|Brady Street Cemetery||Tower Hamlets|
Brady Street Cemetery opened in 1761 as the New Synagogue Burial Ground on land that was originally a brickfield. It was extended in 1795 and became the New Synagogue and the Great Synagogue Burial Ground. When the burial ground was full a portion was raised in order to create space for more burials. It eventually closed to burials in 1858, although in 1990 Nathaniel, 3rd Lord Rothschild was buried here. There are numerous monuments including those of prominent Jewish people, and the cemetery has numerous mature trees.
The information shown above was correct at the time of the last update 01/06/2011
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Brady Street Cemetery, October 2013. Photo Sally Williams
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The site was originally a brickfield adjacent to Ducking Pond Lane, which was leased to the New Synagogue, a group of Jewish traders, in 1761 for an annual rent of twelve guineas. Further land was added in 1795 when the Great Synagogue purchased the freehold and it became the New Synagogue and Great Synagogue Burial Ground. When the burial ground became full, a portion was raised by covering it with several feet of earth in order to create a further area for burials, and the headstones were placed back to back to indicate this double layer of graves. This part of the burial ground, which is noticeably hummocky, was used for those who did not belong to a particular congregation and was known as the Strangers Ground. The cemetery was maintained by a superintendent who lived on the site; in 1856 this was Philip Levy, who was also a monumental mason.
The burial ground, which is crowded with tombstones, was finally closed to burials in 1858; the New Synagogue had by that time joined with the Great Synagogue to create the new West Ham Jewish Cemetery (q.v.). Notice had been given in April 1855 for the discontinuation of burials from February 1856, but this was extended on condition that no grave was opened within 5 yards of the boundary walls and it eventually closed on 31 May 1858. However, one final burial took place in 1990 when Nathaniel Mayer Victor, 3rd Baron Rothschild, was buried here, a zoologist, government adviser, banker and oil executive. Other graves of note are those of Moses Jacob (d.1781) who founded the New Synagogue; Miriam Levy (d.1850) who opened the first soup kitchen for the poor in Whitechapel; Nathan Meyer Rothschild (d.1836), founder of the London branch of the Rothschild Bank in 1805; Hyman Hurwitz (1770-1844), Professor of Hebrew at London University and a friend of Samuel Taylor Coleridge; Solomon Herschel (1802-42), Chief Rabbi of Great Britain; and Abraham Goldsmid (d.1810). Goldsmid was a philanthropist and well-respected financier who committed suicide in the grounds of his villa, Merton Lodge, in Surrey, apparently caused by a sudden financial disaster. His villa, now demolished, was on a site which is now part of the National Trust's Merton Hall Park (q.v.) at Morden. His burial at Brady Street Cemetery on 1st October 1810 was accompanied by 13 mourning coaches, and included the high priest and elders from his synagogue but there were no funeral rites due to the nature of his death.
Ben Weinreb & Christopher Hibbert, 'The London Encyclopaedia' (Macmillan, revised ed. 1993); Hugh Meller & Brian Parsons, 'London Cemeteries, An Illustrated Guide and Gazetteer', 4th edition (The History Press, 2008); Katie Fretwell, 'The Fete of Abraham Goldsmid: A Regency Garden Tragedy' in The London Gardener, vol 5 (1999/2000); The United Synagogue website; Cemetery Scribes website, www.cemeteryscribes.com: 'History - Brady Street Cemetery' and Marcus Roberts History - Brady Street Cemetery (www.jtrails.org.uk); Dr Sharman Kadish, 'Jewish Heritage in England' (English Heritage, 2006)