Monday, June 15, 2009

UK: Synagogue in Sunderland by Marcus Kenneth Glass For Sale

UK: Synagogue in Sunderland by Marcus Kenneth Glass For Sale

The last intact synagogue by Anglo-Jewish architect Marcus Kenneth Glass is for sale. The 1928 synagogue on Ryhope Road (Hendon) in Sunderland (Northeast England) has been vacant since 2006 when the dwindling congregation ceased using the large vaulted structure for regular worship. The building was listed as a Grade II historic structure in 1999 which has helped stave off the wrecking ball, and now the Jewish charitable trust which bought the building from the congregation has but it on the market for what it hopes will be a sensitive adaptive reuse.

Sharman Kadish treats the Sunderland Synagogue at length in her Jewish Heritage in England : An Architectural Guide (English Heritage, 2006, pp. 182-185 with 6 pictures). She describes the interior - the part of the synagogue most likely to be compromised by any reuse, as "spanned by a deep barrel vault over the central aisle, which was originally painted to imitate a star-spangled sky. The gallery runs around three sides carried on slender iron columns with palmette capitals. The plasterwork Ark canopy is highly decorative, painted and gilded. It is classical in form but features decoration of Islamic and Byzantine origin, especially the cushion capitals to the columns and the chevron patterns on the shafts..." In other words, Glass's design is highly eclectic and colorful, typical of the what Kadish calls a "cinematic art deco style." It it is hoped the however purchases the building will keep the large sanctuary space intact, including the fine stained glass.

The asking price price is £295,000 to buy or £27,500 annual rent.

Two other synagogues designed by the still little-known Newcastle architect have been substantially altered in recent years. In 2006, only the facade of the Clapham Federation Synagogue (1931-32) in London was saved (see Kadish, 31). In Newcastle Upon Tyne, The Jesmond Synagogue on Eksdale Terrace, designed by Glass in 1915, has been transformed into a school, but its exterior has been conserved, including its facade stained glass windows (see Kadish, 187-88).

For a photo and to read more see the story by Jane O'Neill in the Sunderland Echo (June 8, 2009).

No comments: