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The Jews in Hull, between 1766 and 1880

Israel Finestein

<plain_text><page sequence="1">The Jews in Hull, between 1766 and 1880 ISRAEL FINESTEIN The increasing number of Jews who entered Britain in the second half of the eighteenth century was reflected in the expansion of the London Jewish com? munity and in the creation or expansion of provincial centres. Immigration was intensified under the impact of threats of expulsion from Prague in the mid 1740s; the discriminatory taxation of Jews in Prussia in the 1750s; outbreaks of violence against Jews in the Ukraine in 1763; and the Russian incorporation of the major part of Poland on the partitions of that country from 1772. Among growing numbers of Jews who branched out along the roads of Eng? land, Hull, as a thriving port and market town, was an attraction for the itinerant tradesmen, and in due course a likely place in which to settle. It might not at first have seemed an easy point of call or a satisfactory base, in view of its geographical location in the eastern corner of Yorkshire and cut off from the south by the Humber. Yet, as the principal port in the northeast, the largest town in the county and a place of acclaimed rising prosperity, visits could not sensibly be avoided, nor could the commercial travels around the wide country? side which it served. Hull was not only (next to London) the major point of arrival into England from the Continent, but was also rapidly developing as an important outlet to the Baltic and elsewhere for the manufacturing produce of the Midlands and the North. It progressively grew in population. This was estimated by William Turner, in his Guide to Hull (1805), to be 29,500. By 1851 that figure had more than doubled. The canals enhanced the value of the Humber to foreign trade both ways. In particular, the completion in 1816 of the trans-Pennine canal system widened the area for which Hull was the most convenient port. In 1815 there arrived in Hull the first steam packet to sail up the Humber, a herald of cheaper and quicker access to and from the Continent, which expanded both local business life and the pace of immigration into and through Hull. The building of three great docks in the city (1778, 1809 and 1829) demonstrated * This paper is an extended version of the author's lectures on the subject to the Society in London and to the Leeds Branch, and incorporates sections of the author's addresses on the subject to the Jewish Genealogical Society and at the 'Jewish Way of Life and Local Jewish History Exhibition' (1984), held in Hull under the auspices of the Board of Deputies and the Hull Jewish Representative Council, organized by the late Jack Lennard and others. 33</page><page sequence="2">Israel Finestein and facilitated her continuous rise in manufacture and trade, both coastal and export. In some respects, Hull Jewry classically illustrates the history of provincial Anglo-Jewry. In certain ways there were also some analogies in structure and inner tensions with the far larger and more complex community of London. Yet throughout, the Hull Jewish community had and has its own distinctive histor? ical, geographical and social contexts. On i September 1882 the Jewish Chronicle commented that after 1771 the number of Jews in Hull would seem to have diminished. For this problematic conclusion the editor, basing himself on State papers, referred to the Govern? ment's request to the Great Synagogue in London to use its influence 'to prevent the too frequent importation of vagrant and vagabond Jews who cannot be con? sidered either as useful or as beneficial to society'. In a reply dated 17 December 1771 to this vaguely worded invitation, N. H. Myers, the principal warden, on the vestry's behalf, agreed to adopt such a course. If this was ever seriously attempted in practice, it must have proved a difficult operation, both as to the mode of persuasion and the means of any local implementation. One man's vagrant would be another man's needy Jewish immigrant, possibly a relative. I have found no evidence to support the editorial conclusion, whoever the 'editor? ial' writer might have been. The French Wars greatly impeded immigration. By Order-in-Council, in February 1793, no alien was to live within ten miles of the coast. This provision, even if not rigidly adhered to, was a restraint on business in Hull and limited the number of people who might have sought to settle there. Hull, on the river bank half way along the Humber estuary, was not directly on the coast. In April 1894 Henry Dundas, Secretary of State, instructed the Mayor of Hull that no papers were to be furnished to any foreigner who might arrive in Hull and wanted to proceed further, without the written authority of the Secretary of State after his learning the facts of each case from the Mayor. In August 1797 the Secretary directed the Town Clerk that aliens arriving in Hull who were not bona fide merchants, 'more particularly those from Hamburg', were to be detained on arrival pending contrary directions from London. These provisions sharpened the negative impact of the general restrictions of the Aliens Act of 1793 on Jewish immigration. In his History of Hull (1798), John Tickell, citing a general local survey, reported that in the three years 1789-92 there were among the Jews in Hull an average of two births and one death per year. At the outbreak of war in 1793 there were probably about forty Jewish souls, increasing to perhaps sixty by 1815. With the conclusion of the War in 1815, the local Jewish community grew. Thereafter there was a significant increase in immigration in general into Eng? land, and more notably after the abolition of restrictions on entry in 1836. The 34</page><page sequence="3">The Jews in Hull, between 1766 and 1880 steamboat became a frequent - and from the late 1830s a daily - and cheap mode of conveyance from the Continental ports. In July 1840 the new Hull Selby railway linked Hull to the main lines of England, and in particular to London, bringing Hull out of its corner on the north side of the Humber. The first Jewish resident in Hull would seem to have been Isaac Levy or Leevey of Church Lane, where he lived between 1766 and 1769. In 1769-70 the occupant of the property was named Levi, and was probably the same person. Such was (were) the name(s) given in the water-rate book for those years. F. J. Britten's Old Clocks and Watches and their Makers (1899) lists Michael Levy who traded in Hull as a watch-maker in 1770. The name Levi appears again in the water-rate records for a property in Church Lane for the period 1775-9, which may or may not have been the Levi or Levy of the period 1766-70. In 1788 the leading figure in the local community was Aaron Jacobs, jeweller, of Manor Alley. In 1790 and 1791, two Michael Levys are listed in the local directories, both watch-makers, one in Blanket Row and the other (also described as silversmith) in the street called Southend. In 1803 two Michael Levys traded as clock- and watch-makers, one in Mytongate, the other at 34 Chariot Street where he still lived in 1816. One of them, probably the latter, was known as Michael Levy junior; in 1812 one 'Michael Levy junior' was a trustee of the synagogue and is described in the deed as a 'shoemaker'. It is likely that at least some of the later Levys were lineal descendants of the Isaac and Michael Levy of the 1760s and 1770s. In 1791 Abraham Levis was a hairdresser in Blanket Row and was listed as such also in 1794. In 1778 one Mr Solomon lived in High Street, and a Mr Aron lived in Pos terngate. Mordecai Levy lived in Dagger Lane. In that year one finds three Levys, living respectively in High Street (at an annual rental of ?9), in Salters Lane (at a rental of ?8) and in Cook's Square. The last-named may have been the Isaac Levy (possibly grandson of his namesake of the 1760s) silversmith, of Cook's Buildings (1803) or Joseph Levy of the same trade in Cook's Buildings (1813). One Joseph Levy, of 9 Bishop's Lane, described himself in 1813 and 1816 as clock- and watch-maker. The two Josephs may have been identical. A Jewish umbrella-maker appears in nearby Beverley, probably a migrant from Hull plying his trade in the East Riding generally. 'Maker' includes 'mender', whether of watches or umbrellas. By 1780 the six or seven resident Jewish families were a group large enough to provide a regular minyan and sustain a regular place of worship. The first synagogue was opened towards the end of that year in Posterngate, off Market Place. The premises were a disused Roman Catholic chapel which had been sacked by a mob in 1780 in a local extension of the Gordon Riots. The site was rented from Father Howard, the Roman Catholic minister acting on behalf of his community, who found alternative premises almost immediately. The shattered 35</page><page sequence="4">Israel Finestein building was rebuilt as a small synagogue, described by John Tickell in 1798 as 'neat and convenient'. He adds that between twenty and thirty people resorted there for worship at the time of writing. The centenary of the revolution of 1688 was celebrated in Hull with popular fervour.1 The symbol of 'victory' was the (still) impressive equestrian statue of William III erected in Market Place in 1734. George Hadley in his History of Hull, written in the centenary year, states in a footnote that the Jews of Hull 'testified to their loyalty' by the presentation to the Corporation by Aaron Jacobs, the jeweller of Manor Alley, of an 'elegant crown' for the statue. Hadley adds that the 'ornaments were taken by the multitude' and that the crown was depos? ited in the Guildhall. Tickell, ten years later, in his voluminous local history, makes no reference to Crown or Aaron Jacobs or any Jewish gift. It is curious that there is no such reference either in the Corporation's Benchbooks, which contain much detail about the preparations for, and the events of and around, the days of rejoicing. In his detailed History of Hull, published in Beverley in 1864 (2nd ed. 1866), J. J. Sheehan repeats Hadley's account by referring solely to Hadley and makes no comment. Were there elements 'in the multitude' who were not happy with such visible participation by non-Christians in the celebration? I do not know. In the 1890s Rabbi Israel A. Levy, the senior minister in Hull, preached (no doubt passing on a local tradition) that Aaron Jacobs's gift had been provided by way of sub? scriptions from the local Jewish community. In his biography of Bishop Chal loner (Vicar Apostolic of the Western District) written in 1909, E. H. Burton recounts that the riot in Bath (where Challoner's house was burnt and which was the only other provincial centre to experience its own 'Gordon riot') was the work of persons who travelled from London to Bath, a fashionable resort where lived well-to-do Catholics. It is not suggested that the rioters in Hull were other than local people inflamed by militant sectarianism. In 1788 there was published in Hull, by G. Prince of Scale Lane, an account of the revolution of 1688 and a minutely reported description of the celebrations in Hull in 1788. This records that 'above the statue a grand triumpant arch was formed from which a richly ornamented crown was suspended over the head of the Immortal Hero'. No reference is made to Aaron Jacobs or any donor of the crown. In any event it is most unlikely that Jacobs would have been invited by the Corporation to place the crown on the head of the statue, as one local tradi? tion tells. But for the fact that Hadley was a serious scholar and that the careful Sheehan repeats the story without demur (or otherwise), one might well in the circumstances question its veracity. However, the truth of the matter remains elusive. Jacobs in 1791-2 was at the same address as in 1788 and was then mainly described as a silversmith. Perhaps the Corporation preferred not to record their acceptance of such a gift from non-Christians on this formal religio-political 36</page><page sequence="5">The Jews in Hull, between 1766 and 1880</page><page sequence="6">Israel Finestein occasion, or perhaps not to record the conduct of 'the multitude', whatever may have been the latter's motivations. What finally became of the object and what it was made of I know not. The synagogue was in use until 1826. From 1809 there was a second con? gregation, comprising members of a secessionist group headed by Joseph Lyon, pawnbroker of Blackfriars and later High Street. The new body met in premises in Parade Row on a site later incorporated into the Junction (later Prince's) Dock, which was opened in 1829. The personal differences behind the secession persisted. Lyon died in 1812 in his fifty-seventh year. Lyon's wife was Rose, daughter of Abraham Ralph of Barnstaple who died in 1805 after more than forty years in business in that town, mainly as silversmith. Lyon's synagogue became the premier of the two, largely because Lyon had maintained a minister at his own expense. Samuel Simon (sometimes Simons), the first Jewish minister in Hull, was sometimes referred to as rabbi. Whereas in Posterngate the services were expected to be conducted by such laymen who happened to be present, and were limited to Friday nights and Saturday mornings, in Parade Row, Lyon or Simon ensured that there were also services on Saturday afternoons and evenings and on Monday and Thursday mornings, with Simon usually officiat? ing. Lyon's defection from Posterngate and his attraction of members was a serious blow to the finances and administration of the older establishment. After his death in 1812, time healed the earlier controversies and the two congregations drew together. Both groups had always made use of the one Jewish cemetery. Lyon was one of the last to be buried there. It was in West Dock Terrace, off Walker Street, on land long cleared of decayed remains of tombstones, which became part of a post-Second World War open development site. The location was sometimes known as Villa Place. Simon was shochet and mohel. He would not have confined his services in those capacities to the families of his own congregation. Around 1812 there was need for a new burial ground, and in May of that year trustees were nominated to find and secure new premises for a joint congregation as well as a burial site. On 5 June 1812 the trustees took a seven year lease of a piece of ground facing the new extension of Hessle Road, from William Bell, auctioneer, at the annual rent of ?4, an interest which was later extended. Among the trustees were Henry Levy, tailor, Samuel and Lyon Levy, watchmakers, and George Alexander. In 1819 the freehold was purchased in the names of Alexander, John Symons, Bethel Jacobs, Ephraim Jacobs and Barnard Barnard, 'jeweller'. That site continued in use until 1858, and from the start was used by both congregations. Land for a new synagogue was not procured until 1825. A plot was found at 7 Robinson Row and purchased freehold for the two congregations, which in 1826 amalgamated to form the Hull Hebrew Congregation. It survived until the end of the century, when a large section left to form the Western Synagogue (in 38</page><page sequence="7">The Jews in Hull, between 1766 and 1880 Plate 2 Map of Hull in the late eighteenth century. Off the map to the west are Walker Street, Porter Street, Linneaus Street and Hessel Road. To the east is Heddon Road. On the map the following sites have been numbered: 1 Synagogue, 1780-1826; 2 Synagogue in Parade Row, 1809 26 (not shown); 3 Synagogue in Robinson Row, 1826-1902 (not shown); 4 Bethel Jacobs's shop from c. 1840, 7 Whitefriar Gate; 5 Equestrian statue of William III, 1734. Linnaeus Street, on the Anlaby Road, at a distance from the old centre). The remaining members vacated the site in Robinson Row (the premises being sold for use as a warehouse) and a new synagogue was built in Osborne Street (about midway between the old site and Linnaeus Street), whose members were styled the Hull Old Hebrew Congregation. Lyon lived in Hull for at least twenty years. He was listed there as pawnbroker and 'slopman' in 1792, and a glimpse of his business might be gained from his 39</page><page sequence="8">Israel Finestein advertisement in the Hull Advertiser in February 1806, that unredeemed pledges in his custody were to be on sale and included gold and silver watches, plate and new and old garments. Dr Ann Bennett has drawn my attention to a record in the Sun Fire Insurance archives that Lyon had insured his house and shop in Blackfriargate in 1798 for ?999. The insurance was transferred to his premises in High Street to which he moved later that year. His widow, Rose, continued the pawnbroking business, becoming the policy holder on 1 April 1812. She was succeeded by their son, Lewis Lyon, who by 1815 conducted the business at 28 Lowgate. Joseph Lyon seems to have acquired local fame. John Symons, whose parents knew him, wrote in his recollections that leading families in Hull had such confidence in Lyon's integrity that they would leave with him their valuables when they travelled out of town. How far this was an insurance or some other form of commercial transaction I cannot say. He was clearly a man of firm character and initiative. The description of him in the local press on his death that he was 'greatly respected' appears to have been intended as more than a formal goodwill tribute. Simon remained in the service of the Hull Hebrew Congregation until his death in 1866 aged eighty-five. He formally retired in 1850, but he was engaged in synagogal duties until a few weeks of his death, for his aging hand is clearly detectable on the marriage registers. As late as 1862 he assisted in the reading of the Torah on the High Festivals. Until around the time of the amalgamation, Simon had added to his income by selling spectacles and other wares. In later life he was called the alter rebbe, a telling, if respectful, term for his style and generation. His wife, Sarah, predeceased him and was buried in Hull. At least one of their sons, David, clock- and watch-maker, lived in Hull in the middle decades of the century. Progress on the construction of the new synagogue and its opening in 1826 were extensively reported in the local press. The Great Synagogue in London contributed ?15 towards the cost of building, on the application for aid from Solomon Meyer and Israel Jacobs, but not before the honorary officers of the Great were assured that the building work had begun. The effusive thanks of Meyer and Jacobs are recorded in the minutes of the Great Synagogue's Com? mittee for 18 June 1827. The amalgamation of 1826 was largely the work of Solomon Meyer (1766 1863) and Israel Jacobs (1773-1853), the lay heads of the Posterngate and Parade Row synagogues respectively. Meyer's career was characteristic of many of the early members of the local Jewish community. He was long a member of the Great Synagogue in London whose register records him as coming from Brod (Brody) and as living in Sheffield by June 1822 and thereafter in Hull. He was a travelling salesman and probably familiar with other towns in the north. In the Sheffield Jewish Journal of 1956 Eric Lipson wrote that he was in Sheffield 40</page><page sequence="9">The Jews in Hull, between 1766 and 1880 by 1813 and that while there he kept his own shochet. On 10 October 1823 he announced in the Hull Advertiser that he had opened premises in Prince Street in Hull as pawnbroker and was ready to advance money 'to any amount' on plate, watches, clocks and furniture. He continued to register additions to his family at the Great Synagogue. His wife, Sarah, died in April 1828 and was buried in that synagogue's cemetery. He developed a business as merchant and factor in Sheffield and Hull. He and Jacobs each laid a foundation stone, paying into congregational funds ?3 10s and ?1 us 6d respectively to mark the honour. Meyer died in Hull and was buried in the new Jewish cemetery in Hedon Road. A tombstone was erected in his memory by Simeon Mosely (1815-88), the then president. Israel Jacobs had lived in Hull at least since 1801. He dealt in clocks and watches and quickly established himself as jeweller, goldsmith and silversmith. He lived and traded in Dock Street, at 13 Robinson Row and later in Storey Street. By 1822 he had a branch in the fashionable Long Room Street in Scar? borough, where he was referred to as 'gentleman Jacobs of Scarborough'. In his later years he lived there for most of the time, in St Nicholas Street. He suc? ceeded Meyer as president of the Hull Synagogue. His wife, Sarah Barnett (1770-1853), predeceased him by a few months. Their son, Bethel (1812-69), married Esther (1810-76), daughter of Joseph Lyon. Israel Jacobs died in Scar? borough on Erev Rosh Hashannah and was buried in the Hessle Road cemetery in Hull. His death was widely reported in the local, regional and Jewish press. He had become a venerable figure whose personal authority proved to be an inherited family trait in the local scene and beyond. The principal collaborator of Meyer and Jacobs in and after 1826 was George Alexander, who served intermittently as president between 1832 and 1851. He was born in Hull in 1791, son of Shimshon Ben Zender, known as Sampson Alexander, then a sealing-wax and pen-maker of Dagger Lane, who died in Hull in 1824 aged seventy-nine. His widow, Sarah, died there in 1830 and like him was buried in the Hessle Road cemetery. The Alexanders were members of the namesake family in Portsea. George Alexander, silversmith, jeweller and dealer in foreign coin, lived first in Queen Street and then for thirty years at 33 Silver Street. His son-in-law, Elias Hart, now a jeweller of Vicar Lane, alternated with him as president in the 1830s and 1840s. Alexander was