The Hidden Jewish Cemetery

By Joe Earp

Very few people know that at the top of North Sherwood Street in Nottingham there is a Jews Burial Ground.

Under the date 26 February 1823, the Nottingham Date Book describes the ceremony of “laying the first stone of the enclosure wall of the Jews Burial Ground, Sherwood Street (North Sherwood Street). The Mayor was invited to lay the first stone of the enclosure wall. Mr Oldknow, accompanied by other members of the Corporate body, accordingly attended for the purpose. The ceremony was very impressive. Moses Levi, the Rabbi, attired in his sacerdotal robes, at the head of his brethren, went three times around the ground, repeating the 91st Psalm, in Hebrew. The 133rd Psalm, and prayers for the Royal family, the Mayor, the Corporation, and Burgesses, and the descendants of Israel, succeeded. Mr Nathan then thanked the Mayor and the Corporation for their liberal gift, and Mr Ald Barber, who laid the second stone, made a short reply and the ceremony was concluded”.

Orange (1840, p. 815), refers to the site as “given to David Solomons and Sixteen others, in trust, for the purpose of the sepulture of persons of the Jews persuasion by the Corporation, CL Morley, Esq, Mayor 1824”.

After the opening of the cemetery it was walled around and a small building was erected over looking it. The building was erected at the cost of £100. It is said that buildings overlooking Jewish cemeteries are built for the purpose of watching the corpse of the dead according to the Jews custom of watching eight days after the internment.

The burial-ground contains 200 square yards, and when it was purchased it was leased for 999 years, of a penny per yard, per annum.

The burial ground was used until the 1860s when it became to full and a larger cemetery was needed. A second cemetery was built on the corner of Hardy Street and Southey Street in Nottingham. This served the Jewish community until the middle of the twentieth century, since when part of the Wilford Hill cemetery has been used.

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The site of the Jewish Cemetery on North Sherwood Street
Credit: Joe Earp- Nottingham Hidden History Team.

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The gate to the burial ground now remains permanently locked, keeping the history of the cemetery hidden.
Credit: Joe Earp- Nottingham Hidden History Team.

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The Jews Burial Ground on North Sherwood Street. The image was taken by placing the camera over the wall and capturing the shot.
Credit: Joe Earp- Nottingham Hidden History Team.

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The gate and wall to the cemetery. The road at the top of the picture is Forest Road East.
Credit: Joe Earp- Nottingham Hidden History Team

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About nottinghamhiddenhistoryteam

Originally formed in 1965 to try to save or at least record before destruction the cave sites continually discovered during the major redevelopment of the City that took place in Nottingham in the 1960′s. Almost every day new sites were unearthed and destroyed before anyone was notified; last thing they wanted was someone telling them to stop what they were doing; TIME is MONEY. The word HIDDEN in the Team’s title is because a lot of what was being invisibly lost in the redevelopment was our early history in the caves, they are under most, if now all, of Nottingham. In the 80’s and 90’s the Team conducted with the help of Dr Robert Morrell and Syd Henley, research and work on Nottingham’s history, folklore and local archaeology. The Team published quarterly magazines on their findings. The Team lapsed for a few years after the death of Paul Nix who was the team leader for thirty plus years. The Team has reformed and is now back working on Nottingham local history. On this blog you will find a series of history, folklore and archaeological related articles and information. Most of the material published will be specifically related to Nottingham/shire local history.
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