Cemetery grant is a dream come true for delighted Louise

A DREAM come true. That’s how one ofthe prime movers in the restoration of historic Deane Road cemetery described last week’s announcement of a £494,000 Heritage Lottery Fund grant.

Kensington & Fairfield Councillor Louise Baldock, who – as project co-ordinator – drew up the bid, said: “This is absolutely wonderful and presents a lot of hard work by a small group of people.”

Bill Maynard, of the Heritage Lottery Fund north west committee, said: “Deane Road is a very important monument historically not just for Kensington but for Liverpool as a whole. Not only is it architecturally important, but it contains a fantastic social history of Liverpool’s Jewish community from the Victorian era.”

The cemetery is the final resting place of Lewis’ founder and philanthropist David Lewis and Liverpool’s first Jewish Lord Mayor Charles Mozley and founders of the H Samuel jewellery chain. [actually, Charles Mozley was not Lord Mayor, as this position was not created until 1893. He was simply mayor - Ed]

Committee chairman Saul Marks said fallen gravestones would be re-erected, graffiti removed and the site would be landscaped to include a small visitor centre.

One of the cemetery committee’s patrons is Wavertree MP Luciana Berger, Labour’s shadow minister for energy and climate change. She told the Jewish Telegraph: “Not only will the investment in Deane Road revive it back to its rightful state, but it will also offer a green lung to people living in predominantly terraced housing in the surrounding area of Kensington, who don’t have gardens.”

Wild life has flourished for 100 years since the cemetery has closed and even since the trees have been removed and the undergrowth scaled back, dragonflies have still been hovering in the warm summer months. A wild flower garden will be developed in the area where young children and babies have been buried and there will be composting of all grass cuttings each year.

A “delighted” visitor to Friday’s photocall at Deane Road was Ruth Webster, who managed a major clear-up of the site in 2003. She was working for the now-defunct Groundwork Trust, an environmental charity which was dedicated to making sustainable development a reality in many of the UK’s poorest communities.

It received £8,000 in grants to transform the cemetery into a community garden. It was no small task as the site was choked in Japanese knotweed, in some places six foot high with dense thickets. Although the community garden was not achieved, clearing the foliage enabled teams of volunteer to come in and tidy up much of the cemetery paving the way for the successful lottery bid.

Ruth said: “I am absolutely amazed at the transformation from when we first came in and I can’t wait to see it when it is finished.”