Fascinating history of St Dunstan’s: Peter Berg holds the key

All CHAS members will be familiar with various iconic buildings in or around the St Dunstan’s area including the Westgate Towers, St Dunstan’s Church (images 1 and 2) and the Roper Gateway (image 3). But perhaps some CHAS members have not visited the former Jewish cemetery (Image 4), and it really requires the knowledge and skill of a long-time St Dunstan’s resident and guide (Peter Berg) to reveal many interesting places and buildings in the area, and to recount fascinating stories from the past. Access to the old Jewish cemetery is now via a key kept by the city council. However the council has been moving offices, and when Peter requested the key, initially it could not be located. Finally it was found just in time for our tour on June 29th, so Peter was able to show us the beautiful cemetery, and share his knowledge of the Jewish calendar to enable interpretation of some of the dates to be seen on the headstones. Other places of interest included a former pub in Cross Street (image 5), an art deco building of a former shoe repair shop (image 6) the former home (image 7) of Frederick Flint (owner of the adjacent Flint & Sons Brewery) and the cover (image 8) to the coal bunker (now used to store something more palatable) outside Peter’s own home. Another architectural gem is Aucher Villas designed by the former local city surveyor and architect John Hall Green, and many CHAS residents will have seen the new blue plaque outside his former office in St Margaret’s Street. Peter finished his walk with a short quiz, and it is pleasing to report that nearly all the questions were answered correctly indicating how keenly CHAS members had been listening throughout the afternoon.

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