succeeded as president by Bethel Jacobs in 1851, and in 1859 was appointed Rosh Hakohol, the first of three so appointed in Hull. He continued his active association with the manage? ment of the synagogue until his death in 1865 in his seventy-fifth year. The fact of his Hull birth is prominently recorded on his tombstone. His local dynasty continued through his granddaughter, Miriam Hart, who in 1854 married Solo? mon Cohen (1827-1907), a Sheffield-born clothier who had settled in Hull in 1850, after employment in the clothing industry in Manchester. His father, Laz? arus, had been a clothes dealer in Sheffield; his youngest daughter, Leah, in 41</page><page sequence="10">Israel Finestein February 1857, at Solomon Cohen's home, married Julius Rogalie of Hull, later of Birmingham. From 1856 Solomon was prominent in synagogal life and was soon a rising figure in the local municipality. He was elected president of the synagogue in 1868, and later combined congregational duties with holding office as Town Councillor, Guardian of the Poor, Chairman and Trustee of the Hull School Board and Chairman of the Hull and Goole Sanitary Committee. Alder? man Cohen's youngest son, Dr George Alexander Cohen of Harringay, became in 1907 the first Jew in England to be appointed coroner. The elder Cohen was the first Jewish Alderman in Hull. In 1832 the Jews of Hull entered into fuller public view in a curious episode. James Acland was a political agitator who, at a time of pressure in many parts of the country for parliamentary reform, attracted increasing local attention in Hull in 1831 over his attacks in print and speech against real or imagined local abuses of power in the city. It was a part of the widespread campaigning for municipal reform which was linked with movements for the abolition of abuses in the parliamentary electoral system. In 1832 there began in Hull the hearing of evidence by a parliamentary commission on the conduct of the unreformed corporation. Acland aroused some popular passion and gained sufficient support to be elected a churchwarden of the Holy Trinity Church, the extensive local parish church. Between August 1831 and July 1833 he published the Hull Portfo? lio, a weekly, in which he listed, with details, the targets of his criticisms. He seems to have fallen from grace, and in August 1832 was convicted of criminal libel and was sentenced to a term of imprisonment, but not before he had brought into his net of attack the leaders of the local Jewish community. Acland's fire was concentrated on the imposition of a she chit ah tax on kosher meat. He seems to have equated the powers exercised by the rulers of the syn? agogue with those vested in the unreformed close corporation of Hull. On 15 January 1832 in his weekly, in a long article entitled 'Jews' Beef and signed 'Philo', he wrote that the tax bore heavily on poor Jews since their religion forbade them from resorting to untaxed meat, presumably from non-kosher but? chers or from any dealer in kosher meat who avoided the tax burden through the use of an unauthorized shochet. He had been especially severe on the city corporation on account of the tolls which it had imposed or permitted; the Jewish meat tax seems to have fallen into a like category in the critic's estimation. At that time the only retail supplier of kosher meat in Hull was one Robert Hepple, a Christian whose shop in Market Place had a separated kosher section, the meat there being distinguished by appropriate Hebrew words. 'Poor Jews', proclaimed Philo, 'loudly declare against this offensive tax'. He cited one local Jew - he appears to have consulted only one, with the initial purpose of dis? covering the meaning of the Hebrew - as telling him that the local Jews were governed by a 'vestry' who, well knowing that the Jews were under the necessity of buying the marked meat, have set on it a tax of one penny per pound in spite 42</page><page sequence="11">The Jews in Hull, between 1766 and 1880 of the fact that their 'priest' (who acted as shochet) had a regular salary paid out of the synagogal seat rentals of a guinea per annum each. Hepple was said to charge an extra penny per pound for himself. Acland and his informant either knew nothing about or took no notice of the use made of the shechitah tax towards synagogal expenditure on Jewish education or the relief of Jewish indigents. Yet it is to be noted that such tax was the subject of periodic complaint within the Jewish community at large, especially when increases were imposed. It was thought that some profit remained theref? rom in synagogal general funds. On 28 May 1847 xht Jewish Chronicle bemoaned 'the unjust increase of this - to a certain extent - unavoidable tax by the con? gregational boards who derive an annual profit from it'. Pressures on congrega? tional funds (with in some cases the temptation to seek to retain a reserve for contingencies) was a recurring feature, and the Hull Jewish community was no exception. The community continued to use the services of a local non-Jewish butcher. From time to time the synagogue refused to permit a Jew to open a local butcher shop in competition. In the 1860s there were for a period two non-Jewish butcher shops serving the Jewish community. As was his practice, Acland appended the names and occupations of those under attack: George Alexander, President, silversmith; Israel Jacobs and Elias Hart, silversmiths; Isaac Daniels, hawker; Solomon Meyer, 'late pawnbroker'; and Abraham Hassan, described simply as 'Turk'. Acland demonstrated his impartiality by adding an editorial note condemning clergymen of all denomina? tions, Christians and Jews, for their alleged sin of covetousness. Neither the congregation nor any of those named appear to have made any public response to him. It was said of him that he was the means of removing 'some local abuses' in the public life of Hull. Issac Daniels, one-time hawker, was soon to begin business as clock- and watch-maker, in which trade he is found at 39 Queen Street between 1840 and 1863. Abraham Hassan may or may not have had some quality of provenance or appearance to endow him with the appellation of 'Turk'. He was a Hebrew teacher living in Church Street. Before Adler became Chief Rabbi in 1845, the nearest authorization of a sho? chet as far as Hull was concerned, was that of S. Newman in Leeds.2 It is clear from the synagogal minutes that Simon received Adler's 'permission' to practise as a shochet. The context makes it plain that by that word was meant official 'authorization'. This appears to have occurred shortly after Adler's appointment. It is equally certain that Simon performed this role long before that date. In May 1863 Bethel Jacobs exchanged letters with Adler as to the need of the then local Reader and shochet, Ephraim Cohen, to receive training in the porging of hindquarters. Until i860 Simon continued as the regular porger, assisted latterly by the shochet, Rosenbaum. At the congregation's cost, Adler was willing to arrange for Cohen to be trained in London. It was agreed to allow Cohen to 43</page><page sequence="12">Israel Finestein undertake the course provided that the congregation's expense was limited to ?5. I have not discovered whether Cohen took the course. It is significant that Simeon Mosely expressed the view that 'many members would not take hind? quarters even if porged', presumably because of considerations of kashrut. It is also of interest that in 1863 one of the non-Jewish butchers in whose premises kosher meat was sold, was replaced for tampering with seals on the kosher meat. In December i860 it was decided that non-members were to pay twopence per fowl or threepence per goose or turkey before shechitah, such fees presumably being in whole or part a supplement to the shochefs pay. By 1816, among Jewish shopkeepers and self-employed manual workers, one notes the following: David Davis, boot- and shoe-maker at 129 High Street, and Elias Hart, umbrella maker of Mytongate. David Davis was in business in High Street at least until 1822. In and around the latter year there appears to have been a short-lived partnership, under the name of Barnard and Symons, listed as 'watch-makers', at 7 Queen Street. That was the then business address in Hull of Barnard Barnard, originally of Portsea. In 1823, shortly before his death, Moses Symons was described as carrying on business at 6 Queen Street as 'jewel? ler and bullion dealer' and his residence is shown as being in Kingston Court, Blanket Row. In 1822 Joseph Levi is listed as 'quil and pencil merchant' in New Dock Street. In that year, Samuel Lazarus, of 34 Blackfriargate, described him? self as 'hatmaker', a title which was elevated next year into 'silk hat manufac? turer'. Among new names in 1826 are those of Henry Meyer, cabinet maker and upholsterer at 8 Bowlalley Lane (who remained as such in Hull at least until 1838); Lazarus Levy, jeweller of 6 Vicar Lane; and Isaac Levy, shoemaker. Two years later, Levinson and Barnett traded at 58 Mytongate as clock- and watch? makers, and Mandell Samuel, 'clothes dealer', traded at 165 High Street. In 1831 Joseph Jacobs appears as coffee-house proprietor and 'jeweller' at 15 Fish Street. By 1835 Joseph Barnett had opened a jewellery shop at 55 Market Street and Samuel Phillips advertised from 16 Market Place as 'hat manufacturer, wholesale, retail and for export'. J. Pigot's directory for 1834 includes the firm of Baruchson and Fawcett, 'importers and dealers in cigars'. Baruchson may not have lived in Hull and possibly not in England. Four years later Samuel Jacobs is listed at 43 Mytongate as dealer in glasses and china. In 1838 Heyman Lewitsky appears as a tailor at 24 Salthouse Lane, and twelve years later was a dealer in 'marine stores' in Queen Street. In the 1840s Jacob Friedenberg was a 'dealer in Berlin patterns of embroidery', first in the 'Wellington Mart' and later in Silver Street. From the late 1830s Michael Jacobs was a cabinet-maker in Theatre Court. In the late 1840s Samuel and Joseph Davidson were respectively a Hull pawnbroker and a 'travelling jeweller' based in Hull. In the 1850s B. Hyam traded as a 'clothier' at 17 Market Place. 44</page><page sequence="13">The Jews in Hull, between 1766 and 1880 Samuel Godfrey (1814-97) in the 1840s developed his business as general dealer (including the sale of 'jewellery') and became a principal in the expanding firm of Lewis and Godfrey mentioned later. This prominent member of the Hull Synagogue married the daughter of Lewis Isaac, the sister of Saul Isaac, coalowner, who in 1863 became the first Jewish Tory Member of Parliament. Godfrey settled in London where he became attached to the Bayswater Syn? agogue and served as Treasurer of the Bayswater Jewish Schools. As a port, Hull was not short of lodging houses and victuallers, and there was some Jewish involvement in this service. In and around 1815, Nathan Hart traded as victualler in High Gate, Beverley, eight miles from Hull, probably seeking to cater for the travelling salesmen in the East Riding. In the 1840s and 1850s, Samuel Hart (whether related I cannot say) was victualler and hosier in premises in Lower Union Street, Hull. In that period Wolf Hyman let lodgings at 41 Blanket Row. Hannah Simons conducted an 'Eatinghouse' in Waterhouse Street in the 1830s frequented by seamen, but she may not have been Jewish. The first index of arrivals in Hull which I have seen (in the Public Record Office) shows about six Jewish arrivals for 1826, of whom not more than two settled in Hull. The pace of immigration quickened in the 1830s, especially after the enactment of free entry in 1836. Most of the new arrivals set out from Hamburg, some from or through Holland. Most of the newcomers were from Germany or Russian Poland. Only a small proportion stayed in Hull, the others moving to London, other centres in the north, or westwards to Leeds, Bradford, and Lancashire. In many cases, the objective was Liverpool, with the intention of leaving for the United States. By 1835 the Hull Jewish community comprised about 200 souls. The official register of immigrants for 1838 shows 229 arrivals for that year in Hull, among whom were between 80 and 90 Jews, of whom most settled in Hull. In addition, about 10 had arrived first in Goole and had then moved to Hull. Of the 80 or 90, about 20 were described as 'merchants' (a variegated designation), 12 as 'pedlars' and 10 as 'tailors'. There were some 'capmakers' and 'shoemakers'. Nearly all appeared to be single, or at least unaccompanied on arrival, although David Jonas Cohen, an 'optician' from Hannover, arrived with his wife and seven children. Interesting descriptions were those of Marcus Abraham, a Prus? sian 'weaver'; Abraham Moses, a Prussian 'tailor'; Joseph Fridman (sic), a 'pedlar' arriving from Venice (or was that how the scribe understood him, instead of Vienna?); A. and Emanuel Leywn (sic), 'French merchants'; Abraham Solomon, 'Prussian distiller'; and Hirsch Gobeide (sic) and Hirsch Grund, cap? makers, from Russian Poland and Prussia respectively. Among the ten who arrived at Goole for Hull were Jacob Abrahams and Raphael David, both from Prussia and respectively tailor and hatter; Levin Isaac, described as 'rabbi' from Poland who intended to travel to Hull en route for America via London; Joseph Rosenberg, a 'saddler' from Poland, who expressly 45</page><page sequence="14">Israel Finestein declared an intention to live in Hull, as did Moses Ehrenberg, silversmith. The arrivals at Goole included four wives who intended to join their husbands in Hull, three of whom were described as 'tailors' and one as a 'joiner'. The number of Jewish names in the local directories - business and residen? tial - doubled between 1842 and 1846. So too did the number of Jewish desti? tute. From about 1840 there was chronic poverty in about one quarter of the local Jewish population, including for this purpose transmigrant temporary Jewish residents. It would seem that an immigrant was not likely to be included in any directory within the first three years of arrival (there were some exceptions). Some long-term residents were not included for a much longer period, if at all. After the Continental upheavals of 1848-9 the rate of arrivals was greatly accelerated. Side by side with the working jewellers and travelling salesmen (some of whom developed their own retail or wholesale businesses) and the capmakers and other manual workers (self-employed or otherwise), there were in Hull from the 1840s a number of substantial Jewish business houses. Israel Jacobs' son, Bethel, in addition to his large and fashionable shop at 7 Whitefriargate, had by the early 1840s a factory or workshop in the nearby Post Office Buildings, and conducted an extensive business in silverware, watches and jewellery in Hull and district, and, by order, from London and Paris. Abraham Barnett conducted a substantial business in cloth and cloth garments in High Street. From 1850, Morris Rosenbaum ran from 5 Osborne Street what he called a 'universal regis? ter office and general agency'. I take this to mean a commission agency for every kind of transaction. One of his sidelines was to operate from that address an employment agency for domestic servants. Rosenbaum, who began his career as a rag-and-bone man, conducted his Osborne Street agency for nearly forty years. By 1866 Lewis Shibco, whose family was to have a long association with the Synagogue, was in business in Queen Street as 'goldsmith and jeweller'. In addition there were the firm of Samson and Nathan, glass and china mer? chants in Market Place; and the family business of Phillips Magner, general warehousemen. The Magner family, like that of Bethel Jacobs, were prominent at the end of the century in forming the Western Synagogue. Messrs Lewis and Godfrey's 'fancy bazaar' in Market Place expanded in the 1850s into a business of wholesale jewellers and general importers with branches in London, Birmingham and Sheffield. By the 1890s the firm of Glassman and Haberland had become a considerable concern in Humber Street, trading in London and overseas. A principal founder was Victor Glassman, who began business in Hull as a tea dealer and married the daughter of Henry Haberland of Hull. The family union was followed by a joinder of commercial interests. In 1831 Rosina Jacobs, of 8 Queen Street, advertised as watch-maker, silversmith, jeweller and dealer in foreign coin and in tobacco and snuff. Samson Ascher Samson, of the 46</page><page sequence="15">The Jews in Hull, between 1766 and 1880 firm of Samson and Nathan, was a trustee of the synagogue in the conveyance in 1858 of the Hessle Road cemetery site. Among other local clock- and watch-makers were Phineas Abraham (also silversmith, jeweller and registered navy agent and formerly of Portsea) at 22 Paradise Place between 1822 and 1837 (but working in Briggate in Leeds, in which town he later settled); the Hart family (possibly founded by Jacob Hart, watch-maker in Hull in 1822) - Sampson in Dagger Lane and Elias (also 'jeweller') and Jacob in Humber Street; Joseph Barnett, watch-maker and jewel? ler at 58 Mytongate in 1831; Emanuel Jacobs in Beverley Road in 1834; Messrs Raphael and Nathan ('and goldsmiths') at 55 Market Place; Lewis Marks of 31 Waterworks Street (1846-72), and later, 'and Sons'; and Ephraim Phillips, 'wholesale dealer in watches and jewellery', in Mytongate and later Lowgate. Abraham Barnett (1810-1901) at 49 Waterworks Street and later ('and Son') in Carr Lane, developed his business in clocks, fancy goods and antiques, to which expanding business his son, Barnet, succeeded. The elder Barnett was an early resident in the then socially exclusive Coltman Street, where he died. Abraham's daughter married (later Sir) Joseph Joel Duveen, a travelling sales? man of enterprise who arrived in Hull from Holland in 1867 and who in due course entered into partnership with his brother-in-law. Barnet Barnett, among other roles in municipal and Jewish life in Hull, was President of the local branch of the Anglo-Jewish Association before settling in London. Duveen greatly developed the antiques business and later opened his soon famous pre? mises in New York and in London's Oxford Street. His eldest son, Joseph (later Lord Duveen), who was born in Hull in 1869, achieved fame and fortune as the pre-eminent international art dealer of his age and was a notable philanthropist. In 1826 the full trade description of each of George Alexander, Hart Jacob, Israel Jacobs and Julia Symons was 'goldsmith, silversmith, watch and clock maker, and jeweller'. Of the four bullion dealers in Hull at that time, two were George Alexander and Julia Symons, which may have meant no more than that they each operated a bureau de change for gold and silver coin. Julia, daughter of S. Levy of Portsmouth, was the widow of Moses Symons, a native of Portsmouth, who died in 1823. Symons was a founder member of the Humber Lodge of Freemasons, and was in business as clock- and watch? maker, jeweller and coin dealer in Mytongate by 1800, later moving to 6 Queen Street. Julia succeeded to the business, and in the Hull Advertiser on 12 August 1825 announced its continuation and asked for 'a continuance of the [public's] favours for the support [of herself] and four orphans'. In 1834 she moved from 6 Queen Street to larger premises at no. 72, where she headed the family firm until 1872. It was continued after her death, by her son, John, who had assisted her in the management. John Symons (1823-1907), who was a pupil at the Hull Grammar School, 47</page><page sequence="16">Israel Finestein began his commercial career in 1840 when he entered temporary service as a clerk in the local steamship company of Joseph Sanderson, and was first elected to the Town Council in 1863. He rose to the rank of Alderman and in 1890 was appointed, the first Jew, to be the town's Sheriff. He took special pride in his election in 1871 as a member of the Royal Irish Academy on the nomination of its President, Lord Talbot de Malahide. Symons was prominent in municipal and local Jewish congregational life for more than a generation, and his writings as antiquary and local historian were widely read locally. His contention was that there was a Jewish community in Hull in the seventeenth century, but Lucien Wolf rejected the suggestion (as did Cecil Roth later). In good conscience Symons had based himself on false 'recollections' and forgeries. Lengthy exchanges between the protagonists appeared in the Jewish Chronicle in April 1888 and February 1898. In the second quarter of the nineteenth century, Isaac Lyon, described as a surgeon, lived at 24 Bishop Lane. It is tempting to think of him as related to Joseph Lyon. A contemporary was L. J. Levison, dentist, of Mason Street. They addressed the Hull Literary and Philosophical Society in the 1830s, forerunners to the series of Jews later to do so. Lyon's theme was medical. The general practice of Jewish lecturers was to adopt a topic of specifically Jewish interest. Another contemporary was Elias Isaiah, a teacher in modern languages. In 1824 Marcus Bibero was brought to Hull by his father, an immigrant pedlar from Cracow. The family (sometimes Bibro) was soon part of the synagogue membership. Marcus Bibero became a leading swimmer of world class, and by his advocacy significantly contributed to the successful movement for the muni? cipal provision of swimming baths in Britain. Bibero, who died in 1910, was a Zionist who rallied to Herzl. In the late 1850s there began to enter into local communal prominence Lewis Holt (1826-1903), the German-born son of the chazan of Kempen in the Rhine land. He had arrived in Hull in 1847. A clock- and watch-maker, he became a travelling 'jeweller' and rose in affluence and communal influence. He