The Department for Culture, Media and Sport has listed the New West End Synagogue today.

It becomes only the second synagogue in the UK to be Grade 1 - the highest possible grade of listing. The synagogue was listed after the government considered new evidence about the architect George Audsley and the historic context of Jewish Buildings, provided by the Sharman Kadish and English Heritage book Jewish Heritage in England.

English Heritage said the synagogue now joins the Bevis Marks Synagogue, also in London, ‘as being among the top 3% of the country’s most architecturally and historically important buildings’.

Simon Thurley, chief executive of English Heritage, said: ‘The New West End Synagogue is the architectural high watermark of Anglo-Jewish architecture. No expense was spared when this cathedral synagogue was built and it is filled with opulence - from the mosaic floor and dramatic stained glass rose window by Audsley, to the alabaster and marble walls with Hebrew texts in gilt lettering. The architect paid enormous attention to detail; no two capitals of the bimah are the same. ‘

Hannah Parham, heritage protection adviser at English Heritage, said the synagogue was one of the finest 19th century synagogues in the country and represented the prosperity and prominence of Anglo-Jewry in the West End of London.

The foundation stone of the synagogue was laid in 1877 by one of its principal patrons Leopold de Rothschild and its designer, George Audsley, also designed the Princes Road Synagogue in Liverpool.