Jewish Communities in Surrey
Despite its proximity to London, Surrey was home to relatively few Jews until the 20th century. However, there is some evidence of Jewish communities in Guildford and Kingston-upon-Thames before the expulsion of the Jews from England in 1290 by Edward I.
Following the re-admission of Jews into England by Oliver Cromwell in 1656, Jewish communities were re-established in London, and the Surrey Quarter Sessions records of the late 18th and early 19th centuries, held at Surrey History Centre, contain a number of references to Jews living in the areas of Bermondsey, Newington and Southwark. During the 19th century, Surrey was home to a number of prominent Jewish families, including the Sassoons of Ashley Park and the De Worms family who lived in Pirbright and Egham.
Other notables included Sir Moses Haim Montefiore (1784-1885) who was Captain of the Surrey Militia from 1810 to 1814. In February 1885, the first successful labour registry in England was established at Egham by Nathaniel Louis Cohen (1847-1913), philanthropist and resident of Englefield Green. In 1914, Leopold Salomons (c.1841-1915), JP, of Norbury Park, Mickleham, gifted Box Hill to the nation.
The Second World War saw the development of Jewish communities in towns such as Staines, Dorking, Woking, Epsom and Addlestone, as the result of evacuation from London. Many of these communities are still in existence although numbers have fallen. Then, as now, those Jews living in Surrey belonged for the most part to institutions such as the United Synagogue (founded in 1870), and the Federation of Synagogues (founded in 1890), whose administrative centres and cemeteries were, and are still, located north of the Thames.
Today, there are the following active communities in Surrey: Guildford (Orthodox – independent); Kingston (Liberal Judaism); Kingston, Surbiton and District (United Synagogue); Richmond (United Synagogue); Staines (United Synagogue); Sutton and District (United Synagogue); and Weybridge, North West Surrey Synagogue (Movement for Reform Judaism).
Sources at Surrey History Centre
In addition, Quarter Sessions papers (dating back to 1659) and Poor Law records contain many thousands of references to individual Jewish inhabitants of the county. For example, the Quarter Sessions process book, 1826-1832 (ref. QS3/5/14) includes a case of riot and assault against Solomon Moses by Israel Israel, labourer, late of Newington, and others, 23 October 1826.
The International Genealogical Index (IGI) contains some Jewish vital records (for example, from the Great and New Synagogues in London). The IGI for England and Wales is available on microfiche at Surrey History Centre or can be searched online on familysearch.
Amongst our archive holdings are records relating to specific Jewish families and communities in Surrey. These include the papers of Leopold Salomons of Norbury Park, and material relating to the Sassoon family of Ashley Park.
In the 1930s and 1940s, a number of schools and homes in Surrey were opened to accommodate Jewish children escaping Nazi oppression. Stoatley Rough in Haslemere was founded by Dr Hilde Lion in 1934, and whilst the school's main archive is held at the London School of Economics, we do hold some records relating to the closure of the school and to reunions of former 'Stoatley Roughians'. Several published reminiscences of the school can also be found in our local studies library.
Rowledge House near Farnham served as a Jewish Bachad hostel for evacuee, refugee, and Kindertransport children from 1942 to 1945. Our archives include film footage and papers relating to the hostel's history and the unveiling of a commemorative plaque in 2012. After the war, Weir Courtney in Lingfield (the home of Sir Benjamin and Lady Drage) served as a hostel for a number of young Holocaust survivors who were cared for by Alice Goldberger and her staff. Details of Jewish children at Weir Courtney in 1947 appear in the Dormansland school registers in our archive, and our library contains published recollections of the hostel and of some of its occupants.
See below for a full list of archive material and published sources held at Surrey History Centre.
Jewish records held elsewhere
University of Southampton
Extensive Anglo-Jewish archive collections held at the University of Southampton include the administrative records of the Norwood Jewish Children's Society and the papers of Sir Moses Haim Montefiore.
Hartley Library, University of Southampton, Highfield, Southampton SO17 1BJ
Tel: 02380 592180 Email: email@example.com
The University of Southampton Jewish Archives Survey can be searched online.
University College London (UCL)
UCL's Jewish Studies Library holds printed, manuscript and archival collections of Hebraica and Judaica which are of national and international importance.