lived in Porter Street and from 1872 conducted his jewellery business from premises in Midland Street. In the 1890s he became the third member of the congregation to be accorded the title Rosh Hakohol. His son, Albert, continued the close connection with the synagogue. The Holt family moved to London, with branches in South Africa. Mordecai Moses, a Frankfort-born silversmith of Lincoln who died in May 1810, was reported in the supplement to the Gentleman's Magazine of 1810 to have been buried in the Jewish cemetery in Hull. In 1823 one Alexander Rhott enburg was buried in the Hull cemetery. In July 1844 the Voice of Jacob reported that Joseph Barnett of Hull, who died of consumption in the Yardley Hospital, bequeathed ?50 to the Jewish school in nearby Birmingham. In October 1854 the Gentlemans Magazine recorded the death in Dalston in August 1854 of 48</page><page sequence="17">The Jews in Hull, between 1766 and 1880 Philip Israel who for 'many years' lived in Hull. In the Hessle Road cemetery in or about 1822 there was buried Barnard Barnard whose stone describes him as the son of 'the Rev. Rabbi Barnad of Portsea', who was sometimes known as Alexander Barnard (d. 1818). The families Barnard (sometimes 'Barnad') came to Hull from Portsea and Chatham and were probably interrelated. Barnard Barnard, a registered navy agent, was a coin dealer at 7 Queen Street in partner? ship with Moses Symons from at least 1816 until 1822. Moses Symons was likewise a registered navy agent. Lewis Lazarus of Portsea, President of the Portsmouth Synagogue and a fellow-agent, was executor both of Barnard Bar? nard and of Symons.3 In 1926 there died in Hull Birman Issachar Barnard aged 85. He was a founding member of the Hull Western Synagogue and its Treas? urer. His triple namesake lived in Chatham in the 1830s. Ellis Davidson (1828-78), pioneer in the teaching of techniques for art study, was born in Hull. I believe his father was Abraham Davidson, surgeon chiropod? ist of 28 King Street in Hull in the 1830s. The family moved to London in 1838. Davidson's regular lectures to working-class audiences were regarded by the Jewish Board of Guardians in London as helpful in the promotion of appren? ticeship schemes and interests outside the familiar over-crowded ranks of employment. He married Catherine, daughter of David Levy of Oxford Street, and lived in Maida Vale: Jewish Chronicle 15 March 1878 and Jewish World of same date. Harris Lebus (1852-1907) was long famous for his original styles of furniture and as the proprietor in London of one of the largest furniture factories in the world, with a labour force of nearly 4000. This entrepreneur was born in Hull, the son of Lewis Lebus, who arrived in Hull from Breslau in 1840. The family left Hull when Harris was a child. He was a pupil of the Jews' Free School and began business as cabinet maker by the age of twenty.4 It was common for members of the synagogue to have business or family connections outside Hull. Some members lived outside Hull, or lived both in Hull and elsewhere. Hull was the Jewish religious centre for a large area, ranging from York and Scarborough to Boston and Louth in Lincolnshire across the Humber, from where Jewish families came for the High Festivals or on special family occasions. Circumcisions would be performed by the Hull mo he I. Among the inscriptions legible in the Hessle Road cemetery (in use 1812-58) are Abra? ham Samuel, jeweller of Scarborough (at one time of Sheffield), who died in July 1830 aged sixty-two; Priscilla Amelia Cohen, once of Sheffield, who died in the 1850s aged sixty-three, and was the widow of Eleazar Cohen; and Rosina, wife of'Meir ben Yehuda' of Boston. In 1847 Mrs Rosa Lyons, mother of Mary Pamela Leo, was buried there. She had died in Boston aged eighty-seven. Of the 126 marriages in Hull between 1838 and 1870, 40 per cent of the bridegrooms were jewellers (of whatever grade or standing) and 14 per cent tailors. The proportions for the last twenty years or so of the century are in 49</page><page sequence="18">Israel Finestein reverse, with the proportion of tailors higher, and also with an increase in the number of cabinet makers. These changes reflect the comparatively large influx of Eastern European Jews after 1881. Of the fathers of brides and bridegrooms in marriages between 1838 and 1870, of those classified by trade in the marriage register, forty-four were 'general dealers', nineteen were 'merchants' and nine were 'travellers'. This total of seventy-two constitutes 40 per cent of those classi? fied by trade. The meanings of those three categories sometimes merged into one another. The preponderant use of this description reflected in many instances the 'hawker' of the early century who had advanced economically. One detects through the century the broad changes of pattern in the local commun? ity's occupational structure. The appointment of Victor Dumoulin (1836-1921) of the mercantile firm of Gosschalk and Dumoulin (later Sheriff and Chairman of the local Chamber of Commerce and father of another Sheriff) as Turkish Vice-Consul in Hull in 1870, and later Consul for Austria, is a reminder of the Continental trading connections of a segment of the local Jewish community by that time. In 1848 the synagogue had about sixty-five members, of whom eight were baale batim (householders, or privileged members). There were in addition many resident non-members, including speedy transmigrants and short-term residents. On 'census Sabbath', namely 29 March 1851, seventy-four people were in attendance at the synagogue in the morning. This was nearly twice the normal attendance. By i860 the membership stood at ninety. In the 1850s the average number of births per year in the Hull Jewish community was fourteen and the deaths five. In that decade the number of members increased by thirty. Between 1859 and i860 the number fell from ninety-one to eighty. By 1864 the total was eighty-four. In 1870 the synagogue had 112 members, out of a far larger total Jewish population. The number of baale batim in i860 was thirteen, and that proportion was retained. The average intake of recent immigrants into membership was a small segment of the number of arrivals, most of whom in any event did not stay in Hull.5 Most of the arrivals, whether they took up residence or not, remained in the category of 'strangers', some of whom would no doubt become members in time, but there was a constant (if changing) body of non-members (many in need of support, as were some members). They con? stituted a substantial local feature. The additional services at Festivals were more particularly intended for them, but pressure on the seating capacity in the syn? agogue obliged some members to resort to them. The community was rapidly outgrowing the synagogue premises, as was seen from the start to be likely. The religious census-returns of 1851 show the total seating to be ninety-five, of which seats thirty-five were classified as free. Fur? thermore, there were regular complaints that the premises were not wind and weatherproof. The building work of 1826 was found to have been defective. The 50</page><page sequence="19">The Jews in Hull, between 1766 and 1880 pressing task of enlarging - in effect rebuilding - the synagogue was undertaken in 1851-2. The new building was consecrated in September 1852, the foundation stone being laid by Israel Jacobs on 26 May. As in 1826, Simon composed a special prayer for the opening, and again the events were widely reported. Many Chris? tians attended the consecration. It had been expected to hold the ceremony before Rosh Hashannah and it was hoped that the Chief Rabbi would attend. It would have been his first visit to a provincial community. The uncertainty of the date on which the building would be ready, changed the plan. The ceremony took place shortly before Succoth at a time when Dr Adler was unable to be present, and he sent his regrets. He first visited Hull in 1869, accompanied by his son, Rabbi Dr Hermann Adler. The movement for a new building, and the construction of it, had been under the charge of Bethel Jacobs, who by this time was a dominating influence in all matters appertaining to the congregation. The Jewish Chronicle described the new synagogue as being conducted on what the editor described as 'the strictly orthodox principles' of the old. A general appeal to the Anglo-Jewish community was made by way of a long explanatory 'advertisement' in March 1851 in that newspaper, in which the burdens of the relief of the poor and the prospective cost of the building work were emphasized. Although the response to the appeal (including local contributions) was described as 'good', it was necessary to raise ?600 on mortgage to finance the completion of the operation. There remained outstanding at the time some of the indebtedness incurred over the building of the old synagogue. The discharge of the latest borrowing remained a drain on congregational finances for some years. The building committee under Jacobs' chairmanship took great care in the planning of the work, selecting from separate tenders for the different parts of the overall design of the architect. Sheahan referred to the large stained-glass window over the ark as 'of great richness and beauty'. The synagogue was closely hemmed in and light came through the large glazed ceiling. The Hull Packet classified the internal architecture as of 'Grecian style'. The seating was of oak, and there was accommodation for 200 men and 80 ladies. A contemporary visitor described it as follows: Interiorly it is a neat apartment lighted from the top, having a gallery along three of its sides for the female portion of the congregation. The walls are relieved by a frieze or cornice near the top, which is supported by pilasters. On the floor, in the centre of the building, is a raised platform, in front of which is a reading desk. This platform is called the behmah, or reader's-stand. At the east end, on a dais, beneath a handsome portico supported by Corinthian pillars, is a kind of safe or tabernacle, called the 'holy ark', in which are deposited the scrolls of the law. . . . Above the ark is a semicircular window filled with stained glass, and one of the compartments represents the two tables of stone, 5i</page><page sequence="20">Israel Finestein having the Decalogue inscribed thereon in Hebrew characters. In front of the ark hangs the 'perpetual lamp', which (in this instance) was presented by Mr. Simeon Mosely, as a memorial of his wife, Jesse, who died in 1852. Before the ark hangs a handsome silk veil or curtain, to which is attached a circular piece of velvet bearing a Hebrew inscrip? tion, wrought in silver thread, purporting that the veil was the gift of Mr. Bethel Jacobs. The Minister delivers his discourses from a lectern on the platform of the ark. The present Minister is the Rev. Elkan Epstein.6 My uncle remembered the synagogue well and spoke of it, whether through pietistic nostalgia or otherwise, in tones of admiring respect. Services were held on Friday nights, Sabbath mornings and evenings, and on Monday and Thurs? day mornings. Such was the rapidity of increase in the number of Jews in Hull, mainly through immigration, that the enlarged premises did not succeed, as had been hoped, in meeting requirements. The practice of holding additional services on the High Festivals in a hall outside the synagogue was resumed in the 1850s. On 18 April 1859 it was decided to alter the synagogue so as to make room for more seats for poor members at the charge of six pence. This did not relieve the wants of non-members, who outnumbered the total of members of all cat? egories. The slackening of immigration in the early 1860s increased the propor? tion of members to non-members, but did not affect the situation radically. In 1870 there were 112 members of whatever grade, and a total Jewish population of about 550 souls. 'No town of similar size in the kingdom', wrote the Jewish Chronicle on 8 September 1871, 'has a larger number of foreign Jews direct from foreign climes . . .'. For the High Festivals in 1875, tne Jewish World reported that as many as 500 people attended the additional services in the hall of the Mechanics' Institute. By the mid-i870s local adverse comment on the limited nature of the accommodation in Robinson Row grew into a regular feature of communal life and progressively increased in acidity. The subject was often referred to in the Jewish press editorially and in correspondence. Habit, and a belief in the primacy of the prerogatives of existing members, delayed remedy. Procrastination was in practice encouraged by the feuds which characterized the congregation in the 1870s even more markedly than in previous years. On his visit to Hull in May 1875, Hermann Adler urged in firm language the need for larger premises. There had already been opened in School Street a new small synagogue, or more accurately a chevrah, which was used principally by 'foreign Jews'. But that did not deal with the problem forcefully posed by Adler. The desire for larger premises was further fostered by the widening acknow? ledgement that Robinson Row was no longer in an area favoured by fashion. There is some irony in the alliance of pressure between longer-established families (some of several generations) conscious of fashion and of their own anglicization, on the one hand, and, on the other hand, those who sought to 52</page><page sequence="21">GENERAL MEETING OF THE MEMBERS OF THE torn HELD AT THE SHAKSFEARE TAVERN, WEDNESDAY, SEPT. 29th, 1852, mmm mmm% m%^m tit mm% Messrs. H. APPLE, Overseer P. LEWIS LEWIS MARKS BETHEL HART JULIUS' FRIEDEBERG MARKS COHEN SIMON WOOLF ABRAHAM BARN ETT S. GODFREY I.. GOLDMAN Rev.BENJ. JACOBS Messrs. JULIUS ROGALLI E. MANHEIM V. GLASSMAN LEV I LEV! PRESENT: Messrs. MORRIS COHEN V. ABRAHAMS SOLOMON COHEN J. LEVISON ISRAEL WOOLF ISAAC JACOBS J. ALPEAR H. SITNER ABRAHAM FRIEND DAVID SAFT MORRIS MAGNER JOHN SYMONS LEWIS HOLT M. MOSS M. MARK WALD Messrs. M. FRIEDMAN NATHAN HARRIS MOSES SOLOMON S. LICHTENSTEIN A. FELTMAN M. HABERLAND H. ROSENBERG DAVID SIMONS S. GRUNWALD H. GRODDITER SIMON.BARUCH L. BIBRO J. LANKOSKI H. FLEISCHAKER HENRY LEVI Mr. SAMUEL GODFREY was requested to act as Secretary to the Meeting. The following BESOLUTIONS were unanimously adopted :? 1. That the Members of the " Hull Hebrew Congregation" highly appreciate the valuable services rendered by the past President, Mr. George Alexander, and their present Warden, Mr. Bethel Jacobs. 2. That, in order to testify the gratitude of the Members of this Congregation, a Testimonial be presented to each of these Gentlemen. That a Subscription be at once entered into to defray the expenses of such Testimonials. 4. That a Committee be appointed to carry out the foregoing Rosolutions; to consist of five Gentlemen, with power to add to their number. ?*&gt;. That Messrs. S. Mosely, H. Apple, P. Lewis, Morris Cohen, and J. Friedeberg do form the Committee. &lt;i. That Mr. S. Mosely be the Treasurer. (signed) SIMEON MOSELY, Chairman. Mi;. MOSKI.T HATING kEFT THE CHAIR, IT WAS KKSOIVED UNANIMOUSI.T-? That the cordial thanks of this Meetiug are eminently due and hereby given to Mr. Mosely for his able and impartial conduct in the Chair. (signep) S. GODFREY, Secretary (pro. tern). The following Gentlemen not having been present at the Meeting, forwarded Subscriptions towards the Testimonials:? Messrs. ISRAEL JACOBS ISAAC DANIELS JNO. DAVIS J. FERBSTEIN H. HIRSCHFIELD BARNET HARRIS Messrs. PINCUS LEVIEN SIMON MAST EPHRAIM PHILLIPS ALBERT BREMER J. BORN H. BERGMAN Mr. SOLOMON NATHAN Rev. S. SIMONS Messrs. L- SACHS MORRIS CASREAL MARCUS CASREAL Plate 3 Report of the meeting of the Hull Hebrew Congregation, 29 September 1852. The partly obscured name at the foot is of Mrs Anna Samuel. 53</page><page sequence="22">Israel Finestein accommodate the more rapidly increasing number of immigrants (new or recent). Yet the tensions between these elements formed part of the background to the recurring disputes. In due course the former group headed the end-of century movement, under the leadership of scions of the Jacobs and like-minded families, and resolved long-standing problems by the creation of their own large new synagogue. The general movement away from the area of Robinson Row on the part of many other families (and not only such as had chosen to join the Western), spelt the end of the Robinson Row chapter. By 1880 these events had begun to loom ahead. The increase in the 1870s in the rate of Russian-Polish Jewish immigration sharpened the welfare responsibilities of the established community and at the same time added to local tensions. Relief of the Jewish poor was never far from the centre of deliberations among the successive cadres of Jewish leadership in Hull. From the 1830s the immig? rant poor outnumbered the resident poor, and in due course expanded the ranks of the latter only to be replaced by the arrival of successive waves of immigrants. Often the number of immigrants who settled in Hull was outnumbered by those who came to Hull as transmigrants on their way to elsewhere in Britain or to America. All these categories were in receipt of aid to some degree or other from private donations and/or limited sums from authorized congregational monies. In 1847 there was formed in Hull the Society for the Relief of Distressed Foreigners. It was a non-denominational body controlled by a group of foreign merchants in Hull.7 It was financed by voluntary contributions and seems to have been a pioneer in the provinces. No doubt some Jewish arrivals derived some relief from this body, but the Jewish community did not regard itself as relieved to any extent of the responsibility of assisting the Jewish immigrants, whether they were in Hull short-term or long-term. In 1848, at a time of heightened immigration, there was established under the auspices of the synagogue a charity called the Gemilous Chasadim Philanthropic Society, as an instrument for the distribution of relief on some organized basis. In the following year, the Meshivas Nephesh Society was set up,8 which was by its nature a Friendly Society. It attracted many members and provided sick benefits and other forms of contingent assistance. In 1897 it was called the Jacob Alper Society in tribute to the late long-serving and by then long-popular presid? ent of the congregation. Alper was for many years Chairman of the Society. He had also founded the Malbish Arumim Society for the supply of clothes to 'poor children' in the local Jewish community. From time to time in the 1850s - more frequently than previously - the funds of the congregation were drawn on to help immigrants to travel on, or sometimes to return to the Continent, or were used to meet some special circumstances. In addition, the constitution author? ized the president to disburse a fixed sum each year on the relief of the poor. In the severe winter of 1861 the president thus distributed ?6 among the resid? ent Jewish poor. While such presidential disbursements were at his discretion, 54</page><page sequence="23">The Jews in Hull, between 1766 and 1880 the president was expected to report thereafter to the committee of the syn? agogue. There were occasions when the committee or the honorary officers invited members of the synagogue to form a special fund to assist a particular family. This was done to assist a former treasurer of the synagogue who in the late 1850s fell on hard times and whose family was in distress. From the late 1830s the synagogue bought matzah for distribution among poor members. In 1859, 200 lbs of matzah and 20 lbs of matzah meal were bought for this purpose, and the quantities increased annually. Frequenters of any private minyan and persons who had not attended synagogue for a month before Pesach were excluded. This was decided in 1859, but the practice was older. So strong was the feeling aroused during the controversies of 1858-9 that the committee ruled that as long as the private minyan of the period continued, all charity to the 'casual' poor (non-members) should cease - so far, that is, as the committee could restrain members from giving charity. In 1861, encouraged by Philip Bender's advocacy, the Ladies' Hebrew Bene? volent Society was created. It was governed by a group of ladies who undertook to visit the sick and contribute to a fund for medical services in confinement and at other times of need. For its members it was a Friendly Society; for non-paying beneficiaries it was a charity. Its benefits were limited to Jews of at least three months residence in Hull. The Society also founded a loan fund, insisting on inspection and enquiry before allocations or loans were advanced. Such provisions reflected the growing concern to avoid pauperization and encourage realistic self-help. In August 1861 Mosely proposed the creation of a fund for the relief of needy widows (and orphans) of members of the synagogue, and made the first contribution to the fund. It is clear that the synagogal organization of charity was mainly in the interests of members of the synagogue or resident Jews. Relief of the short-term resident, or the 'birds of passage', was often still left to individual or fortuitous charity, usually without regard to principles of self-help or the danger of pauperization. In 1880 the Hull Jewish Board of Guardians came into being, which amalgam? ated or took over several sets of commitment. It assisted the Jewish poor in Hull regardless of membership or length of residence. It was soon called on to aid larger numbers both of residents and new arrivals and transmigrants than Hull had ever known, while at the same time seeking to do so on an organized and realistically controlled basis. Typical of the efforts made outside the Synagogue in the difficult