11 March 2016

Jewish Cemeteries of Glasgow, Scotland

The history of the Jewish people in Scotland may date back to  the late 1600's when there were records of Jews applying to take up residence in the country. However the first Jewish community in Scotland, located in Edinburgh, was officially established in 1816. There were Jews in Edinburgh before 1816,  but this was the date on which the community was established.
The time frame from the mid 1700's to the beginning of the following century was  a time of great growth within Scotland. This growth had a great impact upon the Jews of Scotland. In Glasgow,  the population went up over 400% during those fifty years, which led to the arrival of a large amount of Jews, who
Garnet Hill Synagogue
began to arrive in about 1820.
The Jewish community in Glasgow continue to grow and by 1870 included over 1000 people.  This growth led the community to decide in 1875 to build a  synagogue. This would be the first permanent synagogue built in Scotland. At a special meeting in 1875 it was decided that the new synagogue would be built at the corner of Garnet Street and Hill Street and was called the Garnet Hill Synagogue. The foundation stone was laid by Benjamin Simon two years later. The new synagogue was consecrated  on the 9th of September in 1879 by Rabbi Hermann Adler. The Garnet Hill Synagogue was opened just as the Jews from Eastern Europe fleeing from poverty and constant persecution began to arrive.
As a result of the growth of the community, it became necessary to establish cemeteries for the burial of those who passed. The majority of the Jews were buried in one of three cemeteries. These cemeteries, Glenduffhill Jewish Cemetery, Riddrie Cemetery and Sandymount Cemetery, are the final resting place for some 10,000 members of the community. Over time the cemeteries have fallen into a state that now requires restoration. Under the direction of the Glasgow Hebrew Burial Society, restoration work has now begun. A wonderful article on the project can be found on the Jewish Heritage Europe website.
The Burial Society in Glasgow has always been very helpful to those looking for their families. The records they hold are now included in Glasgow Hebrew Burial Society Database, which is available through the JCR-UK website. As helpful as they have been it is now time for others to help them. Please take a moment and read the article and see how you can be of service to the Burial Society. A few years ago I visited Glasgow and enjoyed the beauty of the city, now hopefully we can help return the cemeteries to that same beauty.


  1. For information on all 9 Jewish cemeteries in Glasgow, see: http://www.sjac.org.uk/collections/jewish-cemeteries-in-scotland/

  2. Derek M. Tobias September 2018
    For Information, Cemetery & Burial search of all Jewish Burials in Scotland (Over 16,200) in 20 different locations, please visit


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