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The Ohel, Witton Cemetery Jewish Section

A Grade II Listed Building in Oscott, Birmingham

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Latitude: 52.5343 / 52°32'3"N

Longitude: -1.8815 / 1°52'53"W

OS Eastings: 408137

OS Northings: 292942

OS Grid: SP081929

Mapcode National: GBR 34N.7D

Mapcode Global: VH9YQ.BKQK

Plus Code: 9C4WG4M9+PC

Entry Name: The Ohel, Witton Cemetery Jewish Section

Listing Date: 20 June 2006

Grade: II

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1391694

English Heritage Legacy ID: 494819

Location: Birmingham, B44

County: Birmingham

Electoral Ward/Division: Oscott

Built-Up Area: Birmingham

Traditional County: Staffordshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): West Midlands

Church of England Parish: Perry Barr

Church of England Diocese: Birmingham

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Jewish Prayer Hall [Ohel]. 1937. Essex and Goodman, architects. Red Flemish bond brick with ashlar dressings and a plain tile roof. Octagonal with offset buttresses to the angles.
Exterior: The East [entrance] and West [exit] sides each have double doors with 4-centered heads above which are windows with 3 lights. The North and South sides have blank, recessed panels where the Prayer Board and Roll of Honour hang inside. The other sides each have a 3-light, full-height window with traceried head. There is a stone parapet with blind panels. Above the entrance are the dates 5697 and 1937.
Interior: The stone floor has bands of inlayed marble to the edges and a Star of David to the centre. The windows have stained glass showing the Tribes of Israel and symbols of the faith. The central, bronze light fitting is in the shape of a Star of David. To the lower walls is oak panelling with vase-shaped finials at the angles and there are an oak prayer board and a roll of honour to the South and North sides, respectively. The ceiling is panelled with chevron mouldings to the ribs.
HISTORY: The Ohel stands in the 1935 extension to the Jewish section of Witton cemetery, the earlier part of which dates from 1869. The earlier Ohel has been demolished.
SUMMARY OF IMPORTANCE: Ohelim , as a type of building, have tended to suffer from vandalism and neglect. This elaborate example by Essex and Goodman, which stands in the New Jewish Cemetery at Witton, Birmingham, continues to serve one of the largest and longest-established Jewish populations in Britain. It is designed in a late-Gothic style and has stained glass windows, both of which are rare features in Jewish buildings and reflect a changing use of styles in Anglo-Jewish architecture throughout the C20. The date of the design and completion of the ohel have a distinct poignancy, occurring at a time when so much of European Jewry was under threat.

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