Built in the 1930â€™s The Ark is not a traditional synagogue, but is certainly in keeping with the Art Deco style of the era. The building incorporated a number of architectural advancements to successfully create a modernised synagogue experience. The amazing space is inviting and has an intimate feel despite being huge â€“ there was seating for around 700 people. The light flooding in from the windows around the top creates a light and airy feel.
This was the second location we visited on my little trip up north, and had the pleasure of visiting here with loocyloo, redhunter and whynotdie. safe to say this was a relativity uneventful explore, but a lovely quiet one nonetheless. I think the most dramatic thing was a hunt for a torch loocyloo decided to loose! Wanted to visit this place for a while, and i'm glad i finally got the chance. The place is looking a little worse for wear now, with signs of graffiti and vandalism present - a real shame for such a beautiful building.
As always, thanks for looking!
Number four of my hundreds of back logged reports to do!
Can i first of all apologise for the angle of my images, these were taken on my S5
Visited with -Raz- and 2 non members on our trip around Lancashire.
At first we were sure we werent going to get into this building as every door, door window, nook and cranny seemed to be well secured. However after a quick stroll we found an access point. Once inside we made our way through what resembled a working mens club but we paid little attention to this until we were leaving, as we were dying to see the main hall. After a quick scope around we found the hall and all went our seperate ways to each take in the location as we wanted. this building has the tell tale signs of small scale looting by either pikeys or other undesirables but is for the most part a very tidy location and makes for a good explore! Unfortunately we only had limited time on this location as we needed to do another before returning to Yorkshire so a revsit is well needed!
Bit of background;
Greenbank synagogue was built in 1936 to a design by architect Alfred Ernest Shennan and consecrated on August 15,1937. It became a refuge for homeless families in the Blitz. This historic city synagogue which closed after 70 years has been saved for future generations.
The building shut for good on January 8 after its congregation dwindled to fewer than 40, with only one service being held a week.
But its survival is now assured after its listed building status was upgraded to Grade II*, putting it on a par with Croxteth Hall and the Cunard and Port of Liverpool buildings.
English Heritage agreed the change after a plan emerged to convert the concrete, steel and brick building into apartments.
The organisationâ€™s report described the synagogue as â€œone of the finest art deco synagogues in the countryâ€.
It added: â€œIt has an important socio-historic significance as an inter-war synagogue of 1936-7 that represents one of the last free cultural expressions of European Jewry before the Holocaust.â€
The upgrading from grade II to II* status puts the former synagogue in the top 5% of all listed buildings in the country
Now for some photos;
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Not a place I really wanted to go, but as we failed at a nearby site we decided to have a look, to be honest I'm glad we did as the place is huge and I would gladly go again.
Lots of history on this place and it seems a shame it got closed down.
No externals as it was dark when we got out, I got lost in there and had to phone a friend to come and find me
That's all folks
Brief History of The Ark Synagogue
The synagogue was built in in 1936/1937 and was designed by architect Ernest Alfred Shennan. Built in a rare Art Deco design it features a standard brick-faced faÃƒÂ§ade but has distinctive tall vertical windows. During the Second World War the synagogue became a refuge for families who had been rendered homeless by the heavy bombing of the area.
The synagogue closed in 2008 after serving the local Jewish community for over 70 years as the congregation merged with another local synagogue. The synagogue is a listed grade 2 building and features on the Heritage at risk register.
It was early start for me at 5:30am as I had to drive a little distance to get to the location. This was also a solo trip due to my exploring buddy not being able to make it this time.
So, after arriving at the Synagogue I wasted no time on heading inside. First off as I was alone I decided to take a quick look around for any other people that may have been inside. The Last thing I wanted to do was startle someone with a big camera pointing at them... Anyway, no one was in so I got the gear ready.
The Ark Synagogue was one of the first reports I ever read when looking into Urban Exploring and I still remember the first image on the report so I decided that is where I will take my first photo.
Ok, photo time...
