Catalogue description Archive of the Brighton Hebrew Congregation; 1824-2002

This record is held by East Sussex and Brighton and Hove Record Office (ESBHRO)

Details of HEB
Reference: HEB
Title: Archive of the Brighton Hebrew Congregation; 1824-2002

Minute books, deeds, registers, burial records, Funeral Expenses Scheme records, congregation membership, accounts, correspondence, Brighton and Hove Jewish Day School records, events diaries and other records


Brighton's first synagogue is though to have been situated in Jew Street. Anthony Dale's Brighton Churches states that this building was in operation from 1792 until c1808 when Brighton's Hebrew congregation relocated to Pounes Court on the eastern side of West Street.


As the community grew it became necessary to find larger, and more permanent premises. In 1823 the congregation took a ninety-nine year lease on a plot of land on the east side of Devonshire Place which, when built in 1825, had seating for upwards of fifty people. By 1836 the £300 needed to purchase the freehold of the building had been found and David Mocatta, the designer of Brighton station, was commissioned to enlarge the building.


Although the numbers of Jewish residents did not grow at a fast pace, the amount of visitors was increasing so greatly that the synagogue was often not large enough to accommodate everyone. However, it was not until 1874 that a new site was found on the east side of Middle Street. The new building was designed by Thomas Lainson, architect to the Goldsmid and Vallence estates at Hove. One of the principal financers of the building, Louis Cohen, laid the foundation stone and the synagogue was dedicated on 23 September 1875 by the chief rabbi, Dr Nathan Adler.


In the late 1960s a sister synagogue was opened in New Church Road, Hove on land bequeathed to the Hebrew congregation by Louis Cohen and numbers attending the new Synagogue steadily grew as the Congregation's population largely came from Hove. Middle Street remains in use but the building is showing signs of deterioration. However, the congregation have recently (2004) received an English Heritage grant which will fund the remedial work necessary to arrest the problems.


Aside from the buildings of the Brighton and Hove Hebrew Congregation there are three other Synagogues in the city owned by Hove Hebrew Congregation (Holland Road), the Progressive Congregation (Lansdowne Road) and the Reform Congregation (Palmeira Avenue). The Hove Congregation broke away in the 1920s following the arrival of Eastern European immigrants who disagreed with the comparatively Anglicised attitudes practised at Middle Street. Conversley, the Congregation of the Progressive Synagogue (formerly Brighton and Hove Liberal Jewish Synagogue) was formed in 1935 by people unhappy with the traditional forms of worship at Middle Street.

Date: 1824-2004
Related material:

For related records see also, deeds of the synagogue at 62 Middle Street, Brighton (Coomber-Street-Brown-Fawkes-Bryan-Tugwell-trustees), 1714-1883 (AMS 5610) and building plans of Middle Street Synagogue, 26 Aug 1874 (DB/D/7/1223). Further records relating to the Jewish Day School are held in the archive of Mrs Myrna Carlebach (ACC 8926). Microfilm copies of the minute books are held as XA 83.

Held by: East Sussex and Brighton and Hove Record Office (ESBHRO), not available at The National Archives
Former reference in its original department: HEB
Language: English

Brighton Hebrew Congregation, East Sussex

Physical description: 120 files
  • Brighton, East Sussex
  • Jews

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