Willesden Cemetery , consecrated in 1873, acts as a bridge between the intimacy of the old, historic London Ashkenazi Burial Grounds – Aldernery Road, Brady Street and Lauriston Road – enclosed within high brick walls, their modest, fading stones haphazardly set in grassy plots under shady trees, and the vast modern and largely treeless, grounds, such as Bushey, with their handsome marble and granite memorials, stretching in regimented lines as far as the eye can see. Willesden, with its marked paths and copious vegetation, takes the best of both: a place for solemn, spiritual contemplation , of course, but also as a tangible record of the part played by our forebears in every aspect of English life in the late 19th and early 20th century .
We have only just skimmed the surface of Todd Knowles generous contribution of photographs, but we have already recorded half a dozen founders of major national institutions; banks, commercial enterprises, etc. Numerous young men, from both old Jewish families and new immigrants, who laid down their lives for their country in two world wars. And a cross section of those who achieved fame, both at home and abroad, in all fields of literature and the arts. Notable among these are:
The artist Solomon J SOLOMON R.A. P.R.B.A http://myweb.tiscali.co.uk/speel/paint/solomons.htm
Henry Imano’s mother-in-law, Eliza Davis, who corresponded with Charles Dickens, taking him to task for his characterisation of Jews as represented by villainous Fagin in Oliver Twist
Ellen Zangwill, mother of the writer and Israel Zangwill whose book “Children of the Ghetto” remains the outstanding chronicle of the Jewish East End is still in print today. http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/biography/zangwill.html