On December 17th, 1840 7 gentlemen gathered at the Angel Hotel on Dale St to establish a committee of inquiry into the educational needs of the ‘poor of the Hebrew faith’ in Liverpool.  They were:


Chair of the committee. Listed at Castle St in 1824 and Lord St in 1853 as a goldsmith and watchmaker.  He seems to have lived in Hunts Cross.  Hunts Cross is a long way out - still, you never know!  Henry DANIEL served on the committee for a very long time indeed, and many of the meetings were held at his premises in Lord St.  John DANIEL (another silversmith, listed with him in all directories) was also on the committee.


Again, there was a silversmith of this name born around the turn of the century living in Paradise St with his family - Henrietta and the children Hannah, Edwin, Eliza, Kate, Adelaide and Montague. There was a watchmaker of the same name living in Percy St, aged 55. His family were: Kate (wife), Matilda and Julia. All born in Lancashire. The only other candidate was Lewis aged 21 of independent means, living off St James’ Place. He was born outside the UK.


Born in Hannover, 1793 approx; a ship broker. David, Maria and family lived in Upper Parliament St in 1841; they were living in Canning St in 1851 and 1861.

Ralph HESS

A Liverpool born merchant living in Mornington Terrace in 1841-1861; moved to Upper Duke St by 1871 and died there later that year


Merchant,  born  1798ish in London, living in Bedford St North in 1841. In 1851/1861 he was widowed and living in Upper Parliament St. Died 1868.


Solomon A Brandeis - listed at Carlton Terrace, Upper Parliament St in the Gore’s Director of 1834.  He may have been from Austria - there was a Solomon Brandeis cited in the memoirs of Moses Porges-Spiro in 1798.  In 1842 there was also a Joseph BRANDEIS on the committee. A Joseph BRANDEIS from Bavaria was naturalised in 1845.


Above - David and Maria BEHREND, about 1845 (thanks to Richard BEHREND for the photo)

They were later joined by Henry HIAMS, D W MARKS, A ABRAHAM (possibly Aaron, watchmaker), Edward SAMUELL(25 year old watchmaker, living in Canning Street), Mr HART, Barnet JOSEPH (merchant), Henry MOSS (probably a broker of Great Crosshall St), Mr DAVIS, Mr John LEVI. They continued to meet at the Angel Hotel, eventually moving to the Clarendon Rooms and then Mr ABRAHAMS’ on Lord Street. They set up the first Hebrew School in England, outside London.  The first step was to provide English instruction for the boys at the Mechanics Institution, find an English school for the girls and find ‘Hebrew and religious education afforded to them conjointly by a competent Jewish teacher’ (originally named as Mr Abraham). There were 9 boys under 8 years of age and 10 older than this who required education. Those over 8 were to go to the Mechanics’ Institute and those younger to go to a school where they would also learn Hebrew, transferring to the Institute at 8 years of age.  The parents were to pay between 3d and 6d a week. Applications were received from the parents of:

Lewis (12y), Michael (10y) and Moses HYMAN (6y) - sons of Joseph HYMAN, a hawker born ‘foreign parts’, living in St Andrews’ St). Some of the children had been born in Wales;  Frederic ABRAHAM (8y - son of Simon, a hatter born outside the UK, living in Park Rd in 1841; Myer (12y), Bernard (10y) and Marks SAMUEL (8y) - sons of Israel, a shopkeeper living in Stewart St. All born in Poland, but younger siblings born in Lancashire);   Hyman (8y) and Henry WOOLF (7y) - sons of Israel (watchmaker) and Sarah, living on Brownlow Hill in 1841Morris COHEN (6y) - only 5. Born outside Lancashire, living in Leander St. Father born 'foreign parts'; Isaac JACOBS (12y) and Charles JACOBS (6y) - Mother born Germany; elder boy born London, younger born Liverpool;  Louis? COHEN (7y);  Michael (Hirschel?) GOLDING (6y);  Hisrschel LAZARUS (7y) and Samuel LAZARUS (5y) - who lived in Soho St


Over the next 100 years, the Jewish community moved away from the city centre to the suburbs, including Allerton and Childwall. This meant that children had to travel a long way in order to attend school. The new King David Schools were built in Childwall.  


In May the committee appointed Mr J LINDENTHAL as Hebrew teacher in the Society school at a salary of 20 per year; they also read testimonials from Benjamin CARRICK, who was offered 52 guineas per year to work as English teacher in the society school. They obtained rooms from Mrs BLEVINS in Suffolk St (Hannah, wife of a printer with a very large family) for a weekly rent of 5s., where they aimed to ‘afford a good plain English education as well as Hebrew and religious instruction’. The school opened on 21st June 1841 with 10 boys, rising to 28 by April 1842. The girls’ department was established in February 1844, and an Infants’ Department from 1875. The school was based in Nelson St (at the former Whitnall’s School) and at 7, Slater St before finally moving into the new school building on the corner of Pilgrim St and Hope Place in May 1854. It was built next to the Synagogue (see below) which closed in 1937; now site of the Unity Theatre.