times of the 1870s to succour 'the strangers', was the creation in January 1870, with the express public approval of the Chief Rabbi, of the Hull Hebrew Holy Institute, with the specific object of extending aid to them. It was inaugurated at a public dinner under the chairmanship of John Symons, attended by about 200 people. The Jewish Chronicle reported that after dinner 'dancing commenced which was kept up with spirit until the early hours'. During the severe weather of Nov 55</page><page sequence="24"></page><page sequence="25">The Jews in Hull, between 1766 and 1880 ember 1869 a special meeting of the synagogue was called, under Solomon Cohen's chairmanship to solicit funds to relieve the needs of the Jewish poor, Cohen heading the subscription list. In 1872 the Jewish Soup Kitchen was opened in Lower Union Street, under the chairmanship of Israel Goldman, a glazier of Cross Street, for the provision of food for Sabbaths and Festivals to poor Jewish immigrants, to be followed in 1873 by the emergence of a further society directed to supply provision for Sabbaths and Festivals for 'strangers'. An example of self-help on the part of the poorer elements in the Jewish community was the creation of the Hull Hebrew Mutual Benefit Society, under the presidency of A. Laukawski. The Society in the 1870s was a precursor of the expanding Jewish Friendly Society movement of the later decades of the century among the growing immigrant population. The Hull Jewish community was the first in the provinces to contribute to Jews' College, probably done on Bethel Jacobs' advice. In reply to the Chief Rabbi's appeal, Jacobs wrote on 14 April 1852 as president of the congregation that a general meeting had unanimously decided to send ten guineas to Adler's projected scheme. He added that 'the very heavy responsibility involved in the rebuilding of the Synagogue and the establishment of the local Jewish school' precluded a larger donation. Jacobs expressed his regret at the absence of indi? vidual donations, for which Adler had also asked. But he sent him certain names and wrote that those gentlemen would no doubt respond to 'direct application' from the Chief Rabbi. Jacobs himself sent two guineas. The Hull community received many requests for financial help and had great difficulty in meeting them. In November 1858 the general meeting refused to contribute to the fund for the commemoration of the admission of Jews to Parlia? ment. The reason given was 'the large debt owed to the congregation'. This may be a misprint for 'owed by the congregation', but it could equally refer to the extent of arrears in seat rentals owed to the synagogue which was a constant source of anxiety to the committee. In April 1859 an appeal for assistance towards the building of a synagogue in Swansea was refused. In 1865 the sum of two guineas was sent towards the fund for the proposed synagogue in Sun derland - perhaps out of some sense of closeness to a sister community in the north. In April 1864 a similar request from Southampton had been refused, as was the request for aid from the Leeds congregation in 1863 in the relief of local Jewish poverty. In reply to these and similar requests, the synagogue referred to its own 'heavy liabilities'. Individuals did respond to many of these appeals, notably Bethel Jacobs, Mosely and Alexander. On some occasions, such as when Adler asked for aid for the poor Jews in Palestine in July 1854 or f?r Moroccan Jewry in January i860, local collections were made. Early in that decade Joel Farbstein, later president, moved that the synagogue as such should never donate to any appeal from its funds. This counsel of despair was not accepted. In the 1860s the committee of the synagogue agreed with the caretakers, Mr 57</page><page sequence="26">Israel Finestein and Mrs Wilkinson, that they might live rent-free in accommodation (occupied by Samuel Simon) within the curtilage of the synagogue, on their undertaking to carry out odd jobs to the synagogue premises as may be necessary. The beadle, Mr Nusbaum, lived in nearby Trundle Street. In the 1850s members (apart from the much higher-rated ba'ale batim) paid an annual seat-rental which averaged about 10 shillings for each member. In 1862 income stood at ?300, of which all, save the ?4 10s surplus on the school account, was from seat rentals and offerings. The annual expenditure was ?400. The loans contracted in 1852 and 1858 for the building-work on the synagogue and the purchase of the new cemetery had not yet been fully repaid. Near the end of 1861, a special meeting of the committee was called to consider ways and means of meeting the obligations. Only three members attended and no decisions were taken. To resolve the situation, extra efforts were made to collect rental arrears and certain charges were increased, one of which was the minimum marriage fee which was fixed in February 1864 at one and a half guineas. Seat rentals were progressively increased, fixed in 1874 in a range from ?j 10s to ?1 6s per annum. The fee for a wife's seat in the gallery was one guinea. There was an increasing number of cases in which, because of hardship, proportions of rentals and other charges were waived. The Hull community was one of those which in advertisements for officials warned that applicants who attended 'for trial' or interview must pay their own expenses. The community faced difficulty in efforts to make provision for pen? sions for retired officials or to provide benefits in case of prolonged illness. In 1856 the congregation (at the payment of ?1 per annum) entered the newly formed scheme under Adler's presidency for the creation of a benefit society for the 'clergy'. The annual payment was by private gift. And yet, on 6 August 1880, after the death of the greatly esteemed minister, Abraham Elzas, the Jewish Chronicle reported that his widow and children were 'quite destitute'. John Symons took the lead in raising a 'small fund' for them. Until about 1850 Samuel Simon was the local religious factotum. For a short time Jacob Kirschbaum, talmudist and recent arrival from Cracow, was shochet, before leaving for Cheltenham (and later for the London Board of Shechita). When Philip Bender was appointed,9 it was principally as second reader (hazan) and teacher. The added appointment was a burden on communal funds. In due course an additional teacher was also engaged. When Ephraim Cohen10 was appointed in i860 first as shochet at a salary of ?78 per annum there was an appeal for voluntary donations to help pay him. Jacobs and Mosely (as was often the case) opened the list (?5 each) and a total of ?22 was raised. When Elkan Epstein was appointed hazan and teacher in April 1864, his salary was ?130 per annum, half of which was, on the committee's decision, to be paid from congregational funds, the remainder to come, it was hoped, from voluntary sub? scriptions. Immediately on this appointment, ?42 was collected through such 58</page><page sequence="27">The Jews in Hull, between 1766 and 1880 contributions, and the remainder for the first year had to be painstakingly found. This chronic shortage of congregational funds in a synagogue possessed of an affluent upper layer in its membership, probably reached its acutest point in July 1865 when the president felt obliged to inform the general meeting that for the time being there was no money with which to pay the teachers. I assume that the teachers' salaries were a first charge on such school fees as were paid. I take the president's announcement to mean that the synagogue at that moment lacked the means to supplement the income, such as it was, from the school fees. It is difficult to believe that the necessary supplement did not come before very long from the private purses of the communal leadership. When Ephraim Cohen's weekly wage was raised in April 1863 by 5 shillings to ?2, it was on condition that circumcision fees would be paid to him by parents (whether mem? bers or not) and not by the synagogue. If parents were too poor to pay, it is likely that the president would in his discretion pay him from synagogal funds. The absence of Hull Jewry from the group of communities which participated in the election to the Chief Rabbinate in 1844 did not reflect any sense of inde? pendence from that office. Its influence was felt through the continuous and deep respect on the part of the succession of local Jewish leaders for the parent congregation of the Ashkenazi community in Britain. There was a readiness to abide by the discretion of the lay heads of the Great Synagogue, whose influence over the electoral conference would, it was rightly thought, be decisive. During HerschelFs long term in office (1802-42) it was less his personal role than the fact that he was the religious head of the Great which gave him that rank likewise over the comparatively distant community of Hull. The emergence of an Anglo-Jewish press in 1841 helped to draw the provincial Jewish commu? nities into a greater consciousness of common Anglo-Jewish interests. The publi? city it gave to debates over the criteria which might be applied in finding a successor to the outgoing Chief Rabbi, would undoubtedly have been noted in Hull. Adler, especially after his post-appointment questionnaire to all Orthodox congregations in the United Kingdom and the Empire, and his subsequent pub? lication of his guidance for the direction of their congregational and educational work, gave Adler a visible personal role and an aura of personal authority which added significantly to the earlier instinctively accepted status of the office. One cannot exclude the possibility that among the reasons for not joining in the Chief Rabbinate electoral process were the fee and expense for so doing, as well as the local lack of familiarity with the in-fighting between rival groups for their respective favoured candidates. Let London decide, may have been an understandable outlook in some far-flung congregations. It is unlikely at that time that the Reform secession in London and the Great Synagogue's and Her schell's reactions to it played a part in any distancing of the local community from involvement in the electoral process. When Adler informed the Hull Hebrew Congregation of his intention to visit 59</page><page sequence="28">Israel Finestein Hull in 1862, the local leadership was exceedingly embarrassed by the then vacancy in the offices of reader and preacher. It was felt to be unsuitable to welcome the Chief Rabbi without, in particular, a hazan for the occasion. Accordingly, Adler was invited to postpone his visit - even though he was plan? ning a tour of Jewish communities in the North East. The tour took place, but did not include Hull. This was not the first time that a projected call by Adler on that community did not materialize. In November 1859 confusion and discord arose at the general meeting of the congregation over the sequence of certain portions of the liturgy. It was characteristically decided to place the difficulties before Adler. On his next visit to London, Bethel Jacobs did so in person and brought back written replies. There was no servility on the part of the congregation. When Adler had called on the community in November 1862 to raise funds for the relief of the Lanca? shire cotton operatives who had been rendered unemployed by the American Civil War, the Hull Hebrew Congregation responded by raising subscriptions for operatives in Hull, who as far as I know had not been as affected by the cutting off of cotton supplies to England. Local patriotism took precedence over the Chief Rabbinical request. The laws of the congregation, at least from the 1830s, were modelled on those of the Great Synagogue. It was governed by the president and the treasurer. There were usually two vice-presidents and a committee of seven, who, like president and treasurer, were elected by the annual general meeting of members. Past presidents and treasurers were members of the committee. Each synagogal member became entitled to vote, and not only the baale batim. The latter group paid the higher rates of seat rental, and alone were entitled to stand for election. The right to vote was extended to members by 1850. From time to time a member might be enrolled at a rate so low that it was stipulated that his syn? agogal membership did not entitle him to vote. The general meeting elected officers and committee from a list of nomina? tions made partly by the outgoing committee and partly by the synagogal members at the general meeting. The effort by Bethel Jacobs in the committee in the late 1850s to limit the number of nominations made by the general meeting, failed by one vote. There was some reluctance on the part of members of the committee to appear to want to limit the rights of members. Furthermore, hopeful canvassing for nomination and for office was thought to be a likely attraction to membership and thus be of benefit to revenue. Nominations from the floor were made on the day of the election and were the occasion for much disorder at meetings. In 1853 non-privileged members had been given the right to elect their own 'delegate' to the committee. Even in this limited form of representation, the election of one of their own number to the committee was seen as a major concession on the part of the baale batim and the older leadership.11 It was a 60</page><page sequence="29">The Jews in Hull, between 1766 and 1880 modest act of prudence on their part in the face of mounting tension between themselves and the general body of members. The newer members often felt restive under the tight control of the English-speaking, middle-class, anglicized oligarchy. Moses Moss, gilder, carver and picture dealer, was so elected. He was of Galician origin and rose to became the synagogue's secretary in the 1850s. General meetings were held quarterly. In addition, special meetings were called from time to time to consider the state of the school or to examine some particularly difficult communal dispute. Attendance varies according to the excitement of the time. In December 1858, twenty-six attended; in April 1859, thirty-eight, and in June 1859 as many as sixty. Thereafter the number fell to a constant total in the region of thirty-five over the next few years, rising in the wake of the advancing immigration. Apart from elections, the business of the ordinary general meetings (in addition to receiving the committee's report and recommendations, especially in respect of any breaches of the rules of the congregation), would be (where necessary) to approve the appointment of offici? ants and officials on the committee's recommendation; to settle arrangements for Festivals (including the provision of additional services and the drawing of lots for the posts of Chasan Torah and Chasan Bereshis (sic)); and the airing of members' grievances, ranging from 'unfair' allocations of seats or mitzvoth, to the 'improper' assumption of the status of an ex-honorary officer by someone who had held office for only part of a term. This last question was the subject of clarification in the laws as to how long a period of service was required. In April 1859 Jacobs secured the appointment of a special committee to advise on such changes to the laws as may be necessary to limit the occasions and opportunities for disputes. After a series of weekly meetings, some of which lasted hours, the special committee made no recommendations, presumably through lack of agreement. However, on 5 June 1859 tne committee accepted a recommendation by the special group that no one was to be entitled to vote at general meetings who had not paid his seat rental for the preceding twelve months. In practice this would reduce the influence of perhaps the least well-off members. It was not a remedy for conciliation. In April i860, laws 42 and 44 were amended to increase from three to five guineas the fine for refusing the office of president if elected, and from two to three guineas the penalty for refusing the post of treasurer. If the object of those provisions was in part financial, the changes probably also reflected some concern at the unreadiness to accept the onerous tasks of the senior officers in facing the apparently habitual fractiousness of the congregation. Perhaps similar considera? tions lay behind the imposition earlier that year of a fine of one shilling (later raised to is 6d) for each absence by any member from committee meetings, unless he was out of town. The laws of the congregation required the committee to meet monthly. This was the practice, but they met more often when circumstances required. Feelings 61</page><page sequence="30">Israel Finestein in committee were often strongly expressed, no less than at general meetings. Not even the personal authority of Bethel Jacobs, Alexander and Mosely was always able to quell frayed tempers. Disorder was not confined to general meet? ings. Among the many matters which formed the committee's regular business were applications for increases of salary by synagogal officials; applications for permission to marry in the synagogue; the whole or partial writing-off of arrears in hard cases; and the prior allocation of Festival mitzvoth. This last point could provoke much heat. It also fell to the committee to consider allegations of unfairness or favouritism in the president's allotment of and charging for seats. One matter which occupied much time was the hearing of disputes between members of the synagogue. Such attempted adjudication was deemed by the committee to be a highly important responsibility - the object being to avoid, if possible, public ligation in the Courts. One especially time-consuming episode arose from a member's allegation in 1858 that another member had slandered him. The careful minutes speak of 'depositions' and 'cross-examination'. Wit? nesses on both sides were heard. There is no sign that any of this was under oath, and it is unlikely to have been so. It was the committee's practice to seek a compromise and if possible an apology where appropriate, and in general to act as conciliators. It seems that the committee's decisions or guidance were generally accepted, but not always. In the 1860s Mosely several times sought to give up the presidency, but was persuaded to stay on. In 1863 he told his colleagues that his having to attend Court as a witness concerning a charge of assault in synagogue - having initiated it while President - was more than his self-respect could bear. He was a Town Councillor in the 1860s. A minute in the records of the Hull Watch Committee in October 1873, that 10s had been received from the synagogue for the attend? ance of two constables at the synagogue, perhaps tells a story. For some months in 1863 and 1864, Jacobs and Mosely felt it necessary to absent themselves from synagogal meetings because of persistent disorder. How is one to explain the chronic fractiousness? The question was often asked at the time. There was certainly much social distance and some personal tension between the longer-established well-to-do families and the various grades of more recent immigrants. From around 1840 the members of the former group had begun to move away from older districts into the then newer areas of Porter Street, Anlaby Road (notably in its offshoot, Coltman Street) and Beverley Road. There was also a contentious 'racial' self-consciousness between the respective groups and grades of immigrant. One correspondent in x\\t Jewish Chronicle on 31 May 1872, signing himself J. F. of Hull - probably Joel Farbstein (1809-88) of William Street, the Polish born local 'corn-doctor' (his term) or chiropodist and former President - referred to the dissensions in the northern Jewish communities generally. He welcomed the editorial demand for what he called 'eminent English lecturers' 62</page><page sequence="31">The Jews in Hull, between 1766 and 1880 (by which he meant English-trained preachers). In the northern communities, he added, there was usually in each congregation 'a party or clique' in opposition to those in office. 'Circumstances,' he commented, 'not character, is at fault'. 