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Western Charitable Foundation quells fears about sale of Fulham Road Cemetery

Speaking to the JC this week, Western Charitable Foundation chairman Harold Pasha said there was “no proposed sale of the cemetery"

    (Map: Google Maps)

    An Orthodox burial society has given assurances that it has no plans to sell a disused cemetery on a prime site in London and transfer the remains of those buried there to Israel.

    The JC understands the London Beth Din wrote to the Western Charitable Foundation last year to express its objections after learning of a proposal to consider selling Fulham Road Cemetery.

    Following enquiries from the JC this week, Harold Pasha, chairman of the foundation, said there was “no proposed sale of the cemetery and the trust will be continuing to look after and maintain the Fulham Road Cemetery within the terms of the trust as it does with our other cemeteries.”

    The Brompton Cemetery, as it was originally called, opened in 1815 and was closed 70 years later although burials in reserved plots continued until 1910.

    Situated in the borough of Kensington and Chelsea, the site would be a tempting prospect for developers.

    It was originally bought by the Western Synagogue, which merged with Marble Arch Synagogue some years ago to form the Western Marble Arch Synagogue, which is an associate member of the United Synagogue.

    But the WCF remains an independent charity responsible also for cemeteries in Cheshunt, Edmonton and Streatham.

    The JC understands the Beth Din based its objections to any sale on two main grounds.

    According to Jewish law, the remains of a person should be removed only in the case where they left instructions to be buried somewhere else. That would be hard to establish for all those interred in an old cemetery.

    The dayanim were also worried about any precedent that might encourage developers in a place where there was no longer an active Jewish community to believe it would be acceptable to move remains.

    The Fulham Road Cemetery was restored during the mid-1890s according to the charity Parks and Gardens UK but remains “hidden and inaccessible to the public” behind a high brick wall.

    According to London Cemeteries; an Illustrated Guide and Gazeteer, it is more “reminiscent of Prague than London”.

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