Above: Plaque commemorating the site of the Great Synagogue. It is situated on the south side of Duke’s Place at the southern end.
In addition to the first wave of Sephardic Jews to come to England in 1656, another wave of Jews, from Russia and Poland, came to England about 1690 – during the reign of William of Orange. These were Ashkenazi Jews and they built their own synagogue near Houndsditch.
The so-called Great Synagogue stood in a short street called Duke’s Place. The street still remains but the synagogue was bombed in 1941, during the Second World War, and was not subsequently rebuilt. There is a large plaque recording the site, mounted on modern offices near the junction of Duke’s Place and the pedestrianised St James’s Passage.
An Act of Parliament in 1753 allowed for the naturalisation of Jews in England. It was not until 1858 that Jews were permitted to sit in Parliament.
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