Kehilat Middlesbrough Newsletter No 8 October 2000 page 2
Many thanks for the Newsletters which I read with interest and with a great deal of nostalgia.
However, I had already discovered your website some time earlier, when, with the same feelings of nostalgia, I saw so many names I recognized from so long ago. When I read the names -- Saville, Bharier, Breckner, Greenberg, Stock, Hyman, Niman, Jaffa, -- I could go on, but they all brought back pleasant memories of times gone by.
We (the Cannon fami1y) moved to Middlesbrough from Durham in 1928 and lived there until 1935, when we moved to Newcastle. I lived with the family in Middlesbrough for two years, leaving for Newcastle where I studied for my matriculation before going to University to study medicine. At that time I had left my heart in Middlesbrough, and always returned there for the holidays. I had made friends and was always looking forward to vacations when I should see them again.
In one of your first Newsletters on the website, I saw a letter from Sadie (nee Greenberg) Ramati and this brought back memories. I still have a photograph of her (and me) sitting on the grass in Ayresome Park In your last newsletter on the website, there is a letter from Blanche Roland (nee Stock) in which she mentions my name. I have a photograph of her too. I remembered her brother Harold also, whose letters I have also read in the Newsletters. The Shul was still in Brentnall Street and the services were conducted by Chazan Silverston and Rev Turtledove. Rabbi Miller came along later. All very nostalgic!
Now a little about myself. I was born in Durham City, attended elementary school, grammar school, enjoyed football, cricket and all sports, passed my School Leaving Certificate Examination and was looking forward to being a pharmacist. A friend of the family had his own “chemist” shop in Durham and I was to be his apprentice.
We moved to Middlesbrough. It was a very friendly community and although I left all my boyhood friends behind, I started making new ones. Anyway, we also had relatives in the town.
But I had no job! I still wanted to be a pharmacist and so l spent a great deal of time visiting every chemist shop in Middlesbrougb, but nobody wanted an apprentice. It was the time of the great depression and even the chemists could not afford the meagre wage of employing an apprentice. Only one - “Boots the Chemists” - took my name in case a vacancy occurred.
Thus I had to set my sights on some other position, even temporarily and 1 applied for a secretarial job at a national wholesale butchers. I learned that there were numerous applicants for the job, but I was successful. I got on well with the manager and under-manager and for the short time I worked there, we worked as a team.
Of course I was just learning and when I discovered that the manager received £10 a week and a car, (at that time a fortune), I decided to be a manager of the branch of the wholesale butchers firm I was working for. After being there for about 3 weeks, I received a letter from “Boots” offering me an apprenticeship. Having now made a decision to become a manager, I sent a letter of refusal.
I was happy and enjoying my work. Three weeks later however, I was given my notice. One of the CEOs from London visited the branch and I was introduced to him. The following morning the manager and under-manager sadly informed me that the firm did not employ Jews. I was given the job because I was the best of the applicants, but apparently being Jewish made a big difference. I was now one of the million or so unemployed. I was eventually employed as a Chemistry Laboratory Assistant at Constantine College, which had not as yet been officially opened, and as Chemistry had always been my favourite subject, I was happy. I could also receive free tuition at the College in whatever subjects I chose.
I have been wondering for a long time what had happened to Constantine College and your recent Newsletter has solved this problem for me (your Boro Quiz No.7). It is now apparently Teesside University. I enjoyed working there, and later went to Durham University College of Medicine in Newcastle. But, as I mentioned, I still looked forward to spending my vacations in Middlesbrough.
I am now in Vancouver, Canada. Why? -- Because my daughters moved there and my late wife and I wanted to be with them and watch our grandchildren grow up. I retired a few years earlier than I normally would have and I have never regretted it. The climate is great, different to North East England, -- short winters with practically no snow.
I have always followed events in Middlesbrough, -- the move from Brentnall Street and ultimately the recent closing of the new shul. I see the Jewish Chronicle on the internet. I also follow the Boro on the internet via the Telegraph and occasionally see them on TV. Of course, having lived in Newcastle for so long, I now support the TOON.
I think you are doing a great job. Kehilat Middlesbrough are still “together” because of your efforts. Dr Nat Cannon Vancouver, BC, Canada
One problem solved in your issue No 6, but one still to go. We now know how the Levensteins could be called that and still be Cohanim. Perhaps someone can tell me how the late Martin Cohen was a Yisroel!
