GLASGOW JEWISH CEMETERY
OUR JEWISH CEMETERIES -
PRESERVING THEIR PAST, SAFEGUARDING THEIR FUTURE
The project to restore Glasgow Jewish Cemeteries began in 2015 with the major objective being to restore Glenduffhill and Riddrie Cemeteries, two of the three Cemeteries run by GHBS, Sandymount already having been restored in 2011.
Glenduffhill was opened in 1933 and is the current active Cemetery. It is a large Cemetery with almost 8000 lairs. Many paths and lairs had deteriorated and were in very poor condition, and a large number of tombstones were unstable or tilting. Since work began in the summer of 2017, we have restored over 5000 lairs and tombstones, removing kerbs, laying flat unstable stones, and finishing the lairs with an attractive golden gravel. There remain about 1200 lairs to restore in the oldest part of the Cemetery, before we turn our attention to the approximately 2000 lairs in the most recent part of the Cemetery, with graves from about 1990 till the present.
Riddrie Cemetery is much smaller with 729 lairs. It was opened in 1905, and therefore suffered from the same problems as Glenduffhill. Because of its smaller size, it could be restored relatively quickly over a period of a few months in the spring of 2017.
The restorations at both Cemeteries have led to much positive comment.
Funding for this has largely come from Glasgow charities and the members of the Glasgow Jewish Community. Many Glasgow ex-pats however have family buried in these Cemeteries and some have donated generously. Further funds are still required to complete the work. If you wish to Donate towards this project, please go to the "Donate" page of our website.
Please see the Appeal Section on this Web Site
We therefore appeal to all who have yet to donate, and indeed to those who have already donated, to make a contribution to help us reach this target.
Donations can be made by clicking the "Donate" button, or using one of the methods described in the project document.
As a community, we have a deep emotional connection with our Cemeteries. More than that, we know there is a need to care for them continuously, if the memories of our loved ones are to be perpetuated with the love and respect they deserve. The GJCRP was set up in December 2015 as a result of the recognition that many of the Glasgow Jewish Cemeteries had fallen into disrepair. In the period since then, we have made major progress but there is still much to do.
Below, we report on progress to date and set out our plans for the future – and we ask for your help, without which these plans cannot succeed.
The project is in two parts:
Glenduffhill was opened in 1933 and is now the main active Cemetery for the Orthodox Glasgow Jewish Community with almost 8000 graves. Many paths and graves have deteriorated into a very poor condition. There simply have not been the funds available to maintain them properly. We plan to restore the whole Cemetery, to repair paths and kerbstones of lairs, to reposition tilting, unstable or fallen headstones to a near horizontal position, and to provide a consistent attractive finish to each lair.
Work began at Glenduffhill in the summer of 2017, and over the past four years, the central section of the Cemetery, which comprises 3037 lairs from the period of the 1960s to 1990s, was fully restored, with unstable stones laid flat, broken kerbs removed, and golden gravel applied throughout to give the Cemetery a much-needed brighter appearance. Despite Covid-19 which prevented work for more than two months, this part of the restoration was completed in August 2020. GHBS are delighted to report that the completion of this extensive section of the Cemetery has received many comments of appreciation from visitors.
We have now moved on to the oldest section, from the 1930s to 1960s, comprising a further c. 3000 lairs. Nearly 2000 lairs have already been restored. It is anticipated that this section will be completed in about a further year.
We will then move on to restore the newest section of the Cemetery, dating from the 1990s to the present day. Most of the tombstones here are already laid flat. However, there are some issues with subsidence, and the lairs need to be transformed with new edging and application of the golden gravel which has brightened up so much of the Cemetery already.
Costs have been substantially reduced by employing staff ourselves and minimising use of commercial firms. Funding for this project has come largely from Glasgow charities and members of the Glasgow Jewish Community. Additional funding will nonetheless be required so we appeal to all who have yet to donate, and indeed to those who have already donated, to make a contribution to help us complete this project.
Glenduffhill Cemetery Before Restoration
Glenduffhill Cemetery After Restoration
Auld Acquaintances Garden
An important part of restoring the Cemetery has been to pay more attention to garden areas. We were delighted when the Auld Acquaintances group agreed to support the development of a new garden opposite the prayer hall. This would be an attractive, safe space for people to meet, talk and rest, rather than using the nearby road on which cars arriving at the Cemetery drive through on their way to the car park.
This garden has now been developed and planted with a range of flowering shrubs and flowers.
Some photographs of the area are shown below.
