WORKERS unearthed a missing link in history of Manchester Jewry in Cheetham Hill Road.

Mike Flanagan and Jim Newell were working on the site of the first purpose-built Jewish school when they found a glass tube in the foundation stone.

Inside the tube was a 6ft-long parchment scroll with what is believed to be the most detailed account of the development of education for Manchester Jewish children.

Historian and life president of the Manchester Jewish Museum Bill Williams said he was tremendously excited about the find and hoped the museum could buy the scroll from the contractors who found it.

Mr Williams said: "It is a crucially important historical document.

"Arrangements were made for Jewish children to be educated separately from 1838 but this scroll includes information on those early arrangements which are not known from any source."

Mr Williams explained it was "very common" to place documents in the foundations of buildings, but added it was unusual to find record in such detail.

He added: "Usually a newspaper of the day would have been placed in the foundations but I have never come across anything like this.

"It is the only one of this kind that I have heard of.

"I hope that the museum will acquire it to keep it within the Jewish community."

As the author of The Making of Manchester Jewry, Mr Williams is especially interested in the scroll.

He said the scroll was produced by Manchester Hebrew Association to commemorate the building of the first Jewish school in 1850.

"The object of the association was to provide for the education of Jewish emancipation," said Mr Williams.

He added: "Various things were tried. First, children were sent to private tutors and then went to integrated schools, but they decided the best way to get a proper Jewish religious education was to get schools of their own."