Good news for Jewish-Cornish heritage: a grant of £13,100 has been awarded by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) to restore Penzance Jewish Cemetery. This initiative has brought Board of Deputies Heritage together with Jewish and Cornish partners, namely Kehillat Kernow – The Jewish Community of Cornwall, Friends of the Penzance Jewish Cemetery, Penlee House Gallery & Museum in Penzance and the Penzance Town Hall.
The project will preserve the fabric of the most westerly and southerly of Jewish cemeteries in Britain for present and future generations to appreciate. In addition to the physical preservation, the cemetery site will be made more accessible to Jewish, Cornish and wider communities by encouraging visitors to appreciate this unique heritage site. The grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund is matched by a similar amount made up of contributions by visitors to the cemetery, a number of generous donations from descendants of those interred in the cemetery, local and Jewish grant making organisations and local traders.
Restoration of the fabric, which will be carried out by local craftsmen with local materials, will go hand-in-hand with an extensive programme, using trained volunteers and staff at Penlee House to provide opportunities for schools, colleges and members of the local community to visit the Cemetery, as well as develop courses and workshops. In this way, the Cemetery’s history will be more fully appreciated. The restored building will also attract visitors to Cornwall and be a valuable addition to the Duchy’s rich store of natural and man-made places of interest.
Commenting on the award, Leslie Lipert, Kehillat Kernow, Treasurer , Agent for BOD Heritage Limited and one of the Friends of Penzance Jewish Cemetery, said, “The generous contributions of the Heritage Lottery Fund and others will revive Jewish and Cornish history and strengthen links between our new Jewish community and the wider Cornish population. It will also connect both with a shared past.”
Louise Connell, Penlee House Gallery and Museum, Director said, “The Penzance Jewish Cemetery is a place of great local, national and international significance. This grant is important as it will enable essential work to take place to preserve the site and provide greater access to the wider community. Penlee House Gallery & Museum and its governing body, Penzance Town Council, are proud to be associated with this project and will continue to help and support the Friends of the Jewish Cemetery to promote and celebrate Jewish heritage in Penzance.”
As for HLF, its Head of South West, Nerys Watts, said: “It is wonderful that we are able to support the vital restoration of Penzance Jewish Cemetery. As a final resting place for many figures who made a major impact on Cornwall’s commercial, religious and economic life for more than two centuries, it has huge significance to the local community. By getting volunteers involved in the restoration, and opening up the cemetery to the visitors, more people will have the chance to learn about and explore the cemetery’s fascinating history.”
For the background to this story and more information go to: Penzance Cemetery.