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Historic Barnsbury synagogue handed green plaque after vote

PUBLISHED: 15:43 27 May 2015

How the synagogue looked in 1950

How the synagogue looked in 1950

Archant

Building was Jewish place of worship for nine decades from 1868

The North London Synagogue in 1868 The North London Synagogue in 1868

A historic building that catered to Islington’s Jewish population for 90 years will be honoured with community gong.

Next Thursday, the former site of the North London Synagogue, in what is now John Street, Barnsbury, will become the latest recipient of an Islington Council People’s Plaque after winning a vote.

Cllr Janet Burgess, Islington Council’s executive member for health and wellbeing, said: “We are delighted to be unveiling an Islington People’s Plaque to commemorate the borough’s rich Jewish heritage.”

Consecrated by the Chief Rabbi in 1868, the North London Synagogue was situated in John Street, now Lofting Road, in Barnsbury.

The site of the old building is set to be honoured with a plaque The site of the old building is set to be honoured with a plaque

It served as a place of worship to the Jewish community for 90 years.

The building was designed in Italian style and richly decorated with marble, plaster moulded into the shape of plants, coffered ceilings and stained glass.

During the 19th century London was expanding rapidly and the area north of the Angel, which until then had been quite rural, was transformed by new housing developments and improved transport links. Jewish people who could afford to escape the grime and overcrowding of central London were keen to move into the spacious new suburbs.

By the 1850s, Islington had one of the largest Jewish communities of England. In the souvenir booklet produced for a commemorative service to mark the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II in 1953, the residing Rabbi, Nathan Bergerman, finished his address by desiring ‘that the Synagogue may celebrate its 100th anniversary unimpaired’.

But by the mid-1950s many of the synagogue’s members had moved on, and in 1958, with low attendances and the building in poor condition the synagogue was closed and then demolished. The town hall later constructed flats on the site.

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