England’s Jewish heritage under threat

16 November 2006 by Danny

Princes Road Synagogue

The interior of Princes Road Synagogue

A piece on this morning’s Today programme on Radio 4 highlighted the endangered status of a number of England’s architecturally-important inner city synagogues, and coincided with the publication of an English Heritage guidebook entitled ‘Jewish Heritage in England: An Architectural Guide’ by Dr Sharman Kadish.

Diminishing congregations and population migration away from the inner cities are putting a number of these historical buildings at risk of being repurposed or redeveloped, and English Heritage is calling on the UK Government to help. These calls follow the launch in May of its ‘Inspired!’ campaign, which put the cost of repairing all of England’s listed places of worship at £925 million over the next five years.

Amongst those buildings most at risk is the Princes Road Synagogue in Liverpool, built in 1874 by William and George Audsley. This Grade II listed building is cited as one the finest examples of Moorish Revival synagogue architecture in Europe, with its highly ornate interior decked out in gold and marble. You can find out more about the life and works of the Audsley brothers by visiting the ‘The Audsleys, Masters of Victorian Design’ pages which accompanied a 2003 exhibition at the Walker Art Gallery.

If you missed it you can listen again to Today on the BBC website (the piece starts 1hr 22mins into the programme, RealPlayer required). You can find out more about the guidebook at Jewish Heritage UK.

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