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Jewish Schools

From the beginning, the Brighton and Hove Jewish community has had a strong tradition of education, not only for the local population, but nationally and internationally. Indeed, the founder of the local Jewish community, Emanuel Hyam Cohen, ran two Jewish schools from 1792 to 1816, first in West Street and later in Artillery Place, Brighton.… Read more »

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From the beginning, the Brighton and Hove Jewish community has had a strong tradition of education, not only for the local population, but nationally and internationally.

Indeed, the founder of the local Jewish community, Emanuel Hyam Cohen, ran two Jewish schools from 1792 to 1816, first in West Street and later in Artillery Place, Brighton. Certainly by the end of the 19th century there were at least four Jewish boarding schools locally. In 1874, Wellesley House Collegiate and Commercial School operated in Wellington Road. This was followed in 1887 by a ladies’ school, Pombal House at 11, The Drive, Hove and by Clopthorne in 1894, run by a Madame Levy. The long lasting Mansfield House, another ladies’ establishment, was also opened in 1894 at 47 Cromwell Road, Hove.

Joining these, certainly by the 1920s, was Southdown College at 69 Brunswick Place. By the 1930s, Brighton and Hove was very well-known as the venue for residential Jewish education, and national advertisements in the Jewish Chronicle for such establishments were dominated by local places of learning. In a part page of adverts for UK Jewish schools on 8 April 1938, of the six schools advertised, four are in Brighton, Hove or Sussex. They were Mansfield House for Girls of Cromwell Road, Brighton, Whittinghame College (for Boys 6 -19) of Surrenden Road, Brighton, and Aryeh House (‘England’s Foremost Jewish Boarding School for Boys and Girls’) of the Upper Drive, Hove.

The fourth was Macaulay House College which had been founded by Mr and Mrs Percy Cowen in Cromwell Drive, Hove, in 1920, but in 1924 the school was transferred to Ockenden Manor, Cuckfield (near Haywards Heath) the former home of Sir Merrick Burrell. The history of the school was exceptionally well- researched and documented by staff at the local Cuckfield Museum and an exhibition mounted there in 2004. The school closed in 1940 after Mr Cowen was declared bankrupt. Ockenden Manor is now a fine country house hotel.

During the 1950s and 1960s, all these residential schools gradually closed, as have all residential Jewish schools in the UK. There have been a number of local Jewish day schools but these, too, no longer operate. Now, apart from the chedarim (religious classes) run by three of the four local Jewish congregations, there is only the Torah Montessori Nursery at 29 New Church Road, run by Lubavitch Brighton.

 

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