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A light blue paper booklet titled ‘Rent Book of Goods.’ Booklets like this were used by many businesses to record payments made on the rental of goods such as televisions, and recording part payments towards the total cost of purchase. This booklet related to products from Aberdare Furnishing Co., 61 Cardiff Street, Aberdare. The booklet is unnamed but the owner’s address is 24 Gladstone Street. The proprietor of the store is also displayed on the front; B. Schwartz (Benjamin Schwartz).

The inside page is titled ‘MONEY PAID’ and includes columns such as the date, the amount paid and the amount to be paid to complete purchase. Each payment is also signed off by the member of staff who received the payment. This page suggests it was used throughout the 1950s, as the top of the ‘Date’ column begins with 1954. The total amount to be paid off is 29 pounds, 15 shillings and 8 pence, which by January has decreased to 10 pounds, 5 shillings and 2 pence.

The back of the booklet displays the ‘Chief Conditions of Agreement.’ Some of the conditions include ‘due and proper care to be taken of the Goods’ and ‘should the amount not be paid regularly the good may be removed without previous notice.’ The back of the booklet also states that it was printed by Chas. Hunt & Co, 45-46 Frederick Street, Cardiff.

Aberdare Furnishing Co. Ltd was founded by bothers Benjamin and Lionel Schwartz sometime around 1919. The brothers’ business originated in Merthyr Tydfil as the Dowlais Furnishing Company and later expanded to Mountain Ash. Benjamin appears to have managed the business at 61 & 62 Cardiff Street, Aberdare, whilst Lionel ran the store at 47 Oxford Street, Mountain Ash.

Benjamin was born in Merthyr around 1893. A long-standing member of the local Jewish community, he was heavily involved in Aberdare Synagogue.

Lionel was born in Russia in 1887. He seems to have been less involved in the local Jewish community than his younger brother, but regularly appeared in the County Court sections of local newspapers, being sued or fined for dubious business practices.

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 2691

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