The Jewish families of Newcastle upon Tyne embrace life at the West End Maccabi club in the late 1930s and prepare for the dark days of war with Nazi Germany. This blurry amateur footage is a poignant record of the sport, entertainment and defining institutions that glue together a vibrant community Sunday League football in deep snow, boxing, the annual Board of Guardians ball, dancing the Hora, and ARP civil defence training with gas masks during World War Two.
In 1934 a Jewish Sports Club was formed in Newcastle in the basement schoolroom of the Leazes Park Synagogue. When the Westgate Road club was then opened in 1936, it was affiliated with the Maccabi Association youth movement dedicated to responsible citizenship and loyalty to Jewish tradition tempered with high ideals of sportsmanship. Both boxing and football were seen as a means of assimilation into English society and a way to assert Jewish identity and counter fascist and anti-Semitic sentiment. During World War Two, the premises were used for civil defence, and later as a forces canteen. This film is believed to be by Monty Rosen, owner of Fenhams photography shop of Grainger Street in Newcastle.