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  • Record sleeves and records from The Record Salon, 37 Oxford Street, Mountain Ash or 49b Commercial Street, Aberdare, date unknown

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Description

Two cardboard record sleeves containing vinyl records. The items were purchased from ‘The Record Salôn.’ A business with premises at 37 Oxford Street, Mountain Ash and 49b Commercial Street, Aberdare, owned by A. Shumanski [Abraham].

The record sleeves haves illustrations of two different record players, and also states ‘All makes and latest records kept in stock’ and ‘Gramophone and wireless repairs done on the premises.’ The sleeves also state ‘H.P. Terms Arranged’ suggesting that a ‘hire purchase’ or instalment plan could be arranged, in which the customer agrees to contract to acquire the product by paying an initial instalment and then repaying the remaining balance over time with interest included. The records inside are ‘Cwm Rhondda’ by the Borough Welsh Choir and ‘I Belong to Glasgow’ by Will Fyffe (1927). Both records have a postal stamp in the centre, this may have come from the seller, a process in which they ‘stamp off’ the object to indicate that the object has been fully paid for.

The Record Salon in 49b Commercial Street, Aberdare was the third business premises of that name opened by Abraham Shumanski. Abraham was born in Warsaw in 1885 and the family moved to Cardiff sometime around 1901. A watchmaker by trade, he founded his first shop at 16 Lewis Street, Aberaman, and later opened a further store at 37 Oxford Street, Mountain Ash. In 1920 he married Rachel (Rae) Harris, from a prominent Jewish family in Aberdare and they continued to live locally until at least 1939. By 1957 they had moved to Cardiff but continued to commute daily to Mountain Ash to run the business there. Sometime during the 1960s the sold the Aberdare shop to their employee, Grace Jones. When they disposed of the other businesses is not known. Abraham died in 1973, aged 78. Rae died in 1977, aged 77.

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 2019 49; ACVMS 2019 50

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