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Willesden Jewish Cemetery facts for kids

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Willesden Jewish Cemetery
Willesden Jewish Cemetery prayer hall.jpg
The cemetery's prayer hall, designed by Nathan Solomon Joseph
Details
Established 1873
Location
Beaconsfield Road, Willesden (London Borough of Brent), London NW10 2JE
Country England, United Kingdom
Type Orthodox Jewish
Style Victorian; English Gothic
Owned by United Synagogue Burial Society
Size About 9.3 hectares
No. of graves 29,800
Listed Building – Grade II
Official name Willesden Jewish Cemetery (United Synagogue Cemetery)
Designated 4 September 2017
Reference no. 1449184
House of Life project, Willesden Cemetery
Willesden Jewish Cemetery logo.jpeg
Motto London's Place to Remember
Formation 2015
Legal status Registered charity
Purpose To preserve the heritage of, increase accessibility to and increase biodiversity at Willesden Jewish Cemetery.
Headquarters Willesden Jewish Cemetery
Curator
Hester Abrams
Parent organization
United Synagogue

The Willesden United Synagogue Cemetery, usually known as Willesden Jewish Cemetery, is a cemetery for Jews at Beaconsfield Road, Willesden, in the London Borough of Brent, England. It opened in 1873 on a 20-acre (0.08 km2) site. It has been described as the "Rolls Royce" of London's Jewish cemeteries and is designated Grade II on Historic England's Register of Historic Parks and Gardens. The cemetery, which has 29,800 graves, has many significant memorials and monuments. Four of them are listed at Grade II. They include the tomb of Rosalind Franklin, who was a co-discoverer of the structure of DNA.

In 2015, the United Synagogue, which owns and manages the cemetery, was awarded a grant from the National Lottery Heritage Fund to restore some key features of the cemetery and to create a visitor centre, a permanent exhibition and a web-based education project. The cemetery's heritage project, House of Life, officially opened up the cemetery to visitors on 7 September 2020: it has a programme of public outreach events that have included walking tours, an online literary festival ("Life Lines") and an exhibition at Willesden Library.

War graves and listed war memorial

The cemetery has 33 Commonwealth service war graves from World War I, six of which form a small group by the Assembly Hall, and 77 from World War II, 22 of them grouped in a war graves plot. These include the grave of Dudley Joel (1904–1941), businessman and Conservative Party politician, who died in World War II.

In place of a Cross of Sacrifice, a memorial designed by Ralph Hobday in the form of an obelisk was placed in 1961 by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission opposite the World War II war graves plot. It commemorates both world wars. Israel Brodie, the Chief Rabbi, consecrated the memorial, which was unveiled by Field Marshal Sir Gerald Templer. The first national Jewish war memorial in the UK, it is Grade II listed.

Other listed monuments

There are three other Grade II listed monuments at the cemetery:

  • The tomb of Maximilian (Max) Eberstadt (1844–1891), who was secretary to the British merchant banker Ernest Cassel. His tomb was designed by Edward Burne-Jones
  • The tomb of Rosalind Franklin (1920–1958), a chemist and X-ray crystallographer, who was a co-discoverer of the structure of DNA
  • The tombs and burial enclosures of Baron Mayer Amschel de Rothschild (1818–1874), a businessman and Liberal Party MP, his wife Juliana (1818–1874) and their daughter Hannah Primrose (1851–1890), who became Countess of Rosebery and a political hostess and philanthropist. Their tombs were housed in a mausoleum constructed in the 1890s, but this was destroyed by a Second World War bomb in 1941.
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