The school was supported by a number of charitable institutions, including the Ladies’ Soup Committee (from November 1854) and the Jewish Boys’ Clothing Society (from July 1867). Old Boys’ and Old Girls’ Associations were established from the turn of the 20th Century

Many former pupils returned to teach in the school, including Peter ABRAHAMS, Celia BERMAN, Annie and Joseph BEST, Fanny GOODMAN, Louis GRABOIS, Hannah GRAJINSKI, Samuel LEVY, Louisa REED, Fanny SCHNITZLANDER, Aaron SCHOCK and Rachel SERABSKI. Other teachers included Benjamin MOSES (appointed 1923) The schools were also supported by the King David Foundation.

In 1910 the staff list read:  Solomon LEVY, Peter ABRAHAMS, Samuel H LEVY, Louis GRABOIS, Miriam KRESNER, Hannah GRAJINSKY, Miss WOLFSOHN, Fanny GOODMAN, Louisa REED, Rachel SERABSKI, Miss MESTONE, Miss FRENK, Miss GUINSBURG, Miss BENAZON, Mioss EPSTONE, Miss L WOLFSOHN,  Miss B BEST and Miss G PHILIPS.  Mr SILVER was receiving a pensions and, amongst others, Mr KAISER was running evening classes.

By 1911, the school had appointed as Infants’ Mistress Ethel STUART who continued at the school until the 1930s.

Governors in 1916 were A M JACKSON (President); D GABRIELSEN (Treasurer); A D BEER; E A BEHREND; Harold L COHEN; L GOLLIN; Rev S FRIEDEBERG (Correspondent) and A LEVY (Assistant Secretary)

In September 2002, Dave found a medal on the beach at Leigh on Sea in Essex, and sent a photo to me. It was awarded to Ellen Rifkin in 1910.  We may one day find out how it ended up on a beach in Essex!  Thanks to Dave for this amazing find.

Copy of back
Copy of front

See below for a list of Heads of the Hebrew Schools.  Head of the Infants’ Department from 1875-1880 was Margaret McCARREN.  She is the only one recorded.




Benjamin CARRICK. (1841-1843) 

Miss DONNEGAN (1846-1867)

Jacob LINDENTHAL (1841) living Upper Newington

Joseph KEENAN (1843-1846)

Rachel LEVY (1867-1876). Supported by Miss SCHOCK

1842: Philip ABRAHAM, Henry BARNET

Thomas COULDREY (1847-1848). Dismissed by the governors as ‘quiet and benevolent, but deficient in energy and lacking professional talent’

1875: Miss MOUNSEY, Theresa HERTZ (married Albert PYSER in 1879 and subsequently moved to London)

Myer STEIN (1845-1849), a ‘native of Germany’.

George TROWBRIDGE (1848-1857) Born Devon about 1809. In 1851, living Upper Newington with Abraham LIPPSHUTZ as a boarder.

Rachel HART (1876-1897). Born London, lodging with her uncle Joseph AARON in 1881 and 1891

Rev David M ISAACS (1849-1950). There was a great deal of difficulty over Rev. ISAACS’ pay as the fees were not always paid, and subscriptions were lower than hoped.

William Powys NETTLETON (1857-1874). Also born in Devon.  The school still has his original contract of employment!

Miriam KRESNER (1897-1936). Born London; father Polish.  From her retirement, the schools are not listed separately. 

1850 - Mr SILVERSTEIN, who only lasted a month or so - ill health. 

Myer J HEILBRON (1871-1874).  Born in London, parents of German origin; listed in London in the 1871 census.  His brother was also a teacher. He was newly married when he came to Liverpool, and 2 daughters born here.   He returned to London, and is listed in Hampstead in 1901.

Abraham LIPPSCHUTZ. (1850-1855) Polish. Engaged temporarily, then retained.

Joseph MacKENZIE (1874-1880)

1855-1856: Rev David M ISAACS, Rev A. FISCHEL

Abraham RAPHAEL (1880-1890) Born in Manchester; BA from London. He moved to back to London where he is listed as- Head of an orphanage in 1891.

Rev Jacob PRAG (1856-1867), born Prussia

Marks ROSENBERG (1890-1902). Born Newcastle on Tyne, living in Canning St in 1901.

Henry M SILVER (1867-1874)

Aaron LEVY (Aug-Dec 1902, temporary) - born Liverpool; living in Leopold St in 1901.

Rev Dr W STERN (1874-1877)

Myer KAISER (KAYE) (1902-1910). Listed in 1891 and 1901 census. Wife Esther.

Abraham RAPHAEL (1877-1890) Combined with Head from 1880)

Solomon Israel LEVY (1910-1944).  Born in Liverpool in about 1880, to Russian immigrant parents Marks and Rachel.  He started as a pupil teacher there and married Austrian born fellow teacher at the school Annie SCHNITTLINGER (SCHNITZLANDER) at the Hope Place Synagogue in 1902.

Not listed separately after 1890.

Edward S CONWAY (1944-1851).  When he took over the headship, there were fewer than 100 children on roll; by the time he left, there were almost 400 on roll, and a waiting list.  He was very much involved in the plan for the new King David schools in Childwall.  Mr CONWAY left to become Headmaster of the London Jewish Orphanage. 

Harold NAGLEY (1951-1961).At this time, primary aged pupils moved to Childwall. Some classes were taught at Pleasant St school during the transition; is school was close to one of the main centres of the community, around Mount Pleasant.

If you would like to learn more about Liverpool’s Jewish commiunity, log on to Chicken Soup and Scouse.  Michael SWERDLOW and Arnold LEWIS have produced an excellent DVD about the development of this community from the 1700s to the present day.

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