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 to 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 to 1913), philanthropist and resident of Englefield Green. In 1914, Leopold Salomons (circa 1841 to 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
Surrey History Centre does not hold any synagogue records (see researching Jewish family history below), so finding references to Jewish families and individuals living in Surrey may require some strenuous detective work! However, records of Jews living in Surrey can be found in census returns, in the General Register Office (GRO) indexes of births, marriage and deaths, and in electoral registers. Surrey History Centre holds Surrey census returns from 1841 to 1901; GRO indexes from 1880 to 1930, and electoral registers from 1832. The 1841 to 1911 censuses, 1939 Register, GRO indexes and Surrey electoral registers, 1832 to 1962, can also be searched on Ancestry and Findmypast which are available free of charge on our searchroom computers.
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 to 1832 (reference 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.
The website of Stoatley Rough School Historical Trust is now hosted on our Exploring Surrey's Past website. It includes photographs of former pupils, biographies of staff members, a history of the development of the school and description of courses taught, together with archive film footage from 1938.
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. The story of Rowledge House Hostel is told in a YouTube video.
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. We have digital copies of the Alice Goldberger papers held at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. 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.
Additionally, the Parkes Library (on level 4 of the Hartley Library) is a major resource for the study of Jewish/non-Jewish relations across the ages.
Hartley Library, University of Southampton, Highfield, Southampton SO17 1BJ
Telephone: 02380 592721 Email: email@example.com
University College London (UCL)
UCL's Hebrew and Jewish Studies collection contains holds printed, manuscript and archival collections of Hebraica and Judaica which are of national and international importance.
UCL Main Library, Wilkins Building, Gower Street, WC1E 6BT
Telephone: 020 7679 7792, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Wiener Holocaust Library
The Wiener Holocaust Library is one of the world's leading and most extensive archives on the Holocaust and Nazi era.
The Wiener Holocaust Library, 29 Russell Square, London WC1B 5DP
Telephone: 020 7636 7247, Email: email@example.com
Archives of the Jewish Orphanage, Norwood
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 marriage authorisation records, 1880 to 1922, 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; contact Bereavement Services.
The Jewish Chronicle, which was first published in 1841, contains announcements of births, marriages, deaths, and tombstone settings, as well as returns of thanks. Digitised archive copies of the Jewish Chronicle can be viewed online (registration required).
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 to 1921, and Alien Arrivals, 1810 to 1811 and 1826 to 1869, which are held at The National Archives, can also be searched on Ancestry.
The London Gazette also published notices of naturalisations in the late nineteenth and the early twentieth century.
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 to 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.
First World War
The British Jewry Book Of Honour, 1914 to 1920, which honours the 50,000 Jews who served in the British and colonial forces during the First World War, can be searched on Findmypast.
We Were There Too documents and commemorates the contribution British Jews made during the First World War.
Surrey In The Great War includes information on the Jewish community in Surrey during the war.
Second World War
Alien registration cards, including details of internments in the UK, can be searched and browsed on Ancestry and Findmypast. Learn more about the internment of Jewish refugees in Britain.
Kempton Park and Lingfield internment camps, and the experiences of individuals who were held at these camps, feature in British Internment and the Internment of Britons: Second World War Camps, History and Heritage, ed. Gilly Carr and Rachel Pistol (2023). The chapter by Dr Pistol is available to read online.
Useful addresses and websites for Jewish historical research
- Association of Jewish Refugees (AJR) including digital copies of the AJR Journal (1946 to current issue)
- British Jewry genealogical research forum that includes transcripts of some synagogue records
- Federation of Synagogues
- Generation2Generation enabling the continuation of Holocaust Testimony
- Hidden Treasures: celebrating Jewish archives in Britain
- Holocaust Memorial Day Trust
- Holocaust Research Institute, Royal Holloway University of London
- Holocaust Survivors '45 Aid Society. Information about a group of over 700 child Holocaust survivors who were brought to the UK after the end of the Second World War.
