Singers Hill Synagogue

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Description:The creation of a new synagogue at Singers Hill in the 1850s was at least in part an attempt to bring the group back together again, but it was a risky venture. First the sheer cost of the building - £10,000 - would leave the Hebrew community in debt for almost twenty years, and second because the choice of the architect and design suggested that the communty was now buying into the culture and life of Victorian Birmingham. For the architect, Yeoville Thomason, it was a huge commission that would later gain him enough prestige to bid for and win the competition to design the Council House. But he was only 29 years old, not himself a Jew, and with roots in Italian and neo-classical architecture, hardly the usual grounding for the designer of a synagogue. That Singers Hill is now considered one of the finest Judaic buildings in Britain, a “cathedral” among synagogues is itself a tribute to the ingenuity with which he reconciled architectural style with liturgic demands. When the Chief Rabbi, Dr Nathan Adler, came to give the first sermon in the new synagogue on September 24 1856, he called it “an honour to the architect, a glory to the community and an ornament to the town”. His words were remarkably similar to those used by the non-conformist preacher, George Dawson, at the opening of the reference library nine years later.


Creators: Warwickshire Photographic Survey - Creator

Image courtesy of: Birmingham Libraries

Donor ref:Local Studies Dept - Wark Photo Survey WK-B11-4090 (60/7702)

Source: Birmingham Libraries

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