The 5 best Glasgow Cemeteries
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Cemeteries (word from Greek κοιμητήριον, “sleeping place”) have existed since at least 15,000 ago, being Taforalt cave in Morocco the oldest known cemetery in the world.
It wasn’t until the early 19th century, with a rapid population growth, outbreaks of infectious diseases and the limited space in graveyards around the churchs when the European states started to search new solutions.
Père Lachaise Cemetery in Paris was opened on 21 May 1804. It was really groundbreaking because it was far from the city and a place that had not been blessed by the Church.
After the opening of this Parisian cemetery, pressure started to be placed in Scotland trying to get a change in the law to allow burial for profit, and with the parish church not being responsible any longer. Glasgow was one of the first to follow and the Merchants’ House of Glasgow planned a new cemetery, that was officially opened in 1833 and is currently known as the Glasgow Necropolis.
After this, the Southern Necropolis (1840), the Eastern Necropolis (1847) and many other cemeteries were built around Glasgow during the next decades.
Admire the Glasgow Necropolis
Situated on a hill to the east of Glasgow Cathedral, the Glasgow Necropolis is a 37 acres Victorian cemetery where 50,000 individuals have been buried, and contains approximately 3,500 statues, mausoleums or sculptures.
It was initially built as a public park (Fir Park) and by 1832 a Jewish burial ground had been established in the north-west section. It was officially opened as a city of the dead in April 1833 located around a 1825 John Knox statue at the highest point in the park.
Taking inspiration from Paris’ Cimetière du Père Lachaise, this multi-faith cemetery reflects the Glasgow opulence at the time, with graves of merchants and other wealthy Glaswegians through informal paths and a multitude of different architectural styles.
50,000 souls, 3,500 monuments and 180 plant/ tree species.
Discover the Cathcart Cemetery
Opened in 1878, Cathcart Cemetery is situated in the Cathcart district, in the southern area of Glasgow. It is divided into two sections, the older section and the modern Linn extension, separated by a public road.
It contains gothic tombs, Romanesque and art-nouveau designs and even an Egyptian temple: the William and Mary Hood mausoleum, based upon the Philae Temple of Hathor. Some other notable burials are Madge Metcaffe, actress and mother of Stan Laurel, Hugh MacColl, a Scottish man who founded the Sevilla Football Club or John C. McKellar, famous tenement designer and builder.
The cemetery gatehouse was restored as a large family home, winning a Glasgow Institute of Architects Design Award in 2011.
William and Mary Hood mausoleum.
Visit the Southern Necropolis
Opened on 21 July 1840, the Southern Necropolis is situated south of the River Clyde, in the Gorbals area. There are over 250,000 souls buried there.
It was established to meet the needs of the former village of Gorbals when a 1832 cholera outbreak collapsed the Old Gorbals Burial Ground, and as a copy of the project of the Necropolis by the cathedral that would be open to everyone, not just to wealthy people.
The solitary grand gatehouse gives access to the three sections, opened between 1840 to 1850: Central, opened in 1840; Eastern, opened in 1846; and the larger Western section, opened in 1850.
Within this cemetery, besides other notable interments, stands out the black marble tomb of Alexander ‘Greek’ Thomson, architect.
Alexander ‘Greek’ Thomson was buried there.
Go to the Ramshorn Cemetery
The Ramshorn Cemetery is one of Glasgow’s oldest burial grounds. Situated in the heart of the Merchant City district, it was used from 1719 to 1915.
In 1826 St David’s Paris Church was built at the graveyard to replace an earlier church, becoming known simply as the Ramshorn Kirk.
It contains the remains of many famous Glaswegians (specially rich Glasgow merchants) and the graveyard of Pierre Emile L’Angelier, who was poisoned with arsenic by Madeleine Smith. The majority of the graves are built in an austere style. Works in the 20th century moved most of the stones which are now disconnected from the actual spot of burial.
One of Glasgow’s oldest burial grounds.
See the Sighthill Cemetery
Opened originally in 1840, the 46 acres of the Sighthill cemetery are situated over a hill offering panoramic views of Glasgow.
The gateway to the cemetery has a modern iron gate and a small Greek temple. It contains the Martyr’s Monument, designed by James Leggat. Erected by public subscription in 1847, it was dedicated to John Baird and Andrew Hardie, the hanged leaders who demanded improvement in their working conditions during the 1820 Scottish Insurrection.
The Anatomy Act 1832 was an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom that gave freer licence to doctors, teachers of anatomy and medical students to dissect donated bodies.
It was enacted in response to the increase in the importance of medical investigation, added to a reduction in the number of executions (only the corpses of executed murderers could be used for dissection) and it helped to erradicate the practice of stealing corpses from Glasgow tombs.
Research led by SUZANNAH HENDERSON ׀
Date of the Research: 28 OCTOBER -12 NOVEMBER 2018 ׀
Publication date: 5 NOVEMBER 2018
Review date: 5 NOVEMBER 2019
Scope of the research & essential inclusion criteria:
|Open to public.||It exists today.|
4 Beauty of cemetery.
5 Condition of the tombs.
7 Maintenance /Current conditions.
8 Harmonious set.
10 Information on the site about the cemetery.
Premium Validation criteria:
11 Condition of the facilities.
12 Access to pedestrians.
13 Surrounding area.
14 Unique elements.
16 Helps to understand Glasgow’s history.
18 Free tours.
19 Integration landscape & cemetery.
20 Other features.