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Identity Statement

Reference code(s): GB 0074 LMA/4456
Held at: London Metropolitan Archives
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Date(s): 1804-2002
Level of description: Collection
Extent: 4.28 linear metres
Name of creator(s): Nightingale x Nightingale House (The Home for Aged Jews)
The Home for Aged Jews


Administrative/Biographical history:

Nightingale (formerly known as Nightingale House and The Home for Aged Jews) was the largest Jewish residential and nursing home in Europe in 2001. As a non-profit making charitable organisation (Registered Charity Number 207316) the Home has been funded by a combination of private and state funding. Nightingale has always been run on Orthodox lines but has been supported by all sections of the Jewish community.

Origins: Nightingale had its origins in three charities, the Hand in Hand Asylum for Decayed Tradesmen (founded 1840), the Widows' Home Asylum (founded 1843) and the Jewish Workhouse also known as the Jewish Home (founded 1871). They were established in the old Jewish quarter in London's East End to cater for the needs of the Jewish poor.

The Poor Law system of workhouses did not embrace the social values, religious and dietary needs of poor members of the Jewish community. Respect and care for the elderly has been a core priority in the teachings of Judaism. A major aim of these Charities therefore was to save aged Jews from starvation and exposure on the streets and from the Workhouse and find places for them where their needs were met.

The Hand in Hand Home occupied the following premises: 5 Duke's Place (from 1843), 22 Jewry Street (from 1850), Wellclose Square (from 1854) and 23 Well Street, Hackney (from 1878). The Widow's Home was first based at 22 Mitre Street, then 19 Duke Street (from 1850), 67 Great Prescott Street, Goodmans Fields (from 1857) and later moved next door to the Hand in Hand in 1880.

The Jewish Workhouse was founded in 1871 by a movement led by Solomon Green, the son of Abraham Green one of the founders of the Widow's Home. The first premises were at 123 Wentworth Street. In 1876 the Home moved to 37-9 Stepney Green.

In 1894, these charities amalgamated as The Home for Aged Jews. In 1896 the combined Homes were based at 23 and 25 Well Street, Hackney and 37 and 39 Stepney Green. Two Medical Officers, a Master and two Matrons cared for 105 residents and were managed by a General Committee, House Committee, Finance Committee, Investigating Committee and Ladies' Committee.

In 1907 The Home for Aged Jews moved to 'Ferndale', Nightingale Lane, Wandsworth Common. The premises had been gifted by Sydney James Stern, Lord Wandsworth, an assimilated English Jew in 1904.

Aims: In 1896, the aims were: 'to provide a Home for, maintain and clothe aged, respectable and indigent persons of the Jewish Religion, who shall have attained the age of 60 years, and shall have been resident in England for at least seven years.'

In 2004 the aims have not changed significantly: 'to relieve persons of the Jewish faith who are not less than 60 years of age and are in need, by providing housing and items, services or facilities calculated to reduce the need of such persons, including special care in cases of infirmity'.

Changing roles: In the early 20th century, the work of the Home moved away from direct rescue work and the alleviation of poverty carried out by the former Charities, to a greater emphasis on care and the improvement of the quality of life for its residents.

Developments were made in care despite continued financial difficulties with annual deficits and falling numbers of subscriptions. Funds for the Home were increasingly augmented by valuable sources of income from collections made by Aid Societies such as the Ezra Society, takings from local cinema screenings and fundraising activities such as bazaars. The introduction of Welfare State legislation and pensions contributed greatly to the Home's income and increasing focus on care.

In-house eye care, ear and dental care facilities were introduced by 1924. In 1949 an Occupational Therapy Department was established in line with contemporary thinking on care for the elderly providing a wide range of activities such as basket weaving and needlework. From the 1950s, residents were increasingly encouraged to participate in activities and a regular programme of social events was provided. By the 1960s the Medical Staff consisted of a Matron, deputy Matron, 12 qualified staff and 30 state enrolled Nurses and Orderlies. The mid 1960s saw relaxations in Orthodox religious restrictions with the introduction of visiting hours on Sabbaths and festivals, and the abolition of compulsory wearing kippot (skull caps) and attendance at religious services.

