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Two receipts from M Sugarman & Sons Ltd, Margaret Street, Abercynon.

The first image is of a plain paper product receipt from March 20 1936. M. Sugarman & Sons Ltd is described as ‘Furnishers, Wallpaper Merchants, Drapers and Footwear Dealers’ and the address provided is 4,5 and 11 Margaret Street. The receipt reads ‘Received deposit on £20 Bedroom Suit, Bedstead & Spring.’ The customer paid a £1 deposit. Although it is difficult to make out, it seems that the receipt has been signed off at the bottom.

The second receipt is from March 25 1936. The header of the receipt is colourfully designed and illustrated, reading ‘Hare’s Rainbow Paints & Distempers, Anchorine stains for floors, "Rai-Lac" hard gloss enamel paint.’ ‘M. Sugarman & Son’ is described as ‘Wallpaper Stores’ at 4 & 5 Margaret Street, Abercynon. The purchases include ‘1 Oak Bedroom Suit: Bedstead, Mattress, Base and Rug…’ There are also two postage stamps at the bottom of the receipt. This was a common practice at the time for receipts above a certain value. This may have been a result of the Stamp Act whereby the stamp had to be cancelled by the seller before handing the receipt to the buyer. You can see on this specific receipt that ‘Received £40’ is written over the stamped and is signed off by ‘B. Sugarman.’

M. Sugarman & Sons Ltd was established in 1902 in Abercynon. The 1911 census shows that Michel Sugerman was a Russian Jew living at 5 Margaret Street, Abercynon and working as a house furnisher. He had 2 sons Barney and Jacob, who supposedly became part of his. The business was run from and next to the family home and provided different services, mainly known for furnishing and wallpaper products, allowing grand redecoration and installations of bedroom or bathroom suits. They also promoted themselves as clothing and footwear dealers. Also, during the 20th century, M Sugerman was a member of the Abercynon Chamber of Trader, which shows important inclusion of the Jewish communities in local planning and discussion. Similarly, the Sugarman's were also involved in public cultural events, as Barney Sugerman regularly took part in the Abercynon Flower Show and was ranked 3rd place for his watercolour painting in 1917 and 1st place in 1918.

At the turn of the 20th century, the Cynon Valley had a small Jewish community, consisting of some fifty families throughout the towns of Abercynon, Penrhiwceiber, Mountain Ash, Aberaman and Aberdare. Most of Jewish families came to Aberdare from Eastern Europe, mainly Russia. The earliest record of Jewish presence and activity in the Cynon Valley dates to 1858-9. The name of Harris Freedman and the partnership of Lyons and Hyman are listed as trading as pawnbrokers and general dealers in Aberdare.

Initially the Jewish community worshipped in individuals' homes or business premises but in 1887 David Hart allowed the use of his premises at 19a Seymour Street, Aberdare, as a permanent Synagogue. The Aberdare Hebrew congregation was at its largest, with around 90 members, from the 1910s to the 1930s. However, the community declined and services had virtually ceased by 1957, when the congregation was down to 35. In 1966 it was reported that services were no longer held there. The building, now a private residence again, received a blue commemorative plaque in 2015.

Depository: Cynon Valley Museum: ACVMS 2009 779: ACVMS 2009 780

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