Which reminds me of the time when I became Treasurer and had to record the schnoddering . Maurice Levenstein was a regular attender, and, as Cohanim were in short supply, he was called up almost every week. I could make out the “chatzi” in the beracha, so I put him down each time for half a guinea (10/6). At the year-end he was billed quite a large sum, which he rightly refused to pay. In fact each week he had schnoddered half a crown (2/6), a very useful sum in those days considering the frequency with which it was offered.
May he be remembered for his good deeds. Bernard Bookey Radlett, England
We would like to record an interesting fact regarding the congregation. The last barmitzva to be held in the shul was that of our son, Andrew.
Andrew, who was taught by the late Rev Bernard Kersh, was also the last pupil at cheder. Rev Kersh did an excellent job teaching Andrew, as he did with all his pupils, and gave Andrew much encouragement.
The reception was held in the communal hall and was attended by our relations, friends and all the community. This was also the final reception to take place in the hall before it was sold to the NSPCC.
Andrew has now moved to the neighbouring town of Stockton, where he has a recording studio. Susan and Dennis Broady Manchester, England
I just received the newsletter, volume 2, issue 3 and enjoyed reading it cover to cover. However, there is one error I must point out. Boro quiz no 7, question 10... Who went to Carmel College? You left me out. As your brother Louis can testify, I was at Carmel from 73-81 and travelled often with your brother and Mathew Bookey.
On another note which may be of interest.
I often attend Shabbat morning services at a small Chabad-Lubavitch synagogue here in Studio City, a suburb of Los Angeles. Our Rabbi was away last Shabbat and he arranged for two young bocherim (yeshiva students) to come and lead the services. As one of them kept on calling out the page numbers, I detected a northern accent. This young fella was Yoel Topp, son of Rev Topp who officiated at the shul in the final years. Small world!
Regards from Los Angeles. Joe Breckner Los Angeles, USA
It doesn't surprise me that others gave Rev Kersh the results from Ayresome Park. He was very interested in the games and would have loved to have been there! Many of the shul membership went regularly to the matches, but the majority sat in the expensive (10/-) seats in the West Stand, whereas I and my Dad never got out of the South End at 2/6 or 3/-! I remember seeing Brian Clough score 5 goals against Brighton in a 9-0 rout one year and I also remember Alan Peacock scoring against Liverpool despite a broken arm. Ugolini used to yell at the crowd behind the South End goal when he had a bad day. Lindy Delaphena, surely the first black player in the First Division in an age when they were a real rarity, was either loved, when he played well as “good oldLindy”, or hated as “that ****ing n*****r” when he didn't. A big-mouth called Aston, had what must have been the loudest voice I have ever heard. He used to shout encouragement that always ended with "Hooowaay the Boro" to roars of approval. Jonathan Isserlin Nepean Ontario, Canada
I enjoyed the latest Newsletter—and especially the old photo from Chanukah. I remember it well. More photos would be good.
By the way, Rev Kersh did not live at 5 Walton Ave—they were in no 9. Julian Vyner Sydney, Australia
[Ed note: Thanks for spotting our deliberate mistake! We have put a lot of photos on to the website. Those of you wish to add more, please post them to us.]
My niece Joyce Lucas of London sent me the Newsletters. I was very interested as I know many of the people mentioned. I was born in South Bank but lived in M’bro from age 7. My mother was Rebecca Richardson and my father Jonas Richardson, who had a pawn shop in the town. My brother Theo was a solicitor and a prominent member of the shul.
Whenever I came home to M’bro for holiday, Theo and I always went to shul on Shabbat and I sat in my mother’s seat in the front row of the balcony—her name was still on it.My grandfather Jacob Wilks came to England with his brother from Russia as young men. He became head of the community in M’bro. With his wife and 10 children he lived in a big house, which is today a hotel. Phyllis Morris Bentleigh, Victoria, Australia
Many thanks for sending me a copy of Cynthia Hefetz’s long and fascinating letter. What a wonderful history, from the past right up to today. She was my baby sitter in Leeds.
Unfortunately, I never kept up my correspondence with family and friends. Now I feel that I want to get in touch with my past and am doing a lot of writing to renew old acquaintances. Sadie Ramati Ra’anana, Israel
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