- Insiders/Outsiders. Nationwide arts festival celebrating refugees from Nazi Europe and their contribution to British culture
- International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies Cemetery Project which lists Jewish cemeteries and burial sites by geographic region
- Jewish Country Houses
- Jewish Genealogical Society of Great Britain (JGSGB)
- JewishGen worldwide genealogy website
- Jewish Historical Society of England
- Jewish Museum, London (temporarily closed to the public, but still available online)
- Jewish people and communities in Britain and its former colonies, research guide on The National Archives website
- Kindertransport Association
- Leo Baeck Institute London for the study of German-Jewish history and culture
- Liberal Judaism Historical Archive
- London Beth Din, Adler House, 735 High Road, North Finchley, London N12 0US. Contact: Charles Tucker, Record Keeper, email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Manx National Heritage: internment during the Second World War on the Isle of Man
- Merseyside Jewish community records at Liverpool Record Office
- Migration Museum, London
- Moving Here 200 years of migration to England (archived website)
- National Holocaust Centre and Museum
- Ordinary Objects, Extraordinary Journeys
- Records of the Anglo Jewish Community at London Metropolitan Archives
- Yerusha online platform which unites Jewish archival heritage held in hundreds of archives, libraries and museums across Europe
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. Some records may be subject to access restrictions:
- Hutches Trower (1777 to 1833), political economist of Shalford: notes on the work of David Ricardo, political economist (reference 2148/4/1). Ricardo was born in England in 1772 into a Jewish family which had previously been domiciled in Holland.
- Family tree and notes relating to the Gutmann (later Goodman) family, Jewish immigrants from Germany and owners of Old Dean Hall, Camberley, 2006 (reference 7289/17).
- Research papers of Michael Blackman, local historian, on Ashley Park, Walton on Thames, and the Sassoon family, 1960s to 1990s (reference 7441/Box3).
- Print-out of the illustrated biography of Hortense Marianne Pauline Gordon, née Heidenfeld (1920 to 2019) (reference 9086/9). Gordon was a Jewish refugee from Breslau who worked as a cook at the home of the Hunt family at Cheniston, Farnham, before training as a nurse at Carshalton Hospital, 2022. Also CD of Powerpoint slide presentation commemorating her life, compiled by her son-in-law, circa 2019 (reference 9086/10).
- Sergeant Julius Dubora, East Surrey Regiment and the Nigerian Chindits: records including army service papers and letters to his wife during World War II, 1940 to 1986 (reference 10374).
- Bray Family of Shere: biographies and accounts of contemporaries of William Bray, solicitor and antiquary, 1770 to 1810 (reference G52/8/10/1-10). Includes an account of 'Silva, a Jew'.
- Marian Hemar (1901 to 1972), polish poet, playwright, composer and broadcaster, of Coldharbour (reference Z/676). Comprises digital prints of photographs and papers relating to his life in Surrey and commemorative concert, 1930s to 2017.
Hospitals, schools and institutions
- Petition to the House of Commons, against the London, Brighton and South Coast Railway (Surrey Lines) Bill, 19th century (reference 212/37/46). This was organised by 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.
- Banstead Urban District Council: building plan for Jewish Aged People's home, Nork Park estate, 1948 (reference 3131/Box129).
- Royal Philanthropic Society, Redhill: correspondence with Julius Carlebach of Norwood Home for Jewish Children, West Norwood, London (reference 3521/Box44), relating to his proposed book on English Reformatory Schools in the 19th century, 1958.
- West Park Hospital, Epsom: Aliens register, 1924 to 1961 (reference 6294/7/29). On the inside cover of the volume is a list of Jews and Aliens remaining in the hospital on 23 Sep 1938.
- Isador Caplan (1912 to 1995) of Richmond, solicitor and campaigner: private papers, (1766) to 1994 (reference 6563).
- Ockenden Venture correspondence with Dr Margot Kogut regarding reunion of former Stoatley Rough pupils and unveiling of plaque at Quartermaine, 10 Nov 1990 (reference 7155/5/13/10). Also letter from former pupil researching history of school, 1990 to 1992.
- Building plans for Westcott, 'Rokefield': home for the blind. Architect: Lewis Solomon and Son. Owner: [Jewish Blind Society], 1947 (reference 8552/1/3658). (See also references 8552/1/3601, 8552/1/4130, 8552/1/4210 and 8552/1/4914).
- Papers relating to Stoatley Rough School, Haslemere: including signed visitors' book on the occasion of the 'Stoatley Roughians' reunion in Haslemere, Nov 1990 (reference 9642/27).
- Finnart House School, Weybridge: colour slides of boys and of school buildings, 1962 (reference 10017).
