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Cardiff synagogue’s lost stained glass windows discovered in award winning shed

16 Aug 2021 2 minute read
Tranquility Base. Picture by Les Rowe and Cuprinol

The long-lost stained glass windows of a Cardiff synagogue have been tracked down to an award-winning shed in England.

The windows of Cathedral Road Synagogue in Cardiff, Wales, disappeared from view after the religious building closed in 1989.

They have now turned up in a shed declared the 2021’s ‘Best Budget Shed in Mersyside’ by a British garden supplies company Cuprinol.

Cuprinol has every year since 2007 run a ‘shed of the year’ competition, which was originally founded by Welshman Andrew Wilcox, and this year awarded Les Rowe for his shed ‘Tranquility Base’ which included the windows.

Les Rowe said that he had purchased the windows from eBay many years ago and they had been unused until his chicken died and he decided to put the now unoccupied plot to use by building the shed.

The windows were identified by the Jewish Telegraphic Agency who noted that they matched pictures taken of the Cathedral Road Synagogue and uploaded online by the People’s Collection Wales in 2019.

“I’m not at all religious but love the atmosphere created in religious buildings and have tried to create some of that in the shed,” Les Rowe told Cuprinol.

“The In Memorian stained glass is not about the dead, its beautiful colours and fantastic designs evoke all kinds of memories and reflections in a peaceful uncluttered space. I have also made a pond to be viewed through the open doors.”

The Cardiff synagogue was closed due to damp and a drastic fall in the number of congregants.

Jewish communities have existed in Wales since the 18th century but increased substantially during the industrial revolution in the 19th century. The modern Jewish community is centred on the Cardiff Reform Synagogue and the Cardiff United Synagogue.

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Andrew Wilcox
2 years ago

You can see more photos of the Shed and the windows on the competition website >

2 years ago

were the windows stolen ?? can the synagogue get the windows back ??

Mandi A
Mandi A
2 years ago

I am sure Mr Michael Mail and the Foundation for Jewish Heritage which purchased the old synagogue in Merthyr for restoration would be pleased to arrange the repatriation of these windows to the Jewish community of Wales. We must thank Mr Rowe for taking care of them in the meantime and I am sure he will be compensated for his trouble. P.S. In Memoriam records our constant thoughts for all the millions of murdered individuals and communities.

Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
2 years ago
Reply to  Mandi A

Fat Shanks and his pal Ms Patel need reminding that as many as half a million Roma, Gipsy and Traveller people also died in the camps…

2 years ago
Reply to  Mab Meirion

Has anyone suggested otherwise?

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