Norwood retains its star quality

By Simon Rocker, May 10, 2012
Norwood’s  star

Norwood’s star

For some 50 years, passengers arriving at West Norwood station in south London might have spotted a large yellow Magen David on a nearby building.

The distinctive emblem stood out from the wall of the synagogue of Norwood Hall, the orphanage which was once home to up to 400 Jewish children.

That building will be demolished next Wednesday. But thanks to the efforts of Norwood old girls and boys, the star is to be saved.

The synagogue dates back to the early 60s, when the original Victorian buildings that had stood for a century were pulled down and replaced. Norwood occupied the site until 1974 but it will now be a community centre.

Norwood Old Scholars' Association member Jack Matthews, who lived in the orphanage from 1948-53, explained that fellow member Tony Seager heard about the demolition. "He said: 'We all remember that stone, we should try to save it'. So we took a look and decided we would. The local council, Lambeth, have been excellent."

Mr Matthews, 74, hoped that a fresh home could be found for the star. One idea is to incorporate it into the new synagogue planned for the Ravenswood residential village in Berkshire, or maybe in the landscaping around it.

Last updated: 7:13pm, May 10 2012