News 09-2009

Middle Street Synagogue: Open Day. Heritage Open Day: "One of Europe's Greatest Synagogues". In 1874, a project for a new synagogue in Brighton was put out to tender. It was won by Thomas Lainson, a well-known local architect and the new synagogue opened in 1875. The exterior has been described as both Byzantine and Romanesque and looks slightly out of place in its side street home. The interior, described by Anthony Dale as amongst the most splendid synagogue interiors in Europe, it certainly is quite spectacular. Sun 13 Sep:1400-1630. Free Entry.

Volunteer

Clean the brass, clean the glass, polish the wood, help the publicity, fundraising, become a tour guide. We need volunteers! We need you! Get in touch right now and become a part of the big family that is the Friends of Middle Street Historic Synagogue

People of all ages and backgrounds are welcome to join us. Be a part of a living piece of history!

Middle Street Historic Synagogue

Brighton's Jewish community dates back to the end of the 18th century. The first Brighton synagogue pre-dates the first Catholic or Methodist places of worship in the city. Brighton Jewish community has played an active part in the history of Brighton for more than two whole centuries.

Middle Street Synagogue was opened in 1875 to meet the needs of the expanding populace and provide a new community focal point even incorporating a school house behind the main building. A great many illustrious names from the 19th century were connected with the place and the building benefited from many a kind benefaction over the years. As a result of this the interior soon became an exemplary high point of the Victorian applied arts.

Middle Street has the finest 19th century decorative interior of any building in Brighton with the sole exception of the Brighton Pavilion. Every year we welcome hundreds and hundreds of people who leave a little more enlightened and usually a little astonished at the hidden jewel of an interior they discovered behind those big mahogany doors.

The fine interior was treasured and preserved over subsequent generations and today still appears much as it did at the turn of the last century. The building is Grade II* listed for this very reason and has been so since 1970.

Presently English Heritage would dearly like to see it preserved and restored for the benefit of future generations and we share that vision. Like many old buildings Middle Street is beginning to show its age and is becoming in need of major remedial works. We hope to see this happen within the next few years. We need volunteers, fundraisers, benefactors, all the help we can get. If you can help and want to get involved get in touch right away.