Jewish Museum


129–131 Albert Street, Camden Town, NW1 7NB


020-7284 7384



Opening times:

Sun–Thur 10:00–17:00, Fri 10:00–14:00

How to get there:

Tube: Camden Town

Entry fee:

Admission charge

Additional information:

Shop; pre-booked catering available

Founded in 1932, the museum traces the history of the Jewish community in Britain from 1066 up to the present day and displays an outstanding collection of rare and beautiful Judaica. The collection is the only one of its type in Britain, particularly strong in items with an English provenance. The works of Jewish ceremonial art are among the finest in the world.


Ground floor

The history of Jews in Britain is told through a combination of wall-mounted information panels and significant artefacts. It begins with William the Conqueror’s invitation to the Jews of Rouen to settle in London, and charts the community’s subsequent persecution under Edward I and final expulsion in 1290. The Jewish religion continued to be practised secretly for the next three centuries, later especially by refugees from the Portuguese Inquisition, until Oliver Cromwell responded favourably to a petition from Rabbi Menasseh ben Israel from Amsterdam to readmit Jews to England. In 1656, they were given permission ‘to meet privately in their houses for prayer’ and to lease a cemetery near Mile End in east London. In the early 18th century, the synagogue in Bevis Marks was built. A silver salver from 1702 and two cups from 1745 and 1777 that formed part of an annual gift to the Lord Mayor by the Spanish and Portuguese Congregation can be seen. For several years up to 1795, the Jewish boxer Daniel Mendoza was champion of England and a popular hero: vide the ceramic jug depicting his bout with Richard Humphreys in 1788. A push-button illuminated map reveals the distribution of Jews in Britain down the ages.


First floor

The Arthur Rubens gallery displays the museum’s collection of Judaica. Ceremonial objects, many of exceptional quality, are supported by descriptions of their roles in the major Jewish festivals and rituals. The highlight is a large, richly painted and decorated 16th-century Venetian synagogue ark, acquired unexpectedly at an auction sale from Chillingham Castle, in Northumberland, where it had been used as a wardrobe in a servant’s bedroom. Here it is presented flanked by a pair of the museum’s more recent acquisitions: fine brass synagogue gas lamps discovered by chance in Falmouth, Cornwall. Other highlights are silver Torah (scrolls of the Law) ornaments from the Great Synagogue in Duke’s Place, City of London, destroyed during the Blitz; silver jewelled pointers; a Torah crown bearing an engraver’s error, the patriarchs David and Solomon holding each other’s symbol, temple and harp; and the earliest item in the collection, a gold Byzantine votive plaque from the first century, inscribed in Greek and Hebrew.

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Details below are taken from our Blue Guide Museums and Galleries of London.  This is a 2005 title, here generally updated for website address and opening times, with useful comments from some of the museums themselves.  More recent information is given in Emily Barber's magisterial new Blue Guide London, "Exceptional update to a classic and useful guide to this amazing city" (Amazon reader review).

FULL LISTING of CURRENT EXHIBITIONS in London from Apollo Magazine »

Emily Barber recommends five major London museums »

Please do share your comments and updates with us via the form below the entry for each museum.


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