Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee Bimah Cover

Bimah cover from Spitalfields, London, made on the occasion of Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee, 1897. Bimah cover from Spitalfields, London, made on the occasion of Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee, 1897.

During the 2012 renovations of the Sandys Row synagogue, Spitalfields, London, an embroidered bimah cover was found in the building’s cellar. A bimah is the elevated platform in the centre of a synagogue and is used to support the Torah while it is being read aloud to the congregation.

This particular bimah cover was made to celebrate the Diamond Jubilee (60 years) in 1897 of the reign of Queen Victoria of Great Britain (r. 1837-1901). It is made of purple velvet and embellished with silk gold thread embroidery. The embroidered text is in English and Hebrew.

The embroidery on the cloth takes the form of professional metal thread work, using card templates for each of the letters and the wreaths, which were covered with gold and silk thread. A gold coloured braid was sewn along the edges of the cloth. The cover was paid for by the women of the community, many of whom were small time traders and stall holders in the local markets. How they raised the money, and indeed how long it took to pay for the cloth is unknown.

During the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries this area of Spitalfields was considered to be the heart of the Jewish East End of London. The building was originally built in 1766 as a Huguenot chapel and was converted into a synagogue in 1851. It is the last working synagogue in this part of London.

Digital source (retrieved 21 March 2016).

Digital source of illustration (retrieved 25 June 2016).

GVE

Last modified on Monday, 24 April 2017 12:48
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