The Tears of a Clown

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The Jewish Cemetery, North Sherwood Street, Nottingham

I think we’re all a little guilty of this – passing by things and places in our everyday lives without really looking at them. Maybe it’s the time expansion of modern life I’m not sure but I really do try to exercise a little mindfulness and understand and comprehend the things that surround me.

Speaking to an acquaintance recently, I came to hear about a little place of historic interest right in the city centre of Nottingham, one I had passed by hundreds if not thousands of times without paying any heed to. It’s a burial-place,  a tiny, now disused cemetery for those of the Jewish faith. All I could ever profess to previously noticing was a tall sandstone wall with what looked like a patch of unremarkable wasteland behind it.

image

The original Jewish Cemetery, North Sherwood Street, Nottingham

A little rudimentary research tells me that Jewish people resided in Nottingham near the old castle around the time of the Norman conquest until the year of 1290 at the time they were expelled from the country by King Edward I. Apparently, they were acceded entry to the country again by Oliver Cromwell in 1657 with some settling in Nottingham for a century or so afterwards. Never a particularly prosperous community originally, it began to increase into the nineteenth century with the first synagogue in 1815 and merchants and businessmen from Germany arriving to stay, midway through that century.

Tablet above the door.

(Pic: http://www.nottingham21.co.uk/misc_jewscem_1.htm)

By the year of 1822 the town council agreed to lease the small area of just 144 yards to the Jewish community for use as a burial ground on North Sherwood Street, not far from the old town centre. The small plot was used until the 1860s when a larger area was required. My understanding is that a new cemetery was used after this time at Southey Street a few minutes walk away. Since then, a section of the large general cemetery at Wilford Hill to the south of the city has been used from around the middle of the twentieth century. The gate at North Sherwood Street’s little cemetery now remains locked, hiding it’s story.

Wherever we walk, history walks with us.

January 19, 2012 - Posted by | On The Road, Times Gone By

10 Comments »

  1. My great, great grandfather was the last person to be buried in this cemetery in 1863…I would very much like to be able to unlock the gate and see his grave. He was the Head of the Nottingham Jewish Community in 1840 and held services at his home in Park Street. Please can you help to add some more details to my Family Tree.

    Comment by Jo Pereira-Mendoza | May 22, 2012

  2. Hi Jo. I’m afraid I can’t be of much help to you, wish I could, The little cemetery has always appeared to be well locked up whenever I have passed by and looks a little ‘forgotten’. I have never been inside but only seen pictures of the interior. Perhaps you could contact the local council re gaining access? http://www.nottinghamcity.gov.uk

    Comment by Stuart | May 23, 2012

  3. I will try to contact the City Counil regarding this….thanks for your help. Jo

    Comment by Jo Pereira-Mendoza | May 23, 2012

  4. Hi, Do you know of any Jewish families living in the Arboretum during the 19th Century?. This may sound strange but I live in the Arboretum and have a resident ghost, I never expected him to be Jewish, but on asking him to appear to me as I was getting fed up of seeing him out of the corner of my eye most days and on photos taken as a silhouette, he finally appeared – A tall Jewish man with a beard, top hat and black clothes.

    Comment by Cathy H | July 18, 2012

  5. An interesting story, Cathy. Sorry, I can’t be of any help regarding Jewish families in the area.

    Comment by Stuart | July 18, 2012

  6. Hi Cathy! My late great great grandfather was buried in Sherwood Street Cemetery in 1863. His name was Joel Davis and he was a jeweller. He was born in Poland in 1784. …….the rest of his family moved to Birmingham after his death.

    Joel was the last person to be buried at the cemetery and you can still see his gravestone made of slate with an oval top 5′ high plus ewer and bowl.

    He may be restless…his great granddaughter passed away a few months ago …..I was going to visit from Manchester a few weeks ago but cancelled……………………………………………..Let me know what happens.

    Comment by Jo Pereira-Mendoza | July 19, 2012

  7. Thanks Stuart and Jo. I certainly wasnt expecting a Jewish Gentleman in the house but he’s more than welcome.He tends to keep watch, often when I’m cooking for some reason? I’ve always been interested in the Jewish Religion so maybe thats why he chose my house?🙂

    Comment by Cathy H | July 23, 2012

  8. Hi,My husband and I were walking from town today and we noticed this plaque on Sherwood Street so we stop to read it when a young lady also stopped and told us that it was a Jewish Burial Ground.It looks so sad and forgotten.why do we neglect these places when they are part of our history.and we should treasure them.

    Comment by Jill | February 28, 2013

  9. I totally agree, Jill. the little cemetery looks so forlorn and it is a great shame. Let alone respecting the people that are buried there, it is part of Nottingham’s history and should be looked after.

    Comment by Stuart | February 28, 2013

  10. Hello Stuart and Cathy…..Hello after 3 years! I have at last arranged to come to Nottingham to visit my great great grandfather’s grave and would like to meet either of you if possible…..this will be on Tuesday of this week, 7th July 2015, in the morning. I have arranged for the gate to be opened.Jo Pereira-Mendoza

    Comment by Jo Pereira-Mendoza | July 5, 2015


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