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
Beth Hamedrash 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
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 nearly 7,000 burials
together with digital photographs of almost 5,200 headstones and has been assembled from
Synagogue Burial Registers, Sexton Day Books together with a few older extant records.
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. In these cases the burial reference has been included as a separate data
The opportunity has been taken to update the aerial views of the cemetery using
the latest satellite images from Google Earth. 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, Q and R
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 identified. 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 'Unknown' is used to describe graves (usually soil or concreted) for
which the deceased cannot be identified.
This database covers all
burials, consecrations and headstone renovations carried out prior to March 2019.
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 page.
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 necessarily
contain details of some of the most recent row additions to the cemetery.
For a single search covering all five Leeds Jewish Cemeteries, click
This database has been created through the efforts and support of Lee White, Alan Tobias, Malcolm Sender
and the late Murray Freedman. Webmaster - David Shulman. It is made available here with permission of the
The GPS enhancements were developed by Alan and Derek Tobias.
Leeds Jewish Community (JCR-UK) home page