THE ‘brief flowering’ of Blackburn’s Jewish community is chronicled in a new book published tomorrow.

The 245 page volume with more than 100 illustrations is called ‘ From Poland to Paradise Lane and other Journeys’.

It traces the history of the Jewish community of Blackburn the 1860’s to the demise of the community 110 years later.

At its height between the two world wars it numbered around 300 but by the 1960’s the population was less than 15 families and by the 1970’s had virtually disappeared.

Author Hilary Thomas has written four books on Jewish history after researching her own ancestry back to Latvia, Poland and Russia in the 19th Century.

Her latest book details how there were enough Jewish families in Blackburn by the 1890s for a synagogue to be established in Paradise Lane in 1893. It moved in 1919 to Clayton Street.

Mrs Thomas said: “The Jewish community in Blackburn had a brief flowering.

“ Most of those who settled in Blackburn came from Eastern Europe. In common with other Jewish immigrants in Lancashire towns they mostly followed the trades of tailoring, glazing, and market trading .

“This book tells the story of the founding families, the synagogues and the establishment of a Jewish Friendly Society Lodge together with details of the quarrels which caused two splits in the community in 1899 and 1904. One of the splits was the result of a fist fight in the synagogue during its annual meeting.

“The Jewish community in Blackburn was very well-received and friendly with other groups but was at times very divided amongst itself. The visit of Chief Rabbi Herman Adler to Blackburn in 1896 was a major local event.

“ In the Second World War several refugees escaped to Blackburn, creating businesses which gave employment including Newman’s slippers, Tom Martin Metals and the EMSA Works.

“The Jewish community just moved out of Blackburn to places like Manchester, Liverpool and Southport as often happened.”

Mrs Thomas points out that the oldest remaining Jewish resident of the the town , Miss Renee Rachel Black, achieved international prominence last year when pictured praying with Muslim community worker Sadiq Patel in Albert Square at vigil following the Manchester Arena terror attack.

And she also highlighted the contribution of former Blackburn resident Dr Merton Seigleman who was the driving force behind the foundation of the East Lancashire Hospice in the town which opened in 1984.

The consultant anaesthetist had vowed to work to help cancer sufferers after seeing the death of his mother from the disease when he was aged 16.

Mrs Thomas said: “These two living members of Blackburn’s Jewish community are extraordinary people and a testament to all those of their religion who made their homes happily in the town and contributed to its success.”

‘From Poland to Paradise Lane and other Journeys’ will be available from tomorrow for £8.50p from the Blackburn Central Library and Blackburn Museum shops.