Stone-setting for 1843 death

By Jonathan Kalmus, October 10, 2011

A stone-setting for a man who died penniless in 1843 will be the first ceremony for more than 80 years at Liverpool's historic Deane Road Cemetery.

No gravestone was erected for Dutch immigrant optician Lyon Samson, who had been supported by donations from the then Liverpool Old Hebrew Congregation.

But on October 23, descendants of Mr Samson will attend the stone-setting after being brought together through genealogical research. The last recorded burial at the cemetery was in 1929.

The ceremony ties in with an exhibition of artwork inspired by the cemetery, which opened yesterday at the nearby Kensington Methodist Church. This is being funded by Heritage Lottery money and co-organised by Liverpool councillor Louise Baldock. The £500,000 grant is primarily going towards the restoration of the cemetery grounds and the addition of a visitors' centre, preserving it as a Merseyside cultural and Jewish heritage site.

Keren Chamberlain from the Wirral is organising the stone-setting and said that 10 descendants would be attending.

‘The cemetery is important because it has a lot of history’

"They are people from Liverpool and family from Kent I have not met. We know there is someone in Australia who can't make it. It is our oldest known ancestor who didn't have a stone and the whole cemetery is important because there is a lot of history of the dwindling Jewish community in Liverpool."

Professional genealogist Saul Marks, who is leading the restoration project, said "a number of relatives contacted me about Lyon in total ignorance of each other's existence. To have this stone-setting happening at the same time as contractors are coming on site to restore the cemetery is very exciting."

The cemetery is also a burial place for prominent Jewish figures, from a baroness to wealthy bankers and the family of jewellers H Samuel.

Last updated: 2:37pm, October 10 2011