FURRIERS, GLAZIERS, DOCTORS AND OTHERS: A HISTORY OF THE PRESTON JEWISH COMMUNITY
~ author John Cowell
John Cowell has mined the Jewish Chronicle online archives, local and national newspapers, local directories, birth, death and marriage records, and some of the surviving archives of the Preston Hebrew Congregation, all of them after the 1930s. Many of the early Jewish residents, and regular visitors, were dentists, one of whom was in the town for over thirty years. There were also, in the 19th century, opticians, pedlars and hawkers (some of them spectacularly boastful about their wares), clothiers, and jewellers. From 1881 onwards a larger trickle of Jewish settlers arrived, many of them in the drapery and tailoring trades, but also a bicycle dealer, a glazier, and eventually, from the late 1920s, a set of doctors who made this rather an unusual small community. Further increase in numbers came in the 1930s and Second World War with the arrival of refugees from Continental Europe and from British cities, but after the War numbers declined, and with them the range of activities that could be undertaken, not to mention opportunities for work and marriage, and the availability of kosher food. The synagogue closed, and people moved away, as improved access to universities and the professions made movement in the pursuit of good jobs easy.
There is a full bibliography, appendices give a breakdown of where people came from, and where they went on to, their occupations in Preston, and the population in the 1911 census. The set of short biographies of members of the community is an outstanding feature of the book, filling out details of members of the Goodman and Goldberg families, the Lewises and Schwalbes, as well as others less well known The author has deliberately set out to be inclusive, particularly of Jewish people who were not members of the Congregation, as well as of those who were. The book is more than 220 pages long, with illustrations and some tables.
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from the author John Cowell
email: jcowellnix AT yahoo.com