The Jewish Museum

Jewish Britain

A History in 50 Objects

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Themes

The Jewish Museum’s collection tells a number stories about Jewish life in Britain. Find and explore our objects using the different themes below.

Religious life

The museum has an outstanding collection of religious objects, with some key examples originating from Britain. The oldest is a mikveh (ritual bath) dating from the 13th century. Valuable and...

Family and home life

Our collections represent life within the home, and include domestic items used in the kitchens of immigrant Jewish families in the East End, and personal photographs taken both in the UK and...

Politics

Our collections represent the involvement of Jewish people in political life, from notable parliamentarians of the 19th century to more radical political activities, such as unionism, among the...

Charity and welfare

Charity and welfare are very important in Judaism. The museum’s collections illustrate that while an important part of charity is giving money, acts of kindness are equally important. A number of...

Working lives and trades

The Jewish community in Britain has often been associated with particular trades. The museum’s collection includes material relating to medieval moneylenders, 18th century pedlars and boxers, 19th...

Regional communities

From the medieval period to the present day, London has been home to the largest Jewish community in Britain. However, over the centuries communities have formed in towns and cities across the...

Growing up

The museum holds a wealth of material relating to childhood and adolescence, including items from Jewish schools and youth clubs. We also hold important items relating to the Kindertransport (the...

Migration and settlement

From the first settlers from France in 1066, to more recent newcomers such as Israelis and South Africans, Jewish people have migrated to Britain for a variety of reasons and from a multitude of...

London's East End

Around 150,000 Jewish immigrants settled in Britain from the late 19th century until the early 20th century, and the majority of these made their homes in London’s East End, setting up synagogues,...

Military service

Jewish people played a significant role in the world wars, both on the battlefield and the home front. Our collections include uniforms, letters, medals and photographs. Our World War II collections...

Refugees from Nazism and the Holocaust

Around 70,000 refugees from Nazism emigrated to Britain before the outbreak of World War II, including 10,000 unaccompanied children. Many of these refugees were later interned on the Isle of Man as...

Sport and leisure

Our collections demonstrate the involvement of Jewish people in sport and entertainment, with material relating to 18th century champion boxers and Yiddish theatre, which was brought to London in the...