© Marcus Roberts


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By the standards of decline of any of the provincial Anglo-Jewish communities this was almost certainly one of the fastest if not the fastest. Most declined over very long periods of decades, not months or years.

The community came to a formal end with a legal case over appurtenances in the synagogoue and the closure of the Jewish marriage registers by the Registrar General in 1908 as the synagogue was ‘disused’.

Most of the younger members of the community rapidly moved away. Only a few decided to stay. There was one family left at the out-break of the First World War in 1914. There appear to have been a few assimilated Jews or descendants of Jews who had married out, left in the town but they were mostly isolated and silent about their heritage.

A personal reminiscent of a local Jew who had lived in Cheltenham up to the 1950s, summons up the poignant and sad condition of those few Jews left behind in Stroud:

‘I met many non-Jews in that area who were very Jewish looking and there was no doubt that there was a great deal of intermarriage... How many hidden Jews did I meet (both male and female) who, on learning that I was of that chosen persuasion, poured out their hearts. Their partners had no idea that they were Jewish - they kept it quiet - most lamentable. All this goes to show that there really was a large number of Jewish at one time in the area.’

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