The Ark Synagogue
This synagogue was designed by architect Alfred Ernest Shennan, famous for designing many cinemas in the area. The foundation stone was laid on 14th June 1936 by Baron Tobias Globe in the presence of Dr J.H. Hertz, the chief Rabbi of the British Emire at the time.
The building was consecrated on 15th August 1937. During the Second World War the synagogue became a refuge for families who had been rendered homeless by heavy bombing during the Blitz.
Over the years eventually the congregation dwindled in size until there were less than 40 regular worshippers and only one service per week so on January the 8th 2007, the doors finally closed after almost 70 years. The building was already listed but in 2008 the status was upgraded to a Grade II listing. English Heritage agreed the change after plans were filed which proposed to convert the concrete, steel and brick building into apartments.
The listing report describes the synagogue as “one of the finest art deco synagogues in the country”, and the upgrading puts the synagogue in the top 5% of all listed buildings in the UK at this time.