Sukkot in the Jewish Orphanage, Norwood
This treasure is a black and white photograph of children of the Jewish Orphanage, Norwood, seated at the festive table in their sukkah, on the festival of Sukkot, with the Principal Dr Edward Conway and Mrs Conway. c.1955-58. It comes from the collection of the Jewish Museum, London.
Sukkot is a harvest festival, which is why there are bowls of fruit on the table and floral decorations on the wall.
After leaving Norwood, Dr Conway went on to be Headmaster of the Jews’ Free School from 1958-73.
The Jewish Orphanage was founded in 1795 by the financiers Abraham and Benjamin Goldsmid, who wanted to establish a “Jews’ Hospital” to provide relief for the elderly poor and an education for the children of poor families. A building in Mile End Road was purchased for £3,300 and the Jews’ Hospital finally opened on 28th June 1807. It was known as Neveh Zedek (Abode of Righteousness).
By 1860 the Hospital accommodated 100 boys and 40 girls, who were greatly overcrowded in the dilapidated buildings. Plans were made to move the institution to the country, and this was enabled by Barnet and Isabella Meyers, who presented the Hospital Trustees who some 9 acres of land between Knight’s Hill and Canterbury Grove in West Norwood.
The new Hospital opened in 1863 and was extended in 1874. In 1928 it changed its name to the Jewish Orphanage. It closed in 1961 and was later demolished. This is the only part of the building to survive and is now a private house:
Read more about the institution here.
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