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Thread: Sheffield General Cemetery, September 2014

  1. #1
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    Default Sheffield General Cemetery, September 2014


    Perhaps this is not your typical report on Derelict Places as it is open access and seen by many but it has been badly neglected over the years so ticks the derelict box and is also steeped in history so here we go. Sheffield General Cemetery is one of the most beautiful cemetery parks in Sheffield. Ironic, then, that the city's grandest cemetery finds itself in such a state of semi-abandonment. Having opened in 1836 it represented one of the first commercial landscape cemeteries in Britain. By 1916 the cemetery was filling up and space was at a premium. Burials in family plots continued through the 1950s and 1960s but by 1978 ownership of the cemetery had passed to Sheffield City Council and it was subsequently closed to all new burials. In 1980 a total of 800 gravestones were cleared to create a recreation area, after the council got permission via an Act of Parliament. During the 1980s and 1990s the rest of the cemetery became overgrown.

    As you enter at the top end of the cemetery, via the Sharrow Lane entrance, you are greeted by the Anglican chapel. It was added in 1850 and is Grade II listed. It was designed in the Neo-Gothic style by William Flockton (who is himself buried in the cemetery) and notably includes several ogival-style windows, a porte-cochere (or coach gate) and the oversized-spire. The good news here is that English Heritage-funded restoration in conjunction with Sheffield General Cemetery Trust (SGCT) is now in full swing. The aim is to return the church to its former glories and work on a new roof is now advancing well. Previously in 2003 the lower gatehouse and catacombs were restored thanks to a 500,000 grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund and the former now houses the offices of the SGCT.

    As you walk down "Dissenters' Wall" you come across the many graves, some modest, some very ostentatious. Some in a good state of repair, others less so. The person with the distinction of being the first to be buried here was of Mary Ann Fish, a victim of tuberculosis. She now keeps company with some other very distinguished people. Perhaps two of the most famous are Steel magnet Mark Firth (1819-1880) and Ellen Bulmer, who, at 101, was Sheffield's longest living woman. Firth is particularly esteemed having been the city's Master Cutler in 1867, the Lord Mayor in 1874 and the founder of Firth College in 1870, which later went on to become Sheffield University. Also to be found are George Bassett (1818-1886) whose company invented Liquorice Allsorts and brothers John, Thomas and Skelton Cole who founded Sheffield's Cole Brothers department store in 1847.

    The rest of the cemetery's buildings are in Greek Doric and Egyptian styles and were designed by Sheffield architect Samuel Worth (17791870). The Nonconformist chapel (Grade II listed) is built in a classical style with Egyptian features. The chapel has a panel above its door portraying a dove (representing the Holy Spirit) served as a place for family and friends to remember loved ones prior to their burial. It has been abandoned since the 1950s and has been in a state of disrepair. However the Grade II listed building is, like the Anglican chapel, now undergoing repair and restoration.

    On with the picures:

    Two views through the trees of the Anglican Chapel:

    img9141 by HughieDW, on Flickr


    img9136 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    Two photos of the buttresses to the rear of the Anglican Chapel:

    img9134 by HughieDW, on Flickr


    img9135 by HughieDW, on Flickr


    The view up into the spire of the Anglican chapel:

    img9125 by HughieDW, on Flickr


    One of the bricked-up ogival windows of the Anglican chapel:

    img9124 by HughieDW, on Flickr


    Memorial to James Nicholson, a prominent Sheffield industrialist:



    img9145 by HughieDW, on Flickr


    William Parker (merchant) Memorial:

    img9149 by HughieDW, on Flickr


    Side elevation of the William Parker Memorial:

    img6060 by HughieDW, on Flickr


    General view of the cemetery's over-grown graves:

    img9153 by HughieDW, on Flickr


    The tomb of Henry Payne:

    img9151 by HughieDW, on Flickr


    Assorted tombstones:

    img9144 by HughieDW, on Flickr


    Front elevation of the Nonconformist chapel:

    img9147 by HughieDW, on Flickr


    Side elevation of the Nonconformist chapel:

    img9148 by HughieDW, on Flickr


    I was accompanied on one of my several visits by Patrick Duff, ex-singer of Strangelove and now a solo artist in his own right:

    img6057 by HughieDW, on Flickr


    img6066 by HughieDW, on Flickr

  2. Thanks given by: brickworx, decker, donnylass, kevdyas, krela, Mearing, solo100, tony willett
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  4. #2
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    Nice one Hughie, I have a thing for victorian cemeteries (funny that).

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    Interesting! Do they plan to open the buildings up?

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    Interesting gen, fab pics..got to love a cemetery..

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    Quote Originally Posted by kevdyas View Post
    Interesting! Do they plan to open the buildings up?
    Good news Kevdyas! According to the SGCT website they are planning that the Nonconformist chapel will be:

    "used by the Sheffield General Cemetery Trust to expand its volunteer and educational activities and provide a unique venue for a wide programme of arts, culture and music. The Chapel will be available for private hire and the Sheffield General Cemetery Trust and South Yorkshire Buildings Preservation Trust are committed to widening access and knowledge of the history of the Cemetery, by holding public open days, talks and lectures".
    Last edited by HughieD; 30th Oct 14 at 19:00.

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    How interesting thanks for posting this. Sporting a cracking shirt as well :)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cachewoo View Post
    How interesting thanks for posting this. Sporting a cracking shirt as well :)
    My pleasure Cachewoo. And yes, Patrick is a man of style!

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