Clean up uncovers grave of man who bought cemetery

In June, Jewish and Christian volunteers and local residents joined forces with the Kensington Clean Team and the Eastern Link Team to help tidy up a historic Jewish cemetery in Kensington.

Princes Road Synagogue congregants along with community members teamed up with worshippers from churches in the Kensington area and the Kensington Clean Team to begin a clear-up in the Jewish cemetery in Deane Road. The church groups were organised by Jim Huthwaite, treasurer of St John’s, Fairfield, and joined by congregants from Elm Church and St Mary’s Edge Hill.

More than 50 volunteers helped to remove the dense overgrowth and weeds, and restore upturned gravestones back to their original position. There was lots of fly tipping such as furniture, pots, pans, old bicycle parts and household rubbish which had to be removed from the site. Needless to say there was enough rubbish to fill several large skips. The cemetery was opened in 1835, and includes memorials to significant early members of the community such as Lewis’s department store founder and philanthropist David Lewis. Among the graves cleared was that of merchant banker Israel Barned who died in 1858. He was chairman of the committee which bought the land on behalf of the Seel Street synagogue.

Saul Marks, from the Jewish community, who has been head of the restoration scheme said: “I couldn’t believe it when I saw Israel’s name. I have researched so much about him and it was amazing when I read his name on the gravestone.” Also buried there are Charles Mozely, the first Jewish Lord Mayor of Liverpool, Moses Samuel, author, scholar and watchmaker whose descendants founded the H Samuels chain of jewellery shops, John Raphael Isaac, an heraldic designer, lithographer and portraitist and Jonathan Reis, a banker and bullion merchant.

Peter Yoh, Neighbourhood Manager added “It’s really encouraging to see volunteers working with us to clean up grot spots. We are delighted to help clean up the site which will now be far easier to maintain. It was a pleasant surprise to us all to find the gravestones of some historic people from the Jewish community.”