Trunk was originally built in 1859 by architects Knight and Kerr as the Mickveh Yisrael Synagogue and Hebrew School, run by the Rev.Moses Rintel. It was used as such until 1877, it then became State School No 2030 until 1892, and subsequently had a number of educational, social welfare and child care uses including the City Free Kindergarten .

The history of the former Synagogue is thus intimately bound up with the provision of social welfare, particularly catering to the needs of impoverished women and children and the unemployed in the formerly deprived north-eastern quarter of the city. As such, it is also a reminder of the character of this part of the city in the late 19th century and early 20th century: the area around Lonsdale, Little Lonsdale and Stephen Street (as Exhibition Street was originally known) was thought of as a slum area, inhabited by the poor and vice-prone. Now much of the small-scale fabric of this area has disappeared, giving the former Synagogue added significance.

Since 1980, the site has been used to house a number of hospitality venues including most notably, Sillito's Italian restaurant.