Concern over plans to move war memorial
A JEWISH historian has expressed concern that a war memorial which “reflects the Jewish community’s unique place” in the history of a northwest London suburb could be moved to make way for roadworks.
The memorial in Golders Green is a well-known landmark, incorporating a clock tower and sitting on an island in the middle of the junction of four roads, next to a tube station.
But it could be relocated if plans to create a new interchange to improve traffic flow are approved.
A consultation is being held by Barnet Council on a proposal Transport for London (TfL), and the council has not ruled out the possibility of moving the memorial.
Golders Green has a large Jewish population and, according to historian Alan Dein, the memorial, which was unveiled in 1923, recognised this by not featuring a crucifix typical of monuments built in the period.
Mr Dein believes it was intended to be an “all faith” memorial. “There is nothing in writing saying this but it appears from when it was built, how it was funded and where it was placed that this memorial was non-denominational.
“There are Jewish people named on the memorial — Jewish people died in the war, and there were members of the Jewish community in Golders Green who lost friends or family members in the tragedy.
“This is our heritage — it can’t just be pushed around.”
The Jewish community was so well established in Golders Green by 1923 that Reverend Isaac Livingstone, the first minister of Golders Green Synagogue, in Dunstan Road, spoke at the memorial unveiling. Jacques Weisser, the executive director of the Association of Jewish Ex-Servicemen and Women, said: In general, anything to do with our memorials in this country is sacrosanct.
“A lot of war memorials have Jewish names on them. It is about citizenship and sacrifice for your country.
“To consider moving it, we would want to know more about where it would go and how they would make sure it was still connected to the community.”
Barnet Council leader Richard Cornelius said he recognises the importance of the “much-loved” tower, while a council spokeswoman insisted “some people have jumped several steps ahead” with speculation over the potential move.
She said moving the memorial “wouldn’t just happen without proper consultation. There has been no consultation on anything specific about the site.”
Graeme Craig, commercial development director for TfL, said: “We are keen to see sustainable development take place that improves the transport network, creates local jobs and provides homes that Londoners can afford.
“We look forward to working in partnership with Barnet Council and the local community as proposals emerge.”
The six-week consultation will end on May 11.