Save Our Shul: Margate Synagogue

by Cliftonville Cultural Space CIC in Cliftonville, England, United Kingdom

We did it
On 17th December 2020 we successfully raised £12,552 with 297 supporters in 21 days

Emergency campaign to raise £300,000* to buy 91 year old Margate Synagogue and save it from property developers at auction on 16 December.

by Cliftonville Cultural Space CIC in Cliftonville, England, United Kingdom

To all our crowdfunder supporters - An important update from SOS Margate:

Firstly, a big thank you to all of you who have already supported our campaign.

Behind the scenes, we have been working long and hard to make this happen - and are pleased to tell you things are looking positive. With just a short time to go, things are moving extremely fast and we are cautiously optimistic that we will reach our target. 

We will be back in touch with more news in a couple of days, but in the  meantime please keep these vital donations coming.

Here is a kind message of support from Miriam Margolyes: 

If you haven't chipped in yet and were hoping to do so - now is your chance! And please ...keep spreading the word.

Once again, many thanks for your support.

The SOS Margate Team

Francesca, Jan, Kate & Lucy




Save Our Shul (SOS) Margate  - is an emergency campaign launched to save the synagogue from being sold at auction on the 16th December at Savills in London. It will likely be bought by property developers and turned into flats, possibly even bulldozed.



We are a group of Margate-based artists and educators of Jewish heritage who are passionate about saving the beautiful arts and crafts Margate Synagogue and repurposing it for the wider community. Margate Synagogue (also known as Godwin Road Shul & Cliftonville synagogue) is the last remaining building in the area which bears witness to the town's rich Jewish heritage and we have set up Cliftonville Cultural Space CIC to protect this important community asset. 

The CIC directors are Jan Ryan - former director of POW! Thanet (Power Of Women Festival) and founding director of UK Arts International; musician Francesca Ter-Berg; artist and academic, Dr Lucy Lyons, who teaches at UCL and The Margate School, as well as running Gordon House, an exhibition space which also hosts artists’ residencies; Kate Gillespie, who has worked with charities and in education for the past 20 years. 

Now that the Margate Synagogue has ceased to function as a place of worship, we want to prevent it from being snapped up for commercial use and instead, for it to become an inclusive arts and cultural space for the entire local community - a cultural hub which reflects the diversity of Cliftonville's residents, whilst also celebrating and retaining the integrity of the building's Jewish origins. 

(Thanks to Assemble for this beautiful prospective drawing of the space)

1607965897_cliftonville_cultural_space_sketch_credit_'assemble'.jpegThere is no multi-arts space of this of this scale in the Thanet area - the nearest is in Canterbury, Whitstable (both 20 miles away) or in Folkestone which is 30 miles away.

We want the repurposed Space to bring people together to enjoy music, theatre and dance performances, exhibitions and film screenings, food events and workshops. Above all, it will be a place which reflects the diverse roots of the area's residents.


(photo credit Nathan Jones)

SO we are reaching out to all those who care about preserving the  heritage and legacy of Cliftonville....who care about community empowerment and activism... who want the future of our area to thrive with cultural spaces rather than be filled with unaffordable flats.

Margate Synagogue has been part of the local landscape for nearly a century and we want not only to preserve that, but also to invigorate it as a resource for future generations.



The support for this campaign is growing daily, and is championed by numerous artists, public figures and local community organisations including actors Miriam Margolyes, Steven Berkoff and Sir Ben Kingsley; Grammy award winner Imogen Heap; writer and broadcaster Michael Rosen; celebrity potter Keith Brymer Jones; Turner Prize winning multi-disciplinary arts collective, Assemble; and a host of local and national organisations – Dreamland, The Margate School,  Open School East, Margate Film Festival, Margate PRIDE, GRASS Cliftonville, Margate Civic Society, Margate Arts Club, POW! Thanet (Power Of Women), Margate Radio Northdown Brewery, Rosslyn Court and The Jewish Music Institute at SOAS; whilst Oscar-winning graphic-designer and filmmaker, Arnold Schwartzman OBE, who lived in Margate and whose family were members of the Margate Synagogue has championed our campaign from the outset:

“My parents first brought me on holiday to Margate when I was just a few weeks old. Years later I returned to the seaside town to live and to be educated  at the Thanet School of Art & Crafts, where the many disciplines that I was taught included the history of architecture. 

That schooling enabled me to eventually become a Royal Designer, an Oscar winning documentary director, as well as the author of a number of books on  architecture—which brings me directly back to the beautiful Arts & Crafts style Margate Synagogue building.

Today I find that at my ripe age of 85 I'm perhaps one of the oldest surviving members of Margate’s past thriving Jewish community, an age just a few years short of the  laying of the building's foundation stone in 1928. 

With the recent knowledge that the building is to be sold — the very institution where my late father was honorary treasurer — I  feel compelled to champion the efforts being made to assist in procuring the structure for a much needed local cultural space for the town’s now burgeoning arts community.”


Help us once again make the synagogue a vibrant focus for the area.

Please make a donation - however large or small - using the link above.

This crowdfunding campaign is part of our fundraising effort, it is not the only way in which we are raising money for this project. If you would like to make a larger donation and would prefer to do this directly please contact us at [email protected] for more information. We'd like to talk to you. 

NB: * If our bid to buy Margate Synagogue is unsuccessful, all donations will be refunded, minus the following to cover Crowdfunder’s administration of the campaign:

For UK/EU payments 4.9% plus 23p (plus vat)  will be deducted from your donation 
For non UK/EU payments 6.25% plus 25p (plus vat) will be deducted from your donation

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