Description: Leicester Hebrew Congregation
Date Listed: 31 January 2002
English Heritage Building ID: 488423
OS Grid Reference: SK5979503795
OS Grid Coordinates: 459795, 303795
Latitude/Longitude: 52.6286, -1.1180
718/0/10169 HIGHFIELD STREET
31-JAN-02 Leicester Hebrew Congregation
Synagogue. 1897-8. By Arthur Wakerley. Schoolrooms wing of 1901 by same architect. Red brick with stone dressings and parapeted slate roof. Polygonal plan with square main space canted towards the Ark apse. Projecting central tower to entrance front with school and ancillary rooms in wing to left. Byzantine style with round-arched windows with leaded glazing. 2 storeys and basement and 3-storey tower.
Entrance front is a 7-window range in all at first floor with a pair of round-arched windows to the main block either side 3 similar windows in the projecting tower. A pair of windows either side to ground floor with a central round-arched doorway in the tower. This has steps up and a many moulded surround to the double doors and fanlight. Above the arch are a stone hood mould and the Ma Tovu inscription in Hebrew with chronogram. The top storey of the tower has 3 windows each side with moulded pilasters at the corners and a prominent corbel table. There is a curving parapet, behind which rises the copper-covered onion dome with octagonal lantern on top, itself with onion dome and finial. The right side of the main block has round-arched windows to both storeys and the left is similar but for a late C20 carefully designed fire-escape projection. The rear is canted with the Ark apse projecting beyond the short end. A wing projecting to left, originally the schoolrooms, of 1901 contains the ancillary rooms and has similar round-arched windows: front is a 4-window range to both floors under a curved gable.
INTERIOR. The very little altered interior retains the women's gallery and seating at the west, entrance, end supported on cast-iron columns with stairs from the entrance hall. Ark of Spanish mahogany in east apse flanked by wardens' boxes and pulpit. Stained glass window above the Ark flanked by marble Luhot tablets. Elaborate central Bimah complete with original electroliers. Numbered pews surround it. Coloured glass in windows. Mikveh, renovated in 1984, in basement. Schoolrooms contain large memorial boards with details of donations to the congregation.
A well-designed, finely-detailed and virtually unaltered example of a synagogue of the period.
Newman, Aubrey and Lidiker, Patricia, Portrait of a Community: A History of Leicester Hebrew Congregation, Leicester, 1998.
Source: English Heritage
Listed building text is © Crown Copyright. Reproduced under licence.