The Ark Synagogue

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#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.

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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.

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Without hesitation I made my way up.

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

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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.

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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.

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

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The main entrance, leading into the synagogue.

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

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

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And more shots from the bottom floor

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The main stage

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Some really nice features.

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

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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.

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The organ room

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

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I have no idea who these people are.

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

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Check out the grease ! Nice….

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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.

Cheers

WA

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