Family of Liverpool artist buried in unmarked grave honour him century later

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Family of Liverpool artist buried in unmarked grave honour him century later

Robert Blackburn died from a heart infection at the age of 30, and his grave remained unmarked for 109 years

Robert Blackburn's headstone, left, Keith Blackburn, right
Robert Blackburn's headstone, left, Keith Blackburn, right

The family of a Jewish sculptor buried in a unmarked grave in Liverpool is honouring him after discovering his final resting place over a century after his death.

Robert Blackburn’s grave remained unmarked after he died from a heart infection at the age of 30 in 1910, and it is believed his family could not afford a gravestone at the time 

His grandson Keith Blackburn, 70, an artist and decorator living in North London, aims to give him a “proper send off” with a stone setting ceremony in Liverpool on Sunday.

Keith said kaddish for his grandfather for the first time after visiting the grave in March, with help from local archivist Arnold Lewis who discovered the site. “Having gone from knowing entirely nothing to that point was very emotional,” Keith told JN.

His grandfather was educated at The University Department of Applied Arts and exhibited at several galleries in Liverpool, before working on the city’s Queen Victoria Monument.

Blackburn converted to Judaism after marrying his wife Bessie in 1906, who came from a Jewish background and whose family had emigrated from Hungary in the late 1870s.

Bessie remarried after her first husband’s death. “My grandmother remarried a couple of years after my grandfather died and my father was brought up by his stepfather and that part of the history was put to one side,” Keith said.

The ceremony will be held on August 18 at a Broadgreen cemetery. 

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