'Social difficulties', observed the editor, 'are in the way of harmony'. In May and June 1872 the journal urged the formation of groups of communities in respective regions, each group with a perambulating English preacher, who might give cohesion to disparate elements by weaving several communities into a larger whole. One such group, it was suggested, might be Hull, Sheffield and Nottingham. It is difficult to see how any such system would have touched any of the important causes of the habits and operation of acrimony in Hull. A frequent visitor to Hull, writing on 28 June 1878 about the 'racial groupings' in Hull Jewry, observed that 'the Germans' look down on and mistrust 'the Russi? ans', and the 'English' think 'they are superior to all foreigners'. He added significantly: 'the English portion . . . seldom attend the Synagogue'. The sharp contests for office or committee, and the heavy canvassing, pro? ceeded in the 1850s with an enthusiasm which led the Jewish Chronicle later to comment admiringly on the keenness of interest shown by the Jews of Hull in the conduct of their public affairs. This euphemism wore increasingly thin as acrimony advanced as a feature of local communal life. In 1853-4, at the time of unrest in some sections of Anglo-Jewry over the exclusion from the Board of Deputies of four Reformers elected to it by Orthodox synagogues, the dispute was especially acute in Hull. It seemed to bring forward in Hull resentments of long standing. The first representative of the Hull congregation on the Board was Solomon Meyer's son, Meyer Meyer (1814-80), a London merchant living in Sion House in Clapton (adjoining the comparatively new residential area of Stamford Hill), and later of Gordon Square. Meyer had been unanimously elected by the con? gregation in 1852. While knowing of the strong local feeling in favour of exclu? sion, he voted in favour of admitting the four to the Board, which was evenly divided on the issue. The division was resolved by the casting vote of the presid? ent, Sir Moses Montefiore, against admission.12 The committee of the Hull synagogue, in an anxious debate on the question, voted by five votes to three in support of exclusion and by notice in the Jewish press repudiated Meyer's action. The majority stated their view that members of Reform were 'not qualified' to represent Orthodox congregations. Meyer pub? licly responded to the public announcement of the committee's vote by asserting his right to act in accordance with his conscience. He did not regard membership of the Reform Synagogue as a departure from the Jewish community; nor did he treat the fact that the Board deemed the Chief Rabbi to be its religious authority, to be a justification for excluding a properly elected Deputy from serving on the Board.13 He did not resign, as did Sir David Salomons, in a like position in regard to the New Synagogue in London. Had he offered his resigna 63</page><page sequence="32">Israel Finestein tion it would probably have been accepted by the committee and the majority of the general meeting in Hull (unlike the reaction of the New Synagogue).14 For some time Meyer's example was long cited in local communal debate with contentious approval or dismay. The preferred attachment of the synagogue to the jurisdiction of the Chief Rabbi had, however marginally, come under debate. Related to it locally was the continuing and sharper questioning of any? thing resembling patrician highhandedness. The Meyer affair had not been for? gotten when a separate, but not wholly dissimilar, issue arose in 1856 to disturb the already uneven tenor of congregational life. A small dissenting congregation arose which sought to place itself under the religious guidance of Rabbi Solomon Schiller-Szinessy of Manchester. This short-lived secession of mainly Jews of recent arrival was as much personal as doctrinal, if doctrinal at all. That rabbi's estrangement from the Old Hebrew Congregation in Manchester and his acceptance of the ministry of the newly formed Manchester Reform Synagogue did not deter the seceders from the adoption of his religious headship, a status which he sought to confirm by assum? ing the title of Chief Rabbi of his two congregations, namely Manchester Reform and the new group in Hull. These events, with their wider implications for the communal structure and the status of Dr Adler, aroused the anxiety and the heightened anger of Bethel Jacobs, then president of his congregation.15 Whatever the wider perspective, the dispute locally had more to do with a reaction against local oligarchic communal control. It is ironic that the seceders, centred on men of particular piety, might well have viewed with some admira? tion (in so far as they knew of them directly) services of greater solemnity, decorum and formality than their own forms of piety might have been expected to welcome. It is perhaps a measure of disenchantment with the style of govern? ment exercised by the local Jewish 'cousinhood'. An unlikely supporter of the dissidents was Henry Franks, optician in Whitefriargate. He was in business there from 1842 which business continued through a series of generations.16 His descendant, Benn Franks, was a member of the founding committee of the Hull Western Synagogue. The synagogal minute book of the early 1860s is good evidence of the inner turmoil. In 1863 and 1864 there is a record of the succession of prominent figures who declined to accept nomination for office. At the general meeting on 20 October 1864 Farbstein was one of them. While he appears to have changed his mind about accepting nomination as president, it would seem that he was elected before he had announced his change of mind. Some thought he was not properly a candidate. That was the opinion of a long-standing critic, Lewis Marks (1816-96), silversmith of 31 Waterworks Street, who aspired to that office. With his friends, he did not regard Farbstein as president. Marks had been treasurer and expected the reversion. He said he was ready to give way only to certain named people, including Jacobs and Mosely. They repeated their 64</page><page sequence="33">The Jews in Hull, between 1766 and 1880 intention not to stand. The minutes record that 'Mr. Jacobs and some other members left the meeting' and that 'only a few voted'. At the outset of the meeting 55 attended. These are the last entries in the minute book, the remain? der of which is blank. The minutes were signed as correct by Farbstein as 'President'. It is not stated when he so signed. It was later contended that in any event, among those who voted were some who, because of arrears, were not entitled to vote. On 3 March 1865 the Hull Packet scathingly referred to the on-going quarrel over whether Farbstein was legally elected to office. This largely personal dis? pute lay behind the grievous controversy a few months later over the manner of burial of a child (still-born?) and the later disinterment of the body (under the auspices of Marks, a relative) and its reburial in Sheffield. The lengthy Court proceedings which followed these events attracted wide publicity. The editor commented as follows: 'Years ago, when the Jews of Hull were but a scanty and needy band, the representative men . . . were really what they appeared, the leaders . . . and the supporters of their humbler brethren. . . . But as steamers multiplied . . . the ranks of the Jews in our town became more and more crowded by foreigners, who were less needy and more independent than the humble Jews who had so long meekly bowed the head to the half-dozen resident representative Hebrews who had always sat in the high places of the synagogue. Years ago the revolt began. First there was a whisper of disaffection; then open resistance; . . .' This over-dramatic and generalized language ignored the many cross-currents of opinion within local Jewish opinion. The Packet questionably suggested that the 'old ruling representative Jews' backed Marks. There is little doubt that most members favoured Farbstein. Among the latter were Morris Magner, wholesale jeweller of 17 Mytongate, and Hyman Gerson, a 'traveller' of 86 Porter Street. But what cannot be gainsaid is that the editor did touch on a feature of local Jewish life whose underlying role in communal debate was to become ever more marked. Such a feature was not limited to Hull, but it was rifer there than elsewhere because of the sharper local pressure of immigration in relation to the numbers of the longer resident, and the different traditions with which they were respectively familiar. One practice in the synagogue which was thought irksome by some, I think rightly, was the long misheberach required by many of those who were accorded mitsvoth on Sabbaths and Festivals. The protracted blessings which accompanied the individual donations announced on those occasions were conducive to impa? tience, indiscipline and frayed tempers. On his visit to Hull in 1875, Adler urged their abridgement, describing the prolix procedure as 'almost unendurable'. The honorary officers were loath to interfere with a useful source of synagogal rev? enue. Enhancing the effects of such combinations of circumstances and motives, 65</page><page sequence="34">Israel Finestein there was in some quarters a sense of alienation from the London-oriented con? gregation of Hull. The Chief Rabbi's regulations for the conduct of services were received in Hull in 1847 as by other congregations within his jurisdiction. Whether formally adopted or not, they were certainly a powerful source of guid? ance. While these provisions, which urged the cultivation of solemnity, may not in this fractious community have been implemented in practice, the regulations, together with the laws of the congregation, gave some religious and constitu? tional sanction for adherence to the entrenched forms of leadership. In the age of large immigration and different incoming traditions, this made for friction, disaffection, 'personalities' and unrest. There were several instances (of the kind painfully spoken of by Mosely) in the 1860s and 1870s when scuffles and assaults in the synagogue led parties to be summoned before the Hull Stipendiary Magistrates.17 The usual result of conviction was for one or both parties to be bound over to keep the peace. Squabbles over seating arrangements (in a synagogue of only limited capacity for the numbers who sometimes attended) were among the causes for disturb? ance. In spite of reports in the local and Jewish press of the Court proceedings, and notwithstanding pleas by the Chief Rabbi, the Secretary of the Board of Deputies and the Magistrates, there seemed to have been an incorrigibility within some elements of the local community in the proclivity to disorder. The cause of the emergence of another separate minyan in 1858 was neither doctrinal nor related to seating arrangements. It sprang from personal antipathies which were aggravated by the president's refusal to allow one of the disaffected group to be called up to the reading of the Torah on the anniversary of the death of his parent in accordance with recognized practice. The proffered reason for this exclusion was that the member on the comparable occasion in the previ? ous year had failed to 'make an offering' to the synagogue in accordance with equally recognized practice. The exclusion was regarded as an affront to those who cared about decent synagogal behaviour. The instigators of the separate minyan were Jacob Alper, a Polish immigrant of 1846 and a travelling 'jeweller', and George Tickton, a working jeweller and, it seems, a gentleman of known irrascible temperament. The minyan met in the home of Jacob Friedman, Tickton's father-in-law. Despite being sent copies of the laws to remind them of the penalties attached to the holding of a separate minyan, the 'secession' continued. The threat of fines did not deter. The minyan now met in Tickton's home at 64 Porter Street. As a warning at large, the committee sent a copy of the relevant laws, setting out the penalties, to every member of the synagogue. In December 1858 Alper appeared before the committee and recounted his personal complaint. He found no support. The minyan had procured a Torah Scroll (for use during their services) which appears to have been the property of the synagogue. Its retention was especially galling to the committee. Later that month, despite Bethel 66</page><page sequence="35">The Jews in Hull, between 1766 and 1880 Jacobs's suggestion that the recalcitrant members should be given a further warning, the committee decided to withdraw membership and its rights from the offenders. This was a substantial sanction, since membership included the right to send children to the school. Membership also freed members from liability to pay certain levies borne by non-members, including at that time an extra charge for the purchase of meat and poultry, and a special fee (?5, unless the president agreed a lesser sum) for burial in the higher and therefore more favoured ground. Expulsion from membership also involved a degree of social ostracism. It was decided that any person who buys meat or poultry for any of the seceders should be fined ?1. It was further laid down that should the seceders return, the original fines of ?5 each (unless the president agreed a reduction) should stand. This last provision discouraged a settlement and was eventually rescinded. Alexander and Mosely had originally offered to pay Friedman's fine. He was not regarded as the instigator of the secession. Friedman declined the offer. The committee viewed a separate minyan not only as hurtful to congregational pride and by definition wrong as a breach of authority, but also as a threat to congregational finances, the upkeep of education and poor relief, maintenance of the fabric of the premises and the discharge of the congregational indebtedness. The committee demanded not only an end of the separation, but also, on the part of the leaders of it, written applications for renewal of membership. The quarrel smouldered for more than a year before the separatists returned to the fold. Some of them were to hold high office in the synagogue. Alper rose far in 'respectability', and by his death in 1896 had been elected president of the congregation seven times and was the second member to be appointed Rosh Hakohol. The first published contemporary reference to a Jewish school in Hull to the best of my knowledge is in William White's Hull Directory for 1838. It is clear that Jewish schooling existed before that date, probably in a room attached to the synagogue of 1826, and in any event there was also available private tuition. Samuel Simon was the first teacher. Among his private pupils was Bethel Jacobs. Another private teacher was Abraham Hassan. The school of 1838 was a free school, catering for the Jewish education of the poor. With the expansion of the local community in the 1840s there was felt to be a pressing need for extra accommodation and for a teacher in addition to Simon. An important part of the rebuilding of the synagogue premises in 1852 was the provision of such additional space. It took the form of a large school-room over the porch and was described in the local press as incorporated into the design for 'the better instruction of the poor scholars'. It was commended by the Jewish Chronicle as a 'capacious room'. In October 1852 the Jewish Chronicle reported that forty children were taught there without charge (or at a nominal rate), paid for by the Hull 'Hebrew Education Society'. The Board of Deputies' returns indicate that 67</page><page sequence="36">Israel Finestein in that year there were fifteen boys and fourteen girls in attendance, with two teachers. These varying calculations reflect in part the varying attendances, per? haps especially in the girls' section. The education was under the control of a committee which called itself the Hull Hebrew Educational Society. Its membership coincided largely with the ruling body of the synagogue, whose constitutional connection with the society was at that time vague. The school was limited to the children of members. During the disputes of 1858-9 the children of the 'disfranchised' members were discharged from the school. Teaching at the school was an integral part of the minister's task. Philip Bender, who was appointed in 1850, had soon urged the need for more accom? modation and additional staff, and called for the school to be placed directly under the synagogue's authority. This last request was granted in June 1859, whereby issues came more readily within the ultimate purview of the general meeting of members. It was part of the response of the older leadership to the advance of a more self-conscious 'democratic' spirit - not confined to the Hull scene, Jewish or otherwise. It was also laid down that as long as there was only one teacher, twenty-five children at most should be accommodated in the school. This reflected a desire for more effective tuition, which was part of Bender's aspiration, even though such policy could deprive other children of education in the school. It was hoped that the new policy would stimulate the search for and the appointment of additional staff. In reality, the restriction to twenty-five children was not adhered to. Limited congregational finances was one of the reasons for confining the school to one teacher - and he the minister. In an expanding community, the policy was from the start unrealistic and invidious. Early in i860 there were thirty-nine children in one class in the one room, including twenty-five boys and fourteen girls, with one teacher. It was not until the end of that year that an assistant teacher was appointed and a second class formed. In the reorganization of June 1859 it was stipulated that the minimum pay? ment per child was to be 3d per week and that, subject to this minimum, the school committee should be entitled to arrange charges with the parents. In that year it was decided that school arrears were to be considered, like the 5s circum? cision fee, as part of synagogal arrears and, as with synagogal arrears, the com? mittee should have the right to write them off or negotiate reductions in special cases. These changes reflected Bender's thinking and enterprise. The school com? mittee had confidence in his judgement. In i860 the committee, as a compli? mentary gesture, voted ?5 for the school (presumably from synagogal funds) to be expended at Bender's discretion, and in 1861 bought library tickets from congregational funds for Bender's personal use. The continuing pressure of expanding numbers had led Bender to propose - 68</page><page sequence="37">The Jews in Hull, between 1766 and 1880 as a desperate measure - that while the boys should continue to be taught daily, the girls should attend during separate hours twice weekly, Monday and Friday. The proposal was not particularly attractive. It was adopted for a short time, but did not prove to offer any remedy, and in any case was rightly felt to be discriminatory. It was decided in August 1861 that no boy under the age of five, nor any girl under the age of six, should be admitted. In 1863 there were thirty five boys. It was decided that if at least twelve girls attended, Wednesday after? noons would be devoted to their education. The incipient movement for a separ? ate school for girls gained strength. A separate girls school was indeed established in that year, but it attracted few pupils and lapsed. On his visit to Hull in 1869 the Chief Rabbi called for its restoration, and in 1872 Nathan Marcus Adler's request was met by the setting up of the desired school. Mrs B. S. Jacobs, Bethel Jacobs' daughter-in law, had been the principal mover and was president, following the example of Mrs Bethel Jacobs who had played the leading role in the scheme of 1863. IR the 1870s, among the honorary teachers were young ladies of the Jacobs and Mosely families. From a roll of eleven girls at the start, the total by 1890 exceeded 130. The school had by then been placed under Government inspec? tion, and by the end of the century 200 were in attendance. Meanwhile, the boys' school in the synagogue had undergone reorganization. From 1862 free pupils were now to meet for tuition at a separate time. The minimum age for entry to the school was fixed at six. For boys aged over ten the charge was to be a minimum of 6d per week. Girls over the age of ten were to pay is. Hours of tuition were extended to five and a half each day, from 9 am, except that on Friday and Sunday tuition was limited to three hours. For girls whose parents wanted them to have Hebrew instruction only, special hours were appointed at a reduced fee. A school fund was set up, by voluntary sub? scriptions from members of the synagogue, to pay the fees in respect of the poor, but it was decided that even the poorest were to contribute at least id weekly per child. There was emphasis on the children's cleanliness. Teachers were authorized to inform the president at short notice and he was empowered to send a child home for the day in a proper case. The visitors committee were expected to attend at least weekly. The succession of teachers after Simon's formal retirement largely comprised the procession of 'ministers' to the congregation. Standards of teaching varied and were often inconsequential to the appointments. Sometimes those who taught would have been appointed principally as hazanim (under whatever title) or as hazanim-preachers (whether called readers or ministers). Sometimes the search would be mainly for a teacher (or an assistant teacher) who would be required to perform other 'ministerial' role(s), such as the reading of the Torah or the conduct of the additional High Holidays services. The shochet or mohel 69</page><page sequence="38">Israel Finestein (whatever other roles he might assume) might also be expected to teach or assist in the school. In the early 1850s Benjamin Jacobs was a short-term assistant reader and teacher. Ephraim Cohen came to Hull from Leeds in October i860 after an eleven-years ministry in Leeds where, according to the Jewish Chronicle at the time of his move, he had 'furthered Hebrew education among the youth'. He was reader and shochet as well as teacher, and later became the 'minister', includ? ing preaching in his remit. In the school he was assisted by one Smith, described as a Hebrew teacher. Henry Davis Marks, Meyer Elkin and Elkan Epstein served successively as ministers. There was some local pride concerning Epstein in his capacity as reader, in that he was once a cantorial pupil of the celebrated hazan and composer, Salomon Sulzer of Vienna. He was appointed in April 1864 at an annual salary of ?130. Characteristic short-term appointments in the school were those of Lindner (who came to Hull from Bristol) in the mid-i850s, one Rosenbaum who was shochet and mohel between 1858 and 1861 at 25s per week (as well as in receipt of a special payment for Yom Kippur services); and Goldschmidt who served as hazan and occasional preacher in the early 1860s. Their role in the school seems to have been markedly incidental to their 'minis? terial' duties. From the beginning, the Jewish school provided both Hebrew and secular teaching. The Board of Deputies' Educational Return of 1853 indicates that the subjects taught at the school were 'the elements of Hebrew, English, and arith? metic'. From reports of the annual public examinations - sometimes bi-annual - this description appears too