Walking London's Jewish Neighborhood

by Ed Forteau /
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Sep 15, 2011 / 0 comments

Context Travel has launched a new walking seminar of London’s historic Jewish neighborhood, led by historians from its network of experts and scholars. The walk looks at the history of Jewish communities in London from 1066, when William the Conqueror encouraged Jewish merchants and artisans from northern France to move to England. Traversing the centuries to the still vibrant community of modern times, the walk is offered both privately on request and as a group walk every day of the week except Saturdays.

“The history of the Jewish communities of London is extremely rich and complex,” says Ruth Shlovsky, a scholar of Judaism and Context docent. “Along the streets of the City and the East End we can trace the stories of these communities from their inception in 1066 and subsequent flourishing in the 17th century, through their trials during WWII and triumphs in modern London.”

Context’s Jewish London walk starts by Jewry Street, with a brief tutorial on the history and development of the area as the first port of call for Jewish families in 1066. Using maps and copies of documents, Context docents chronicle the development of the Sephardic and Ashkenazy communities in London and draw participants’ attention to visual clues to help them understand the social and economic context of the communities. The walk moves east includig such sites as the first purpose built Sephardi Synagogue in London, Bevis Marks.

The itinerary continues touching on themes such as the importance of the rag trade (selling second hand clothes), and the role of "The Jewish welfare board,” established in the 19th cent. Visitors come away from the walk with a deeper understanding of how these communities developed and helped shape the history of London as we know it today.

Jewish London is limited to 6 participants at a time. Group walks are priced at £60 per person, private walks are available at £250 per party.

The walk is a the latest addition to the Jewish History and Heritage series offered by Context to travelers in Italy, Paris, New York, Berlin, Istanbul, and Madrid.



Founded by National Geographic writer Paul Bennett and graphic designer Lani Bevacqua, Context is a network of English-speaking scholars and professionals, including art historians, writers, architects and gastronomes, who organize and lead walking seminars in fifteen world cities, including: Florence, Rome, Venice, Naples, Paris, London, Madrid, Barcelona, Berlin, New York, Philadelphia, Boston, Washington, D.C., Istanbul, and Athens. Travel + Leisure has named Context one of the top European tour companies for its innovative approach to travel and the depth of its programs. A Conde Nast Traveler “Top Travel Specialist,” Context is listed on Inc magazine’s list of fastest growing companies in America. To learn more about Context, visit its website at: www.contexttravel.com.