Synagogue Merthyr Tydfil


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Poised at the top of an incline stands a fairy tale like structure; the last surviving synagogue of three that once existed in Merthyr. In the latter half of the 19th century Merthyr was home to a large Jewish community, at its peak numbering over 400 including economic migrants from Eastern Europe and Russia. Tall, thin, with a pair of
hexagonal stair turrets topped by pointy conical roofs, the building seems as if it wants to soar upwards at any
moment like some penant stone space rocket. A trapezoid shaped wall enclosing the double stone stair leading
up the central entrance bay could be the launch pad. If one looks close enough you will also see a red
sandstone dragon adorning the gable roof, adding further to its whimsy.
Designed by a local architect, Charles Taylor and constructed between 1872 – 75, the synagogue is of a
Northern Gothic style. Architectural historian, Sharman Kadish considers the Merthyr Synagogue “architecturally
speaking, one of the most important synagogues in the UK”. It closed as a synagogue in the 1980s and after a
spell as Christian centre and gymnasium now lies empty.