Historic city synagogue gets top award
Mar 1 2008 by Catherine Jones, Liverpool Echo
Architectural gem is given Grade I status
LIVERPOOL’S historic Princes Road Synagogue has been awarded Grade I Listed status by national heritage watchdogs.
The accolade takes the number of Grade I buildings – the highest level awarded by English Heritage – in Liverpool to 27.
Others include St George’s Hall, the Liver Building, the Bluecoat and Liverpool Cathedral.
Princes Road, regarded as one of the finest “cathedral synagogues” in Europe, was previously Grade II* listed but a review recognised it as one of the country’s top architecturally and historically important buildings.
Fewer than 2% of all listings nationally are Grade I and Princes Road is one of only three synagogues in the category.
Cllr Berni Turner, Liverpool’s executive member for the environment and historic environment champion, said: “We’ve long argued there’s been an under representation of Grade I listed buildings in Liverpool and the number didn’t reflect the importance of our architecture.
“It’s been more than 30 years since we had a building listed as Grade I but the synagogue’s fascinating history and design make it worthy to be ranked among the country’s most significant buildings.”
The synagogue, designed by celebrated Liverpool architects the Audsley brothers, was built in 1872-4.
The £15,000 bill was met by the congregation and patrons included Samuel Montagu, David Lewis, Louis Cohen and George Behrend.
English Heritage praised its external design and “lavish interior” which they said represented the “growing self-confidence of the Jewish community in England in the mid-late 19th century and their new-found freedom of self-expression”.
Other reasons for the Grade I listing include a strong music tradition.
Last month Liverpool’s Greenbank Drive synagogue was upgraded from Grade II to II*.