A prominent north Manchester synagogue has unveiled a new look following a major refurbishment and extension.
The project at Stenecourt in Salford was designed by Manchester architects Atelier MB.
Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis, Chief Rabbi of the UK and Commonwealth, officially opened the refurbished synagogue at a ceremony over the weekend.
The scheme involved stripping out the synagogue’s interior and installing new pews, stained glass windows, Holy Ark, lighting, heating and ventilation, and creating a new entrance made of Jerusalem stone and a new small function hall. Some existing stained glass windows were relocated.
Managing director Andrew Burns led the project for Atelier MB, supported by main contractor MPS Construction, based in Stockport, and stained glass windows artist Chava Erlanger, of Manchester.
Stenecourt, or the Manchester Great and New Synagogue, is based in Broughton Park in the heart of a vibrant and growing Jewish community.
It was originally based in the historic Great Synagogue in Cheetham Hill and is one of the oldest serving congregations in Britain.
Andrew said: “The synagogue was last refurbished in the 1980s and had become dated, was uncomfortable and poorly ventilated. The lighting and acoustics were equally substandard and the space was uninspiring and unloved.
“The modernised synagogue is designed to be inspirational and reflective, contemporary in style and appealing to younger clientele.
“The seating and pews are comfortable and resilient to wear and tear, there is a new, tall and slender Holy Ark, which forms a central feature, new glass balustrades, the lighting and acoustics have been upgraded and the old suspended ceiling has been removed to raise the height of the synagogue and expose the trussed structure.
“In addition, a bespoke, energy-efficient and sophisticated air conditioning and air handling system means the new spaces are heated, cooled and ventilated in accordance with modern requirements.
“There is a new hall and outdoor area for play and for events, and on a practical level all of the new areas are fully accessible to disabled men and women.
“With Manchester being home to one of the fastest-growing Jewish communities in Europe, Stenecourt has been redesigned to reflect its strong identity and relevance in the 21st century.”
Nigel Gilmore, former vice-president of Stenecourt, who led the development project for the synagogue, said: “Following internal consultation, the members of Stenecourt Synagogue, which has been located at the Singleton Road site for over 65 years and is at the heart of the Broughton Park Jewish community, came to understand that the premises and main sanctuary of the campus were not fit for purpose for a similar period into the future.
“Following a project undertaken, monies were realised from derelict land of little value owned by the synagogue, which gave both the necessary funds for the redevelopment and created a balance for the future needs of the membership.
“Stenecourt Synagogue now has a dynamic campus, which includes an additional new multi-functional room capable of seating 120 people for events, as well as a bright, modern, comfortable sanctuary fit for the religious needs of the community for many years to come.”