15 June 2004
Princes Road Synagogue
Inside The Princes Road Synagogue
The Princes Road Synagogue is one of Liverpool's hidden gems. amongst the most ornate buildings in Liverpool few of the people who pass by everyday are aware of the splendour within. We took a peek inside.
If the Princes Road Synagogue was in New York or Central London then it'd be known worldwide, but as it is nestling close to the junction of Upper Parliament Street and Princes Road the building, the building is passed daily by Liverpool commuters, the majority of whom have no idea of what lies within.
Quite simply the interior is breathtaking. The Grade II listed building is hailed as one of Europe's finest examples of the Moorish revival style of synagogue architecture.
The building was built in 1874 when Liverpool was one of the most prosperous cities in the world - and it shows.
From the street it looks nothing special, nothing more than a simple brick building, its inside behind the large wooden doors that the real show begins. The interior simply glows, most of it golden.
The high ceiling is capped at both ends by large circular windows that cast light across the floor. Everywhere you look there's marble, in columns, and fixtures throughout the hall.
Part of the ornate interior
Through the round window...
If you were looking for one word to describe Princes Road Synagogue it would be 'ornate'. From the ornamentation on the pillars to the rich colours all around the synagogue everything inside seems to shine with colour.
The synagogue was built by Edinburgh architect brothers William and George Audsley, for £14 975 8s 11d. The Princes Road Synagogue was consecrated on September 2nd 1874. Much of the building was later gutted by fire in the late 1970's, but has since been painstakingly restored.
The synagogue has many stories to its name - from a choirmaster who's been in post since 1934, at 70 years surely a world record? To its recent appearance in the BBC4 programme 'Days That Shook the World' depicting the 1938 'Kristallnacht' - the turning point in the Nazi persecution of the Jews.
The Princes Road Synagogue is currently undergoing a semi-refurbishment programme with much of the roof being replaced, which accounted for some of the eerie banging noises on our visit. The building still needs more work to safeguard its future but is currently handicapped by a lack of funds; something you feel wouldn't be a problem if it was in central London or New York.
Words: Paul Coslett