No Jews at Manchester Parade

By Jonathan Kalmus, June 17, 2010

Tens of thousands of people will be making their way to Manchester Day on Sunday to see one of the largest parades in the city's history - but there will be no formal Jewish presence.

The 1700-participant parade will travel through Deansgate, crossing Albert Square and Peter Street in the city centre. But the role of Manchester Jewry in the city will be forgotten.

Manchester City Council, which organised the event, say all faith groups were welcome to take part but that no Jewish groups had shown an interest.

Noted historian of Manchester Jewry Bill Williams says the lack of Jewish input is "very sad and an enormous absence. Before the war, the Jewish community was the largest ethnic group in Manchester, involved in its shopkeeping industry and the cotton trade. Economically and politically it was very important indeed."

Mr Williams says Jewish contributions to the city could have included Nathan Rothschild, of the Rothschild banking dynasty, who developed the cotton trade link with Germany; Charles Dreyfus, who founded Clayton Aniline Works, now part of chemical giant ICI; and Chaim Weizmann, the Manchester University chemist and first president of Israel.

Lucille Cohen, president of Manchester's Jewish Representative Council, says she will look into Jewish communal involvement at next year's parade after discussions with Manchester City Council chief executive Sir Howard Bernstein this week.

Last updated: 4:02pm, June 17 2010