The Ark Synagogue


#13 – Explore #3 of the UK Road Trip – Wasted at The Ark

This was due to be our 5th explore of the trip but we failed getting into a couple before this including The House of Tears which I was pretty disappointed about, but to be fair this place definitely made up for it, and I’m glad we did it.

I am going to come clean about something now, something I didn’t tell Urbanographer, Adam X, or Carrot in Motion at the time, For some reason I was ahead of the gang and managed to get in the grounds before them, but what they don’t know is that by doing so I caught my balls on the access point when jumping over and was nursing a bruised nutsack for the entire explore. I painfully “manned up” and continued into the Ark.

A small piece of history….

So God said to Noah, “I am going to put an end to all people, for the earth is filled with violence because of them. I am surely going to destroy both them and the earth. So make yourself an ark of cypress wood, make rooms in it and………..Hold on a sec, wrong Ark…

A few facts for you….

*Built in 1935. It was one of the finest Art Deco synagogues in the country

* Its design by Sir Ernest Alfred Shennan is an original treatment of a traditional basilica plan form and tripartite facade to produce a confidently modern religious building in terms of styling, massing and composition .
* The light and airy interior of the prayer hall contains a highly unusual reinforced concrete canopied clerestory and a cantilevered segmental curved ladies’ gallery.
* The materials and craftsmanship employed throughout the building are of the highest quality.
* Symbolism is clearly evident in the building’s design in the form of the 7-bay prayer hall and 7-light E window each representing the Menorah, and the incorporation of the Magen David into internal decoration and fittings.
* Stylistic continuity can be found throughout the building both externally and internally.
* It has important socio-historic significance as an inter-war synagogue of 1936-7 that represents one of the last free cultural expressions of European Jewry before the Holocaust.
* Abandoned January 5th 2008

So on with the explore, Except for my earlier disruption access was relatively easy here. The first thing I noticed as I entered was this old piano.

Ark--28 Ark--29

I often wonder why there is always a piano left behind when places get abandoned, honestly I’ve found loads. The difference between this one and the rest… This one worked!

The next thing I saw was the staircase.


Without hesitation I made my way up.


A door with a “No admittance sign” Damn I can’t go through. So I went through and found this office.


There was plenty of 50mm close up possibilities here, I was going to come back later to get these….I forgot!

By this point I had completely lost the rest of the group who were busy setting up their shots of the main hall. I concentrated on the corridors and other rooms first.




I wonder if my name is on here anywhere?? ummm no.

It didn’t take long before I bumped into Urbanographer taking a photo of a wheelchair in a very nice well lit room, I kept my distance and went back a bit later on for my shot. A shot that I think is probably one of my best, You will see it later in this report.


Ok not one of the greatest DVD box-sets I’d ever watched.


The main entrance, leading into the synagogue.



Here is a shot of Carrot in Motions top of the range DSLR.


So here it is the main room. Viewed from the top gallery.




And more shots from the bottom floor





The main stage


Some really nice features.



Can anyone tell me what this says? it’s all Hindu to me..



Next I made my way to the top where the organ was. On the way I shot this wonky board with Jewish writing on it.


The organ room





So onto the room with the wheelchair, and one of my favourite photographs yet.


I have no idea who these people are.


On my way out I had a little look in the kitchen.


Check out the grease ! Nice….


We had one more explore to do after this, little did we know at this time it would be another failure (Katie’s House), We will re-visit soon.

I hope you enjoyed these pics. Please leave a comment.




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