The old municipal cemetery that was opened in 1854 is now a recreational park. In 1959, the headstones that once stood in memory of departed loved ones were lifted and buried under turf and the park is now used by dog walkers and children.
The cemetery had actually been closed long before, for safety reasons, as a results of bombs being found in the undergrowth after the First World War.
It must have been something of a surprise to those involved in the renovation work to find Jewish tombstones. No doubt, few memories of those buried there survived and although an appeal for descendants to come forward and advise whether they wanted the remains moved to the Nunsthorpe Jewish burial ground, or elsewhere, was run in the local paper, it does not appear to have attracted a response.
The Hebrew congregation of Grimsby asked for the graves to be left intact and the small areas containing them to be railed off. Unfortunately this request was refused.
A short article in the local Evening News (1959), reporting on the ‘mystery’ of Jewish burials at Doughty Road, suggests that the 13 Jewish burials found were the result of disease striking a ship from Russia and that the bodies were landed at Grimsby. But it also concludes that this is more of a legend than fact..
However, a much earlier report in the Jewish Chronicle of 1874 seems to hold a more plausible answer as to why Jewish burials had taken place in a cemetery they describe as Christian.
In the 1870’s there was no Jewish burial ground in Grimsby, so burials took place in Hull. However, when small pox hit the area in early 1870’s, Health Officials refused permission for the bodies to be transported to Hull for fear of spreading the disease further. As a result, those who died of small pox were buried at Doughty Road.
An article in The Evening News 1959 reports that there were 5 women and 8 children buried there. It lists the names of three of the women: Rebecca Baranov, Deborah Baranov and Berthe Emily Hyman. The rest remain nameless.
Having conducted some further research, our conclusion is that the article was in fact incorrect: Deborah Baranov died in 1871 aged only 11 months, Rebecca Baranov was not found but we did find a Regina Baranov aged 25. She also died in 1871. Regina was Deborah’s mother and it seems likely, therefore, that mother and daughter died of small pox as it raged through the town.
Berthe (Bertha) Emily Hyman is more complicated; she died aged 11yrs in 1880. She was born in Kensington London, and was living with her parents and older sister in Paddington at the time of the 1871 census. Although it not clear why she died in Grimsby and was buried in Doughty Road, it seems most unlikely that she was a victim of disease striking a ship from Russia.
From transcriptions of the headstones held at the local archives there are other possible Jewish burials at Doughty Road, for example: Isaac Gloppenberg or Kloppenberg (died 2/7/1883 aged 38), Betty Rubenstein (died 3/7/1871 infant), Jacob Vanderlinden (died 26/10/1875 25 years) and Moses Baranov (died 4/2/1879 infant).
Our sincere thanks to Janet Clarke who drew this to our attention and has provided extracts from the transcriptions as well as from the Evening News article.
History - Doughty Road Old Cemetery (Grimsby)
A brief History and information on Jewish burials at this lost cemetery.