Built in 1762, the Synagogue is a Listed Grade II building and the oldest extant synagogue built by Ashkenazi Jews in the English speaking world.
In the mid 18th Century, a Jewish community had formed in Plymouth with origins primarily from the Netherlands and Germany. They were known to have been meeting regularly for services in private homes by 1745, at some point the services moved to rented rooms with plans to build a Synagogue beginning in 1759.
The street front is the eastern end of the Synagogue, so the door is placed on the western front, in what is effectively the back garden. The building is tucked on a side-street, Sharman Kadish, the leading expert on Jewish buildings in Britain, believes that an unobtrusive location was chosen to avoid provoking the destructive riots that non-Anglican houses of worship often provoked in the eighteenth century. Nothing on the exterior distinguishes the building from the meeting houses of Nonconformist Protestants.
Tours of Plymouth Synagogue can be arranged including The General Tour with a fascinating insight into the history of the Synagogue in Plymouth, or The Hoe Cemetery Tour with an audio trail and short stories of some of the people buried in the grounds.