Make mine a service — pub to become shul

There will soon be a new synagogue for Stamford Hill's Bobov community - The Swan pub in Clapton Common.

The building has been bought for around £1 million and will be turned into a synagogue and meeting rooms.

It is thought to be the first time a British pub has been used in this way.

Once the refurbishment is completed, it is estimated that 150 people will be able to use the complex at any one time for services or other activities.

The Bobovs hope that the building will be ready for use within "several months". They expect the majority of members to move from shuls in Lampard Grove and Egerton Road.

Rabbi Ephraim Padwa of the Union of Orthodox Hebrew Congregations said he was "overwhelmed" by the purchase, adding that the new building would benefit the "flourishing Bobov community".

Community member Ruth Goldberg said: "Everybody is pleased that the pub will be turned into a synagogue.

"This is the prime spot in the whole of Stamford Hill. It is a nice big building with two huge halls. There is a lot of potential but it is all subject to planning permission which we will submit.

"Everybody is looking for more space in the area, but it is not available.

"We have tried for a year to purchase the building. Because this is an Orthodox area, the pub's sales have been declining, so it is a good deal for everyone."

She hoped the community would rally around to help raise the necessary funds.

Meanwhile, staff at The Swan said this week that they were unaware of the sale.

"We don't have many Jewish customers," a barmaid confided. "But during the football season a few do come in."

    Last updated: 4:23pm, October 19 2009