The Tears of a Clown

Now if there's a smile upon my face…

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.

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

18 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

  11. I was told someone looks after the grave yard dont know if this is true I hope so ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️

    Comment by Margaret stocks | March 6, 2018

  12. The odd shots I’ve seen inside the little cemetery in the past have made it look unkempt, Margaret. I would, like you, hope to think that it is looked after though.

    Comment by Stuart | March 6, 2018

  13. It would be worth checking with the synagogue. When I went in 2015 it was being ‘looked after’ by someone who let me in with the only key. It was difficult to read most of the headstones.

    Comment by Jo Pereira-Mendoza | March 6, 2018

  14. Thank you Jo, I hope you are well. I will pass that information on.

    Comment by Stuart | March 6, 2018

  15. Hi, I pass by the cemetery every day on my way to work because the road is so peace full.
    I always say a silent prayer and would love to go inside but the gate is locked up.
    It saddens me to think that the place feels abandoned. claire.

    Comment by Claire Ellis | May 15, 2018

  16. Hi Claire, thanks for your comments. I understand what you mean about the little cemetery. I have read that someone does these days attend the cemetery though I’m not sure if this is often and that a key is kept for this purpose at the synagogue in the city. Bless you for your prayers.

    Stuart

    Comment by Stuart | May 15, 2018

  17. I will try to contact the person who opened up for me in 2015 to find out what has happened there. Jo

    Comment by Jo Pereira-Mendoza | May 15, 2018

  18. I have sent an email to someone at the synagogue so hope we get more information.

    Comment by Jo Ann Pereira-Mendoza | May 17, 2018


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