Synagogue in Merthyr Tydfil, Wales
Merthyr Tydfil was the industrial powerhouse of Wales in the 19th century and its largest town. There has been a Jewish presence in Merthyr since the 1830s and the construction of the Synagogue in the 1870s reflected a community that was growing and prospering.
Merthyr Tydfil Synagogue is a stone structure designed in Gothic Revival style, and the oldest purpose-built synagogue still standing in Wales. Today it is considered architecturally one of the most important synagogues in the UK and has been awarded Grade II listed status.
The Jewish community of Merthyr formally came to an end in 1983 when the Synagogue was sold. Since that time, the building was used for various purposes. However, since 2006 it has been lying empty, its condition deteriorating, and the fabric of the building has been compromised with a gaping hole in the roof and broken windows.
A feasibility study was undertaken funded by the Muriel and Gershon Coren Charitable Trust to consider the Heritage Centre proposal, which concluded that it was viable. The Foundation proceeded to buy the building and subsequently carried out urgent repairs.
In 2021, the now King Charles III visited the project and, in 2022, the project successfully secured funding from the National Lottery Heritage Fund, the Welsh Government and Merthyr Council to pursue the Heritage Centre concept.
The project has a dedicated website www.jewishheritage.wales