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.