Volunteers clean up Jewish cemetery

Jewish and Christian volunteers joined forces yesterday (Thursday) to help tidy up an historic Jewish cemetery in Liverpool.

Deane Road in Kensington is overgrown, infested with Japanese knotweed and, in parts, resembles a rubbish tip. Princes Road Synagogue congregants along with other community members teamed up with worshippers from churches in the Kensington area to begin a clear-up.

In addition to dense overgrowth and upturned gravestones, residents have thrown bags of rubbish over high walls along with discarded furniture, pots, pans and bicycle parts. There are also hundreds of beer cans. Princes Road warden Saul Marks said: “I know it is a huge job but we have to start somewhere.”

The church groups were organised by Jim Huthwaite, treasurer of St John’s, Fairfield. His members were part of a local ‘grot squad’ which had been cleaning up the Kensington area and were recommended by police to target the Deane Road burial ground. Joined by congregants from Elim Church and St Mary’s Edge Hill he said the volunteers were delighted to take part in the clear-up.

The cemetery, which opened in 1835, includes memorials to significant early members of the community such as Lewis’s department store founder and philanthropist David Lewis. Also buried there are Charles Mozley, the first Jewish Lord Mayor of Liverpool, Moses Samuel, author, scholar and watchmaker whose descendants founded the H Samuels chain of jewellery shops, and John Raphael Isaac, an heraldic designer, lithographer and portraitist, Jonathan Reis, a banker and bullion merchant, Abraham Saqui, the famed choirmaster and liturgical composer.

The Old Hebrew Congregation Burial Board (Princes Road) is responsible for the upkeep of the cemetery, which held its last funeral in 1904, but has been hampered by a lack of funds and traceable relatives.