A historic Merseyside butcher’s shop which supplied kosher meat to the Titanic is under threat of demolition through building plans of the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine.
The green-tiled Galkoff’s shop in Liverpool’s city centre has been derelict since its closure in 1979. The Grade II listed building was threatened with demolition in 2009 when the medical school developed an adjoining property but was left unscathed.
However, the school purchased the shop in June and has now announced government funding streams to develop the site.
English Heritage considers it a “nationally unique Jewish butcher’s shop-front” and a “very unusual and eloquent reflection of Jewish identity in Liverpool”. The shop features in a Liverpool City Council heritage strategy as part of its recognition as a World Heritage Site by the United Nations.
Ivor Galkoff, 75, grew up in the shop, opened by Russian immigrant Percy Galkoff in 1907 and thought to be the first UK butcher to use a fridge. The shop provided kosher meat for ships, including the Titanic. Many shipping companies wanted to cater for Jewish migrant steerage passengers.
Mr Galkoff fears for the survival of his grandfather’s shop building and hopes arrangements can be made for its tiles to be reconstructed in a Liverpool museum.
“The whole family are incredibly proud of our heritage,” he said. “My grandfather bought the shop’s 75-year lease for £667 in 1907. I still have the original contract. My father, Sydney, ran the business from 1940 until 1963. It’s an important piece of Liverpool Jewish heritage.”
Local Jewish councillor Jeremy Wolfson and his colleague Nick Small will be campaigning for preservation. Councillor Small said plans “have got to be more just a plaque or a nod to the heritage”.
A medical school spokesman said it was in “ongoing negotiations with the city council and English Heritage. The school will try to integrate these Grade II listed buildings into our plans as far as we can afford and will definitely look to preserve their heritage.”