Record

RepositoryArchives
Reference NumberW/PRI
Alternative Reference NumberTH/8262
LevelFonds
Creator_NamePrinces Street Synagogue, Spitalfields
TitleRecords of Princes (later Princelet) Street Synagogue, Spitalfields
Date(s)1884 - 1988
DescriptionScope and Content

The records include the following series:

W/PRI/1 Loyal United Friends Friendly [or Benefit] Society;

W/PRI/2 Marriage Documents;

W/PRI/3 Princes [later Princelet] Street Synagogue-general records;

W/PRI/4 Society for Chanting Psalms and Visiting the Sick;

W/PRI/5 Burial Society of the Federation of Synagogues;

W/PRI/6 Almanacs;

W/PRI/7 Records relating to other Synagogues;

W/PRI/8 Miscellaneous.

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Extent48 files, 36 volumes and 62 items
AdminHistoryThe origins of the Princelet Street Synagogue lie in the foundation, in 1862, of the 'Loyal United Friends Friendly Society' (Chevras Nidvath Chen in Hebrew), by a group of Polish immigrants living in Spitalfields, led by Jacob Davidson of 15-16 Princes Street, bootmaker, and others. One of the aims of the Society was to provide a place of worship for its members, and between 1862 and 1870 premises were rented for this purpose in Fashion Street, Leadenhall Street and Mansell Street in turn.

Early in 1870 number 18 Princes Street (off Brick Lane) was leased and converted into a Synagogue, being consecrated on 4th September 1870. By the early 1890s the building required considerable repairs, which were carried out following a public appeal. The newly repaired building, with an altered façade, was opened on 26th March 1893. In June 1893 the name of the street was changed from Princes Street to Princelet Street; the synagogue was then known as the 'Princes (now Princelet) Street Synagogue', until 1916 when the name changed to the 'Princelet Street Synagogue'. In 1921 the houses in the street were re-numbered, no.18 becoming no.19.

A detailed account of the background and early days of this synagogue can be found in S.Melnick's article Princes (later Princelet) Street Synagogue in Victorian Times (see TH/8262/154). Amongst other things, Mr.Melnick points out that this synagogue was the first purpose-built so-called minor synagogue in London (it was a founder member of the Federation of Minor Synagogues in 1887), and that it is the third oldest purpose-built synagogue building still surviving in London; also, that the 'Society for Chanting the Psalms and Visiting the Sick' (Chevra Tehillim u'mishmorim in Hebrew) was the first such society to be founded in England and the forerunner of a considerable number, all of which seem to have now disappeared (Isaac Kaliski, for many years the Secretary of this Society, was also Secretary of a similar Society in Old Castle Street, as well as being involved in many other local Jewish organisations, which may account for the inclusion of items such as TH/8262/139/1-2 in this collection).

In 1898 the Princelet Street Synagogue was united with the Chevra Mikra of 46 New Court, Fashion Street; in 1909, with the Orzokova Chevra (Chevra Torah) of Booth Street; and in 1941, with the Wilkes Street Synagogue. After the Second World War the local Jewish population declined rapidly; in 1970 the Princelet Street Synagogue amalgamated with the Bethnal Green Synagogue, and in 1980 the freehold on the building at 19 Princelet Street was bought by the Federation of Synagogues, who subsequently sold it to the Spitalfields Historic Buildings Trust. The Spitalfields Heritage Project, formed by the Trust, is gradually restoring the building as a Heritage Centre.

The following records, along with a large number of printed prayer books, etc., of no particular local historical significance, were rescued from 19 Princelet Street and temporarily placed for safekeeping at an out-store of the Museum of London, before being deposited on indefinite loan with Tower Hamlets Local History Library and Archives (The non-local printed items have been returned to 19 Princelet Street).
Access StatusOpen
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