narrow. Probably the curriculum was extended and applied fitfully, with its scope and effect depending on the number of teachers available from time to time and their knowledge and methods. Certainly, ten years after the Board's report the subjects included Bible, Hebrew grammar, 'the catechism', geography and arithmetic. Teachers found much difficulty in handling a group of forty children of differ? ent ages and standards with only spasmodic assistance. In Abraham Jacobs, who came to Hull in 1866, the school acquired a teacher of Bender's capacity. Jacobs's appointment followed the recommendation by Moses Angel, head of the Jews' Free School in London. At a special general meeting of the synagogue in May 1864, convened to consider the state of the school, the uppermost idea was that, given the right teacher, standards would significantly improve. It was at that meeting that it was decided to elicit a recommendation from Angel. There seems to have been little thought given to the benefit that might accrue from having more than one class, reflecting different levels of age, attainment and capacity. Special importance was attached to ensuring the effective teaching of fluent English and a knowledge of English grammar. The committee turned to Angel for help in finding a teacher well equipped to teach in those fields and 70</page><page sequence="39">The Jews in Hull, between 1766 and 1880 who would also be a teacher of Hebrew and religion. Under Abraham Jacobs, standards appeared to improve. Discipline in school certainly did. It is difficult to assess the Jewish and general educational standards achieved in the school over the years. There were periodic inspections by individuals from London, including Simeon Singer, by prominent provincial ministerial figures, including George Emanuel of Birmingham, and sometimes by senior lay members of the congregation. Inspections usually consisted of, or included, the public examinations of pupils. Generally the reports spoke well of the standards of performance, but how far this reflected the generality of standards among the pupils as a whole is not clear. In 1863 a synagogue choir was recruited from the boys' school, with adults added. Henri Hartog, member of the synagogue and a music teacher, initiated the plan and undertook the training. The establishment of municipal schools following the Education Act of 1870 drew a number of pupils away from Jewish schools. Concern over standards at the Jewish boys' school led a group of local Jews to open a boys' school outside the synagogue premises in 1871, offering a wider curriculum and aiming to instil a higher appreciation of the Jewish content of the schooling. The curriculum included not only Hebrew reading and religious knowledge, but translation of the Bible and prayers, and Hebrew writing. In 1871 Abraham Elzas, then of Leeds, was appointed minister and teacher in Hull and became the superintendent of the local Jewish schools. This Dutch born scholar arrived in England in 1867 at the age of thirty-two. His translation of several books of the Bible in the 1870s and his notes thereon attracted wide attention among Jews and Christians. His annotated translation of the Minor Prophets (so called) was described by the Jewish Chronicle on 6 June 1873 as 'marking the commencement of a new period in the hitherto sluggish flow of Anglo-Jewish literary interest'. Each of his works was the subject of lengthy comment in the local press. Under his superintendence the Jewish schools advanced, but the draw of the new, and soon free, 'Board' schools affected the numbers who attended. Abraham Elzar's tenure as minister, teacher, and supervisor of the schools and classes gave him in practice freer rein than was enjoyed by his predecessors in the sphere of education. In addition to teaching in the boys' school, he taught Hebrew studies (on Sundays) in the girls' school. In charge of the latter school was Miss Jones, a Christian lady. He had more time and opportunity to deploy his pedagogic skills and enthusiasm than was formerly made available, and over a wider range of pupils. This state of affairs was facilitated by the presence of the series of incumbents in communal posts during his time: David Rosenthal who was shochet, mohel, assistant hazan and occasional preacher in the early 1870s; one B. Grossbaum, who was teacher and assistant hazan in the mid-1870s, as well as performing ministerial duties both for the Robinson Row congregation 71</page><page sequence="40">Israel Finestein and at the School Street Synagogue on its inception; and in particular Jacob F?rst, the Vilna-trained Courland-born hazan who served (mainly as reader) from 1870 until he left for Middlesbrough in 1878, moving to Edinburgh in 1879. By the time Hermann Adler visited Hull over the weekend of 21 May 1875, there was one Jewish boys' school. It was housed in West Street with about forty-five pupils. The girls' school was housed in the vestry room adjoining the synagogue with about thirty-five pupils. Adler conducted a iengthy and severe' examination in the boys' school in 'Hebrew subjects', the three R's, English grammar, history and geography. He pronounced himself 'satisfied'. He also carried out an examination in the girls' school. Again, the answer to the question as to the standards of Jewish knowledge reached by the boys and girls remains elusive. Parents were expected to provide their children with the necessary books. Occasionally private gifts of books were made for children's use at the schools. Adler allotted a grant from his fund raised for such purposes and undertook to ensure that Bibles would be sent by the Jewish Association for the Diffusion of Religious Knowledge. The problem of providing adequately qualified teachers was not resolved. Ill-health compelled Elzas to retire in 1876, and in 1880 he died in Hull. Herman Bush, of 5 Kingston Terrace and later 125 Hessle Road, 'jeweller' and watch-maker, was the honorary secretary of the synagogue. He had an enthusiasm for education, especially vocational training. In 1878 he effected a significant improvement. The more advanced or gifted pupils were to be given the opportunity of more serious study, instead of being retained at standards of the less able or keen. In 1873 'religious discourses' to children after the Sabbath morning services had been introduced. Later, David Fay, the minister, opened a 'congregational Sabbath school' in the synagogue. Fay, a former pupil and teacher at the Jews' Free School in London and a graduate of University College London and Jews' College, left Hull in 1883 to become minister at the Central Synagogue in succession to A. L. Green. In addition, private 'religion classes' were inaugurated by Louis Grouse, a former student of Jews' College. These developments may be said to herald the age of the 'synagogue-classes' system of Jewish education in Hull and the private heder form of instruction for those who wished it, which systems succeeded to the variety of heirs to the school where Samuel Simon was once the teacher. The Jewish girls' school continued in Hull far into the twentieth century, and the present writer's sister was a pupil there under the long-lived and locally celebrated headteacher, Miss Annie Sheinrog. In 1833, 650 Christians in Hull signed the national petition in favour of the current Jewish Emancipation Bill, organized by Barnard Van Oven. It was also signed by twenty-eight Hull Jews. The general political tone in Hull reflected the strength of the Nonconformists in the life and commerce of the city and the 72</page><page sequence="41">The Jews in Hull, between 1766 and 1880 growing local preference for parliamentary reform and free trade. This political atmosphere was favourable to the Jewish cause. After the Reform Act of 1832, the Members of Parliament elected in Hull were often protagonists of the suc? cessive emancipation bills and sometimes in the van of the movement. Notable among them were the prominent free trader, Sir William H?tt, MP for forty-two years, first for Hull (1832-41) and then for Gateshead; Colonel T. P. Thompson, a Benthamite Radical, who sat for Hull from 1835 to 1837;18 his son, Alderman Thomas Thompson, Mayor of Hull in 1841 and 1857, who was appointed Austr? ian Vice-Consul in Hull on the recommendation of his friend Lionel de Rothsch? ild; Matthew Talbot Baines, son of the influential owner of the liberal Leeds Mercury, who was the Recorder of Hull and then an MP for Hull (1847-52); and James Clay, son of a merchant family in the City of London and a life-long friend of Disraeli, notwithstanding political differences. Bethel Jacobs was one of the electors who signed the request to Baines in 1847 to accept nomination. Baines and Clay were among the Christians who contributed to the cost of rebuilding the synagogue in 1852. When in 1847 Sir Isaac Lyon Goldsmid stood for Parliament at nearby Bever ley in the General Election, the proceedings there were closely followed in Hull. The Hull Advertiser, which at the time of the Reform Bill of 1832 had adopted liberal reformist principles in place of its earlier Tory outlook, lengthily set out the history of the emancipation movement and called, unavailingly, for Goldsmid's election and the abolition of civil disabilities. The Tory and Anglican Hull Packet described Goldsmid as a 'radical Jew' and his candidature as 'an anti-Christian movement'.19 After the establishment in the 1830s of the Hull Reform Association, Hull was one of the centres of reformist activity. The Anglican vote was divided on the issue. When Daniel O'Connell visited Hull in April 1836 he was officially greeted by the mayor amidst a tumultuous welcome - a marked difference from the attitude of a section of the populace in 1780. When the Corn Laws were repealed in 1846, Sheahan records that the church bells rang and shops were closed as for a festival. Cobden and Bright had long been local heroes, whose visits to Hull were received with popular acclamation. The considerable involvement of Jews in the municipal life of Hull in the twentieth century began with the election of Henry Feldman (1855-1910), wool? len merchant and a founder member of the Western Synagogue, as mayor in 1906, the first Jew to hold that office in Hull. He was twice re-elected. Feldman was in the tradition of Aldermen Solomon Cohen and John Symons in the closing decades of the nineteenth century, who themselves followed in the paths set in the generation of Bethel Jacobs. In politics Feldman was a Unionist. Although prejudice was alive and from time to time overt, it was not the prin? cipal current of local opinion. More common and much to the fore were outward signs of harmonious relations between Jews and Christians in Jacobs's lifetime; 73</page><page sequence="42">Israel Finestein that social image was transmitted, and it formed part of the background to the later local scene. Feldman's father, Aaron, a 'jeweller' served, like Henry later, as president of the synagogue. He married in Hull in 1853, and was tne son ?f a 'trader' whose wife was Rachel Harris. Rachel's father, Nathan Harris, who lived in Nile Street, had been born in Lithuania. He was a talmudical scholar of high repute, popu? larly known in Hull as Reb Nahum, and the centre of informal talmudic study circles successively over a generation. He died in his mid-eighties in 1880. This grandfather of Henry Feldman represented, and was a progenitor of, a tradition in that city of a small coterie of informal adult (though not always exclusively) rabbinic study. It preceded the influx of Eastern European Jews from 1881, but was thereafter strengthened by the greater number of interested persons and the enthusiasm, which developed under the influence of men of considerable yeshi vah training (such as Reb Nahum) who had made their way to Hull. This prac? tice was not in the mainstream of the life of the local Jewish community, but it was in its time a significant leaven to Jewish education among the albeit limited number of participants and made a contribution to the consciousness, within the local Jewish community generally, of the mores and spirit which had been a marked feature of the European communities from which most of them had sprung. Yiddish was the usual language of communication in the coterie(s). Israel Levy (London-born son of Reb Aron, a member of Solomon HerschelPs Beth Din and former Secretary of Jews' College) was the minister of the Hull Hebrew Congregation from 1881 and thereafter of the Western Synagogue. He was likely to have been, in both successive offices, a senior participant in such talmudic circles. This did not preclude his delivering notable English sermons. The evangelical wing of the Anglican Church was strong in Hull, indirectly stimulated by the growth in numbers and enthusiasm of the Nonconformists. In 1820 Hull had both the second-largest Methodist chapel and the largest parish church in the country. The true founder of the evangelical fervour in the city was Joseph Milner, who died in 1797. As headmaster of the Hull Grammar School, an historian of the Church and in particular as a highly popular preacher, he contributed greatly to the atmosphere in which the conversionist spirit grew. His main ally was his friend Sir William Wilberforce, the city's most eminent figure and a Member of Parliament for Hull. In 1810 a local committee of the newly formed London Society for the Promotion of Christianity among the Jews was formed, with Wilberforce as Vice-President. His fellow-member of Parliament for Hull, Thomas Thompson, a leading local banker, joined the group, which within a year had twenty-five subscribers. Those Jews in Hull who were active in the city's public life, while welcoming the Judeophile stance of such local personalities, did not conceal their concern over conversionist attitudes and advocacy. It is of interest that Bethel Jacobs, who was especially involved in many facets of the cultural life of Hull, did 74</page><page sequence="43">The Jews in Hull, between 1766 and 1880 not involve himself with that fifteenth-century Christian foundation, the much esteemed Hull Grammar School. Christian missionaries not surprisingly paid particular attention to Hull. In his Guide to Hull (1827) William White lists four missionary societies, including one Methodist and one Baptist. The areas of disembarkation and their environs would be visited. Conversionist literature (often in German, Yiddish or Hebrew) would naturally be among the wares which they sought to distribute. The efforts were not limited to recent immigrants. The London Society (under Anglican auspices) and the British Society for the Propagation of the Gospel among the Jews (founded under the Nonconformists) would periodically send their agents. Their journals (the Jewish Herald and Jewish Messenger respectively) published reports on the Hull scene and the agents' work. The better-known visiting con? versionist preachers addressed crowded local meetings - crowded, that is, with Christians - and their speeches were usually extensively reported in the local press. Funds were raised for the parent bodies in London. The journals referred to the difficulty of getting a hearing once the immigrant had been made to feel as part, or prospectively so, of the local Jewish commun? ity. Among some Christians there was concern that the agents' activities seemed directed more to fundraising than to active conversionism. The private and public hostility towards the missionaries on the part of the local Jewish leaders was manifest. Most of the missionaries were converted Jews. In the synagogal minutes for the late 1850s there is anxious reference to the pending conversion of the son of a member and to countervailing efforts by family and others. The outcome is not disclosed, but one has the impression that the conversion went ahead.20 'Most of the foreign Jews who are met with in Hull', wrote H. C. Reichardt and J. Skolkowski, missionaries, in the Jewish Herald in January 1850, 'have not yet been in any other part of the country, so that they have not yet assumed that unsatisfactory character which a missionary often meets with'. A telling comment. Prominent among the popular preachers was Joseph Woolf, son of a Prussian rabbi, who, after a period as a Roman Catholic, joined the Anglican Church in 1819 and was much admired by its evangelical wing. In 1826 he raised ?150 in Hull for the funds of the London Society, and later gained much fame as a missionary in the East. In the 1830s and 1840s William Ayerst, a literary figure and editor of xht Jewish Intelligence, was among the agents in Hull for the British Society. One of his essays has an especially significant title: 'Jewish Attachment to the Sacred Literature Unabated by Poverty and Suffering'. If by 'the Sacred Literature' he meant what he called the Old Testament, his remark acknow? ledges the difficulties faced by the conversionists. He may by the same token have regarded the continuing attachment as offering the missionaries some groundwork for their advocacy of the 'secessionist' faith. By contrast, the Jewish Herald in April 1852, no doubt in reference to a different layer of Jewish society, 75</page><page sequence="44">Israel Finestein commented: 'is it not encouraging to learn that they [Jews] are losing confidence in their own traditions and consequently are the more open to instruction from the oracles of God?'. In his High Street Hull (1862), John Symons calculated that more than ?7500 had been contributed by citizens of Hull to the London Society. He denounced the conversionist movement and pleaded with its activists to reflect on the griev? ous results of any success they may have, in terms, as he put it, of the break-up of homes. In March 1873 the Hull Advertiser published a severe letter from a local Jew21 attacking the Revd Joshua Kroenig, the converted Prussian-born Yiddish-speaking Talmudic scholar. He had become a Christian before his emig? ration to England, and between 1871, when he first assumed office in Hull as Vicar of St Barnabas', until his death in 1900, he was the senior local Christian conversionist preacher. He received an annual grant from the London Society towards conversionist work. This popular vicar was sufficiently regarded in the Anglican communion to be invited to deliver the opening address at the Church Congress assembled at Derby in 1882. Kroenig's address, later published under the title of The Present Religious Condition of the Jews, surveyed current Jewish religious schisms from the point of view of how best to advance missionary work. He described Reform in Jewry as 'resting on general unitarianism leavened by a Rabbinicalistic element'. He also declared that he detected 'a large spirit of enquiry' in Jewish circles generally and not only among Reformers. 