So this was the room I just mentioned above, I was also a little surprised to see the wheelchair was still in the room as well. When I first saw this room on the report I was in awe and being stood in the same spot looking at those amazing windows was a great feeling.
The furniture on the walls to the right and left is solid wood and hand carved, really beautiful workmanship and a shame to see them just left to decay. The room also had a few photos and items scattered about including a bottle of whisky!
This photo was taken inside the main entrance were the congregation would have walked through to enter the main area of the synagogue. Behind me in the photo is the doors to the lower level of the hall and as you can see there are stairs on the side which lead up to the top tier seating area.
Next point of call was the main hall, this is were I spent a good amount of time soaking up the atmosphere that this place radiates.
View from the top tier
Now at this point I heard a few noises below me in the entrance hall area so I decided to stay still and quite to see if it was a fellow explorer, workmen or the local youth. Two minutes later I then heard the noise on the upper floor behind me in the entrance area and thought any minute now I will either be talking to an explorer or being escorted off of the site.... Then all went quite .....
So I continued to get some photos, A minute later the noise was back behind me and as I turned around a bird flew at me scaring the hell out me! The bird continued flying around the synagogue crashing in to windows for around 5 minutes then disappeared, no more sounds was heard on my behalf
A closer shot of some of the seats on the upper tier
Each seat had a name pinned to the back and a number carved into the front.
So after after taking a few snaps on the top floor and escaping with my life from a maniac bird I headed to the ground floor.
Now I have no idea what this platform is in the middle of the floor but it had space for someone (more than likely the Rabbi) to stand and talk to the congregation, also it has four seats for people to sit, two on either side of the speaker.
The next two photos was taken just in front of the main speaking platform. Up the top in front of the windows there is an organ and two music stands and a drum, maybe this is were the music was played for the services.
So after photographing the main hall on both levels I started to explore the rest of the building. There are lots of side rooms that was used for storage and offices plus kitchens, toilets, meeting rooms and what I would describe as an function room.
Here are a couple of photos of the function room. Now, Whenever I find a piano I just have to get a photo of me trying to play a tune. This piano still holds a good note!
And finally here is a wider view of this room which comes complete with a small stage....
More Images Available on Flickr
The images above are just a small selection of the images I have edited. I will be adding lots more photos of The Ark Synagogue on my Flickr page which can be found Here, https://www.flickr.com/photos/119757413@N07/sets/72157645913392987/
I really enjoyed my visit here for many reasons. As I mentioned earlier the synagogue was the first report I ever read when looking into urban exploring so to be here tracing the footsteps of many an explorer before me was a great feeling. Apart from that this building is amazing with lots of architecture on show & many bits & pieces that have been left behind. Unfortunately the building is slowly deteriorating and I really do hope it is saved before its to late.
Thanks for reading,
What a place, it's practically like a museum with all the religious artefacts, old photographs and documents left behind. The last I heard a local Rabbi has now taken the Torah scrolls to safety so we were lucky to have seen them on our viit. I visited with a non-member.
This synagogue was designed by architect Alfred Ernest Shennan, famous for designing many cinemas in the area. The foundation stone was laid on 14th June 1936 by Baron Tobias Globe in the presence of Dr J.H. Hertz, the chief Rabbi of the British Emire at the time. The building was consecrated on 15th August 1937. During the Second World War the synagogue became a refuge for families who had been rendered homeless by heavy bombing during the Blitz. Over the years eventually the congregation dwindled in size until there were less than 40 regular worshippers and only one service per week so on January the 8th 2007, the doors finally closed after almost 70 years. The building was already listed but in 2008 the status was upgraded to a Grade II listing. English Heritage agreed the change after plans were filed which proposed to convert the concrete, steel and brick building into apartments. The listing report describes the synagogue as Ã¢€œone of the finest art deco synagogues in the countryÃ¢€Â, and the upgrading puts the synagogue in the top 5% of all listed buildings in the UK at this time.
The pics, a few the same as everyone else's and hopefully a few different ones:
Thanks for looking