All our yesterdays – What’s it all about?

Part 5 of our blog series taking a retrospective look back at the history of our community – May1975.

Back in 2014-5, KLS Member Howard Webber wrote a series of articles for our community magazine casting a light on days gone by. He had been looking through copies of our publications from the inception of our community in 1967 and throughout the Seventies. We are now re-publishing these articles for a wider audience – we hope you will enjoy Howard’s inimitable style as he accompanies us into yesteryear…….(please note, that where individuals are no longer with us, we refer to them by their initials).

Last month I reported on the discovery by a bold group of KLS pioneers in Spring 1975 of St Mary’s School, Rushett Road. So what happened next…?

The first thing was an inspirational piece headed ‘WE SHALL OVERCOME ALL OBSTACLES’ by DD in the May 1975 Kingston News. David had taken over as Chairman (‘Chairs’ had not been invented by 1975) at a ‘lively and well attended Annual General Meeting’ (whatever happened to those?) in April. At the AGM, KLS members voted by a large majority to buy St Mary’s School building. D suggested that this would mark ‘our confirmation as a Synagogue’.

In the June issue D could report that planning permission had been granted, contracts were ready (do things move that fast nowadays?) and the financial position was… in the balance. A total of £6,000, pledged by nearly half of our members, had been added to the existing pot of £11,000 – leaving £15,000 still to be found. D  called a Special General Meeting to discuss raising membership fees to meet the likely mortgage payments; with the result that we shall see.    

Apparently some of the money would come from donations from a firm of financial advisers which placed a two page ad in KN. They promised ‘in respect of business emanating from this advertisement they will contribute a share of their income [unfortunately, they did not specify how large a share] to the building fund’. Hmm. Less controversial fundraising projects for the building fund included the 100 Club, an oven glove scheme and ‘By-a-Pendant – Buy-a-Building’.

The KLS Communal Seder in 1975

In other news, the Women’s Society continued with its somewhat mysterious bulletins. After reporting on a successful Cheese and Wine Party at LJS on May 4, FM added: ‘PS Kingston did not supply the cakes which went with our coffee! Nuff said!’ (Ed – Not enough said! What does this mean?)

CC’s ordination took place at the end of June. It seems that he was not expelled from Leo Baeck College following the defeat of his team on BBC2’s ‘What’s It All About?’ – The Quiz That Time Forgot. Yes: in the interests of historical accuracy and fearless journalism I asked C about the result, which KN mysteriously failed to publish. But he did enjoy appearing on television with Dana, Eurovision Song Contest winner for 1970 and later a somewhat, er, distinctive MEP and campaigner for ‘family values’.

Finally, sticking with prime-time television, a KLS group attended a recording of ‘My Son, Reuben’, according to the British Comedy Guide, ‘An apron strings comedy about Reuben, a 35 year old bachelor, and his Jewish momma who keeps him from leaving by feigning a heart attack’. KN reported that joining the party would be a group of our Uxbridge Road neighbours – ‘a splendid chance to meet members of Kingston’s other Jewish congregation informally’; and, no doubt, a way to take people’s minds off the programme being played out in front of them (which, as with ‘What’s It All About?’, lasted a single series).