Kehilat Middlesbrough Newsletter No 28 January 2013 page 4 (of 17)
We had an extremely interesting visit to Middlesbrough old Jewish cemetery recently [August 2011]. What we hadn't realised was that it was in a sort of park and was miles away from the new cemetery. We got to the correct cemetery and the correct entrance (which was open). The whole place was beautifully kept and compared with Pere Lachaise and Highgate cemeteries. We had a pleasant walk around after our visit to the graves.
We found my grandfather's grave easily (Barnard Reuben No. 100), which we knew was there. We also found my grandmother Bertha (225--her name was on Barnard's memorial, but she was not buried there), and my great grandfather Isaac Reubens (37) and great grandmother Sarah Ada (61). We think that Rachel Reubens (2) was my step grandmother. Barnard married twice, his first wife dying young (about 25) of one of those nasty diseases like tuberculosis that were prevalent in those days. Isaac was said to have been an acrobatic juggler in a circus and to have arrived at Hull in 1855 or 1856. He and his wife Sarah Ada were about 18 years old and she was very pregnant. They left the circus and Barnard was born two weeks after they arrived in England. After a few more years in show business, he opened a slipper factory in Albert Mews (which we also stumbled across) and is listed in the commercial directory (1894) on the Kehilat Middlesbrough website. He was financed by the local Jewish community. Barnard's brother Noah is listed in the members of the congregation in 1916. There are a few more Reuben(s) on the excellently maintained website (Cissie, Minnie, Isaac R. and two stillborn babies) but I cannot find any connection with them, although the two stillborns babies and Isaac R. (died at 9 months) might well have been related because that's not the sort of thing that is remembered.
The mysterious characters at the bottom of Barnard's tombstone indicate that he was a member of the Royal and Ancient Order of Buffaloes, a working men's friendly society and sort of Masonic. He was sufficiently distinguished to have a lodge named after him--the Sir Barnard Reuben Lodge--which only died out (as did most such societies) about 30 years ago.
I had never visited the cemetery before but remember in 1938, when I was 4, being bundled into the car and driven to Middlesbrough and left with a stranger in a dark gloomy house. I realised much later that this was Bertha's funeral.
It was a fascinating expedition. Bryan Reuben Professor emeritus of chemical technology London South Bank University
I have discovered the grave of my great grandmother at the Hartlepool Jewish Cemetery and I understand from the records on your website that her grave does not have a stone.
I would be very grateful if you could advise me as to whom I should contact in order to have a stone erected. My great grandmother’s name was Gertrude Cowan, plot F2R. She died on 4 February 1924. David Cowan
[Ed note: We passed this query on to David Simon, who replied with the information requested.]
My dear cousin Judge Vivian Hurwitz (husband of Ruth Cohen who married in 1963 in Middlesbrough shul) passed away 16 August 2011. Gwen Lamb