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© Marcus Roberts

Places of interest

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The former synagogue - no. 31- 32 Lansdowne Road
Former Jewish homes, no. 105, 106, and site of the first synagogue - Slad Road
Holloway Bros and Hill Paul Mills - Threadneedle Street
Miscellaneous Sites

1. The former synagogue - no. 31- 32 Lansdowne Road

The former synagogue survives in good condition though much adapted for commercial and domestic use. It was divided into two homes and at the time of writing was an Osteopathic practice and a home. It is located on the flanks of a steep little valley and is partly built into the hill side.

It has a stucco, plainly decorated frontage, with two doors at each side, its most attractive aspect. There is also a side entrance with steps down to the lower level. The doors lead into service passages which project out from the sides of the building. There is evidence that the entrance to no. 31 on the left hand side of the front may be the original entry as the entry to no. 32 is built out of level with the rest of the facade and the brick-work is apparently in a different bond to the rest. In recent years the original sashes in the four windows of the front have been replaced with modern units.

The former synagogue should also be viewed from the road that over looks its rear on the other side of the small valley. This part is terraced into the hill-side and it can be seen that the majority of the building is red-brick with a slate roof. The rear wall originally had six windows the upper two windows were round-headed. The expanses of red-brick wall were once relieved by use of alternate header and stretcher courses of different coloured bricks. The fact that it was never originally a domestic dwelling is suggested by the fact that the side walls have too few windows for a normal dwelling and some windows have been bricked in.

The building was designed by the architect J.P. Lofthouse and was partly based on Cheltenham synagogue, thought the exterior resemblance is only casual in its most basic profile. The Harper Bros. carried out the building work, having not long before completed the now defunct but still surviving, Unitarian chapel, across the road. Like so many synagogues this one was located near a local non-conformist chapel.

The synagogue was of modest proportions, being some 28 feet by 30 feet. It had a lady's gallery at the west end (near the road) a central bimah and an ark raised up and reached by steps at the opposite end. It main architectural feature was a lantern dome which no longer survives. This apparently emulated that at Cheltenham. There was also the more unusual feature of a large room underneath used as a school-room, though one it probably had a variety of uses and would have been a very useful facility. Entry was through a passage from the entrance.

Torode noted some coloured glass left in a window as one of the only indicators of its original use. Henry Bazar, of Cheltenham synagogue related to me that in the early 1990s some wall paper had been uncovered with Hebrew characters written on it - perhaps a remnant of the old school room?

2. Former Jewish homes, no. 105, 106, and site of the first synagogue - Slad Road

Jews lived at a wide variety of locations. No. 105 and 106 Slad Road are typical of the sorts of houses that the Jewish artisans of Stroud lived in. Essentially they lived in the Victorian housing of the Lansdowne area in much the same conditions as their neighbours and fellow artisans. No. 105 was the home of Joseph Goldstein a master tailor who had a family of ten in 1891. He was from Russian Poland and had arrived in Whitechapel in the East End of London in c. 1876, working there for some four years before arriving at Painswick / Stroud in c. 1880. In 1881 he had six hands working for him. No. 105 is the end part of a terrace of three houses off the road up an alley way near the church.

No. 106 was the home of Hyman Levy another master tailor and is again part of a terrace, but in this case the mid-terrace. Levy was also from Poland and had a family of five. Levy had started as a tailors' machinist when he arrived in Stroud by 1881. Both houses of these tailors are a variant on the usual terrace houses in that they have an additional 2nd (attic) storey with short windows. This is very likely to relate to their tailoring work as master tailors.

3. Holloway Bros and Hill Paul Mills - Threadneedle Street

The sites and factories that were formerly the employers of the Jews of Stroud, still survive at the foot of the valley in Stroud. Threadneedle Street, is off Lansdowne Road, via High Street and Bedford Street.

4. Miscellaneous Sites

Jews also lived or worked in the following streets in 1881 and 1891, the street numbers relate to the 1891 survey and are taken from Bernard Susser's study of the Census material. However street numbers cannot always be relied to remain unaltered especially where there has been bombing or developments in the streets, though local fire insurance maps will often give the Victorian numbers if they survive in the local archives. Where street are denoted '91 these occur only in the 1891 survey.

The streets with the largest numbers of Jewish residences were, Slad Road, Middle Street, Bath Place, Nelson Street and Belleview Road.

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