Bradford’s Rare Star

Bradford Reform Synagogue is now Grade II* Listed.

May 2009

 

Thanks to the intervention of Jewish Heritage, Bradford’s Victorian Reform Synagogue (T.H. & F. Healey, 1881-2) has been awarded a coveted extra star, raising its Listed status from Grade II to Grade II*. Bradford is the second oldest surviving Reform synagogue in the UK and, unusually, predated the building of an Orthodox synagogue in the town. German-born Jews played an important role in the development of the local woollen trade. Jacob Moser (1839-1922), a founder of the Reform congregation and ardent early Zionist, became mayor of Bradford. Architecturally, Bradford is a very rare and well-preserved, small scale, provincial synagogue built in ‘Oriental’ style. It is perhaps the most thoroughgoing example in British synagogue architecture of the 19th century fashion for ‘Orientalism’ – both inside and out. Today, this little synagogue and its tiny congregation is a very important part of the multi-cultural heritage of Bradford and West Yorkshire.