UCL, Arnold Mishcon Reading Room, Gower Street, London, WC1E 6BT
Tel: 020 7679 2598 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Wiener Library is one of the world's leading and most extensive archives on the Holocaust and Nazi era.
The Wiener Library, 29 Russell Square, London WC1B 5DP
Tel: 020 7636 7247
Archives of the Jewish Orphanage, Norwood
Norwood, Broadway House, 80-82 The Broadway, Stanmore, Middlesex, HA7 4HB.
Contact: Records Manager
Tel: 020 8809 8809 Email: email@example.com
Researching Jewish family history
Births, marriages and deaths
For the family historian, the important records held by Jewish communities are marriage authorisations and burial records. Jews do not keep separate records of births, so such information will be found in civil birth registers (GRO indexes), from 1837 onwards.
To discover more about your Jewish ancestors in Surrey from the latter part of the 19th century onwards, it is important to know to which group of synagogues they belonged as this will determine where the marriage authorisations and burial registers are held. Records of the United Synagogue are held by the London Beth Din, and the indexes of burials and some late 19th century marriages can be searched online.
There is a consecrated Jewish section in Guildford Stoke new cemetery and the burial registers are held by Guildford Borough Council.
The Jewish Chronicle, which was first published in 1841, contains announcements of births, marriages, deaths, and tombstone settings, as well as returns of thanks. Archive copies of the Jewish Chronicle are available by subscription.
Denization and naturalisation papers are held at The National Archives in Kew. A denizen paid for Letters Patent to become an English subject, protected by the Crown and English law but still subject to alien rates of tax, unable to vote, hold civil or military office or inherit land. Until 1844, naturalisation could only be granted by the expensive process of a private Act of Parliament, which granted the individual all the rights of natural-born British subjects. In 1844, the procedure for naturalisation was simplified, with power being extended to the Secretary of State, and the Home Office began granting certificates. Further information about naturalisation records can be found online.
Aliens Entry Books, 1794-1921, and Alien Arrivals, 1810-1811 and 1826-1869, which are held at The National Archives, can also be searched on Ancestry.
The Jewish Year Book was first published by the Jewish Chronicle in 1900 and contains statistical data and contact details for local congregations, as well as a list of prominent Jewish people. Copies of The Jewish Year Book, 1947-1998, are held at Surrey History Centre.
The Jewish Chronicle also contains a provincial congregation section with news of local community events.
The Jewish Communities and Records website contains historical information about Jewish provincial communities, including congregations in Surrey.
Useful addresses and web sites for Jewish historical research
- Association of Jewish Refugees (AJR)
- British Jewry genealogical research forum that includes transcripts of some synagogue records
- Federation of Synagogues
- Holocaust Research Centre, Royal Holloway University of London
- International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies Cemetery Project which lists Jewish cemeteries and burial sites by geographic region
- Jewish Genealogical Society of Great Britain (JGSGB)
- JewishGen worldwide genealogy web site
- Jewish Historical Society of England
- Kindertransport Association
- London Beth Din, Adler House, 735 High Road, North Finchley, London N12 0US. Contact: Charles Tucker, Record Keeper, email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Moving Here 200 years of migration to England
Archive holdings at Surrey History Centre
The following are some of the records at Surrey History Centre that contain references to Jews and Jewish communities in Surrey:
- Item ref. 2148/4/1: Hutches Trower (1777-1833), political economist of Shalford: notes on the work of David Ricardo, political economist, born in England in 1772 into a Jewish family which had previously been domiciled in Holland.
- Item ref. 7289/16: family tree and notes relating to the Gutmann (later Goodman) family, Jewish immigrants from Germany and owners of Old Dean Hall, Camberley, 2006.
- Item ref. 7441/Box 3: research papers of Michael Blackman, local historian, on Ashley Park, Walton on Thames, and the families who lived there (including Sassoon), 1960s-1990s.
- Item ref. G52/8/10/1-10: Bray Family of Shere: biographies and accounts of contemporaries of William Bray, solicitor and antiquary, 1770-1810. Includes an account of 'Silva, a Jew',.
