SPACE MAGAZINE, APRIL 2006
Deane but not gone
Capital of Culture, you say? Here’s one of Liverpool’s historic sites that needs saving, and fast…
Here the weary are at rest’, says the inscription above the arched Greek Revival entrance. Know where we are? Even heard of the Deane Road cemetery? It’s where Liverpool’s earliest and most celebrated Jewish citizens are buried under monolithic granite and marble headstones, and for the last few years it’s been left to rot and ruin. Now the Payback Project plans to change all that.
Liverpool’s Old Hebrew Congregation is almost certainly the oldest Jewish community in the north of England, founded in the mid-18th Century by settlers from Germany and the Low Countries. In the 19th Century it became the largest and most influential outside London, too, with a middle class of merchants, bankers, clerics, artists, medics and musicians and the city’s first Jewish mayor in 1863. Their combined resourcefulness and wealth added significantly to the development of Liverpool as one of the most thriving cities of the age. Deane Road was purchased in 1835 as a formal burial ground and used until 1904. Today its graves stand desolate – obscured by trees, choked by poisonous plants, vandalised with graffiti and surrounded by refuse. No longer a tribute to the illustrious souls buried there, but an insult. Previous attempts at restoration have been thwarted or shelved by lack of funding. But the Payback Project aims to clear the immense volume of foliage and exterminate the poisonous Japanese knotweed then decide upon the future of the site.
To find out more, call (0151) 261 0306 or 709 3431 and visit
Humphrey Hime (1761-1845) music publisher; John Raphael Isaac (1808-1870) engraver, carver and ship portraitist for the Holt and White Star lines; David Lewis (1823-1885) founder of Lewis’s department store; Jonas Reis (1819-1877) banker and bullion merchant; Moses Samuel (1795-1860) author, scholar and watch manufacturer fluent in 12 languages including Chinese.