Delight after £450,000 renovation of Norwich Synagogue completed

Dr Marian Prinsley, and Barry Leveton, in the Norwich Hebrew Congregation synagogue where refurbish

Dr Marian Prinsley, and Barry Leveton in the Norwich Hebrew Congregation synagogue where refurbishment work has been completed. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: DENISE BRADLEY/Archant2021

A £450,000 renovation of Norwich Synagogue has been completed, with Norwich Hebrew Congregation hoping to welcome worshippers back to the building in the summer.

An appeal to raise money to revamp the synagogue in Earlham Road was launched in 2016 and work has now been completed.

The synagogue itself was consecrated in 1969, but its communal hall dates back to the 1950s and was no longer fit for purpose.

Dr Marian Prinsley at the new entrance lobby at the Norwich Hebrew Congregation synagogue where refu

Dr Marian Prinsley at the new entrance lobby at the Norwich Hebrew Congregation synagogue where refurbishment work has been completed. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: DENISE BRADLEY/Archant2021

The building also had no disabled toilets and poor access for disabled people.

But, thanks to the generosity of the congregation and funders, the building has been transformed.

Gone are the dingy rooms and outdated kitchen, replaced with well-lit new facilities, including a disabled toilet and an outside patio.

Barry Leverton in the new kitchen in the Norwich Hebrew Congregation synagogue. Picture: DENISE BRAD

Barry Leveton in the new kitchen in the Norwich Hebrew Congregation synagogue. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: DENISE BRADLEY/Archant2021

New flooring, electrics and heating have been installed, with extensions added and a new lobby area created to better connect the two buildings.

Dr Marian Prinsley, the Sheriff of Norwich and former president of the Norwich Hebrew Congregation, said she was delighted the work, carried out by Smith of Honingham, had been completed.

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The congregation's long-serving honorary treasurer Nick Simons, one of the driving forces behind the renovation, along with Dr Prinsley, died suddenly in 2018.

And Dr Prinsley said it had been important to complete the work he had been so involved with.

She said: "We think what we have done is really important for the Jewish community in Norwich and Norfolk and we are delighted with the results.

"When we started, I wanted to raise £20,000 to install some disabled toilets, as we were having to tell schools they could not come.

"David Walker, from the Norwich Consolidated Charities came and he said it needed to go beyond that - that we needed to put together a proper proposal.

"We are so grateful to our congregation and to all our funders. The generosity has been astonishing. So many people were determined to see this done."

The new patio area and refurbished building at Norwich Hebrew Congregation synagogue. Picture: DENIS

The new patio area and refurbished building at Norwich Hebrew Congregation synagogue. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: DENISE BRADLEY/Archant2021

Along with contributions from the congregation, funders included the Paul Bassham Charitable Trust, The Goodman Trust, Lady Hind Charitable Trust, Charles Littlewood Hill Charitable Trust, The Norwich Freeman's Charity, The Geoffrey Watling Charity, Garfield Weston Foundation, The Wolfson Foundation, The Charles Wolfson Charitable Trust. The Norfolk Community Foundation also assisted.

It is hoped the congregation can return to the building later in the summer.

The Norwich Hebrew Congregation is continuing to raise money, because it wants to create the Norwich Jewish Community and Heritage Centre.

The cleaned stained glass windows in the Norwich Hebrew Congregation synagogue where refurbishment w

The stained glass windows in the Norwich Hebrew Congregation synagogue where refurbishment work has been completed. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: DENISE BRADLEY/Archant2021

The goal is to create a museum within the buildings, including a mural timeline, showing the Jewish history of Norwich, which the public will be able to visit.

Dr Prinsley said: "We get a lot of interest in the history of Jews in Norwich and we think it's important this is told from the Jewish perspective, rather than on our behalf."

• Donations can be made via www.norwichsynagogue.org.uk/get-involved/