Hospitals, schools and institutions
- Item ref. 212/37/46: London, Brighton and South Coast Railway Company: petition of Sir Anthony Rothschild, Bart, Sir Francis Henry Goldsmid, Bart, MP, Henry Levy Keeling, 3 of the trustees of the Jews Hospital, Lower Norwood, Croydon, and Frederick David Goldsmid, MP, President of the Hospital, to the House of Commons, against the London, Brighton and South Coast Railway (Surrey Lines) Bill, nd [?19th cent].
- Item ref. 3131/Box 129: Banstead Urban District Council: building plan for Jewish Aged People's home, Nork Park estate, 1948.
- Item ref. 3521/Box 44: Royal Philanthropic Society, Redhill: correspondence with Julius Carlebach of Norwood Home for Jewish Children, West Norwood, London, relating to his proposed book on English Reformatory Schools in the 19th century, 1958.
- Item ref. 6294/7/29: West Park Hospital, Epsom: Aliens register. On the inside cover of the volume is a list of Jews and Aliens remaining in the hospital on 23 Sep 1938.
- Item ref. 7155/5/13/10: correspondence with Dr Margot Kogut regarding reunion of former Stoatley Rough pupils and unveiling of plaque at Quartermaine, 10 Nov 1990. Also letter from former pupil researching history of school, 1990-1992.
- Item ref. 8552/3658: building plans for Westcott, 'Rokefield': home for the blind. Architect: Lewis Solomon & Son. Owner: [Jewish Blind Society], 1947.
- Item ref. CC317/14: Mayford Approved School, Woking: agreement between the Visitation Committee of the Council of the United Synagogue, the School Board for London and the London County Council relating to the reception of 25 London Jewish boys into Mayford school, 5 May 1899.
- Collection ref. Z/560: Stoatley Rough School, Haslemere: catalogue and commemorative items, 2004-2009. Includes DVD of reunion of former pupils of Stoatley Rough, 2004.
- Collection ref. 185: Wyatt Edgell family of Egham deeds and family papers, 1668-1917. Contains details of conveyances of land to George, Baron de Worms.
- Item ref. 767/13/1: abstract of title of Joseph Sassoon Sassoon to a third share of Ashley Park Estate, Walton on Thames, 1889.
- Collection ref. 2116: Norbury Park Estate, Mickleham: additional title deeds and papers, 1863-1968. Contains papers of Leopold Salomons.
- Item ref. 6529/19: photograph album of views of the house and grounds at Norbury Park taken for Leopold Salomons, who bought the estate in 1890, by D Knights Whittome, photographer to HM The Queen, Epsom and Sutton, 1962.
- Collection ref. 6370: Dr H L Lehmann, historian, of Epsom: papers, c.1976-1989, including relating to Jewish copyholders in Epsom.
- Item ref. 2185/BMB/8/11/2: papers of Bertha Marion Broadwood: copy of The Jewish Intelligencer, proceedings of the London Society for promoting Christianity among Jews. Printed, Oct 1872.
- Collection ref. 8847: North West Surrey Synagogue, Weybridge: papers, including newsletter and information leaflet, 2011.
- Item ref. 6925/2: typescript memoirs of World War II in St John's, Woking, by Mrs B Underwood, née Shapland, of Pirbright, including details of Jewish refugees in Woking, nd [c.2000].
- Item ref. 8666/1: Dormansland Council Junior, Mixed and Infants School, admission register, 1939-1952. Includes Jewish children from concentration camps staying at Weir Courtney Hostel, Lingfield, 1947.
- Collection ref. 9086: the Bachad Hostel for Jewish refugee children at Rowledge House, School Road, Rowledge (1942-1945): film footage and papers relating to the unveiling of a commemorative plaque, 2012.
- Collection ref. Z/448: Weir Courtney, Lingfield: copy photographs, 1946-1949. In 1945-6, Sir Benjamin Drage opened Weir Courtney house to orphaned refugee children from the concentration camps in Europe as they were rescued and moved to Britain to recuperate. The collection contains a photograph of orphaned Jewish children in the garden at Weir Courtney (Z/448/1a).
