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Our old Synagogues and our new Home
In June 2011 HWPS moved to Bessborough Road to share premises with Middlesex New Synagogue, pictured above. Here we have a dedicated sanctuary on the first floor as well as offices on the ground floor.
Built on the site of the former Harrow College for Girls in Bessborough Road, the Synagogue building, designed by Tiko Alalouff, was originally opened in 1977. Over the porch way entrance, visitors are greeted by the inscription: "Wisdom hath builded her house". These words are taken from the Book of Proverbs, the full quotation being: "Wisdom hath builded her house, she hath hewn out her seven pillars".
The Synagogue's layout and fittings on the first floor comprise many of the characteristics of its former building. As well as the same chairs, reading desks and flooring, many of the former fittings remain. These include the ark, which, although re-constructed to fit into the new room, uses the gates and fascia from the old ark, and from the outside looks exactly like its Preston Road predecessor. On the walls of the sanctuary are a number of items of particular note. Next to the ark are two wooden tablets comprising the Ten Commandments, recently carefully restored. There is also an Etz Chayyim comprising a series of diamond shaped metal engravings, memorials donated by members to recall both those who have passed away and past Simchas. There is a large Holocaust Memorial Tablet, originally crafted by one of HWPS's former members, as well as a number of other wall decorations. HWPS's new sanctuary provides a warm and friendly atmosphere for all those who attend, and members from both HWPS and MNS, and non-members, are always welcome
On 12th June 2011 we bade farewell to our old building at 326 Preston Road and moved to 39 Bessborough Road, pictured above, where we have our own dedicated sanctuary on the 1st Floor, as well as offices on the ground floor. Pictured below is the deconsecration at 326, the move of the mezzuzah and scrolls to 39 via a Routemaster bus and the Chuppah style reception at Bessborough Road, before taking the scrolls upstairs to their new home.
Our first Shabbat services at our new home were held on the weekend of 17th/18th June.
Below are pictures of our old Synagogue at 326 Preston Road.
What you see above is how our old Synagogue looked from the outside and internally on 5th September 2004 when our previous Synagogue dedication service took place, with Rabbi Frank hammering in the mezzuzah. Below you can see how it evolved from the groundbreaking ceremony in August 2003 up to completion. The building comprised two floors. On the first floor was a dedicated sanctuary able to seat up to 270 people. The first floor was the site of the Rabbi's office and an administration office. Below, on the ground floor, were six classrooms for the use of our Cheder, as well as a Hall able to hold up to 330 people. Also on the ground floor was a library, which was used as the Council Room and for small meetings.
On 24th July 2004 the Synagogue bade farewell to its original building dating back to 1948. The pictures below capture the final service and kiddush. This building is no more and a sheltered housing development was constructed there, in which some of our members reside!
Below are pictures of our former building as it developed. After the groundbreaking ceremony in August 2003, when Katie Salter, wife of the first President, Max Salter, used a ceremonial trowel to start the construction phase, a large hole was dug. Then the foundations were laid using steel rods and concrete; next a red steel frame was erected and put in place; then brickwork on the ground and first floor was completed; the timber roof frame was put in place; roof tiling was completed; then the building was rendered. Next internal works began. The lift was installed and the concrete floor prepared. Then electrical work began and the bimah was built. After this the wooden floor was installed and the kitchen was completed. Finally furniture, including new seating was put in place. All was ready for the Inauguration service on 5th September 2004 (see above).
By the weekend of 6th/7th August 2004 the building was complete and the first services were held. Still a bit of work to do on the car park and the downstairs hall though!
By mid July 2004 the interior was taking form and there is less than a month until we could take occupation and services could begin.
By mid June 2004 the scaffolding had been removed and rendering was nearly complete.
By the end of May 2004 tiling was complete and the front had been rendered.
By the 8th May 2004 the timber roof frame was in place and tiling had begun.
More of the brickwork was complete by 4th April 2004!
How it looked on 6th March 2004 as brickwork progressed.
How it looked in early February 2004 after the red steel frame had been put in place.
How it looked when we started.
The Groundbreaking Ceremony was held in August 2003. Alan Solomon, Chairman of the Development Committee launched the construction phase.
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