presence of the medieval community in that City is excluded.Next