16 September 2009

UK: Jews of Preston - a new book

Does the UK community of Preston ring a bell in your tree? If so, this new book may be an excellent source of information for your quest.

Lorna Kay has informed Tracing the Tribe of the publication of John Cowell's book, "Furriers, Glaziers, Doctors and Others: A History of the Preston Jewish Community" (2009).
Kay is chairs the Manchester Regional Group of the Jewish Genealogical Society of Great Britain, while Cowell is a member of the Manchester group's committee.

Available in paperback or CD, the more than 200 page book offers detailed information, biographies, tables and more.

She writes that that she sees this as an amazing feat of research documenting a now nearly defunct but once thriving community that had not been documented. Cowell' research included archival and library research and interviews with former residents.

He mined the Jewish Chronicle online archives, local and national newspapers, local directories, birth, death and marriage records, and some surviving archives of the Preston Hebrew Congregation, all after the 1930s.

Many early Jewish residents and regular visitors were dentists. Occupations in the 19th century included opticians, peddlers and hawkers,clothier, and jewellers. From 1881, more Jewish residents arrived (drapers, tailors, bicycle dealer, glazier). From the late 1920s, doctors arrived making this an unusual small community according to the author.

After the 1930s and WWII, European refugees and others from cities in the UK came to Preston. Eventually however, the population declined, the synagogue closed and people moved elsewhere.

The book includes a bibliography and appendices (where people came from, where they went, their occupations and population in the 1911 census). There are short biographies of community members - some surnames are Goodman, Goldberg, Lewis, Schwalb.

Price: The paperback is £9.99 + £1 postage and handling; The CD is £5.25 + £1 postage and handling. For more information or to order the book or CD, contact John Cowell.

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