|Rainham (Federation) Jewish Cemetery||Havering|
This area of Rainham was still largely fields in the 1930s when the Federation of Synagogues established its Jewish Cemetery here in 1938, although the routes of both Upminster Road and Launders Lane were marked on earlier maps. The Federation had been set up in 1887, largely at the instigation of Samuel Montagu, wealthy banker, Liberal MP and philanthropist. By 1939 the cemetery was laid out with colonnaded prayer building and hall, approached by a drive from the main entrance on Upminster Road with a further drive from an entrance to the west. The area to the east was the first to be used for burial, laid out in a grid pattern of paths. Even into the C21st part of the land has remained rural in aspect.
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This area was still fields in the 1930s when the Federation of Synagogues established its Jewish Cemetery at Rainham in 1938 although the routes of both Upminster Road and Launders Lane are marked on earlier maps. The Federation had been set up in 1887, largely at the instigation of Samuel Montagu (1832-1911), a wealthy banker and philanthropist, who was raised to the peerage as Baron Swaythling in 1907, having become a Baronet in 1894. He was elected Liberal MP for Whitechapel in 1885 and identified the need to unify the numerous small and mostly ill-housed Orthodox congregations and chevras that had grown up in the East End. As a result the Federation of Synagogues was formed as an umbrella organisation for these small groups, and its first burial ground was established in Edmonton on land owned by Montagu, donated to the Federation for Edmonton Federation Cemetery (q.v.).
By 1939 the OS map shows the cemetery with its main building approached by a straight drive from a main entrance on Upminster Road with another drive from an entrance further west on Upminster Road, where two buildings. This latter is a tree-lined roadway with its original 1930s lamp standards. The central hall, a restrained one-storey, red brick building with a tiled roof and curved, white-colonnaded wings, was designed by Lewis Solomon & Son in 1937/8.
The area to the east of the hall up to the Launders Lane boundary was the first part of the cemetery to be laid out in a grid pattern of paths, an area now densely packed with predominantly white headstones. The cemetery was enclosed by high red brick walls, the main entrance a grand triumphal arch of red brick with stone dressings, and wrought iron gates. While parts of the cemetery land is as yet unused for burial, it has remained largely in agricultural use and market gardening. Visited in summer of 1999, the area to the west of the main approach drive was a cornfield, a most evocative juxtaposition with the dense graveyard to the east.
Victoria County History of Essex; History section, Federation of Synagogues website