Following the founding of the 'Old Hebrew Congregation' (sometimes referred to as the 'Englisher Shul)
in the mid-1830s, its first president, Gabriel Davis, was instrumental in obtaining, from the Earl of Cardigan
in 1837, these burial grounds on Gelderd Road, Gildersome. This cemetery was opened in 1840, six years prior to
the opening of the first proper Synagogue in Leeds. Gabriel Davis died in 1851 and was buried in this cemetery
where his headstone remains partially legible but clearly identifiable to this day. One of the first burials in
this cemetery was that of David Davis (eldest son of Gabriel) who passed away on 8 June 1842 at the age of 19.
The Congregation became known as the
Great Synagogue following the consecration of its building in Belgrave Street in 1861. It grew rapidly and
incorporated the Copenhagen Street
Chevra in 1876 and the Neir Tamid
Chevra in the late 1800s. During this period, these burial grounds filled up in spite of being extended and,
in the early 1880s, a substantial plot of land adjoining the existing cemetery was purchased and remains in
use to the present day.
In 1890, the Congregation became a member of the United Synagogues of Leeds which also included the
Hagadol (BHH) congregation. In 1930, the Great Synagogue became one of the constituent synagogues
of the Leeds United Hebrew
Congregation together with the
New Leeds Congregation (1930/31), the New Synagogue
(1931/32), the Moortown Synagogue
(1937), the Chapeltown United Synagogue
(1939) and the Louis Street Synagogue
(1974). Over the years a number of other smaller congregations were affiliated with UHC for the purpose of
burial rights. With the exception of the Louis Street Synagogue (which has separate burial grounds at New Farnley),
all of these Congregations have used the UHC cemetery.
Notable burials in this cemetery include:
- Ministers - Rev Moses Abrahams,
Rev Dr J Abelson, Rev Solomon Diamond and Rev Jacob Samuel
- Former Lord Mayors of Leeds - Hyman Morris and Joshua Samuel Walsh
- Former High Sheriffs of West Yorkshire - Arnold Ziff and
John D Jackson
- Businessmen - Victor Lightman (The late
Sir Montague and Lady Burton were originally laid to rest in this cemetery but, in 1964, were re-interred
in the newly opened
Jewish Cemetery at Stonefall, Harrogate)
- Painter - Jacob Kramer
- Italian Consul - Maximillian Zossenheim
The "virtual" cemetery provided here contains details of more than 6,500 burials and has been assembled
from digital photographs of approximately 5,000 headstones together with additional information extracted from
the few available extant records, mainly Synagogue Burial Registers and Sexton Day Books. Where possible, the
assignment of rows and burial plots has been kept consistent with the details given in the records. However, for
the newer Sections of the Cemetery, where locations were not assigned, it has been necessary to define rows.
The overall layout of the UHC Cemetery can be viewed here,
while details of the row assignments in the various sections can be viewed:
- here - for Sections A, B and C
- here - for Sections D, E, F, G, H and CH
- here - for Sections I, J, K, L, M, N, O , P and Q
Details of all burials in the UHC Cemetery are provided in this database, together with images of all
legible and partially legible headstones. The burial records include details of approximately 1400 interments
for which no specific graves locations have been given. The large bulk of these (approximately 950) are for
children under the age of 6. Also, most of these burials were recorded prior to 1940, the time at which the
records first started to include details of burial locations. This is consistent with the fact that the oldest
Sections of the cemetery (A and B) have many gaps between the remaining headstones, implying that these Sections
contain a large number of unmarked graves. Details of these burials are provided without headstone images and
can be accessed via separate drop-down lists.
The term 'Unconsecrated Grave'
is used to describe graves for which the deceased has been identified (from the burial records) but where
no headstone or plaque has been consecrated. The term 'Unmarked Grave' is used to describe graves (usually
concreted) for which the deceased cannot be identified.
This database covers all
burials and consecrations up to 31 January 2015.
Information for any individual
may be displayed by first selecting the appropriate surname letters from the list below and then selecting the
required name from its corresponding drop-down list. Navigation to the next or previous burial plot in the
Section/Row (or unknown location lists) is achieved by clicking the appropriate link on the individual burial
New Feature: Grave locations (accurate to about a metre) can be displayed on a Google satellite image via the button provided on each burial page.
Note that, although the grave location will always be identified, the image may not contain details
of some of the most recent row additions to the cemetery.
This database has been created through the efforts and support of Lee White, Alan Tobias, Malcolm Sender
and the late Murray Freedman. It is made available here with permission of the
The GPS enhancements were developed by Alan and Derek Tobias.
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