Volunteers are needed to tidy up historic Jewish cemetery


Volunteers are being sought to help tidy up historic Jewish cemetery Deane Road in Kensington.

Saul Marks, recently appointed warden at Princes Road synagogue, is behind the move. And he has been offered help from volunteers from a local church group.

The clean-up will take place from 5pm on Thursday, June 8. Volunteers are advised to wear old clothes, tough shoes and heavy duty gloves.

Deane Road’s Grade II listed Greek revival gateway and wall was built in 1836 – a year after it opened. Memorials to significant early members of the community include Lewis’s department store founder and philanthropist David Lewis. Also buried there are Charles Mozley, the first Jewish lord mayor of Liverpool; Moses Samuel, the author, scholar and watchmaker whose descendants founded the H Samuels chain of jewellery shops; and John Raphael Isaac, a heraldic designer, lithographer and portraitist. Then there are Jonathan Reis, a banker and bullion merchant, and Abraham Saqui, choirmaster and liturgical composer.

The Old Hebrew Congregation burial board is responsible for the upkeep of the cemetery. The board held its last funeral in 1904, but has been hampered by a lack of funds and traceable relatives.

In November, 2003, the Groundwork Trust – an environmental charity dedicated to making sustainable development a reality in many of the UK’s poorest communities – received grants of £5,000 and £3,000 from Kensington New Deal and Community 7 Housing Association respectively. The cash was to enable them to begin work on transforming the cemetery into a community garden. But the plans were hit when contractors found the site was choked with Japanese knotweed, in some places 6ft high. The knotweed grows quickly, forms dense thickets and its spread is aided by fly tipping. Even with the use of flame and chemicals, it can take years to eradicate once well established.

Details: Saul Marks on 07944 388483.