Esoteric London

No. 537: Gower Street, WC1

Posted in Graffiti, London Types by esotericlondon on March 20, 2012

Gower Street, London, WC1. Photo © Roger Dean 2012

Dickens Dictionary of London 1888, An Unconventional Handbook – Charles Dickens Jr., 1888:

The question when the Jews first settled in England has not yet been satisfactorily answered. But it is beyond question that, soon after the Conquest, William I invited large numbers of them to come over from Normandy. It is said that he appointed for their residence that part of the City termed the Old Jewry, and that their first synagogue was erected in the N.W. corner of the street. Their burial-ground, called the ‘Jews’ Garden,’ was in St. Giles’s Cripplegate, on the spot now occupied by Jewin Street. After suffering great persecution, the Jews, numbering about 16,000 were banished from England by Edward I in the year 1290, and for a period of 365 years but few Jews resided in this country.  When Oliver Cromwell became Lord Protector, he was induced by Manasseh Ben Israel, a rabbi of Amsterdam, to permit the Jews to return. In February, 1657, a piece of land was granted them for a burial-ground, and in the same year a synagogue was erected in King Street, Duke’s Place, by Jews who had originally come from Spain and Portugal. They were, at that time, treated by the law as aliens; but every restriction has gradually been removed, and they are now placed on a footing of perfect equality with their fellow-citizens. The number of Jews resident in the metropolis is probably not less than 50,000.

[ For more Space Invaders see post No. 20. R.D.]