Entrance Gateway, Hoop Lane Jewish Cemetery


Heritage Category:
Listed Building
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:
Statutory Address:
Hoop Lane, Golders Green, London


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Statutory Address:
Hoop Lane, Golders Green, London

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

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


The entrance gateway at Hoop Lane Jewish Cemetery, thought to date from 1896-1897 to the designs of Davis and Emmanuel

Reasons for Designation

The entrance gateway at Hoop Lane Jewish Cemetery, thought to date from 1896-1897 to the designs of Davis and Emmanuel, is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:

Architectural interest:

* as a dignified and fitting introduction to the Hoop Lane Cemetery site;

* the gate piers are well detailed, with brick pilasters rising to capping formed of a shallow dome over segmental pediments;

* the wrought iron gates are of good quality, and original to the site, being the gift of a prominent member of the West London congregation;

* the structure overall survives well.

Group value:

* the entrance gateway has a strong visual and functional relationship with the grade II-listed prayer hall building immediately to the north, which is currently being recommended for listing, and is thought to be the work of the same architectural practice;

* the structure forms an important part of the Hoop Lane Cemetery site, registered at Grade II. Immediately opposite is the entrance to the 1902 Golders Green Crematorium, and its listed complex of buildings; the crematorium landscape is registered at Grade I; immediately to the south-west of the cemetery is the Grade II-listed Roman Catholic Church of St Edward the Confessor.


The West London Synagogue of British Jews was established in 1840 as a breakaway congregation by 24 disaffected members of the Bevis Marks Synagogue – the principal synagogue of the Sephardi Jews of Spanish and Portuguese descent – and the Great Synagogue in Duke’s Place, which served the Ashkenazi Jews from Central and Eastern Europe. The intention was to form a prayer group for ‘neither German nor Portuguese but British Jews’; this congregation would go on to become the first in Britain to adopt Reform Judaism. Its founders, who included individuals from the wealthy and influential Mocatta and Goldsmid families, were initially prompted by the refusal of the City synagogues to countenance a West End congregation, but reforms to synagogue ritual and religious observance were soon adopted. Services were no longer conducted solely in Hebrew but in a mixture of Hebrew and English, prominence was given to moral commands over ritual observances, meaning, for instance, that it was permissible to drive to the synagogue on the Sabbath; and some sections of liturgy were omitted if they no longer corresponded to the beliefs of the congregation.

The Burton Street Chapel, Bloomsbury, was converted for use as a synagogue and consecrated in January 1842; this was succeeded in 1849 by the Margaret Street Synagogue, probably another conversion, overseen by David Mocatta. By the mid-1860s, a larger building was required, and the firm of Davis and Emanuel was engaged to build the synagogue in Upper Berkeley Street, completed in 1870 and still in use today. Both Henry David Davis (1839-1915) and Barrow Emanuel (1841-1904) were members of the West London Synagogue. This was their first commission for a religious building; they would go on to design the East London Synagogue at Stepney Green (1876-1877) – built under the auspices of the Ashkenazi United Synagogue – and also the Sephardi synagogue at Maida Vale (1896), as well as the prayer hall or ‘Ohel’ building at Hoop Lane Cemetery.

The West London Synagogue opened its first burial ground in 1843, having secured a plot of land at Balls Pond Road, Islington (the cemetery is officially known as Kingsbury Road). By the late 19th century a larger burial ground was needed and a site of some 15 acres of farmland was found on the north side of Hoop Lane, near the hamlet of Golders Green; this was purchased for £3000 in 1894. Discussions had been underway for some time with the Spanish and Portuguese Jews' Congregation about the possibility of the two communities maintaining a site together; in 1896 eight acres were sold for Sephardi burial, and the two cemeteries were established, divided by an avenue. Davis and Emanuel’s Ohel building was designed to provide two prayer halls, one for each community. The building has been described as being ‘the closest Anglo-Jewry got to the Continental model of an architect designed Jewish cemetery complex fronting a public street’, though it is noted that ‘the complex is set well back from the street, unlike equivalent examples in Germany’ (Kadish, Jewish Funerary Architecture in Britain and Ireland since 1656, 2011). The Jewish Chronicle noted that 'Both congregations are mutually appreciative of the courtesy and good feeling extended to each by the other, and have expressed resolutions expressing this, and also the hope that they may long continue to co-operate for the benefit of a common Judaism'. The first interment, in the Reform section, took place in 1897. Hoop Lane became the primary burial place for both communities, though the Sephardi Novo Cemetery in Mile End remained open for adult burials until 1906, and for child burials until 1918, whilst reserved plots at Balls Pond Road continued to be taken up until 1952. A Conjoint Committee of the two synagogues was set up to administer the ground, with rules established relating to grave sizes, and approval to be sought for tombstone designs. At first, only the southern sections were laid out, with the cemeteries gradually developing northwards into the site as more grave spaces were required. Two plots have been sold at the northern end of the cemetery: in 1935-1936 the North Western Reform Synagogue was built at the end of Alyth Gardens to the west, and in the 1970s housing was built to the east.

In 1902 London’s first crematorium was established on the south side of Hoop Lane. In 1907 the London Underground transport network was extended to Golders Green, following which the fields surrounding the cemetery were developed for housing, with Hampstead Garden Suburb immediately to the north and east. Jews began to settle in Golders Green just before the First World War and by 1930 the area was known as being a place with a large Jewish population. The Hoop Lane Jewish Cemetery remains open for new burials, mainly in reserved plots. A jointly-administered successor ground opened at Edgewarebury in 1973.


Gate piers and gates forming the entrance to Hoop Lane Jewish Cemetery. The piers are thought to have been designed by Davis and Emanuel, for the opening of the cemetery in 1896.

MATERIALS: red brick with stone bases and caps, now painted. The gates are of wrought iron.

DESCRIPTION: the gateway consists of two tall inner piers, and two shorter outer piers, defining the pedestrian entrances. The piers take the form of squared columns, with two pilasters to either face, rising through a frieze to capping formed of a shallow dome over segmental pediments. There is a beaded detail to the corners. The elaborate wrought-iron gates have central roundels, and scrolling to the margins. On the south side, small round-topped bollards protect the inner corners of the carriage gateway; on the north side, substantial concrete buffers have been added to control the passage of vehicles.


Books and journals
Bernard, P. (author), A Beacon of Light: The history of the West London Synagogue, (2013), 63
Kadish, Sharman, Jewish Heritage in Britain and Ireland: An Architectural Guide, (2015), 67
Historic England, Introduction to Heritage Assets: 'Anglo-Jewish Burial Grounds: The Post-Resettlement Period' (2020), pp 9, 11, 12, 16
Hoop Lane Jewish Cemetery, Statement of Significance (Historic England, 2017)


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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