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  • Record sleeves and record from Victor Freed Ltd, Aberdare, dates unknown

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Description

Record sleeves and record from Victor Freed Ltd, Aberdare.

The first sleeve reads ‘Victor Freed, for everything musical.’ The sleeve also advertises pianos by leading makers as well as 20 years warranty for all instruments bought. The store address provided is 7a Cardiff Street, Aberdare. Other branches are also mentioned; 57 & 59 Oxford Street, Mountain Ash. The sleeve has a record inside 'Misere' by Thea Philips and Franceso Vada.

The second sleeve reads ‘Victor Freed Ltd. Music Specialists.’ This sleeve does not give a specific address but simply state ‘Aberdare and Mountain Ash.’ The sleeve also describes ‘pianofortes, furniture and everything electrical’ as well as all the best ‘H.M.V Radio and Records.’

A third sleeve with burgundy text and illustrations; ‘Victor Freed Ltd. Aberdare and Cardiff’ and ‘Records, Radio, Pianos.’ This sleeve may have been produced and used from 1950s as the store locations also include Cardiff.

A fourth blue cardboard record sleeve with black text ‘Victor Freed Ltd Music Specialists, Aberdare and Mountain Ash’, an illustration of a character carrying a pile of records and as a stamp for hallmarked quality and dealer accreditation.

Victor Freed was a prominent member of the Jewish community in Aberdare. Born in Russia in 1883, he opened his first shop in Mountain Ash in 1904. By the 1930s he had opened multiple shops in Aberdare and by the 1950s had also started trading in Cardiff.

The shops sold house furnishings, musical instruments and electrical goods, with many stores specialising in one type of product. The entire family became involved in the Victor Freed business, including his two daughters, Edna and Beatrice, who worked as shop assistants at the radio department.

In 1941, he was elected as President of Aberdare Rotarian Club, after being a member for 8 years, and was recognised for his public services in the valley. His son, Aubrey, became President in 1968.
Victor was known for his philanthropic works, helping to furnish the 1960s council houses in Aberdare and in 1958 funded an entire ward in the new Penylan Home for the Aged Jews of Cardiff.

He was heavily involved with the synagogue in Aberdare, filling a variety of roles including being its last ever secretary.

Victor died in 1966, aged 83.

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 1998 2670 1; ACVMS 2011 209 2; ACVMS 2011 211 2; ACVMS 2011 214 2

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