Clean-up uncovers grave of man who bought cemetery

A clear-up of an historic Liverpool cemetery has uncovered the gravestone of the man who was responsible for its purchase.

As reported in last week’s Jewish Telegraph more than 50 Jewish and Christian volunteers spent three hours last Thursday removing piles of refuse and cutting back overgrown foliage at Deane Road cemetery in Kensington.

Among the graves cleared was that if merchant banker Israel Barned who died in 1858. He was the chairman of the committee which bought the land on behalf of the Seel Street synagogue, forerunner of Princes Road which is responsible for the site. His name is also on the foundation stone of the Liverpool New Synagogue in Hope Place, which seceded from Seel Street and which is now the Unity Theatre.

Saul Marks, Princes Road warden who has been head of the restoration scheme since March 2005, said: “I couldn’t believe it when I saw his name. I have researched so much about him and it was amazing when I read his name on the gravestone.”

Mr Marks was confident that the restoration – dubbed the Payback Project – will continue. He said: “Previous attempts failed because after a clean-up there was no ongoing maintenance. The difference this time is that we have organised people to keep the place looking tidy.”

Much of the refuse collected had been thrown over a high wall from homes on neighbouring Chiswell Street. Mr Marks, who lives in the area, said these houses will be targeted in a leafletting campaign, possibly with follow-up visits.

The history of Deane Road has become a labour of love for Mr Marks, who comes from Little Sutton, near Ellesmere Port. A professional genealogist, he is currently researching a Masters degree in Archives and Records Management at the University of Liverpool. The 26-year-old first became interested in the cemetery when he was asked to translate some tombstones and when he returned to Merseyside in 2004 was encouraged by the late Princes Road senior warden Ronnie Bracey to become involved in plans to restore the site which contains the graves and memorials to the great and good of the early Jewish community in Liverpool.

A graduate in Applied Psychology from the University of Durham, Mr Marks became Princes Road’s youngest warden in more than 75 years when he was elected in March.

Details about the Deane Road restoration can be found at