The New Hebrew Congregation synagogue in Liverpool’s Greenbank Drive has been upgraded to Grade II* by the Department of Media, Culture and Sport on the initiative of the Twentieth Century Society.
This enhanced Listed status is recognition of Greenbank Drive’s national significance as one of England’s overlooked interwar buildings. The synagogue, which officially closed in January, is amongst only a handful built in the 1920s and 30s which have remained largely unaltered, making it one of the best examples of the period in the country. Architect Alfred Shennan figures prominently in the civic history of Liverpool, especially for his work towards the construction of the Mersey Tunnel. This was his only synagogue and it is especially gratifying that its importance is being recognised in the year in which Liverpool celebrates as “European Capital of Culture”.
Jewish Heritage’s Director Dr Sharman Kadish welcomed this public acknowledgement of the special qualities of the building. She expressed the hope that the upgrade would advance the search for sustainable new uses that will preserve the integrity of its outstanding interior. “This hidden gem of Liverpool Jewry,” she said, “deserves our redoubled efforts to secure its future. Any scheme which retains the synagogue substantially intact is to be preferred over conversion for residential or other purposes, which would inevitably entail loss of historic fabric and character”.
Jewish Heritage is actively working with the Congregation, their architects, and other interested parties, to secure a fitting future for this exceptional building.