Old Velho Cemetery

I was walking along the back route to the canal and thought that I would have a look at the Novo Cemetery, one of the best and most dramatic of the East London Jewish cemeteries, when I remembered that there is a fourth which I have never seen and is only available by appointment.   I managed to penetrate Queen Mary (I don’t recommend it as I may well have been trespassing) and discovered behind some student accommodation what remains of the oldest Jewish cemetery in the country, opened in 1657, only a year following the establishment of a Spanish and Portuguese congregation under the name of Sha’ar Hashamayim, ‘the Gate of Heaven’.   It was on the site of the garden and orchard of a pub called The Soldiers Tenement.   Not much to see, but the atmosphere of Cromwellian liberalism:-

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