The restoration is now well underway, with the contractor Mather & Ellis on site. The restoration of Deane Road Cemetery can be divided into several stages:
Firstly, there was the problem of clearing the immense volume of foliage in the cemetery, including the extermination of all the Japanese knotweed on the site. Japanese knotweed is a highly poisonous plant and, by law, must be destroyed on site, to reduce the risk of spreading. Most of the ground, particularly in the central area of the cemetery, was covered in ivy, brambles and self-seeded plants, all of which needed to be removed, and which revealed a number of hidden graves and fallen headstones.
The second stage of the project is to maintain the cemetery in a reasonable condition on a long-term basis which, as explained in the History section of this website, has been the main stumbling block in previous restoration attempts. Thanks to the involvement of the Merseyside Probation Service, the Liverpool Youth Offending Team and long-term volunteers such as Muriel Sumner and Janusz Kordalewski, these first two stages are looking well covered at the present time.
The third stage will be to make the extensive repairs required to the boundary wall, entrance archway, path, front gates and railings and to develop a visitors’ centre. This is explained in more detail in the Funding section, but it can be summarised that nearly £500,000 will be required to complete this stage of the restoration.
It is also important that as many of the fallen headstones as possible are re-erected and some of the graves in the poorest condition refurbished. We are hoping that as many descendants as possible of those buried at Deane Road will contribute to the refurbishment of their ancestors’ graves.
The Funding page of this website explains in detail our two-stage application to the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF), which we hope will cover the costs of the vast majority of the required works. Our bid was submitted in September 2010 and consists of the following elements:
REPAIRS TO EXISTING ELEMENTS
Re-rendering and general restoration of entrance archway
Partial re-pointing and general repairs to external boundary walls
Re-erection of all fallen gravestones which are in one piece
Completion of re-surfacing of driveway
Re-pointing and repairs to boundary walls at entrance
Restoration of front gates and railings
Construction of visitors’ centre and associated utilities
Signage and interpretation boards
Employment of activity plan manager
TEMPORARY ASSOCIATED ELEMENTS
Various required investigations, surveys and costs associated with the above
Employment of architects, engineers, and CDM co-ordinator
Employment of project manager
Once the first three stages have been completed, the tourism potential of the cemetery can be exploited. It is hoped that there will be a public re-consecration service held at the cemetery, with both religious and secular speakers, and that this will be publicised in a way that attracts both Jewish and non-Jewish attendees. After that, it is hoped that the cemetery will be added to the Liverpool Heritage Trail and guided tours will be given to pre-booked groups of all faiths from as wide a region as possible and, in particular, to school groups.
Guided tours will give visitors information on the history and architecture of the cemetery and its place in the history of the Liverpool Jewish community, the format of a Jewish funeral and mourning rites, biographical information about the most prominent people buried there, along with a chance to donate to the upkeep of the site and also the Liverpool Old Hebrew Congregation.