Saturday, June 23, 2007

Deane Road Jewish Cemetery restoration update

I had a really interesting meeting on Tuesday with Saul Marks, superintendent (is that the right title Saul?) of the Jewish cemetery on Deane Road in Kensington, Cath Taylor and Maria Curran (formerly Grimes, oft mentioned in this blog for her hard work) both from Kensington Regeration.

Saul has managed to get hold of all sorts of specialists to quote for works needed to restore the cemetery. We need builders to repoint and in some places rebuild the walls of the cemetery, the front gates and arch, which are grade 2 listed, need urgent work, the graves need the help of stonemasons, the grounds need clearing of weeds and overgrown plants - buddleia particularly which has pushed a lot of the stones over. We need some paint daubs cleaning off (30 year old graffiti in the main, some celebrating Sid Vicious and the rest some local youth called from memory "Chris"). We need the rubbish tip (now about 5 years old) clearing out and the gardens replanting.

There is a lot to do and we think it will come in at around £200,000 in the end. That doesnt sound so much when you see the huge scale of the job.

What made the meeting really interesting was when we got on to talking about funding options and one possibility is to raise some funds from living descendants of those buried there, which as I have blogged before, include the founders of H Samuel jewellers, Lewis's department store, Bahrend's Shipping and many local worthies of big importance in the Victorian era. Maria, Saul and I are all keen genealogists and work has already begun, finding these living relatives. We have identified at least two Sirs already - one of which Sir Nicholas Montagu, was the Chairman of the civil service department where I now work, a small world.

We are so looking forward to the restoration when Saul can take groups on guided tours but also I think we are looking forward, with the rest of the community volunteers who are involved but didnt happen to be at this particular meetings, to the task itself.

If you want to get involved, please let me know, this is really something very special


JB said...

That is fascinating, I'd be honoured to assist.

£200k is nothing when you see what goes to waste round here - the council are paying that for inhabited houses on Prescot Road, which they intend to knock down!

Maybe they could sell a couple off to fund the refurb of our heritage - some hope!

Louise Baldock said...

Hope to see you on 19th July for the clear-up day then. It will be the first of several I would imagine. Saul has a website with more detail of the cemetery which I am sure you will find if you google.

I am also thinking of persuading him to be interviewed on Radio Kensington in November. (see other blog entry)

It would be great to have you on board

JB said...

Indeed I'll deffo be there if I'm in town, but please can we keep the Sid Vicious graffiti?

It's now an historic monument in its own right!

Louise Baldock said...

You will have to come and see it, it is a scar on someone's grave, not sure we should keep it but we could certainly consider photographing it, accompanied by modern day or contemporary punks, it could be a short term pilgrimage perhaps, certainly we can make a pictorial history of it...

Food for thought.

Incidentally re the Prescot Road/Drive houses, my first thought on hearing of the cash required for the project was to think that it was the cost of knocking down houses and shops. Great minds....

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