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London Metropolitan Archives



Reference code(s): GB 0074 ACC/2712/HPS

Held at: London Metropolitan Archives


Date(s): 1883-2007

Level of description: sub-fonds

Extent: 6.2 linear metres

Name of creator(s): Hampstead Synagogue


Administrative/Biographical history:

Herbert Bentwich, a member of St John's Wood Synagogue was the first to suggest building a new synagogue to serve the growing Jewish population of Hampstead. He convened a meeting in May 1889 of interested parties to discuss the issue. The original ideals of the members of this 'provisional committee' fell between those of the orthodox and reform Jewish traditions, although Bentwich was in favour of the orthodox tradition. Eventually it was agreed that the new congregation would join the United Synagogue and adopt orthodox practices.

The synagogue itself was built by the architect Delissa Joseph, Bentwich's brother-in-law, on a site at the corner of Dennington Park Road and West End Lane. The foundation stone was laid in March 1892 by the vice-president of the United Synagogue. The building was extended in 1900 to add more seating.

Hampstead Synagogue achieved many concessions from the Chief Rabbi with regard to the form of rituals and services, including agreement to the consecration of girls, which began at the synagogue in 1965. Music has always been very important at Hampstead Synagogue and despite not being allowed to perform at the consecration of the synagogue itself, a mixed-sex choir performed at services with tacit agreement from the Chief Rabbi until it was disbanded in 1986. Samuel Alman, who was choirmaster at the synagogue from 1916, composed many new settings for songs used in services, many of which were composed for use at Hampstead.

The synagogue's Ladies Guild was formed in October 1892. Its objectives were to make and collect garments for the poor, promote welfare work in Hampstead and to carry out visitation work in the East End of London.

Hebrew religious education was another important aspect of Hampstead's work and A.A. Green, minister at Hampstead from the beginning, ran the classes. After requests from his advanced class, Reverend Green agreed to invite speakers on the New Testament to the classes. The Chief Rabbi did not disallow the practice but after strong protests from the Jewish community it was abandoned in December 1921.

A community centre was built on land adjoining the synagogue between 1962 and 1965 and the synagogue itself underwent a major refurbishment between 2005 and 2009.


Scope and content/abstract:

Records of Hampstead Synagogue, Dennington Park Road, Hampstead, including minutes of Board of Management and committees; early correspondence relating to the founding of the synagogue; administrative files for the synagogue and its community Centre; annual reports; membership records; Ladies Guild records; material relating to music provision; synagogue magazines; orders of service; brochures and ephemera; photographs.


Language/scripts of material: English and Hebrew

System of arrangement:

ACC/2712/HPS/01 - Minutes
ACC/2712/HPS/02 - Administration
ACC/2712/HPS/03 - Annual reports
ACC/2712/HPS/04 - Membership
ACC/2712/HPS/05 - Services
ACC/2712/HPS/06 - Synagogue music
ACC/2712/HPS/07 - Ladies Guild
ACC/2712/HPS/08 - United Synagogue
ACC/2712/HPS/09 - Hampstead Literary and Debating Society
ACC/2712/HPS/10 - Printed material
ACC/2712/HPS/11 - Photographs

Conditions governing access:

Access by written permission only

Conditions governing reproduction:

Copyright is held by the depositor.

Finding aids:

Please see online catalogues at:


Archival history:

Immediate source of acquisition:

Deposited in February 2014


DESCRIPTION NOTES Rules or conventions: Compiled in compliance with General International Standard Archival Description, ISAD(G), second edition, 2000; National Council on Archives Rules for the Construction of Personal, Place and Corporate Names, 1997.

Date(s) of descriptions: Added August 2014.

Jewish | Cultural identity
Orthodox Judaism | Judaism | Ancient religions | Religions
Synagogue services | Religious practice | Religious activities
Synagogues | Religious buildings | Buildings | Architecture

Personal names

Corporate names
Hampstead Synagogue

Hampstead | London | England | UK | Western Europe | Europe