Willesden Liberal Jewish Cemetery War Memorial


Heritage Category:
Listed Building
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:
Statutory Address:
Liberal Jewish Cemetery, Pound Lane, Willesden, London, NW10 2HG


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Statutory Address:
Liberal Jewish Cemetery, Pound Lane, Willesden, London, NW10 2HG

The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

Greater London Authority
Brent (London Borough)
Non Civil Parish
National Grid Reference:


Anglo-Jewish war memorial of the cenotaph type.

Reasons for Designation

The War Memorial in Willesden Liberal Jewish Cemetery is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:

Architectural interest: * as a well-crafted example of the cenotaph war memorial type.

Historic interest: * as an eloquent witness to the tragic impact of world events on the local community, and the sacrifice it made in the conflicts of the C20;

* this is one of very few freestanding First World War memorials which specifically commemorate Jewish service personnel.


The aftermath of the First World War saw the biggest single wave of public commemoration ever with tens of thousands of memorials erected across the country. This was the result of both the huge impact on communities of the loss of three quarters of a million British lives, and also the official policy of not repatriating the dead, which meant that the memorials provided the main focus of the grief felt at this great loss.

One such memorial was raised at Willesden Liberal Jewish Cemetery as a permanent testament to the sacrifices made by the members of the local Jewish community. The cemetery opened in 1914 but the date of construction of the memorial is not presently known, nor is the identity of the architect or builder. However, the design of the memorial echoes that of the Whitehall Cenotaph, a practice which became common following its construction in 1920. The memorial and surrounding circular garden also appear to be present on the 1935 edition of the OS map. The memorial commemorates 22 individuals who died in the First World War. Following the Second World War, a plaque was added to commemorate the fallen from this conflict.


Anglo-Jewish war memorial of the cenotaph type.

MATERIALS: Portland stone with bronze plaques.

DESCRIPTION: the memorial comprises a rectangular Portland stone stele raised on a two-stepped plinth. The summit slopes inward over three further steps, and supports a stone bowl and flame, representing eternal life. The principal, south, elevation bears three bronze plaques with inscriptions. The uppermost plaque is a circular wreath with commemorative text inside, which reads: THIS STONE/ WAS SET UP/ BY THE MEMBERS OF THE/ LIBERAL JEWISH SYNAGOGUE IN/ REVERENT MEMORY/ OF THE TWENTY TWO VALIANT AND/ FAITHFUL ISRAELITES WHO IN/ THE GREAT WAR GAVE THEIR/ LIVES AT THE CALL OF THEIR/ COUNTRY AND FOR THE/ SAKE OF RIGHTEOUSNESS/ LIBERTY AND HONOUR. Below this, a rectangular plaque bears the names, ranks and regiments of the fallen from the First World War. Between the two plaques is a Hebrew inscription of a prayer which translates as BLESSED ARE YOU, LORD, WHO RAISES THE DEAD.

Following the Second World War, a rectangular plaque was added to the upper step of the plinth, which reads: THIS INSCRIPTION WAS ADDED TO HONOUR/ THE MEMORY OF THOSE MEMBERS OF THE/ LIBERAL JEWISH SYNAGOGUE WHO GAVE THEIR/ LIVES FOR THE SAME HIGH CAUSES DURING/ THE SECOND WORLD WAR. The east and west faces display carvings of Jewish menorah candles within wreaths. The northern face is inscribed with the date 1914-1919 and 1930-1945 below.




This building is listed under the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 as amended for its special architectural or historic interest.

End of official listing

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