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|Migration Histories > Jewish > Settling|
The first Jewish settlers in Manchester, in the late-18th century, were among the many immigrants attracted by its emergence as a major centre of industry and commerce. Like the Italians and the Irish, who were settling there at the same time, they saw in Manchester promising opportunities to make headway in business.
Most of the early Jewish arrivals in the city came from Germany, and had settled in London or the south coast ports before moving on to Manchester. Typically they would make their living initially as pedlars and hawkers, dealing in easily carried commodities like second-hand clothing, optical lenses and cheap jewellery. Later they might become small shopkeepers, selling a similar range of goods in the oldest streets of the town.
In the early-19th century, Manchester developed into one of the major centres of the world's textile trade, and the first generation of Jewish immigrants there were now joined by cotton merchants from Germany and Holland, exporting cotton goods to their home countries. Nathan Meyer Rothschild ran an office in the city from 1800 until 1809 when he moved to London.
The spectacular growth of Manchester during the first half of the 19th century attracted other German-Jewish immigrants - shopkeepers and export merchants - as well as Sephardi traders from the coastlands of the Mediterranean.
By 1851 there were around 1,500 Jews in Manchester. Most were shopkeepers and merchants of German or Sephardi origin, some of whom had begun to find homes in Manchester's semi-rural suburbs, particularly in Cheetham Hill, to the north of the city, which would come to be seen as the 'Jewish Quarter'.
Although a 'neat new synagogue' had been opened in Haliwell Street in 1825, it was in Cheetham Hill, in 1858, that the first of Manchester's major purpose-built synagogues were opened: the orthodox Great Synagogue and, just a few hundred yards away, the Manchester Reform Synagogue, founded by members of the city's new Jewish Reform Movement.
In 1874, Jewish traders from Gibraltar, Aleppo and Corfu established the first Sephardi congregation, the Spanish and Portuguese Synagogue, also in Cheetham Hill.
Creators: Bill Williams
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