UK’s oldest synagogue gets nearly £500,000 to protect its heritage

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UK’s oldest synagogue gets nearly £500,000 to protect its heritage

London's historic Bevis Marks synagogue handed grant from Culture Recovery Fund to safeguard its collection of significant objects.

A ceremony at the Spanish and Portuguese Jews Congregation, at Bevis Marks Synagogue, London in 2015

(C) Blake Ezra Photography 2015.
A ceremony at the Spanish and Portuguese Jews Congregation, at Bevis Marks Synagogue, London in 2015 (C) Blake Ezra Photography 2015.

The UK’s oldest synagogue has been handed nearly £500,000 to protect its heritage.

Bevis Marks Synagogue near Aldgate has received £497,000 from the Government’s Culture Recovery Fund “to protect its collection of significant objects and illuminate the history of the site.”

The Grade I listed building administered by the Spanish and Portuguese Sephardi Community opened in 1701 after the readmission of Jews to Britain in 1656.

The sum for the historic synagogue is among £18m given from the latest round of the fund to 22 heritage organisations and 33 independent cinemas.

“From restoring Georgian lidos and Roman baths to saving local screens and synagogues, our Culture Recovery Fund is helping to save the places people can’t wait to get back to, when it is safe to do so,” said culture secretary, Oliver Dowden.

“All over the country, this funding is protecting the venues that have shaped our history and make us proud of our communities, whilst safeguarding the livelihoods of the people that work in them.”

Construction on the synagogue began in 1699 to the designs of Joseph Avis, an associate of St Paul’s Cathedral mastermind Sir Christopher Wren. It was the second synagogue to be erected in England after the resettlement of 1656.

Heritage activists earlier this month voiced their concern about plans for a 21-storey tower near to the shul, which they feared could alter “the significance and setting” of the synagogue.

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