|Lauriston Road Cemetery||Hackney|
By the early C18th there was a small Sephardic Jewish community in Hackney, and in 1786 a group of Ashkenazim, on behalf of the Hambro Synagogue, purchased land on the east of Grove Street, the former name of what is now Lauriston Road. The Jews Burial Ground opened in 1788, then called Grove Street Cemetery. In 1870 both the grounds and buildings were improved, including new entrance gates, renovation of tombs and planting of trees and shrubs. It was closed to burials in 1886. Little changed in intervening years, the cemetery retaining its C19th lodge, iron gates and railings, and numerous headstones and chest tombs set in grass among trees. There are plans to build a new synagogue here on the former carriage drive next to the lodge.
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By the early C18th a small Sephardic Jewish community had grown up in Hackney; in 1786 a group of Ashkenazim on behalf of the Hambro Synagogue, purchased land on the east of Grove Street for the Jews Burial Ground, which opened in 1788, with the first burial on 11 February of that year. The area was largely undeveloped prior to the 1850s but by 1865 it was built up around the burial ground. Until 1877 Lauriston Road had been called Grove Street, hence the old name of the burial ground, Grove Street Cemetery. It was possibly so-called due to a grove that stretched west to Shoreditch; Grove Street was realigned west of the church of St John of Jerusalem. By the mid-C19th the cemetery had become somewhat run down and in 1870 both grounds and buildings were improved, the works paid for by a Mrs Flatou in memory of her husband Louis Victor Flatou. A report in The Jewish Chronicle on 18 March 1870 described the improvement works, which included partial rebuilding of the Mortuary Hall, repairs to the boundary walls, large iron railings and gates at the entrance, new paths, trees and shrubs, and renovations to the tombs. The burial ground was closed to burials by 1886, shortly after which the C18th prayer hall appears to have been demolished. One last burial took place in 2002 when the keeper of the cemetery grounds was permitted to be buried here. In the intervening years the burial ground remained largely unchanged with its C19th Lodge, entrance gates and railings on a brick parapet wall, and the original round carriage sweep that provided a turning circle.
There are notable plane, and other semi-mature trees in the grounds, and numerous headstones and chest tombs set in grass. There are plans for a new synagogue to be built adjacent to the lodge on the turning circle.
Just beyond the cemetery gates are Lauriston Road Strips, a series of raised beds with mature plane trees and grass, which are protected under the London Squares Preservation Act 1931, and which were acquired by Hackney District Board in 1884.
Hugh Meller & Brian Parsons, 'London Cemeteries, An Illustrated Guide and Gazetteer', 4th edition (The History Press, 2008); Victoria County History; David Mander, Strength in the Tower, an Illustrated History of Hackney (Sutton) 1998. See Cemetery Scribes website: www.cemeteryscribes.com, Brief History of Lauriston Road Cemetery.