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Garnethill Synagogue

Built 1879
129 Hill Street
G3 6UB

Garnethill Synagogue is Scotland’s first purpose-built Synagogue and is a Category A listed building. An example of high Victorian architecture, it was designed by John McLeod of Dumbarton, in consultation with Nathan Joseph, a London Jewish Architect. McLeod designed a number of churches and public buildings, including the Women’s Christian Association on Bath Street and the fruit warehouses of Simons, Jacob & Co, headed by Benjamin and Michael Simons, both leaders in the Jewish community. The building exterior is Romanesque Revival and inside contains elements of Moorish, Romanesque and Gothic styles, with some Byzantine features.
The Prayer Hall has seating for approximately 500 worshippers. The focal point of the Synagogue is the Holy Ark (Aron Kodesh), set in an apse in the Eastern Wall, facing Jerusalem, housing the Torah Scrolls in which the Five Books of Moses are hand written on parchment. A domed window above the Ark has a panel on which are written the first two Hebrew words of each of the Ten Commandments.
The building is currently managed by the Garnethill Synagogue Preservation Trust and houses the Scottish Jewish Archives Centre and the Scottish Jewish Heritage Centre, which includes the Scottish Holocaust-era Study Centre.


Other Information



Physical Access to Building: Limited Access (only part of the building is fully accessible (e.g. ground floor is wheelchair accessible but other areas are only accessible via stairs – please explain below)
Further details: The 29 Garnet Street entrance (near the top of a very steep hill) where the tour meets, gives level access to the lower ground floor, which houses the Heritage Centre, Archives Centre, Succah, Study Centre and Function Room. There are toilets on that level, including a wheelchair accessible toilet. Internal access between lower ground and ground floors is by stairs only, and there are 20 steps between the ground and lower ground levels. The 129 Hill Street entrance gives access to the ground floor of the Synagogue and prayer hall, which are also included in the tour. There are 4 steps to the front door from street level and a mobile ramp is available on request. There is a toilet on the ground floor but it is not wheelchair accessible. If anyone accessing the tour is a wheelchair user, please indicate when booking so that we can ensure that the ramp is available at the Hill Street entrance.
Facilities: Seating, Toilet, Wheelchair Accessible Toilet


Organisation Information:

Garnethill Synagogue Preservation Trust (GSPT) was set up in 2012 as a registered charitable company. It looks after the fabric of the building at Garnethill, which is also the home of The Scottish Jewish Archives Centre, Garnethill Hebrew Congregation and the newly-opened Scottish Jewish Heritage Centre, which incorporates the Scottish Holocaust-era Study Centre. The synagogue remains an active place of worship, and information on services can be found on the website of the Garnethill Hebrew Congregation.

Visit This Building

Booking essential

Tours Sunday @ 10:30am, 11:40am, 12:50pm, 14:00pm, 15:10pm

Tour duration: 50 minutes