Nathan Adler was born in Hanover, Germany, in 1803. After being educated at Gottingen, Erlangen and Wurzburg, he became chief rabbi of Oldenburg in 1829 and of Hanover in 1830. Adler moved to England and in 1845 was appointed as chief rabbi of the united congregations of the British Empire. In 1855 Adler established the first Jewish College to train ministers.
When Nathan Adler died in 1890 he was replaced as chief rabbi by his son Hermann Adler. This was a time when Jewish immigration was growing very fast. A significant number of Jewish immigrants from Europe refused to accept the authority of the new chief rabbi. His anti-Zionism was especially unpopular with the recent arrivals. Hermann Adler, who wrote The Jews in England, died in 1911.