- Mayford Approved School, Woking: reception of 25 London Jewish boys into Mayford school, 5 May 1899 (reference CC317/14). This was as a result of an agreement between the Visitation Committee of the Council of the United Synagogue, the School Board for London and the London County Council.
- Stoatley Rough School, Haslemere: catalogue and commemorative items, 2004 to 2009. Includes DVD of reunion of former pupils of Stoatley Rough, 2004 (reference Z/560).
- John (Hans) Goldmeier, 1928 to 2002: material including relating to Stoatley Rough School, Haslemere, 1900 to 2002 (reference Z/635).
- Wyatt Edgell family of Egham deeds and family papers, 1668 to 1917. Contains details of conveyances of land to George, Baron de Worms (reference 185).
- Abstract of title of Joseph Sassoon Sassoon to a third share of Ashley Park Estate, Walton on Thames, 1889 (reference 767/13/1).
- Norbury Park Estate, Mickleham: additional title deeds and papers, 1863 to 1968. Contains papers of Leopold Salomons (reference 2116).
- First-floor plan and elevation of proposed lodge at Chilworth, Surrey, for Sir Philip Magnus, Feb 1891 (reference 5118/5/3/1/187).
- Fan Court Estate, Chertsey: deeds and papers relating to the lands of Sir Edward Stern, Bart, Dl, 1824 to 1934 (reference 6153).
- Photograph album of views of the house and grounds at Norbury Park, 1962, taken for Leopold Salomons, who bought the estate in 1890 (reference 6529/19).
- Dr H L Lehmann, historian, of Epsom: papers, circa1976 to 1989, including relating to Jewish copyholders in Epsom (reference 6370).
- Edward Henrik Hartry (1920 to 1967) and Teresa Krystyna Hartry (1927 to 2002), architects of Woking: papers relating to properties in Maybury, Woking, and in Horsell, 1962 to 2017 (reference 9878).
- Copy of The Jewish Intelligencer, proceedings of the London Society for promoting Christianity among Jews. Printed, Oct 1872 (reference 2185/BMB/8/11/2).
- Correspondence and papers concerning a complaint of anti-Semitism against Royal Mid-Surrey Golf Club, 1943 (reference 8148/21).
- North West Surrey Synagogue, Weybridge: papers, including newsletter and information leaflet, 2011 (reference 8847).
- Kingston Synagogues: records including relating to Holocaust Memorial Day commemorations, 2011 to 2018 (reference 9317).
- 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 [circa 2000] (reference 6925/2).
- Dormansland Council Junior, Mixed and Infants School, admission register, 1939 to 1952 (reference 8666/1), including Jewish children from concentration camps staying at Weir Courtney Hostel, Lingfield, 1947.
- The Bachad Hostel for Jewish refugee children at Rowledge House, School Road, Rowledge (1942 to 1945) (reference 9086), including film footage and papers relating to the unveiling of a commemorative plaque, 2012; papers relating to a tree planting ceremony at Rowledge Primary School to mark the 80th anniversary of the Association of Jewish refugees, 2022.
- Arthur and Maria Blum of Coulsdon: Austrian and British identity and registration papers, 1922 to 1966 (reference 9995).
- Eva Liebermann, Stoatley Rough School, Haslemere: family correspondence, 1942 to 1943 (reference 10172).
- Weir Courtney, Lingfield: copy photographs, 1946 to 1949 (reference Z/448). In 1945, 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 (reference Z/448/1a).
- Weir Courtney, Lingfield: photographs of child Holocaust survivors, 1940s (reference Z/615).
- Alice Goldberger Of Berlin, 1897 to 1986: Material Relating To Weir Courtney, Lingfield, And Lingfield House, Isleworth, 1945 to 1990 (reference Z/634).
- Karl Löwit (1887 to 1965) of Bohemia and Surrey: 'An English Journal', 1938 to 1941 (reference Z/707).
- Lore Segal (née Groszmann), author: email correspondence with Jane Allison of Sydney Road, Guildford, 2020 (reference Z/760), relating to her experiences as a Kindertransport refugee In Guildford during the Second World War.
Custom and practice
- Banstead Urban District Council: correspondence and papers relating to slaughterhouse licensing and control and meat inspection (reference 6128/1/190), including papers relating to the controversy over the Jewish method of slaughtering animals, 1954 to 1956.
