The Lauriston Road Cemetery, formerly known as Grove Road, was opened by the Hambro Synagogue in 1788.
It was described in the mid 1800’s as being dilapidated and ‘not reflecting credit’ on the community, with attention being drawn to the state of the Mortuary Hall in particular.
A major overhaul of the grounds and buildings took place in 1870 when Mrs Flatou paid around £1,200, in the memory of her late husband, Mr Louis Victor Flatou, for its total renovation.
The report published in the Jewish Chronicle of 18th March 1870 provides a full description of the work undertaken, some examples of which are as follows:
The mortuary hall was partially rebuilt and iron railings erected, the style described as being of ‘the Italian period of art’. Semi-circular stained glass windows were fitted along the walls of the hall, with raised panels between them, where prayers recited at burial services were to be engraved.
Large iron railings and gates were placed at the entrance to the cemetery and the boundary walls repaired. The grounds themselves were also tidied, tombs renovated, new paths created and trees and shrubs planted.
The cemetery was closed in 1886, however, permission was granted for the keeper of the grounds to be buried there in 2002.
Permission has been granted, by the local council, for a Synagogue to be built, on what was formerly the turning circle for carriages, adjacent to the lodge.
If these plans come to fruition, it must be hoped that the protection of the stones in the immediate vicinity of the new building, would be written into any contractual agreements with the architects and developers. However, ultimately, the presence of a Synagogue and Community Centre would do much to ensure the future of the Cemetery as a tangible part of our Anglo-Jewish heritage.
History - Lauriston Road Jewish Cemetery