The History of our community.

The Synagogue was established in 1876; the first community to be developed with the support and backing of the new United Synagogue, which was formed in 1870.

The first Synagogue building was consecrated at the corner of Abbey Road and Marlborough Place. The permanent building was designed by London architect and City of London District Surveyor Hyman Henry Collins in 1882. The original foundation stone was laid by Chief Rabbi Herman Adler.

Between the World Wars Jewish people flocked to the area, solidifying St. John’s Wood’s reputation as a fashionable and safe location for Jewish peo-ple to live. When new flats popped up nearby during the post-war construc-tion boom of the 1950s, more and more Jewish people moved into Central London from the outer suburbs, keen to live close to the West End.

More than a hundred years later, the original building sits to this day on the corner of Marlborough Place and Abbey Road; the only one of H. H. Collins’ eight London synagogues to have escaped demolition.

To accommodate the boom in membership, a new Synagogue and community centre was built at Grove End Road. The community centre opened in 1957 and the Synagogue was completed in 1964 and this continues to be our home to the present day.

In 1913, Chief Rabbi J H Hertz succeeded Chief Rabbi Adler and moved to St. John’s Wood, kickstarting a tradition that would make our community famous around the world. From 1913-2013, the Synagogue served as the Seat of the Chief Rabbi, who resided in nearby Hamilton Terrace. Chief Rabbis Sir Israel Brodie, HaRav Lord Jakobovits and Rabbi Lord Sacks were all regular attendees at our Synagogue.

The Synagogue also has a rich aesthetic history.

The outstanding stained glass windows in the main synagogue sanctuary were designed by the 20th century artist and scholar David Hillman. Hill-man’s masterful windows can be seen in many other London Synagogues and around the world including the Heichal Shlomo Synagogue in Jerusalem. St John’s Wood’s collection of 160 windows is the largest collection of Hill-man windows in the world. Hillman’s command of art together with his knowledge of biblical and talmudic texts left the community with a permanent legacy. His windows remain eye-catching and beautiful to this day.

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