Welcome to the second instalment of our eight hidden gems in and around Manchester.
These are places which might not initially crop up on your itinerary when planning a trip to the city, as you might never heard of them, but you definitely don’t want to miss out on seeing them.
For our first location, we visited the Museum of Transport, and now we’re heading to Manchester Jewish Museum to find out what it’s all about.
What is it?
Manchester Jewish Museum is based inside a former Spanish and Portuguese Synagogue (the oldest surviving synagogue in Manchester), and still stands to be the only Jewish museum outside of London. Upon approaching the museum, it’s important to note its stunning Victorian architecture, complete with stained glass windows and cast-iron fitments. Certainly something to spend a few moments to take in before entering.
The Grade II listed building has been fully restored, but still holds its lifelong character and charm. It was opened as a museum in 1984, dedicated to telling the history of the Jewish community in Manchester and their contributions to the city to shape it up to be how we know it today.
Collections inside the museum include objects, documents, photographs and oral histories documenting the stories and experiences of Manchester’s Jewish community. The museum states: “We are also dedicated to preserving the memory of the Holocaust through our exhibitions and collecting policy.”
The museum houses an impressive photograph collection of around 25,000 images, which was established in 1970. The photographs detail all areas of life of the Manchester Jewish Community, covering topics such as family portraits, work, school life, leisure, religion, charitable activity, weddings, political demonstrations and trade.
In the museum, there’s also a substantial oral history collection, which holds cassette tape recordings of interviews with Jewish people living in Manchester from the late 1970’s to the mid 1980’s, as well as interviews with Holocaust survivors and refugees from Nazism in the 1930s. Along with this, there’s also some recordings of Jewish musical performances, lectures and events held in the community – which are definitely worth taking a look at.
If you’re interested in reading a little deeper into the Manchester Jewish Community, the museum’s library is home to 970 books and 1,750 pamphlets and periodicals, where you can find a wealth of information about Jewish religion, Zionism, Friendly Societies, anti-fascism, war, anti-Semitism to Jewish literature, Jewish life & synagogues.
It’s a great day out for the family, and regularly hosts events such as exhibitions, daily tours and Heritage Walks. The walks are a fascinating experience, guiding you around Lower Cheetham; Manchester’s historic Jewish Quarter to discover Jewish schools, synagogues and soup kitchens, and learn more about Manchester’s industrial history. Click here to find out what’s on.
Free Virtual Tour of Manchester Jewish Museum
Can’t make it to visit Manchester Jewish Museum yourself? Our very own taxi driver and tour guide John Consterdine took a couple of trips there himself, to give you an idea of how fascinating it is from the comfort of your own home. Watch our two free virtual tour videos below:
Where is it?
Manchester Jewish Museum is located on 90 Cheetham Hill Road, Manchester, M8 8LW – next to Manchester Fort Shopping Centre and just a 10 minute walk from Manchester Victoria Train Station.
Check out the map below:
Book a tour of Manchester
Want to see Manchester Jewish Museum and other hidden gems in Manchester with your own eyes? Book one of our highly rated custom built Manchester Taxi Tours to see what the city has to offer, and visit the places that you want to see with the city’s only Green Badge taxi driver & tour guide John Consterdine.