Nominated by Trip Advisor as Plymouth’s top visitor attraction, the city is home to the oldest functioning Ashkenazi Synagogue in the English speaking world. Its added attraction is that it has a Royal connection. The synagogue dates back to 1762 with the only major extension, the addition of North and South wings, in 1864 of a Ladies Gallery. The latter was paid for by Leon Solomon, grandfather of Ernest Simpson, whose wife Wallis divorced him to marry Edward, the Prince of Wales.
The Jewish community settled in Plymouth in the early 18th Century with its members mainly from Holland and Germany. In 1742 they leased the plot of land where the synagogue now stands, and in 1834 bought the freehold .
After the Second World War, with the decline of the Devonport Dock Yard many families moved away leaving a community today of 39 members. In 2012, the synagogue’s custodian Jerry Sibley was presented to the Queen for being one of Devon’s unsung heroes. Through his efforts, with the synagogue surviving mainly on donations from tourists, visitors, and school trips, the building is kept open for both worship and visitors.
The most commendable thing is that Jerry, himself is not Jewish.
Read about my trip to Plymouth at: http://www.justabouttravel.net/2017/06/15/plymouth-britains-ocean-city/