Some of the most celebrated Jewish women of the last 200 years were honoured at Willesden Jewish Cemetery for International Women’s Day.
The acclaimed scientist Rosalind Franklin, who was one of the first people to explore human DNA, is among notable figures laid to rest in the Grade II listed site on Beaconsfield Road, which opened in 1873. Franklin died in 1958, aged just 38, and is buried alongside Harriet Samuel (died 1908), founder of the famous high street jewellery brand, suffragette Lily Delissa Joseph (died 1940), anti-slave trade campaigner Constance Lady Battersea (1931), philanthropist Dorothy de Rothschild (1988) and Eliza Davis (1931), one of the first gossip columnists and fashion writers.
Curator and tour guide Hester Abrams, who leads the United Synagogue’s House of Life project who oversaw Sunday’s event, said: “At least half the burials at Willesden, are of women, and yet throughout history their works didn’t hit the headlines and they rarely got newspaper obituaries.
“What we have been able to do in the House of Life Project at Willesden Cemetery, thanks to our investment from the National Lottery Heritage Fund, is starting to make sense of this rich history and share it more widely with visitors.”
A new visitor centre funded by a £1.7 million National Lottery grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) is due to open at the Victorian-era cemetery in the spring.