London’s Bevis Marks synagogue gets nearly £500,000 to kickstart renovations

London’s historic Bevis Marks synagogue, the oldest in the UK, has received £497,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund to carry out renovation and other work hampered over the past year by the COVID 19 pandemic.

In an announcement, the Fund said the grant will go “to improve access, enhance the interpretation of the synagogue’s collection and better illuminate its 300-year history.”

The award was part of a package of £13.5 million in grants, awarded through the Fund’s Heritage Capital Kickstart Fund, to 22 projects that had been planned before the pandemic but have been sidelined, delayed or face increased costs.

“These are all ongoing major refurbishment and restoration projects, funded by us, which have been threatened by the pandemic,” Ros Kerslake, Chief Executive of The National Lottery Heritage Fund, said.

Other grantees include several museums, Lincoln and Carlisle cathedrals, and other historic sites.

The Heritage Capital Kickstart Fund, the announcement said, “was distributed by The National Lottery Heritage Fund on behalf of the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport. It is part of the government’s £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund package.”

Bevis Marks, a Grade I listed building, was built in 1701 and is administered by the Spanish and Portuguese Sephardi Community.

The synagogue had received a nearly £2.8 million grant from the National Heritage Lottery Fund in June 2019 for “vital restoration work and conservation for its collections” so that they can be displayed in a new section of the synagogue complex.

Implementation of this has been sidelined by the pandemic.

The Lottery announced at that time that £2,799.400 had been granted so that the “synagogue and its at-risk collections will receive vital conservation and create new community spaces to make its heritage accessible to all.” The collections include priceless silver, textiles, and archives date from 1656 (the year Jews were officially allowed to settle in England again after their expulsion in the middle ages) to the present day.

The new grant did not address an issue currently facing the synagogue — the planned construction of a 21 storey highrise office building on Chreechurch Lane directly across the street and a second, 48-storey high-rise, “Bury House,” down the street, around 25 meters away.

The Jewish Chronicle reported in January that the Bevis Marks rabbi, Shalom Morris, described the proposals as “unsympathetic [and] inappropriate”.

related

Subscribe to EJC newsletter

Get EJC's bi-weekly newsletter, including the latest statements and news from the European Jewish communities, direct to your inbox.

European Jewish Congress will use the information you provide on this form to contact you. We will treat your information with respect and will not share it with others. By clicking Subscribe, you agree that we may process your information in accordance with these terms.

Statements

EJC President Kantor praises the Pope for impromptu visit to Holocaust survivor

EJC President Dr. Moshe Kantor praised Pope Francis who visited a Holocaust survivor in her Rome apartment to pay tribute to all those who suffered from what he called “the craziness of Nazi populism.”

At IHRD event, Dr. Moshe Kantor calls on EU member states to ensure that Holocaust survivors receive COVID-19 vaccine as soon as possible

During a joint International Holocaust Remembrance Day event, co-hosted with the European Commission, EJC President Dr. Moshe Kantor called on the member states of the European Union to ensure that Holocaust survivors have access to a Covid-19 vaccine as soon as possible.

EJC to host joint International Holocaust Remembrance Day event with the European Commission

The European Jewish Congress, will host an online event marking International Holocaust Remembrance Day on 25 January 2021 at 16:00 CET in cooperation with the European Commission.

The event will feature EJC President Dr. Moshe Kantor, Margaritis Schinas, Vice-President of the European Commission, and Holocaust survivor Tomi Reichental.

EJC welcomes practical handbook on the IHRA definition of antisemitism

EJC President Dr. Moshe Kantor welcomed the publication of a handbook for the practical use of the working definition of antisemitism of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) as a key tool in the fight against anti-Jewish hatred in Europe.