Norman Samuels: Remembering Hove

When war broke out, Norman Samuels was a few days old. His family made the decision to relocate from Westcliffe-on-Sea (Southend) to Hove. Norman’s short memoir has been made a public record. Below is an excerpt describing his experiences as a Jewish child in Hove.

“Within a few days of being born my parents decided for safety reasons to move to Hove. We occupied the second house down on the left hand side when turning into Montefiore Road from Old Shoreham Road. Soon after settling in Hove my father decided that on account of the influx of co-religionists into the area – some of whom could not walk to Middle Street Synagogue – that a minyan should be set up in Hove. He consulted with Rabbi Lipman (his father in law) and it was decided that he should start a minyan at his home.

A custom-built Aron Hakodesh (Ark) was made in the shape of a bookcase and, with the help of Rabbi Lipman, three Sifrei Torah were purchased. The “Samuels” Sifrei Torah were probably written in 1913 or possibly earlier. The minyan was held in our front room on every Shabbat and, on Yom Tov, my father hired the hall in the church opposite our house (now a Mission).

The hall was on the first floor and the seats built around the wall. These were light brown tongued and grooved boards. Members were encouraged to shnodder for the Yeshiva Etz Chaim – this being my father’s favourite charity – but for Maftir and Haphtorah a bottle of brandy – Martell or Hennessy was expected. After every service my mother prepared a Kiddush.”

Norman also attended his sister’s dancing lessons at the Gymnasium in Holland Road, which is now Holland Road shul.

Source: Michael Crook, JHSE Talk, Nov 2018, p.19-20.