London Metropolitan Archives - Item Details


Date of Creation:

1591 - 2019

Reference Code:


Scope and Content:
  • Records of the United Synagogue's Head Office, including minutes, agendas, presented papers, printed annual reports and accounts, byelaws and standing orders, papers relating to property, letter books and correspondence, financial accounts and papers, insurance papers, membership papers, records relating to staff, administrative records, photographs and slides, press cuttings, orders of service, Aubrey Newman's working files for his book 'The United Synagogue 1870-1970', papers relating to Soviet Jewry, cemeteries and Ministers and Rabbis. This material has been catalogued in 20 sections (ACC/2712/01 to ACC/2712/20).

    Also included in this collection are records of the individual member synagogues; these comprise mainly membership records, but there are also administrative and financial records for some synagogues. Records of bodies connected with the United Synagogue to a greater or lesser extent are also included in this collection, such as the Office of the Chief Rabbi, London Beth Hamedrash and Beth Din, the Kashrut Commission and various Jewish friendly societies and charities. The United Synagogue's close links with Anglo-Jewish education are also represented in the collection and include records both of individual schools and of bodies formed to administer or oversee Jewish education including the Zionist Federation Educational Trust, renamed Scopus. These records have been catalogued in 48 separate sections (ACC/2712/AJE to ACC/2712/WWS). Please see individual sections for further information.

    PLEASE NOTE: Records can only be accessed with the written permission of the depositor. Contact the Chief Executive, United Synagogue. You must include a postal address and daytime/mobile telephone number with your application for permission.
Extent: 295 linear metres
Site Location: London Metropolitan Archives
Level of Description:

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Administrative History:
  • The United Synagogue was founded by Nathan Marcus Adler and established by an Act of Parliament in 1870, to join together the major orthodox Ashkenazi synagogues in the London area. Its five original constituent synagogues were the Great, Hambro, New, Central and Bayswater Synagogues.

    The original aims of the United Synagogue were three-fold. It aimed to provide a financial framework and an overall structure for the increasing number of orthodox synagogues in the London area, also to carry out a large amount of social and philanthropic work in the community at a level that the individual synagogues had found difficult to maintain; some of this social responsibility remained with individual synagogues, but the main activity was centralised under the United Synagogue's Head Office or under its various specially-appointed committees. The third function was to provide religious facilities for the orthodox Jewish community, by assisting in the formation of new congregations as the Jewish population of London moved into new residential areas.

    Synagogues were able to select from four different types of membership: Constituent (full) membership is the most expensive, followed by District, then Affiliated and finally Associate membership for synagogues unable to bear the financial burden of higher membership categories. Synagogues were able to apply to upgrade their membership status if they wished.

    The government of the United Synagogue is vested in the Council, which consists of Honorary Officers, a small number of life members and a large body of representatives elected by the constituent synagogues.

    The United Synagogue maintains very close links with the Chief Rabbi's Office and the London Beth Din (Court of the Chief Rabbi), providing financial support for the latter. It also works closely with the Jewish Welfare Board, formerly known as the Jewish Board of Guardians.
Creator: United Synagogue
Copyright: Depositor
Source of Acquisition:
  • Records deposited in multiple accessions between 1989 and 2019.
  • ACC/2712
  • ACC/3617
  • ACC/3625
  • ACC/3647
  • ACC/3649
  • ACC/3750
  • ACC/3796
  • B98/139
  • B00/092
  • B00/020
  • ACC/3796
  • B03/067
  • B05/022
  • B05/082
  • B05/129
  • B05/160
  • B06/062
  • B07/006
  • B07/019
  • B08/008
  • B08/152
  • B08/165
  • B09/091
  • B09/144
  • B09/149
  • B10/096
  • B10/116
  • B98/139
  • B09/111
  • B03/039
  • B03/112
  • B03/113
  • B05/132
  • B06/017
  • B07/014
  • B07/033
  • B09/113
  • B09/118
  • B09/149
  • B10/037
  • B03/067
  • B06/139
  • B09/095
  • B09/096
  • B14/068
  • B14/137
  • B15/188
  • ACC/2726
  • ACC/2967
  • ACC/2982
  • ACC/3666
  • ACC/3332
  • ACC/3482
  • ACC/3351
  • ACC/3538
  • ACC/3060
  • ACC/3078
  • ACC/3079
  • ACC/3080
  • ACC/3083
  • ACC/3098
  • ACC/3101
  • ACC/3402
  • ACC/3404
  • B18/010
  • B13/174
  • B19/138
Access Restrictions: Access by written permission only
Physical Condition: Fit
Arrangement: The arrangement of the list reflects, as far as possible, the organisation of the United Synagogue; thus it begins with the records of Head Office (ACC/2712/01 - ACC/2712/20), incorporating records of the Chief Rabbi, Beth Din and Kashrut Commission which are all linked very closely with the United Synagogue. These are followed by the records of individual synagogues, institutions and charities, all of which have been given a three-letter identifier (ACC/2712/AJE - ACC/2712/WWS); included here are records relating to Anglo-Jewish Education (AJE) and the United Synagogue's Headquarters Staff Association (HSA).

All the records catalogued in 1930 by Cecil Roth which have been deposited at London Metropolitan Archives and are included within the original deposit, have been listed using new reference numbers. These include records of the Great Synagogue (ACC/2712/GTS), Hambro Synagogue (ACC/2712/HBS), Jews' Hospital (ACC/2712/JSH) and the Union of Synagogues (ACC/2712/USY). A note of the old reference numbers has been made alongside the description of the individual items.

For records of the Office of the Chief Rabbi as listed in the Roth Catalogue, please consult lists for ACC/2805. Readers are advised that not all records in the Roth Catalogue have been deposited at London Metropolitan Archives.

The administrative structure, especially the committee structure, of the United Synagogue changes regularly. Later deposits therefore no longer fit within the same catalogue structure as earlier deposits. Most Head Office administration for the period from 1990 can therefore be found under reference code ACC/2712/11/11; signed minutes and printed accounts continue to be catalogued under ACC/2712/01 and ACC/2712/03 respectively.
Related Material: For records of the Office of the Chief Rabbi which have been deposited at London Metropolitan Archives, please consult lists for ACC/2805, for records of the London Beth Din see ACC/3400, and for the Jews' Free School see LMA/4046.
Publication Notes:

For further information please consult LMA's Research Guide number 20: 'Records of the Anglo-Jewish Community at LMA', available through our online catalogue