Riddrie Cemetery was opened in 1905 under the auspices of South Portland Street Synagogue and was taken over by GHBS in the early 1970s, when the Synagogue closed and the Cemetery neared full capacity. As a result of disuse, this Cemetery had suffered badly from lack of maintenance and vandalism.
As a relatively small Cemetery with 729 lairs, Riddrie was targeted for early action and was fully restored in the spring of 2017. Overgrowth was removed, unstable or fallen headstones were repositioned to a near horizontal position and kerbs were largely removed. Golden gravel was then applied throughout, and a new path established, giving an excellent final result. The grounds at Riddrie are under the control of Land and Environmental Services at Glasgow City Council, who are strong supporters of this project, and together with GHBS staff this has ensured that the Cemetery has remained in excellent condition.
Despite generous responses from many members of GHBS, individuals throughout the UK and internationally, and charitable Trusts, our target of £100,000 for Riddrie has not yet been met. To enable this work to occur, we were obliged to transfer £30,000 from our reserve funds to meet the shortfall. These funds need to be restored to ensure future financial stability.
Photographs of Riddrie both before and after restoration are shown below.
Riddrie Cemetery Before Restoration
Riddrie Cemetery After Restoration
FUNDING OF THE PROJECTS
We have been raising funds from three main sources:
i) The Community
The vast majority of the Glasgow Jewish Community have a link to at least one of these Cemeteries through the grave of someone in their families. We therefore launched a Community wide appeal which has received support from the Chief Rabbi ( see below ). An important part of this has been the voluntary levy we have requested from the members of GHBS.
A specific part of this is also our annual Yizkor appeal, which we run shortly before Yom Kippur – this year’s pamphlet is attached below.
ii) The Glasgow Jewish Diaspora
Most émigrés from Glasgow retain a strong family connection, and we believe many of them will want to contribute. We have attempted to reach them through the press, our website, Synagogues throughout the world, and not least through the good offices of their families still in Glasgow.
This website, and its link through to the Scotland wide database, Scottish Jewish Cemeteries, can be accessed openly from anywhere in the world. An excellent search facility on the website also allows sight of tombstones of family members, and related information. We believe many members of the Glasgow diaspora with relatives buried in Glenduffhill or Riddrie, might also wish to contribute to our Yizkor Appeal.
iii) Charitable Trusts
We have been fortunate to obtain generous support from some of the major Glasgow Jewish Charitable Trusts. Although this goes some way towards our costs, we still need substantial funding from individuals to meet our total costs.
Funds raised are being managed and independently audited in a separate account as part of the Charitable Fund of the GHBS.
How Can You Help Us?
This project can only succeed if it is backed by our community, collectively and individually, both within Glasgow and further afield. You can help us principally by making as generous a contribution as you can, and enlisting the support of those of your extended family who, although they may no longer live in Glasgow, you believe would want to support us. We hope that you will recognise that given the scale of the work to be done, this is no ordinary appeal, and therefore we hope many of you will donate substantially more than you normally would to appeal letters.
YOU MAY HAVE YOUR OWN IDEAS OF ASPECTS YOU WISH TO SPONSOR, OR QUESTIONS ABOUT THIS - IF SO, PLEASE CONTACT EITHER OF THE CO-CHAIRMEN AT...
How to donate.
Donations can be made in the following ways:
1. By cheque or charitable voucher payable to Glasgow Hebrew Burial Society Charitable Fund at
Glasgow Hebrew Burial Society
PO Box 7317
Giffnock, Glasgow, G46 9DB
Please enclose your name and address, and state whether you wish to Gift Aid your donation, to enable us to reclaim income tax you have paid on it.
2. By Bank Transfer
Glasgow Hebrew Burial Society Charitable Fund
Royal Bank of Scotland
Sort Code 83 20 22
Account Number 00713097
3. By Paypal, or credit/debit card using the ‘DONATE’ button on the Home Page of our website
Rt Hon. Lord Provost of Glasgow, Rabbi M Rubin, Paul Morron,
Malcolm Livingstone, Adam Berkley, Stanley Coorsh
With support from the Chief Rabbi, Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis
David S Links, Alan Shenkin
Project Committee Members:
Max Bentley, Ephraim Borowski, Barry Cooper, Monty Cowen, Carolyn Dover,
Richard Kaye, David Levitus, Alan Levy, Martin Links, Mike Links, Rabbi Sam Sankar
Larry Sellyn, Michael Simpson, Richard Sperber, Dianna Wolfson