'That spirit of enquiry', he urged, 'should be utilised to bring the Jews the knowledge of the true faith'. The discussion at the Congress was coloured by the onset of the great Eastern European immigration after 1881, which led Kroenig to expand his efforts in Hull with the foundation of a Mission House.22 A prominent convert in Hull was Samuel Henry Samuelson (1789-1869). He was born in Virginia, son of Henry Samuelson (formerly Hyman Samuels), a London-born trader and member of a German-Jewish family connected mainly with Hamburg. Hyman Samuels lived and traded for many years in Jamaica where he died in 1813. Samuel Henry Samuelson (originally Samuel Hermann Samuels) moved from London to Hull in the 1820s. On a date which I cannot ascertain, and either in Hull or elsewhere, he became a Christian. He died in Hull, the head of a substantial commission and shipping agency. His eldest son was Sir Bernard Samuelson (1820-1905), a prominent iron master, Liberal MP, and a promoter of technical education. The latter's eldest daughter married Henry Blundell, mayor of Hull, in 1852. His brother Martin Samuelson, mayor of Hull in 1858, founded in 1849 an engineering business which he expanded into shipbuilding. In 1864 his firm became the Humber Iron Works and Ship? building Co. Ltd. It was while working in association with the company's busi? ness in Hull that the engineer (and later railway building contractor) Elim d'Avigdor, met the family of Bethel Jacobs, whose daughter, Henrietta, he mar 76</page><page sequence="45">The Jews in Hull, between 1766 and 1880 ried in India in 1866. D'Avigdor, later prominent in the Hovevei Zion movement, was Sir Isaac Lyon Goldsmid's grandson and father of (Sir) Osmond d'Avigdor Goldsmid. It is not surprising that the Committee of the Western Synagogue in Hull chose the latter to lay the foundation stone of their building in 1902. He was a grandson of Bethel Jacobs, close kinsman of leading figures in the con? gregation, and great-grandson of Israel Jacobs who had performed the like cere? mony in respect of the Hull Synagogue in 1826 and the newly constructed synagogue in 1852. To take a closer look at Bethel Jacobs's career, at his outlook and at that of his circle, would be a fitting conclusion to this paper. In his combination of intense self-conscious civic earnestness and attachment to Jewish tradition and practice, he was the archetype of the educated, well-read and self-reliant element among the middle-class English Jews of the emancipation era. His 'commanding presence'23 and somewhat imperious demeanour were allied to a strong will and immense energy. He had a high sense of hierarchy and a firm belief in the value of authority in public life. He shared the Victorian interest in technical inven? tions, including gadgetry and skilled ornamentation. Jacobs was elected a governor of the Hull Workhouse (then called Charity Hall) at the age of twenty-seven, and was twice re-elected. These elections were characteristically commented on by the Whig journal of radical disposition, the Hull Rockingham, on 11 December 1841, as demonstrating that 'the profession of Judaism is perfectly accordant with the discharge of the duties of a citizen'. The editor went on to urge the opening to Jews of all public offices. Jacobs's speech at a public dinner, given by leading citizens on his retirement in 1842 (in which he made the same points), was reported in the Jewish and local press. It was at this stage that Jacobs, already well known in business, emerged as a significant figure in the public life of the city. He was an assiduous member of the Town Council from 1849 to 1852. But his main efforts lay beyond the Town Hall. Following some degree of private tuition in Jewish studies under Samuel Simon, Jacobs lived in Leipzig as a student at the private academy of Dr Julius F?rst, the Jewish historian and bibliographer, where Jewish education and secu? lar study, including modern languages, formed the curriculum. When, later in life, F?rst would often advertise the merits of his academy in the Anglo-Jewish press, Bethel Jacobs acted as his 'agent' in Britain and allowed his name to be used in support of his alma mater. At least one of his sons, the eldest, was a pupil at F?rst's academy. Jacobs fashionably believed in the general educational value of the cultivation of arts and crafts, a belief encouraged by his own artistic bent and talent. He founded the Hull College of Art, of which he was president for its first eight years, as well as serving as president of the Hull Mechanics' Institute and as a leading member of the committee of the Hull Subscription Library.24 77</page><page sequence="46">Israel Finestein The Hull Literary and Philosophical Society was founded in 1822. It was eventually housed in the extensive premises of the Royal Institution, which was part museum, part library and mainly a major social and literary centre, incorp? orating a large assembly hall. That institution, in Albion Street, was opened in 1853. Jacobs had been a member of the building committee, the scheme being much encouraged by the spirit of innovation and by the desire for an expansion of opportunities for the study of the arts and sciences engendered by the Great Exhibition in London in 1851 and by the preparations for it. In i860 Jacobs, who had held each office in turn, became the Society's president, as did his eldest son, Joseph Lyon Jacobs,25 in 1882. Bethel Jacobs served the council for twenty years. The premises in Albion Street were destroyed in air-raids during the Second World War. The Society was the principal intellectual and literary forum in Hull and a large surrounding area north of the Humber. By 1853 its membership reached 300. Its proceedings were widely reported in the local and regional press. The professions, the Churches, and the municipal leadership were well represented at its meetings. In April 1845 Jacobs lectured to the Society on 'The Customs and Ceremonies of the Hebrews, Historically Considered'. This and his other lectures to the Society attracted wide press attention, including the Jewish press. They were typical of the efforts made by comparable personalities in many cities, including London, to demonstrate their perception of the enlightened nature of Judaism and the Jewish people. The 'apologetics' inherent in the effort cannot be gainsaid, yet nor can the genuine interest it aroused in the Christian audi? ences. For many reasons (including the publicity given to the detractors of Jews and sometimes of Judaism) the public curiosity in the Jews and their history was a growing phenomenon. Jacobs made no pretence to original scholarship, but it is clear that he was a serious reader, possessed of a fine intellect, and a lecturer who took pains over his 'research' and his presentation. Laudatory com? ments in the newspapers, respectful by standard practice as no doubt they were, seemed to exceed the normal effusion. Perhaps this was a self-conscious public response among Christian readers to the young gifted Jew of local birth who, as a professing Jew and despite his self-evident attachment to the land and city of his birth, was subject to limitations on his civil rights. Support for the Jewish emancipatory cause was widespread in Hull among the commercial classes. At the April 1845 meeting Jacobs was asked a series of questions on the Jewish calendar, the dietary law and other matters. The Hull Packet reported that the information given in his address and his replies 'tended to remove prejudices from the minds of Christians as to the rationale of certain Jewish observances and the principles inculcated by the Synagogue'. The president of the Society, a prominent local doctor (R. F. Horner) was reported as saying that these sub? jects 'must be ... of deep interest to all well-constituted minds'. His meetings were described as attracting unusually large audiences. In this lecture Jacobs 78</page><page sequence="47">The Jews in Hull, between 1766 and 1880 illustrated some point by exhibiting a letter by the newly appointed Chief Rabbi. It aroused considerable notice as 'a beautiful specimen of Hebrew writing'. In his address on 'The Hebrew Language' in April 1847 he demonstrated the 'dis? tinctive qualities' of that tongue and, in the language of the Eastern Morning Herald, aimed 'to prove its divine origin' by reference to 'the sacred records'. In December 1851 Jacobs read a paper on 'the nature and characteristics of animals mentioned in the Old Testament'. The local press described the event as 'one of the most crowded meetings we have ever seen', at which chairs filled the aisles. The paper was a study in philology as well as natural history. Accounts suggest that much interest was evinced, particularly on the part of the local Christian clergy. In March 1864, in an address on 'Heraldry', Jacobs made much use of 'heraldic' references in the Hebrew Bible. He had long come to be regarded as the representative Jew in that part of the country, and one of the half-dozen leading citizens in the region. His versatility was given added edge by his services, much in demand, as vocalist in many local charity concerts. No one was surprised by his appointment as honorary secretary of the Hull area committee for preparations for the Great Exhibition of 1851. He and his colleagues organized the assembly of exhibits for display at the Crystal Palace to illustrate the history and contemporary life and commerce of Hull. Of greater local interest was the local exhibition organized by that committee of artistic and industrial items related to the city. In September 1853 the twenty-third annual meeting of the British Association for the Advancement of Science was held in Hull. That this coveted honour fell to Hull was, as was acknowledged, due largely to the initiative and labours of Jacobs. Early in 1852 he urged the Literary and Philosophical Society, and other bodies and persons, to press vigorously Hull's invitation to the British Associ? ation, which had on several previous years been refused. He was a member of a local deputation from Hull to Belfast, where that year the Association was hold? ing its current meeting. Hull was one of five cities which applied to be the host for 1853, including Glasgow and Liverpool, which were considered to be espe? cially strong candidates. The initial preparations in Hull, in which Jacobs had played a leading role, and the level of local enthusiasm, persuaded the committee of the Association to opt for Hull. Jacobs had become engaged in 1852 in organ? izing a fund to meet the local expense and, by speech and letter, in persuading local business houses of the commercial benefits, as well as the honour and the educational advancement, which would accrue to Hull and district from the event. The Association appointed him and his friend, Dr Cooper (President of the Literary and Philosophical Society, which was the centre of the organized effort) to be the local honorary secretaries in preparing the Association's meeting in Hull for September 1853. Over many years, Jacobs, whose Hebrew name was appropriately Bezalel, had designed ob jets d'art for use as testimonials on ceremonial occasions in Hull. The 79</page><page sequence="48">Israel Finestein most notable was probably the 'very beautiful massive allegorical piece of plate' in the form of a candelabrum weighing 28 lbs which was presented to Dr James Alderson in December 1845. When Queen Victoria visited Hull in October 1854, she and Prince Albert stayed at the Station Hotel which was especially fitted-out for the occasion. Jacobs and his business partner, Edward Lucas, provided the gold plate with which the dining-room sideboard was decorated. For the laying of the foundation stone of the fourth Hull dock (West Dock) in 1864, Jacobs provided what was widely described as a 'magnificent' ornamental trowel. His characteristic scientific interest was displayed by his construction in July 1863, high outside his shop, of an electric time ball which was linked by electric telegraph to the Greenwich Observatory, which, it was said, enabled seamen from a distance of 10 miles to tell the exact moment of noon. One assumes some advantage was gained by the local citizenry, not only scenic. Among the many laudatory obituary notices on Jacobs, that of the Hull Morn? ing Telegraph on 27 December 1869 has a special nuance. He was, observed the editor, 'one of the most active townsmen in everything that could promote the instruction or amusement of the middle and upper classes of the town. ... He was ever ready as lecturer or singer ... for either a charitable purpose or for the instruction of the rising generation.' The first sentence reflected the decea? sed's public image, which might well have greatly commended itself to his Gen? tile peers, but in his lifetime might not necessarily have aroused unqualified approval within the highly variegated local Jewish community. The reality of the second sentence may not have alleviated the sense of distance on the part of some sections of the latter, notwithstanding the widespread respect in which he was held. The editor had hit upon perhaps a more significant matter than he appreciated. The Jews were anxious for recognition as full citizens, but were conscious that they constituted a distinct minority not entirely at one, despite their loyalty and service, with the homogeneous life of the townsfolk. The Hull News on 29 January 1870 quoted Jacobs's successor as president of the Hull School of Art, the Revd H. W. Kemp, in his tribute to Jacobs, as adding, in reference to his public services, 'separated though he was in some degree from the community in which he lived by his religious persuasion'. That observation by the Christian cleric was not meant in any hostile or derogatory sense, but was a recognition of an element of inwardlookingness on the part of the Jews, however integrated. Jacobs well knew that his inhibitions, habits, interests and hopes, connected with his faith and his people's history, could arouse misunderstanding and worse. In March 1864 Jonn Symons was elected, after what the Jewish Chronicle called a 'sharp contest', to the post of deputy governor of the Hull Board of Guardians. 'Great efforts', wrote that newspaper, were made to prejudice the Board against Symons because of his religion. In 1866, when Symons stood for 80</page><page sequence="49">The Jews in Hull, between 1766 and 1880 re-election in the Market Place ward to the Town Council, it was held against him that his now retiring colleague (a Liberal and a well-known Nonconformist) had opposed the imposition of a Church rate. This and the fact that Symons was a Jew were advanced against his candidature in a keenly fought election - in which in the event Symons headed the poll by a large margin. Such periodic overt manifestations of anti-Jewish sentiment did not curtail the inclination on the part of local communal leaders to engage in public work. In November 1858 Bender was requested by the synagogue committee to deliver an appeal in an address to the congregation for support for the extension of the Hull Infirmary - to which members of the community sometimes had need to resort - and many congregants responded. In 1859, when famously a French invasion of England was for a short time regarded in some quarters in London as a possibility not to be discounted, prominent Jews (like other citizens generally) in a number of coastal areas, including London, entered with some verve into the volunteer movement. Jacobs became a lieutenant and the paymas? ter of the Hull Volunteer Rifle Corps. His partner, Edward Lucas,26 became captain. To advance proficiency they and others engaged in musketry practice, and Messrs Jacobs and Lucas gave the corps a silver challenge cup to encourage practice. Some synagogal leaders in Hull rose high also in the masonic move? ment. Jacobs became master of the Humber Lodge. Solomon Cohen was a member of that Lodge for fifty years. Mosely (who had ranked as captain in the volunteers) was master of the Kingston Lodge, as later was Joseph Lyon Jacobs. Among other prominent local Jewish masons was Abraham Elzas. In 1869 a marble bust of Bethel Jacobs was commissioned by the Literary and Philosophical Society and installed in its headquarters, the extensive Royal Institution, in Albion Street, to whose planning he had contributed. I recall seeing that impressive marble work. It was destroyed in the demolition of the building by the war-time bombing. The bust was the work of William Day Key worth of Hull, whose namesake father was the architect of the reconstruction of the synagogue in 1852. A fund for the work was raised by public subscription. Writing in 1851, Moses Margoliouth, the converted Jewish conversionist, noted in his History of the Jews in Great Britain that some Hull Jews 'have distinguished themselves as savants and as expert civilians [sic]\ He cited Jacobs as exemplar and made particular reference to his public lectures. On Jacobs's death on 26 December 1869 at his home, 40 George Street, there was a sense of shock because of his apparently robust health and numerous activities. The Hull News remembered him as 'true to his faith' and added that 'he was not a bigoted slave to Judaism', whatever may have been the intended meaning of that description, which says something about its author's perceptions as well as about Jacobs. Lewis Hansell Bergman, a dentist of Storey Street, was a founder-member of the Western Synagogue and its first honorary secretary. In 1902, in a brochure, 81</page><page sequence="50">Israel Finestein published to mark the fashionable bazaar in support of the synagogue's building fund, he wrote a memoir of the trend of events and movements of opinion which led to the withdrawal of many members of the old congregation and the creation of the new. He remembered Bethel Jacobs, whose family was to head the opera? tion and in which Henry Feldman, who lived in Linneaus Street, was a key figure in finding a suitable site. In October 1874 tht Jewish Chronicle estimated that there were 400 Jewish families in Hull. Pressure of numbers played a part in compelling the move - the new building in Linneaus Street had seating for over 600 people. The emergence of new areas of residence was likewise an effect? ive encouragement to seek a new centre. The key sentence in Bergman's account is that there had been 'an era of English government' in local Jewish life. For Bergman that was in the 1860s; it was at the end of that decade that such an era fell under threat. The differences were not necessarily related to levels of Orthodoxy, even though in some instances they may have been reflected. It was more a matter of style, mood and perhaps language, in connection with which the immigration was a major factor. In addition to these differences there was a sharp con? sciousness of difference in social standing, perhaps related principally to eco? nomic or professional status. Western acculturation was both instinctive and self-conscious. One cannot sensibly generalize, since the old and the new con? gregations each partook of something inherent in the other. Thus it was that each regarded itself as heir to the Hebrew Congregation of 1826. Robinson Row had had its day. On a newly acquired site in Osborne Street, midway between Robinson Row and Linneaus Street, the Hull Hebrew Congregation, renamed the Hull Old Hebrew Congregation, erected a large new synagogue. The Jewish population of Hull at that time approached 2000. After ninety years of separation, and much history and change, the two con? gregations have now merged to form the 'reunited' Hull Hebrew Congregation. It is housed in an attractive new synagogue in the suburb of Anlaby, where many of the Jews of Hull now live, in a community of declining numbers since the Second World War. In the years relevant to this paper, that area was well into the countryside. Attached to the synagogue is the Talmud Torah, formerly attached to the premises of the Western Synagogue. It is a continuation of the old synagogue school. In the neighbouring Willerby is the Reform Synagogue. The successor to the old School Street Synagogue (known as the Central) in Cogan Street was destroyed in an air-raid, as was the Osborne Street Synagogue. The former was not rebuilt. The latter was replaced by a synagogue on the Osborne Road site. Those premises, and the site of the Western Synagogue, have been sold.27 82</page><page sequence="51">The Jews in Hull, between 1766 and 1880 NOTES 1 The opening of the Civil War had been heralded around the walls of the old city of Hull when Charles I was denied entry into the city. In 1688 William of Orange was expected to land at Hull. News of his landing at Torbay was nonetheless the occasion of great rejoicing in Hull, where the Roman Catholic Governor was arrested. The anti-royal sentiment in part reflected local mercantile opposition to arbitrary taxation at the ports, and in part a northern libertarian outlook associated with religious dissent among the commercial classes. The violence of 1780 was that of an undifferentiated mob inflamed by anti-Catholic rhetoric, as wind of the riots in London reached Hull. The only other provincial city afflicted by an outbreak of anti-Catholic violence in the wake of the London news was Bath. 2 Charles Duschinsky, Rabbinate of the Great Synagogue (Oxford 1921) 264-73, presents a list of shochetim licensed 1822-42. Duschinsky notes on p. 269 the licensing of a shochet in 1831 in Scarborough 'to Israel Jacobs', in the person of Ephraim Moses who referred to Jacobs as his uncle. This may be connected with Hebrew, in which the words for uncle and friend are the same. 3 Geoffrey Green, 'Anglo-Jewish trading connections with officers and seamen of the Royal Navy, 1740-1820', Trans JHSE XXIX (1988)117-32. 4 For his rise, character and achievement, see William Massil, Immigrant Furniture Workers in London (1881-igjg) and the Jewish Contribution to the Furniture Trade (London 1998). 5 On 2 October 1852 the Hull News reported that 1000 'arrivals' had passed through Hull from Germany per month in that year. Registrations at the port fell well short of that number. The reason for the disparity may be that some arrivals were in groups with no names registered save for the spokesmen of the respective groups. I counted 610 individual certificates of arrival at Hull for 1851; of these arrivals, at least no would appear to be Jews. Registration gave no indication of religion. For most of that decade there seem to have been at least 300 Jewish arrivals on an average each year at Hull, most of whom moved on, but nearly all required support, short-term or otherwise. See Cecil Roth, The Rise of Provincial Jewry (London 1950) 70-1; V. D. Lipman, 'Survey of Anglo-Jewry in 1851', Trans JHSE XVII (1953) 184, 187, and Social History of the Jews in England 1850-1 q$o (London 1954) 21-2, and passim; and author's paper on the Jewish community in Hull in A. N. Newman (ed.) Provincial Jewry in Victorian Britain (London 1977) 6 J. J. Sheahan, History of Kingston-upon Hull (Beverley 1864; 2nd ed. 1899) 567. 7 In Manchester a comparable society was set up later that year by 'a group of German merchants, most of them non-Jewish', with a view to curbing mendicancy and petty theft: Bill Williams, The Making of Manchester Jewry 1740-18/5 (Manchester 1976) 156. 8 Lewis Wolff, who died in September 1889 at tne aSe ?f sixty-two, was the secretary of these two societies for twenty and ten years respectively. He had settled in Hull from Prussia in about 1848: Jewish Chronicle, 20 September 1889. His role signified a degree of professionalism which the new problems required. The earlier system of informal management of charity or distribution of aid, was not well attuned to the new era, although it long survived parallel with the growth of new administrative machinery, which in Hull was much advanced with the creation of the Board of Guardians. 9 Bender (1831-1901), recently arrived in England from Germany, was appointed in Hull in 1850. To his multi-purpose duties in Hull there was later added the requirement that he give regular sermons in English, in return for extra pay. By an agreement in June 1859 that he should stay in Hull for three years in return for the 5s increase in his pay, it was further laid down that he should in addition receive a special fee for each marriage service and that he was free to give six months notice within that period. He gave such notice and left Hull in February 1861 for Dublin. He did not relish the pressures of his duties, or the pressures on him and the congregation arising from the local fractiousness. At the end of a twenty-one year notable tenure in Dublin as 'Lecturer and Minister', Bender was for fifteen years headmaster of Beaufort College, a boarding school near Hastings, at which Albert Hyamson, a former president of this Society, was a pupil. His son, Alfred Philipp Bender, achieved ?3</page><page sequence="52">Israel Finestein distinction as Minister of the Capetown Hebrew Congregation and Professor of Hebrew, and was a powerful advocate of Zionism in South Africa. 