Monday, January 01, 2007
South East London Synagogue
This must be one of the great lost buildings of New Cross - the South East London Synagogue in New Cross Road, where the Jehovah's Witnesses Kingdom Hall now stands.
According to Jewish Communities & Records, this building was consecrated in March 1905 and was destroyed by a German air raid on 27 December 1940. After this the congregation moved temporarily to 117 Lewisham Way (recently known as the Elephant house and demolished just last month). It 'returned to its original site in 1946, first to a temporary hut and then to new purpose-built synagogue in 1956'. However the congregation went into decline and it closed in 1985, by which time it only had 56 male members compared with 294 in 1939.
Afterwards the old synagogue was squatted for a while and used as a rehearsal space for Test Department, among others. I assume the 1950s building must have then been demolished, because the Jehovahs Witnesses hall looks more recent (correct me if I am wrong).
The synagogue seems have been started by Ashkenazi jews from eastern Europe living locally. Services started in a house in 452 New Cross Road in 1888, and then moved to two rooms in Nettleton Road, followed by a hut in in 1889 Lausanne Road until the building above was opened.
Credits - picture comes from South London Liberal Synagogue - I believe this is the earlier building rather than the 1950s one.