© Marcus Roberts (2004 & 2008 & 2012)


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19th Century Ramsgate

Moses Montefiori's beneficence created a permanent and established Jewish community and drew some Jews to the town. However the community was always a small one. In 1847 there were only 45 Jews in town. In 1852 there were only two Jewish births recorded in Ramsgate. At the end of the 19th century the Jewish population was perhaps double at around a 100.

A snap-shot of the community, in the mid-part of the 19th century, is provided by both the 1851 Census of Ramsgate and the 1867 Kelly's Directory. The combined lists include (though this is not an exhaustive list), a retired shop-keeper, artificial flower makers, pawnbrokers, a landlord, lodging-house keepers, a general dealer, coal merchant, clothier, a fancy bazaar proprietor. It must be noted that with the use of these lists uncertainties are created with names that could be of both Jewish and non-Jewish origin, i.e. Hart and Lyon.

One peculiarity of the Ramsgate community was that it did not possess its own burial ground until a late date - 1872. This had been because Sephardi residents were eligible to be buried in the Spanish and Portuguese cemetery in London and Sir Moses had his own arrangements in hand in Ramsgate itself. The Ashkenazim were in the main buried at Canterbury, or less frequently at Dover. But ultimately they wished to have their own ground in Ramsgate itself.

The Ramsgate cemetery was created and bought by Benjamin Norden in 1872, so that he could bury his wife, Abigail. This lead to the creation of the Ramsgate Jewish Burial Ground Society to maintain and run the cemetery and to take burial subscriptions.

In 1887 the cemetery was signed over to the Spanish and Portuguese congregation, as the Montefiori Endowment wished to provide for the care of all the Ramsgate residents.

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