Looking at Buildings

, printed from the Looking at Buildings website on Saturday 19th September 2020

Princes Road Synagogue

PrincesRoadSynagogue

Princes Road Synagogue, Princes Road
Open: Sun 1015-1630 Tours 1030 & 1230 & 1500. Pre-book: 0151 709 3431 (from 30th Aug.

The most memorable work of the firm of W. & G. Audsley surviving in Liverpool, and one of the finest examples of Orientalism in British synagogue architecture. It replaced one of 1807 in Seel Street, by John Harrison. The Audsleys won the competition in 1871, and the building opened in 1874. Common brick, with red brick, red sandstone and polished red granite, combining GothicGlossary Term [1] and Moorish elements. Façade with high, gabled centre and lower wings, reflecting the division into naveGlossary Term [2] and aisles. Centre framed by octagonal turrets. These, and the outer square turrets, had arcaded and domed finials like minarets (removed in 1961, a sad loss). The W door and rose windowGlossary Term [3] above are GothicGlossary Term [4], but incorporate Moorish lobed arches. Interior dazzlingly rich with polychrome stencilled decoration, restored, but said to follow the original. Pointed horseshoe arcades spring from tapering octagonal columns of cast ironGlossary Term [5]. Plaster tunnel vaultGlossary Term [6] over the naveGlossary Term [7], with transverse vaults. Seats in the aisles and galleries face inwards. The E end is divided off by a giant lobed horseshoe archGlossary Term [8], framing the E rose windowGlossary Term [9]. Below this is the gleaming focus, the ArkGlossary Term [10], of multi-coloured marbles with five richly painted domes, like something out of the Arabian Nights. Carved by Alfred Norbury. In front, the equally rich pulpitGlossary Term [11] and, further W in the central space, the sumptuous Bimah, or reading platform (presented in 1875 by David Lewis, founder of Lewis's department store), both also carved by Norbury. Stained glass with abstract and floral patterns, by R.B. Edmundson & Son to the Audsleys' designs.

Last updated: Monday, 26th January 2009