Augustus Samuel Levy (c.1815-1888)
by Saul Marks
Augustus S Levy was born in London c.1815 and was a member of a firm of fruit brokers by profession. His brother was Henry L Keeling (1805-80), fruit merchant and major communal figure in London. One of his brothers-in-law was Abraham Benisch (1811-78), editor of the Jewish Chronicle.
Augustus moved to Liverpool in the 1830s and, in 1858, in his early forties, he married Miriam Tobias (1815-95), who was a daughter of the large and very wealthy Tobias family. She and many of her relatives are also buried at Deane Road.
Augustus was involved in the running of Liverpool Old Hebrew Congregation during one of the most important periods in its history – the establishment of and transition to Princes Road Synagogue from Seel Street Synagogue. In 1873, he was appointed Junior Warden, a post which he held for two years. The building work on the new synagogue had begun in 1872 and was completed in the late summer of 1874. It was consecrated on 3 September and Augustus’ name and position were cast along with his fellow Honorary Officers into the donation boards that still flank the central doors in the foyer today. He was one of the treasurers of the building fund and himself donated a very generous 400 guineas – the equivalent of around £29,000 today! He went on to serve as Senior Warden 1875-78. His other major communal commitment was the management of the Hebrew Schools in Hope Place.
Augustus and Miriam had no children. He died aged 73 on 19 February 1888; his extensive obituary in the Jewish Chronicle states:
“His charitable work was carried on most unostentatiously and was extended to Jew and Christian alike, his benevolence taking the form of practical advice and encouragement, as well as of money gifts. Mr. Levy was a man of deeply religious character, and his amiable disposition endeared him to a large circle of friends, Christian as well as Jews.”
Rev JL Polack spoke at Augustus’ funeral, saying:
“His geniality and kindliness of heart and disposition would cause his memory to be revered by all. As a philanthropist he was well known, especially in Hebrew circles, and his generosity to all was unbounded.”
Augustus Samuel Levy (c.1815-1888): B 07.01
Miriam Levy (née Tobias, his wife; 1815-1895): B 08.01