London's East End Synagogues, cemeteries and more......

My personal journey through the Jewish East End of London


Great Garden Street Synagogue remembered

The Robert Montefiore Children's Synagogue was part of Great Garden Street.  This photo is from the 1950s

The Robert Montefiore Children's Synagogue was part of Great Garden Street.  The photo above is from the 1950s

In treasured memory of Rev Louis Levy Shaposnick, April 20th 1982 - 27th Nissan 5742. A man of unique ability who devoted his life to Great Garden Street Synagogue.  As a gifted orator his profound knowledge of Judaism was expounded with clarity and purpose.  Words do no justice to his spiritual leadership and sincerity shown over a period of 43 years.Federation of Synagogues administrative offices.  Office of Rav Rashi; Beth Din; London Talmud Torah Council; Kashrus Board; Burial Society.Great Garden Street Synagogue in Greatorex Street, London E1 was the Federation of Synagogue's head office.  Great Garden Street Synagogue celebrated its centenary in 1996 and closed shortly after. Jack Shaposnick - son of Reverend Louis Shaposnick, minister of Great Garden Street - informed me that when the building was demolished precious relics were thrown into a skip, and squatters sold much of the remaining interior.  To the right is a photo of the memorial plaque to the late Reverend Louis Shaposnick, and to the left is a photo of the Federation's Great Garden Street head office plaque.  2008 update: the Great Garden Street plaque commemorating the life of Reverend Louis Shaposnick has resurfaced and is now on display inside Nelson Street Synagogue:

Double click photos to enlarge

Great Garden Street Synagogue the top of the Ark.  This area of the building is now an office

Great Garden Street Synagogue, the top of the Ark. This area of the building is now an accountant's office

Plaques from Great Garden Street still preserved in the synagogue's former premises in Greatorex Street

The stained glass window in Great Garden Street located above where the ark used to be - now an accountant's office

The ground floor of Great Garden Street synagogue showing the Ark. The stained glass window was above the Ark

A hidden rear view of Great Garden Street Synagogue. You can just about make out the round stained glass window

Close up of the stained glass window at the rear of the former Great Garden Street Synagogue

Rear of Great Garden Street Synagogue, photographed through railings in Old Montagu Street.

The rear view is the only view which gives any hint that this building was once a synagogue.

Photo was taken in 2001 in a courtyard inside an office building located on the site of Great Garden Street Synagogue.  Various plaques have been preserved and atached to the wall.  Close up photos of the plaques are below.  The photos were kindly supplied by Richard Ford of Shalom FM radioBook plate in Singers prayer book used in Nelson Street Synagogue: 'Presented by S Foreman to the Great Garden Street Synagogue in memory of his dear parents'Photo on left was taken in 2001 in a courtyard inside an office building located on the site of Great Garden Street Synagogue.  Various plaques have been preserved and attached to the wall.  Close up photos of the plaques are in the second line of photos below.  These photos were kindly supplied by Richard Ford of Shalom FM radio.  On the right is a photo of a book plate in a siddur donated in memory of his parents by Mr S Foreman of Great Garden Street.  This siddur is currently in use in nearby Nelson Street synagogue. 

Entrance to Great Garden Street Synagogue in Greatorex Street, London E1 photographed in 2004.

Great Garden Street Synagogue was the head office of the Federation of Synagogues

Great Garden Street Synagogue with the premises of the Kosher Luncheon Club in the foreground - now a small business centre

This photo from the 1950s shows a group of Jewish children about to set off on a coach outing from Gt Garden St Synagogue

Great Garden Street Synagogue plaque reads: This synagogue was re-opened by Sir Stuart Samuel JP MP on Sunday December 13th 1914

1896 Great Garden Street Memorial Stone. Inscription reads: Great Garden Street Synagogue. This memorial stone was laid by Stuart H Samuel esq JP on

the occasion of the consecration August 30th 1896

The 10 commendments, once above the Ark+ plaque which says: Presented in loving memory of Jane Webber who passed away 28th January 1932

A personal reminiscence of Great Garden Street Synagogue submitted by a son of the late Rev Shaposnick of Great Garden Street Synagogue:

Great Garden Street Ketubah (Jewish marriage contract) of my Aunt Dora Lachman's wedding to Avraham Strashney in 1941.  The Reverend Louis Shaposnick officiated"I recall that In its heyday Great Garden Street Shul was always full to the brim, Reverend Louis Shaposnick, son of the famous Rabbi Shaposnick, was educated at Jews College and Davenant Grammar School.  An eloquent English speaker, his speeches were listened to by a full house who hardly dared to cough during its delivery. London Chazanim met there regularly to recite together. Rev Klein, the Shul's Cantor, had a remarkable tenor voice yet could change it into a baritone.  He was followed by another very good Cantor, Chazan Milch, then Chazan Dubiner. The shul was very popular in the 50s, especially with young people.  Weddings took place there every week, and on one Sunday alone, I believe a record number of 16 couples were married there. As people moved away, the shul gradually lost its membership, and eventually could not be sustained, it closed in 1990s."

and...below is a letter about Great Garden Street Synagogue from David L:

"We lived in Hanbury Street and Great Garden Street Shul was one of our "Locals". I was 12 years of age when our family left the East End in 1933. The minister I remember was Rabbi Green, a man of great erudition who used to teach in the yeshiva in Thrawl Street.  His delivery was quiet and modest and he always started his talk with "Meine Freint".  There were other shuls nearby. Dunk Street ran between Hanbury Street and Old Montague Street and was about200 yards in length. It was bisected by Chicksand Street and there were 3 shuls between Hanbury Street and Chicksand Street - Beis Hamedrish Hagodel, the Djikever Shtiebel and Mile End New Town. Each shul had its own character and membership and there was no problem deciding where to daven on Shabbos!"

and...below is another letter about Great Garden Street from Steven S from North London

It was a delight to read some information on Gt. Garden Street Shul. My family and I lived in Evelyn House a block of flats opposite, from 1946 until 1972. My father G-d rest his soul was on the board of management and also took the children’s services. On the high holy days I well remember how crowded the shul was with wooden seats being put into the aisles for the additional congregants, the smelling salts that were carried to revive those overcome with heat or emotion, the ladies in the upstairs gallery crying during the recital of Kol Nidre a very youthful Chazen Dubina and more especially that wonderful man Rev. Shaposnick. My father and I had the honour of having seats next to him by the Ark. What great memories, my Grandparents were members and were married there as were my parents and I was Barmitzvah there. I could go on and on I did love it so.

Phil L - not in the Kosher Luncheon Club!The Kosher Luncheon club - some readers may recall the Kosher Luncheon club that lived on for a few years in part of the former premises of Great Garden Street Synagogue.  It was run by Connie Shack and his partner Louis Morrison - both sadly no longer with us.  I once had lunch there in the early 1990's.  They served the largest pieces of fish fried in matzo meal that I have ever seen!  Sadly the luncheon club also closed a few years ago - Phil (webmaster)

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