10 Cohen, later of Newcastle and Dalston, retired from the ministry in 1883 at the age of fifty-three through ill-health. He died in 1889 aged sixty. His son, Lawrence Cowan (1865? 1942), who was born in Hull, was journalist, playwright and West End impressario. 11 This 'right' may not have been exercised for long. At some date which is not clear - it may have been in the 1860s - non-privileged members could stand for election to the committee. 12 At that time only three provincial communities were represented on the Board, namely those of Liverpool, Manchester and Hull. For this reason, and because Meyer was a prominent figure in the London Jewish community (among his philanthropic offices was his treasurership of the Jewish Soup Kitchen), his vote on this contentious issue was likely in any event to arouse communal interest. In 1867 Meyer's eldest daughter, Emily, married Bethel Jacobs's son, Joseph Lyon Jacobs. The Hull congregation was generally represented on the Board by a London resident. Meyer was succeeded as Deputy in 1856 by Lewin Mosely, Simeon Mosely's brother (and later, partner) then of Berners Street, W. The Moselys were a family of dentists, one of whom, Ephraim, also in the family business, was a warden of London's Western Synagogue in the 1850s. These brothers were descendants of Moses Hamburger of the Great Synagogue in London in the eighteenth century. The family business had branches in London, Hull, Leeds, Scarborough, Sheffield and York. Simeon advertised himself as 'surgeon dentist by appointment to the King of Hanover and Prince George of Cumberland'. The firm proffered some 'new' and 'patent' treatments. 13 For the events in London and beyond in relation to the four, see the author's 'The Anglo-Jewish Revolt', in his Jewish Society in Victorian England (London 1993) 104-29. 14 In 1852 the local representation fee was ?7, which was one-seventh of that paid by the Great Synagogue. It was not treated locally as a negligible sum. Representation on the Board of Hull was fitful. But regardless of representation, the Hull congregation sent the Board regular statistical returns as requested. Bethel Jacobs was the first in Hull to be certified by the President of the Board to the Registrar General as Secretary for Marriages, under the Marriage Registration Act of 1836, in respect of each chuppah celebrated in the synagogue. He was succeeded by Mosely in 1855, who was followed by Ephraim Cohen and later by Isaac Hart who was also synagogue secretary and, for a time, acting minister. In 1869 it was reported to the Board that certain irregular marriages had taken place in Hull and Grimsby. The Board informed the Registrar General and requested the local communities to take steps to reduce the likelihood of a recurrence. Such unions were not likely to have been knowingly countenanced by the local Jewish leadership, but would not necessarily have troubled some members of the immigrant sectors who would deem rabbinic law concerning capacity to marry as governing on them. 15 For a full account of this strange affair, with its mixed motives (especially as far as Schiller-Szinessy was concerned), see Bill Williams (see n. 4) chap. 10. See also Raphael Loewe, 'Solomon Schiller-Szinessy', Trans JHSE XXI (1968) 148-9. I am grateful to the office of the Manchester Reform Congregation for copies of some relevant correspondence bearing on the Hull side of this dispute. 16 For Henry Franks's ambiguous role in the imbroglio and generally, see Bill Williams (see n. 4) 121-2, 243-4, 254, 393 17 The local Courts were familiar with Jewish parties to proceedings. In March i860 the Hull Stipendiary Magistrate presented the then regular multiple interpreter (mostly in Yiddish and German), Jacobsen, with a gift of books (three volumes of 'foreign linguistic works') in appreciation of his services. The short ceremony in Court was reported in the local and Jewish press. The scholarly Danish-born Jacobsen served in this role from 1859 to 1882 and was often and interestingly commended for his 'fairness'. His Revelations of a Police Court Interpreter was published in Hull in 1886. 18 The poll-book for the election of 1835 in Hull, records Bethel Jacobs's vote for Thompson. In that election he was the only Jew to vote. In that year Jews were for the first time permitted by statute to vote without Christian oath or declaration. Jews may have voted before that legislation with the connivance of the returning officer. There is no indication that this was done in Hull. 19 The 'Liberal' vote was divided in a three-cornered contest. For the circumstances of Goldsmid's failed attempt, see the author's article, 'Forcing the Pace of the Law', Jewish ?4</page><page sequence="53">The Jews in Hull, between 1766 and 1880 Chronicle, 8 November 1957. After the election, the Hull Advertiser thought it necessary to write: 'We consider it due to the public to state that there is really no hotbed of anti-Jewish bigotry in Yorkshire'. Such disclaimer is patently qualified by its own language. Beverley was traditionally a Tory stronghold. Support for Goldsmid cut across party lines there, as was the case also in Hull. 20 In the middle decades of the nineteenth century I found reference at most to what seem to be four cases of conversion. How far they were conversions or temporary conversions of convenience I know not. In an earlier affair of the heart, one Levi, 'a Jewish silversmith of Hull', was on 9 August 1784 married to a Miss Brown of Rawby, near Brigg, in Lincolnshire. The marriage at Rawby was recorded in the diary of one Strother, a tradesman of Hull and York, which was edited by the Revd C. Caine. The diarist, wrote the editor, showed an acquaintance 'even with Hebrew'. Possibly it was the diarist's own Hebrew interest which led him to note the marriage of Mr Levi, whom he also may have known from Hull. 21 The Jewish Chronicle, a consistent and sharp critic of the efforts and methods of the conversionists, publicly warned that correspondent to take care in his language lest he fall foul of the libel laws. 22 For that Congress and the 'Zionistic' tone of conversionist redemptionism, see this author's 'Early and Middle 19th-century British Opinion on the Restoration of the Jews', in M. Davis (ed.) With Eyes Toward Zion III (New York 1986) 72-101, at 95-6 (concerning Hull), and chap. 5 of his Changing Times in Anglo-Jewry: Profiles in Diversity, 1840-^14 (in press 1999). 23 Per L. H. Bergman in his memoir (1902) which is referred to below in this paper. 24 Bethel Jacobs 'was a very versatile man, an excellent flautist, a good violin-cello player. He also had a fine taste in music, and an intimate knowledge of the old English school of madrigal composers', in G. H. Smith, A History of Hull Organs and Organists (Hull c. 1910) 58. In February 1852, in a typically widely reported lecture, Jacobs addressed the regional Anglican Religious and Literary Society on 'The Theory of Sound as applied to Music', which appears to have met with the approval of the local cognoscenti. As for Dr Smith's said assessment, while allowing for the possibility of an element of de mortuis pietism, I have no reason to doubt his judgement. 25 Bethel and Esther Jacobs had eleven children. They were a gifted family and received a wide education. The eldest, Joseph Lyon Jacobs, was a notable local solicitor of high intellect who contributed much to the cultural life of Hull and played an active role in local Jewish welfare. He was a popular lecturer on Jewish and other themes, and in November 1857 lectured at Sussex Hall in London on national proverbs from many languages, an address which was appreciatively reported in the City Press of London. In 1881 he founded the Hull branch of the Anglo-Jewish Association. He died in 1883 aged forty-seven following a fall from an upper window at his home in Beverley Road. In 1884 his widow, through Simeon Singer's good offices, presented to Jews' College his 'valuable collection of Hebrew and theological works'. It was characteristic of Bethel and Esther Jacobs that their especially talented daughter, Rosa, should have had an extended education in France and Germany over four years. She was a linguist and cultured in the arts. She was described on her death as of 'high culture and powerful intellect'. Another son, Benjamin Septimus, an architect, was a senior member of the team assisting his brother, Charles, an engineer of great distinction, in the design of the Hudson River tunnel in New York in 1892 4. B. S. Jacobs was the honorary architect of the Hull Western Synagogue and the principal: founder and first president of that congregation: John Lewenstein, The Story of the Hull Western Synagogue (Hull 1953), and Dr Lionel Rosen, Short History of the Jewish Community in Hull (Hull, 1956). He married Isabel, daughter of Moses Kisch of Norwich, granddaughter of Daniel de Pass of Kensington. Rosa Jacobs in 1875 married Maurice Solomons, an optician and public figure in Dublin. They were among the principal founders of the Adelaide Road Synagogue in that city. Their son, Bethel Solomons, a noted obstetrician and a leading personality in the cultural life of Dublin, was the first president of that city's Liberal Synagogue. Another of Jacobs's daughters, Maria, married Frederick Halford, then of Manchester, a member of the extensive family wholesale clothing business of Hyams. Though an Ashkenazi, he became a leading personality in the London Sephardi community. His great-grandfather was Moses Lazarus of eighteenth-century Rochford, formerly of Worms. A granddaughter of Maria and Frederick Halford married Sir Alan Mocatta, 85</page><page sequence="54">Israel Finestein later president of this Society. In 1950 she was elected an Elder of the Spanish and Portuguese Congregation in London, an event which pioneered the opening in London of Orthodox synagogal management to ladies. Four of Bethel Jacobs's children married out of the Jewish faith. Charles's wife was a member of the Plymouth Brethren, of which movement he became an adherent. I have not discovered whether Israel Jacobs was born in England, or where he came from before coming to Hull. It had been surmised that he was the son of Isaac ben Jacob of Totnes, formerly of Furth. Israel Jacobs was Yisroel ben Bezalel. The supposed filial link with Isaac of Totnes was, I believe rightly, rejected in a letter to me by the late Alex Jacob, a lecturer to this Society, with a family and historical interest in the Jewish communities of the West Country. I share Jacob's rejection of such surmise. Israel Jacobs may well have spent some time in that region before settling in Hull. Nor have I been able to discover the provenance or lineage of his wife. Jacob, apparently basing himself on family tradition, thought she was a widow. The late Sir Alan Green, grandson of Maria and Frederick Halford, wrote to me of a family tree then in his possession showing her to have been Sarah Barnett and giving her years as 1770-1853.1 have accepted that identification in this paper. On 27 May 1853, the Jewish Chronicle reported that 'Sarah, wife of Israel Jacobs' died in Hull on 21 May 1853 aged 83 and noted 'her active charity and extensive benevolence'. Whether the family tree relied on family information or reflected that announcement, or both, I cannot say, but I have little doubt that the lady referred to was our Israel Jacobs's wife. The Sheffield Mercury on 9 January 1830 notes the marriage on 30 December 1829 'by special licence at her home of the only daughter of I. Jacobs jeweller of Hull' to L. Lazarus of Bath. If this refers to the same Israel Jacobs, I have found no other trace of the marriage of a daughter. 26 Edward Lucas ceased to be partner in 1862. In 1857 the stock, fixtures and utensils in the shops (sic) workshops and showroom of Messrs Jacobs and Lucas ('all communicating' in Whitefriargate) were insured for ?4000. At that time the household goods in Jacobs's house in George Street were insured for ?500, and the china, glass and pictures separately insured for a further ?100.1 am grateful to Dr Ann Bennett for this information. 27 A striking and distinctive feature of the synagogue premises in Osborne Street was the pair of massive ornamental iron gates which opened into the courtyard from the street. They were retained in their original position throughout the century from the date of the erection of those premises, surviving the various building works to the synagogue and the wartime bombing. This gift of the Holt family will be well remembered by all who saw the gates. Acknowledgements My thanks are due to: - My niece, Dr Ann Bennett, for information (gathered in the course of her doctoral researches concerning English goldsmiths and silversmiths) about Hull clock- and watch-makers and silversmiths in the closing decades of the eight? eenth century and the early nineteenth century; relevant items from the local water-rate and window-tax records; and from archives of the Sun Assurance Co. - My brother, Louis, for access to certain synagogal archives when he was Hon? orary Secretary of the Hull Old Hebrew Congregation. - The late Mr Louis Rapstone, when President of the congregation, for access to the synagogal marriage register commencing February 1838. - The late Mr Samuel Moss of Hull for access to the congregational minute book covering most of 1858-64, by the hand of his paternal grandfather. - The Office of the Hull Town Clerk, especially the Records Officer, for arran 86</page><page sequence="55">The Jews in Hull, between 1766 and 1880 ging my inspection of the Corporation's Bench Books and Watch Committee reports. - The offices of the United Synagogue (for access to records of the Great Synagogue), the Board of Deputies and Jews' College (now the London School of Jewish Studies), for access to records. - Successive librarians of the Jewish Chronicle for making its older files available. - Mr A. W. Marshall and Mr E. J. Wright, directors of Hutton &amp; Co. (Ships Chandlers) Ltd, for kindly making available deeds of conveyance relating to the sale of the Robinson Row premises, of which that company had come into occupation, and parts of which structure were visible in the 1950s in the office and warehouse milieu. - Special thanks are due to the headmaster, staff and pupils of the Hull Malet Lambert High School who were involved in the imaginative enterprise of assem? bling and causing to be reproduced significant local historical records, including the electoral poll-book of the heated by-election in Hull in June 1835. Appendix 1 On the inside back cover of the minute book (October 1858 - October 1864) there is the following list in pencil, without dates or descriptions, presumably mainly of members of the synagogue. It is not a complete list of members. For example, it does not include Joel Farbstein or Simeon Mosely. Five names are struck out in pencil without explanation. They are: Sytner, the first Alston, A. Rosenberg, Hip and Israelson. Perhaps Alston and A. Rosenberg were struck out to avoid duplication. In brackets are the author's comments. Aler [Alper?] J. Symon [Symons] M. Cohen B. Jacobs J. Jacobs [probably J. L. Jacobs, the former's son, solicitor] Samson Lewis Holt B. Hart [Bethel Hart] Dzalonski [or Ozalonski] J. Wolf A. Cohen L. Marks [Lewis Marks] A. Barnett [Abraham Barnett] Schotlander [in 1863 Solomon Schotlander was commercial traveller and dealer in watches and glass at 22 Cogan Street] 87</page><page sequence="56">Israel Finestein Franks N. Harris A. Feldman M. Solomon [Moses Solomon, commercial traveller Spring Street] Moss Sytner Isenberg Casril [Marcus Casril, furrier and hatter, later president in Robinson Row and thereafter of the Hull Old Hebrew Congregation] Markwald [Marcus Markwald, 'jeweller', 113 Porter Street] M. Friedman (Marquos Friedman, 'jeweller' and clock- and watch maker, in Lowgate] E. Phillips (Ephraim Phillips, wholesale dealer in watches, and 'jeweller', 17 and 68 Mytongate] Rogalia Alston Honegbaum [Solomon Honigbaum, 'jeweller', Church Side] Seagall Godschalk [Gosschalk] A. Rosenberg [Anshel Rosenberg, tobacco and cigar dealer and watch maker, 17 Waterworks Street] Glassman Haberland Hip Fink Israelson J. Baruch A. Franks [Abraham Franks, Portland Street] Goldstone Alpier [Alper] Jones [Levy Emanuel Jones, 'surgical' dentist, 16 Story Street] Gerson [Hyman or Henry Gerson, commercial traveller and later jeweller, 16 Porter Street] Wacholder [Solomon Wacholder, 'jeweller', 40 Great Thornton Street] Zickton [George Tickton, working jeweller at 58 Waterworks Lane; home, 56 Porter Street] H. Franks Polack Julius, Morris and Marks Magner Bergman [Hansell Bergman, furrier and capmaker, 2 George's Place; father of L. H. Bergman] Grodditer [Harris Grodditer, glazier, Pease Street] 88</page><page sequence="57">The Jews in Hull, between 1766 and 1880 Solomon Phillip Moses Harris Sussman Bension Hillell [probably Abraham Heller or Haller] L. Friend M. Bibbero L. Bibbero L. Wolf [probably Lewis Wolf, boot- and shoe-maker, of Wincolmlee] Rosenberg Rosenberg Levy Harris A. Goodman [probably Abraham Goodman, 14 St John Street, later 68 New George Street] Aleander [George Alexander] Alison [or Alston] Morris Cohen [warehouseman and clock- and watch-dealer, Mytongate] Sol Cohen Australian Cohen Among Jewish residents in Hull during the period of the minute book who are not included in this list and who would certainly have included some members of the synagogue, were the following: Victor Abrahams, tea dealer, 32 Waverley Street Harris Apple, tailor and cap manufacturer, 42 Lowgate, synagogue treasurer and close colleague of Bethel Jacobs in the synagogue, who during this period settled in Leeds Samuel Barnett, warehouseman, 75 Mytongate A. E. Diamond, glazier, 3 Cross Street Isaac Daniel Sarah Davidson, pawnbroker, 4 Norfolk Street Joel Farbstein Moses Feldman, hosier and gents' outfitter, 10 Carlisle Street Jacob Freeman, 34 Waterhouse Lane M. Friedman, 66 Lowgate Isaac Goldman, picture-frame maker, Cross Street Simon Goldman, maker of washable gilt mountings, 2 Salthouse Lane Morris Goltman, tailor, 14 Fish Street Benjamin Harris, cabinet-maker, Hessle Road Samuel Hart, tailor and draper, Liddell Street E. Jacob, travelling jeweller, 121 Porter Street 89</page><page sequence="58">Israel Finestein Julius Jacobsen, 'waterproof-garment manufacturer' [same name and address as the court interpreter, 79, Lowgate] Davis Levi, tobacconist, 35 Queen Street Morris Levi, travelling jeweller, 64 Porter Street Solomon Levin, 'jeweller', 27 Waterhouse Lane E. and M. Mendelssohn, pawnbrokers, 12, Great Passage Street Benjamin Marks, fruit merchant, 32 George Yard Simeon Mosely Israel Myers, watchmaker, 56 Whitefriargate Isaac Posener, plasterer and glazier, 3 Cross Street Morris Rosenbaum David Simon, shopkeeper, 5 Jennings Street Simon Wolf, 'jeweller', 64 Porter Street The pioneer Anglo-Jewish directory (ed. Asher Myers, 1874) names the follow? ing as members of the synagogue committee: Casril, Gerson, Markwald, Symons, Lewis Marks, Aaron Shoolberg ('jeweller' of 115 Porter Street), Victor Glassman, Abraham Goodman, and Max Magner. David Rosenthal, Blackfriarg ate, is named as shochet, mohel and 'Second Reader'. Solomon Cohen and Aaron Feldman are president and treasurer respectively. Appendix 2 Notes on members of the Hull Hebrew Congregation listed as attending the general meeting of 29 September 1852 in the report of the meeting reproduced here as Plate 3. Unless otherwise stated, the detail given here relates to 1852. The spelling of names varied from time to time. Duplication of some references to individuals has been allowed to indicate their presence at dates which may not appear in the main body of the paper and addenda. Many in the above report are referred to in the main text or elsewhere. Harris Apple: Tailor, draper, hatter at 42 Lowgate. Was at that address in 1848, described as a hatmaker. Abraham Barnett: Clothdealer, 113 High Street in 1842. Marcus Casril (Casreal): Hatter and furrier at 17 Market Place in 1848. Morris Cohen: Jeweller and goldsmith at 5 Mytongate. In 1858 at same address, watch- and clock-maker. By 1863, at same address, was described as Birmingham and Sheffield clock- and watch-maker warehouseman. Julius Friedeberg: dealer in Berlin patterns for embroidery, 3 Wellington Mart, formerly (from 1842) at 2 Silvester Street. (In 1851 one Solomon Friedeberg traded at 59 Goodramgate, York, a jeweller, silversmith, toy dealer and fancy warehouseman.) 90</page><page sequence="59">The Jews in Hull, between 1766 and 1880 Samuel Godfrey: In 1858, partner in Lewis and Godfrey at 7 Market Place. The company was described as 'London, Birmingham, Sheffield and foreign warehouseman, importers of French, German and other merchandise, whole? sale jewellers and general factors'. In 1861, traded at same address as 'London, Birmingham and Sheffield warehouseman' under the name Samuel Godfrey &amp; Co. Isaac Goldman: In 1863, picture-frame maker at 3 Cross Street. Israel Goldman: In 1861, traded as glazier at 3 Cross Street. May be identical with former or of same family. Harris Groditter: In 1861 was glazier of 41 Pease Street. Phineas Lewis: 'Jeweller', 16 Mytongate. Simon Woolf: In 1848, travelling jeweller, 15 William Street. Probably identical with S. Wolf (sic), 'clock and watchmaker, jeweller and silversmith' of 64 Porter Street, in 1863. 91</page></plain_text>

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