EAST END OF LONDON PHOTO GALLERY & COMMENTARY
London's East End Synagogues, cemeteries and more......
My personal journey through the Jewish East End of London
Fascinating finds can be
made when exploring cemeteries. I recently had a guide
walk round West Norwood cemetery - great fun - and proof that we
are all mortal no matter how illustrious we are, and that
everything ultimately falls into decay. Many great and
good Victorians are buried beneath crumbling monuments and thick
brambles...which in a curious way adds to the attraction of the
place. Desolation has a certain romance to it. The
Jewish connection with the graves below caught my eye:
grave of Baron Julius de Reuter, founder of Reuters news agency.
The Jewish connection is that he was born a Jew, the son of a
rabbi and his birth name was
Josaphat. He changed it and converted to Christianity in
order to marry the Christian woman he loved. Nevertheless,
innumerable articles in the Jewish Chronicle published during
his lifetime refer to him as a Jew. A curious footnote to
this is the plaque at the foot of the grave placed there in 2002
by Reuters which corrects the misspelling of the name 'Julius'
on the headstone. What they fail to correct is that Julius
was not his birth name.
the grave of Reverend David Abraham Herschell (and his
wife Maria) below. The inscription says:
'Founder of and for 31 years Minister of
Loughborough Park Chapel, Brixton, and of Homes for Aged
Christians. A Jew by birth, a Christian by Grace. "Looking for
the Mercy of God, through our Lord Jesus Christ, unto Eternal
Life." By his wish inscribed.'
Abraham Herschell was on the advisory council of a Victorian
organisation known as
"The Hebrew Christian Testimony to Israel." which
among other activities,
Brunswick (formerly Zion) chapel, in the Mile End Road, where
meetings were held on the Jewish Sabbath and Jewish families
were visited in their homes and spoken with in the streets.
I can remember
as a boy frequently going past the oddly named East London
Christian Mission to the Hebrews on the Whitechapel Road near
the corner with Vallance Road. I wonder if Reverend
Herschell had any connection? While on the strange subject
of Christian missionaries, take a look at this curiosity:
Christ Church, Spitalfields
Moving away from West Norwood cemetery, a
correspondent sent me an interesting cutting from a1920 East London
newspaper about a Chinese funeral which took place off Poplar High
Street, Poplar, East London - presumably in St Matthias churchyard.
The photo is
There is a rather hard to read inscription at the
bottom of the photo which I reproduce below. Note the point
about the need to have an accredited minister in attendance - in
this case a rabbi.
The newspaper report said the following:
so now you know!