The Community Care Act 1993 had major implications for the Home. Tha Act encouraged potential residents to continue at their own homes for longer. As a result, residents on their admission to the Home were much frailer and dependent requiring greater levels of nursing and paramedical staff. The average age of residents in 2001 was 88 years.

The later half of 20th century saw major building projects with expansion and modernisation of the site. These included: the building of Asher Corren Wing (1957), Gerald Lipton Centre (2001, formerly the Red Brick Extension opened 1976), Birchlands (formerly occupied by the Jewish Home of Rest) (1980), Jessie and Alfred Cope Wing (redeveloped in 1992), David Clore Art and Craft Centre (1986) and Balint Wing (1987).

In 1960s The Home for Aged Jews became Nightingale House (The Home for Aged Jews). Address: 105 Nightingale Lane, Wandsworth LB. From 1997 the Home was renamed as Nightingale.

In 2001 there were 300 residents. Residential and nursing home facilities included a comprehensive leisure service programme, an Art and Craft Centre, special facilities for those residents with Alzheimer's and other forms of dementia with a reminiscence centre, multi-sensory room, on-site physiotherapy, pharmacy and dental surgery and occupational therapy services, synagogue, coffee shop, hairdressing salon, landscaped gardens, general shop and kosher food service.

Nightingale's goal in the 21st century was to provide loving care and enable residents to experience a 'wonderful quality of life' - whereby they could 'find a new lease of life and whole host of new activities, hobbies and friends'.


Scope and content/abstract:

Records of The Home for Aged Jews (later called Nightingale House and later Nightingale). This collection contains a wide range of records of the Home including minutes, a good set of annual reports, accounts, property and building records, printed material, photographs, film and videos. The archive gives detailed coverage of changes in care work and the life of residents and staff working at Nightingale. Of particular interest are the residents' admission book (1914-1933) and official 'diary' of events (1916) which are a good resource for tracing residents admitted to the Home, and the annual reports (1896-1997) which cover all aspects of the work of the Home including the early introduction of Occupational Therapy and other facilties for residents.

The majority of the archive relates to the later half of the 20th century, although there is a small survival of records from the early period of the Home and its former Charities (from 1879) before its move to Wandsworth in 1907. The minutes include a minute book of the Wandsworth Hospital Group's Jewish Home of Rest, Birchlands Avenue, Wandsworth. The property deeds include deeds of the Farmiloe family, lead and glass merchants of Rochester Row, Westminster.

Access & Use

Language/scripts of material:

System of arrangement:

The records are arranged in the following series:
LMA/4456/01 Committee minutes (1879 967);
LMA/4456/02 Annual reports (1896-1997);
LMA/4456/03 Admission, home and stock books (1912-1968);
LMA/4456/04 Accounts and cash books (1881-1973);
LMA/4456/05 Legacy papers (1939-1975);
LMA/4456/06 Property deeds (1804-1932);
LMA/4456/07 Building surveys and plans ([1980]-1998);
LMA/4456/08 Printed material (1959-2002);
LMA/4456/09 Photographs ([1930]-[1990]);
LMA/4456/10 Films and videos ([1970]-2001).

Conditions governing access:

These records are open to public inspection, although records containing personal information may be subject to closure periods.

Conditions governing reproduction:

Copyright to these records rests with the depositor.

Finding aids:

Please see online catalogues at:

Archival Information

Archival history:

A large proportion of the original archives of the Home were lost in 1970 due to flooding of a basement at Nightingale.

Immediate source of acquisition:

Deposited in July 2003.

Allied Materials

Related material:

Publication note:

See also Library Reference: 20.86 ROB. Title: Nightingale: the story since 1840. Author: Marcus Roberts Published by: Tymsder Publishing, London, 2001.

For further information please consult the LMA Information Leaflet: "Records of the Anglo-Jewish Community at London Metropolitan Archives"; available to download here: (URL correct Feb 2010).

Description Notes

Archivist's note:

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:
Description prepared in March 2010.

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