13 June 2009

UK: Sunderland's last synagogue for sale

Sunderland's last synagogue held its final service three years ago and had been empty since.

The first area congregations were formed in 1768, and one of the first constructed buildings was in Moor Street, around 1861. There was a Hebrew school and a kosher butcher.

Moor Street's jubilee was in 1911 and the community marked the occasion by raising funds to build the new synagogue in Rhyhope Road. Some 250 families were members.

When the Ryhope Road (Hendon) synagogue closed three years ago, the religious artifacts, including the Torah scrolls were distributed to synagogues around the UK.

However, the listed building could find a new lease on life according to a story in the Sunderland Echo.

Designed in the 1920s by Marcus K Glass, a little-known Jewish architect from Newcastle, the grade-two listed building has survived a number of vandal attacks since its closure.

Fire almost destroyed a smaller school attached to the main building, which is not listed.

But estate agents Knight Frank say news of the sale has already sparked interest, with an asking price of £295,000 to buy or £27,500 annual rent.
Still featured are the stained glass windows, original wooden doors and flooring, entrance lobby with original staircases to the upper women's galleries, a prayer hall and dark oak pews.

For more information, read the complete story at the link above.

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