Custom and practice
- Item ref. 6128/1/190: Banstead Urban District Council: correspondence and papers relating to slaughterhouse licensing and control and meat inspection, including papers relating to the controversy over the Jewish method of slaughtering animals, 1954-1956.
- Item ref. Ac1257/box 2: Godstone Rural District Council: 'Chelsham Place Farm, proposed Jewish burial ground': papers and correspondence relating to public inquiry, 1943; proposal for Croydon Corporation cemetery, 1946. File no 664b.
Information on other relevant records can be found by searching our online Collections Catalogue.
Published sources at Surrey History Centre
- Library ref. 296p: Alexander, Mary, John Boas and Kevin Fryer, A Medieval synagogue in Guildford? (Guildford Museum, 2001).
- Library ref. 942.2LIN: Bateson, Janet H, Around Lingfield at war (Amberley, 2010). Contains chapter on Weir Courtney.
- Library ref. 942.2LIN: Bateson, Janet H, The Holocaust survivors at Weir Courtney, Lingfield (RH7 History Group, 2002).
- Library ref. 942.2: Campling, P J, 'Nathaniel Cohen and the Beginnings of the Labour Exchange Movement in Great Britain,' in Surrey Archaeological Collections Vol LXIX, pp155-167.
- Library ref. 920SAS: Dane, Michael, The Sassoons of Ashley Park (Michael Dane, 1999).
- Library ref. 920: Gaskell, Ernest, Surrey leaders: social and political (Queenhithe, nd). Contains biography and photograph of Nathaniel Louis Cohen.
- Library ref. 940.53: Gilbert, Martin, The boys: the untold story of 732 young concentration camp survivors (Henry Holt, 1997).
- Library ref. 920: Grant J, ed., Surrey Historical Biographical and Pictorial (London and Provincial, nd). Contains a chapter on George, Baron de Worms, and his residence, Milton Park, in Egham, pp 347-350.
- Library ref. 296p: Guildford Museum Excavation Unit, Discovered. A Mediaeval Synagogue in Guildford? (Guildford Museum, 1996).
- Library ref. 920: Hitchin, W E, Surrey at the opening of the twentieth century (Pike, 1907). Contains biographies and photographs of Leopold Salomons, Joseph Sassoon Sassoon and Alfred Joseph Waley of Stone House, Reigate.
- Library ref. 929.3: Joseph, Anthony, My ancestors were Jewish (Society of Genealogists, 2008).
- Library ref. 913GUIp: Keys, David, 'Has England's oldest synagogue been discovered in Guildford' (article translated from Die Welt).
- Library ref. 296: Rich, John, The South London story: a brief history of the South London Liberal Synagogue (South London Liberal Synagogue, 1989).
- Library ref. 940.53: Schellenberg, Walter, The Black book: Sonderfahndungsliste G.B. [Special search list G.B.] (Imperial War Museum, 1989). Contains the names of 2,820 persons, British Subjects and European exiles, who were to be arrested in the event of a successful German invasion.
- Library ref. 929.1: Wenzerul, Rosemary, A guide to Jewish genealogy in the United Kingdom (JGSGB, 2006).
- Library ref. 929.1: Wenzerul, Rosemary, Guide to reading Hebrew inscriptions and documents (JGSGB, 2005)
- Library ref. 929.1089: Wenzerul, Rosemary, Tracing your Jewish ancestors: a guide for family historians (Pen & Sword Family History, 2008).
- Library ref. 371STO: Wolfenden, Barbara, Little Holocaust Survivors; and the English school that saved them (Greenwood World, 2008).
- Library ref. 346.054p: The will of Charles George Maurice de Worms (1969).
- Library ref. 296.65p: Hadashot, newsletter of the Kingston, Surbiton and District Synagogue, December 1965.
For Jewish refugees in Surrey, including Kindertransport, see the Exploring Surrey's Past website.
Photographic portraits of Leopold and Annie Salomons, c.1912 (SHC ref 6529/19)
'New synagogue of the Jews in Walworth Road, Borough' print (from the 'Illustrated London News', 4 May 1867)
Orphaned Jewish children in the garden at Weir Courtney, c.1946. Reproduced courtesy of Hazel Hawkes. (SHC ref Z/448/1a)