- 'The Jews. Some Plain Facts'. Published by the Trades Advisory Council of British Jewry to promote accurate understanding of Jews (reference 10374/8). Includes description of the contribution of Jewish military men. 7th edition, Feb 1946.
- Godstone Rural District Council: papers and correspondence relating to Chelsham Place Farm, proposed Jewish burial ground, 1943 (reference Ac1257/Box2).
Information on other relevant records can be found by searching our online Collections Catalogue.
Published sources at Surrey History Centre
- Library reference 296p: Alexander, Mary, John Boas and Kevin Fryer, A Medieval synagogue in Guildford? (Guildford Museum, 2001).
- Library reference 942.2LIN: Bateson, Janet H, Around Lingfield at war (Amberley, 2010). Contains chapter on Weir Courtney.
- Library reference 942.2LIN: Bateson, Janet H, The Holocaust survivors at Weir Courtney, Lingfield (RH7 History Group, 2002).
- Library reference 942.2: Campling, P J, 'Nathaniel Cohen and the Beginnings of the Labour Exchange Movement in Great Britain,' in Surrey Archaeological Collections Vol LXIX, pages 155 to 167.
- Library reference 920COH: Cohen, Roger, The girl from Human Street: ghosts of memory in a Jewish family (Bloomsbury, 2015).
- Library reference 920SAS: Dane, Michael, The Sassoons of Ashley Park (Michael Dane, 1999).
- Library reference 920: Gaskell, Ernest, Surrey leaders: social and political (Queenhithe, nd). Contains biography and photograph of Nathaniel Louis Cohen.
- Library reference 940.53: Gilbert, Martin, The boys: the untold story of 732 young concentration camp survivors (Henry Holt, 1997).
- Library reference 940.5318 WAR: Gold, Michele M, Memories that won't go away: a tribute to the children of the Kindertransport. (Kotrim, 2014).
- Library reference 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, pages 347 to 350.
- Library reference 920WOR: Grimshaw, James, An intelligent tory. The rags-to-riches story of influential politician Henry de Worms, 1840 to 1903. (Book Guild, 2014).
- Library reference 296p: Guildford Museum Excavation Unit, Discovered. A Mediaeval Synagogue in Guildford? (Guildford Museum, 1996).
- Library reference 920HER: Herzbaum, Edward H, Lost between worlds. (Matador, 2010).
- Library reference 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 reference 929.3: Joseph, Anthony, My ancestors were Jewish (Society of Genealogists, 2008).
- Library reference 913GUIp: Keys, David, 'Has England's oldest synagogue been discovered in Guildford' (article translated from Die Welt).
- Library reference 940.5318: Leverton, Bertha and Lowensohn, Shmuel, I came alone: the stories of the Kindertransports (Book Guild, 1990).
- Library reference 920LOE: Loeser, Hans F, Hans's story (iUniverse, 2007).
- Library reference 940.5318: Moskovitz, Sarah, Love despite hate: child survivors of the Holocaust and their adult lives (Schocken Books, 1983).
- Library reference 296: Rich, John, The South London story: a brief history of the South London Liberal Synagogue (South London Liberal Synagogue, 1989).
- Library reference 296.09: Rubinstein, W. D., The Palgrave dictionary of Anglo-Jewish history (Palgrave Macmillan, 2010).
- Library reference 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 reference 920SEG: Segal, Lore, Other people's houses: a novel (Sort Of Books, 2018). Includes a fictionalised account of Lore Segal's time in Guildford during the Second World War.
- Library reference 929.1: Wenzerul, Rosemary, A guide to Jewish genealogy in the United Kingdom (JGSGB, 2006).
- Library reference 929.1: Wenzerul, Rosemary, Guide to reading Hebrew inscriptions and documents (JGSGB, 2005)
- Library reference 929.1089: Wenzerul, Rosemary, Tracing your Jewish ancestors: a guide for family historians (Pen and Sword Family History, 2008).
- Library reference 371STO: Wolfenden, Barbara, Little Holocaust Survivors; and the English school that saved them (Greenwood World, 2008).
- Library reference 346.054p: The will of Charles George Maurice de Worms (1969).
- Library reference 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, circa 1912 (reference 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, circa 1946 (reference Z/448/1a). Reproduced courtesy of Hazel Hawkes.