Sir Moses Montefiore (1784 - 1885), was a towering figure of Victorian England, renowned locally, nationally and internationally. He was knighted by Queen Victoria in 1838. He was the grandson of wealthy Sephardi London merchants originally from Livorno in Italy he retired from the Stock Exchange a rich man to devote his life to philanthropy. He gave generously locally: his mayoral gold chain, gifted in 1884, is still worn by Ramsgate mayors. He first came to Ramsgate in 1812 on his honeymoon with his wife Judith Cohen, sister-in-law to Nathan Rothschild. Ramsgate had had a small Jewish Community since 1786. After his first visit to Jerusalem, in 1827, he bought, in 1831, East Cliff Lodge (demolished 1954) with its 24 acres, now George VI Park. The pious and observant Montefiores’ immediately expressed their intention to build a synagogue as a private 'chapel' on their estate. David Mocatta, a cousin, was hired to design it. He was the first Anglo-Jewish architect, a pupil of Sir John Soane and architect of railway stations on the Brighton Line. Mocatta estimated the cost at between £1500 and £1600 exclusive of the interior which was to cost from £300 to £400. The foundation stone was laid on 9th August 1831 and the Synagogue was completed in 1833.
The Synagogue is maintained by the Montefiore Endowment which is a registered charity. The rite of the synagogue is that of Bevis Marks (1701) in the City of London. Regular services are no longer held due to a lack of a local Sephardi congregation.
Visiting is by appointment only and at least 3 working days notice is required.
Prices: Under 16's free, Adults £6 per person.
Winter - October to April
11:00 to 14:30 on Sundays and Wednesdays
Summer - May - September
11:00 to 15:00 on Sundays, Tuesdays and Thursdays.