Ancestry UK

The Jews' Orphan Asylum, London

The Jews' Orphan Asylum began life in 1830 after a poor couple named Assenheim died in the cholera epidemic of that year. A cucumber seller named Abraham Green raised money in the Jewish quarter for the support of their three small children, with his brother-in-law, Isaac Valentine, going on to establish a permanent institution. The Asylum's first premises, opened in 1831, were at 69 Leman Street, Whitechapel (given as 22 Leman Street from about 1844).

In March, 1846, the foundation stone for new premises for the Asylum was laid by the Chief Rabbi, the Rev. Dr. Adler, on the Tenter Ground at St Mark's Street, Goodman's Fields, Whitechapel. In November of the same year, the new building was fortunate to escape serious damage when the nearby Garrick Theatre was destroyed by fire.

On 25th June, 1869, the Asylum was formally accredited as a Certified School, allowing it to receive children boarded out by the workhouse authorities.

In March, 1871, the number of inmates in the Asylum was fifty-four, twenty-nine boys and twenty-five girls, of whom thirty-three were double orphans, and twenty-one children deprived of one parent. The children were admitted to the asylum from the ages of between two and eleven; they received a sound elementary Hebrew and English education until they arrived at the age of being put out into the world, when they were apprenticed and provided with an outfit at the cost of the asylum.

In 1876, the Asylum merged with the Jews' Hospital at West Norwood, which became known as the Jews' Hospital and Orphan Asylum. The St Mark's Street premises were subsequently closed.


Note: many repositories impose a closure period of up to 100 years for records identifying individuals. Before travelling a long distance, always check that the records you want to consult will be available.

  • Certified Schools were run by a wide range of groups and individuals and have no central records. However, relevant information may survive in the records of the Poor Law Union that placed each child at a particular establishment. The best place to start is the union covering the area where the child previously resided, although children were sometimes sent further afield.


  • None identified at present.