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Remember the days of old: Celebrating Jewish connections

An exhibition at UCL Main Library Staircase, June - November 2006.

UCL's relationship with the Jewish community stretches right back to its beginnings, when a successful financier, Sir Isaac Lyon Goldsmid, brought together the poet Thomas Campbell and the politician Henry Brougham on the project to found a new university in London that would embrace all "non-establishment" groups. Goldsmid was also one of the major vendors, until its transference to the University, of the eight-acre site in Bloomsbury which is now home to UCL.

The Jewish Historical Society of England owes its origins to a major Anglo-Jewish exhibition held in 1887, when the story of England's Jews was told for the first time in public, giving rise to a new recognition and appreciation of the history of Anglo-Jewry. From its foundation in 1893 the Society had no settled base, but in 1905 UCL started allowing Society lectures and gatherings to take place on its premises. One of the Society's early pioneers and most prominent members, Frederic Mocatta, has also come to occupy a special place in the story of UCL's historical collections.

This exhibition was a celebration not only of UCL's long history of connections with the Anglo-Jewish community but also of the centenary of the transfer of Mocatta's magnificent collection to UCL and the 350th anniversary of the re-admission of Jews into England.