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Coventry's Jewish Community

Explore Coventry's Jewish Community through the ages. Featured within the History Gallery - 'Your Coventry' space.

Located in the History Gallery | FREE

The Jewish community's contributions have been significant in shaping Coventry. Understanding differences and recognizing the value of migrants' contributions today is crucial for the city's continued prosperity.

The Jewish community's history in Coventry dates back to the 12th century when Elias is first documented in 1194. After being expelled by King Edward I in the late 13th century, Jewish people returned to Coventry and England in the 1650s.

Notable figures include Joseph Levi, born in Coventry in 1794, a prominent quill maker who founded philanthropic societies. The Stoke Green clock was erected in his honor in 1934. In the 19th century, Jewish families, mainly from Prussia and Bavaria, settled in Coventry, engaging in watch manufacturing. Alfred Fridlander, Philip Cohen, and Siegfried Bettmann were influential members. Bettmann notably founded the Triumph car and motorcycle company and served as Mayor of Coventry from 1913 to 1914.

Initially meeting in homes, the community established the Coventry synagogue in 1870, later closing in 2008, currently undergoing restoration. A Jewish cemetery in Coventry is the final resting place for many community members.

The History Gallery part of the display is anticipated to run until September 2024. It consists of a showcase full of objects, panel, film and several pickup sheets. The gallery’s opening hours are the same at the Herbert’s.

The Coventry Archives part of the display consists of two showcases, another film as well as books and reproduction documents. This will run at least until the end of 2023. To view the Archives display in October or November, please email the archives team on archives@cvlife.co.uk to ensure access. Usual hours are Wednesday to Friday 10.30-3.30 and some Saturdays.