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Willesden Liberal Jewish Cemetery War Memorial

A Grade II Listed Building in Willesden Green, London

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Latitude: 51.5438 / 51°32'37"N

Longitude: -0.2378 / 0°14'16"W

OS Eastings: 522296

OS Northings: 184233

OS Grid: TQ222842

Mapcode National: GBR 9J.JQ4

Mapcode Global: VHGQQ.TGMD

Entry Name: Willesden Liberal Jewish Cemetery War Memorial

Listing Date: 7 February 2019

Grade: II

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1461873

Location: Brent, Greater London Authority, NW10

County: London

District: Brent

Electoral Ward/Division: Willesden Green

Parish: Non Civil Parish

Built-Up Area: Brent

Traditional County: Middlesex

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Greater London


Anglo-Jewish war memorial of the cenotaph type.


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.


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.

Reasons for Listing

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.

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