Leeds – 9th December Meeting

Cemeteries can be a mine of information for genealogists, but it’s always a matter of concern, and not just for family historians, when they fall into disrepair and become overgrown.

So Saul Marks, the Project Manager for the restoration of Deane Road Cemetery (the oldest Jewish cemetery in Liverpool) and his team, are to be congratulated for the work they have done in turning the cemetery from the decaying, derelict, refuse strewn site it had become into something resembling its former self and once again a fitting tribute to those buried there.

Saul gave us a potted history of the early years of the Liverpool Jewish Community and of the decision by the Liverpool Old Hebrew Congregation to site their new burial ground in the then rural area of Kensington. The burial of Henry Hiams, a distinguished member of the Congregation, was the first one to take place there in September 1837. However, as is the nature of these things, by the beginning of the 20th century the cemetery was becoming full. The registers show over 1700 burials having taken place – 900 or so of them children, many stillbirths or babies in unmarked graves, and the Congregation was forced to look for another site. After 1904 only those with reserved plots were buried there and the last burial took place in 1929.

Over the years the cemetery became overgrown with plants and trees, a target for vandals and a convenient place for fly tipping. Although several projects for restoration were discussed, for one reason or another nothing came of them. Finally in 2003 with help from the Groundwork Trust, things got underway. Volunteers from local churches, those on probation and youth offender teams have all helped in clearing the site. Gravestones have been re-erected, repaired and in some cases replaced.

Through his work as a genealogist Saul has been able to trace descendants of some of those buried at Deane Road and he has also been contacted by people researching their family trees who were looking for the last resting place of their ancestors. Many of these people have been more than happy to make donations to help with the restoration of specific stones or the project as a whole. It is hoped that in the future the cemetery will be added to the Liverpool Heritage Trail.

Saul also told us the stories of some of those buried in Deane Road and you can find out more about them and the restoration project at

Saul Marks was born in Chester and now lives in Liverpool. He became interested in his family tree at the age of 9 or 10 and after many years research decided that this was the career path he wanted to follow and is now a Professional Genealogist.

Saul has Leeds ancestry going back to the 1880s – Rose Butchers (Percy Rose), on Belgrave Street (from 1895 to the 1960s) and is also connected to the Brightbart family.