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Last Updated: Friday, 19 January 2007, 14:25 GMT
Surgery on synagogue site opened
Montefiore Synagogue
The synagogue was owned by Sir Moses Montefiore
A new medical practice has been officially opened on land next to an historic synagogue in Kent despite a long-running campaign to halt it.

The Montefiore synagogue, in Ramsgate, was named after wealthy philanthropist Sir Moses Montefiore, who owned it and who was buried at the site in 1885.

Sir Moses, who died at the age of 101, is buried in the synagogue's mausoleum.

As a compromise, the lower storey of the new centre is below ground level to minimise the impact on it.

The Montefiore medical centre includes an on-site pharmacy, and brings three GP practices together under one roof.

Some minor surgical procedures can also be performed there.

We're very pleased that... it has Montefiore's name
Simon Sebag Montefiore, Great great nephew

It was designed by Philip Graham, who said the modern building reflected the modern services offered.

"When you look at it from the front, it only appears to be two storeys high, although it is actually three," he said.

The town's mayor, Steve Ward, who is also chairman of the campaign group the Montefiore Action Project, which had opposed the building, described it as a "wonderful facility".

He said part of the deal for the project was for the developers to provide some money to help preserve the woodland adjoining the site.

Sir Moses had insisted land around the mausoleum should remain as a place of quiet sanctuary.

The centre was opened by his great great nephew, Simon Sebag Montefiore, who said he thought his ancestor would have approved.

"We're very pleased that this new medical centre has been built, and that it has Montefiore's name."


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