The Dean Cemetery is a historically important Victorian cemetery north of the Dean Village, west of Edinburgh city centre, in Scotland. It lies between Queensferry Road and the Water of Leith, bounded on its east side by Dean Path and on its west by the Dean Gallery. A 20th century extension lies detached from the main cemetery to the north of Ravelston Terrace. The main cemetery is now only accessible from its east side (other than a "grace and favour" access door from the grounds of Dean Gallery). The modern extension is only accessible at the junction of Dean Path and Queensferry Road.
Dean Cemetery, also known as Edinburgh Western Cemetery, was laid out by David Cousin (an Edinburgh architect who also laid out Warriston Cemetery) in 1846 and became a fashionable burial ground, its monuments becoming a rich source of Edinburgh and Victorian history, for mainly the middle and upper-classes. The many monuments bear witness to Scottish achievement in peace and war, at home and abroad.
As the cemetery plots were quickly bought up the cemetery was extended on its north side in 1871. A second set of entrance gates were built on Dean Path, matching the original entrance. Although this section was originally only accessed through this gate the extension was quickly linked to the original section by creating gaps in the mutual wall where no graves existed. This extension is laid out in a more rectilinear pattern than the original curvelinear layout.
The separated section north of Ravelston Terrace was purchased in 1877 in anticipation of a sales rate matching that of the original cemetery, but this was not to be, and the area only began to be used in 1909 (excepting John Ritchie Findlay (1898) alone for a decade). This section is relatively plain and generally unremarkable, but does include a line of Scottish Law Lords against the north wall, perhaps trying to echo the "Lord's Row" against the west wall of the original cemetery. Whilst numerically greater in its number of lords it is far less eye-catching.
The entire cemetery is privately owned by the Dean Cemetery Trust Limited, making it one of the few cemeteries still run as it was intended to be run. The resultant layout, with its mature designed landscape, can be seen as an excellent example of a cemetery actually being visible in the form it was conceived to be seen.
The southern access from Belford Road is now blocked and the entrance road here is now grassed and used for the interment of ashes.
The cemetery contains sculpture by Sir John Steell, William Brodie, John Hutchison, Francis John Williamson, Pilkington Jackson, Amelia Robertson Hill, William Birnie Rhind, John Rhind, William Grant Stevenson and Henry Snell Gamley.
It stands on the site of Dean House (built 1614), part of Dean Estate which had been purchased in 1609 by Sir William Nisbet, who became in 1616 Lord Provost of Edinburgh. The Nisbets of Dean held the office of Hereditary Poulterer to the King. The famous herald, Alexander Nisbet, of Nisbet House, near Duns, Berwickshire, is said to have written his Systems of Heraldry in Dean House. The estate house was demolished in 1845, and sculptured stones from it are incorporated into the south retaining wall supporting at the south side of the cemetery. It is not always realised that this lower, hidden section also contains graves.
- Sir Archibald Alison (d.1867), advocate and historian
- Sir William Allan RSA (1782-1850) artist
- William Hamilton Beattie (1842-1898) architect (including Jenner's and the Balmoral Hotel)
- Joseph Bell (1837–1911), famous lecturer at the medical school of the University of Edinburgh, personal surgeon of Queen Victoria
- Isabella Bird married name Bishop (1831 – 1904), celebrated traveller, writer and photographer. First female Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society
- Alexander Black (1797–1858), architect
- Rev Robert Blair (1837-1907)
- Sir Thomas Bouch (1822-1880), railway engineer, designer of the original Tay Rail Bridge
- Samuel Bough RSA, artist, (1822–1878). (monument by William Brodie 1879)
- Isabella Burton (née Lauder), with children, wife and family of John Hill Burton, historian (monument by William Brodie 1881)
- William Brodie (sculptor) (1815-1881)
- Samuel Butcher (1850-1910), professor of Greek at Edinburgh University, President of the British Academy, Liberal Unionist MP for Cambridge University
- Edward and James Key Caird Dundee jute barons and philanthropists
- Duncan Cameron, (1825–1901), owner of The Oban Times newspaper and inventor of The "Waverley" nib pen and his daughter, Mary Cameron (painter) (1865-1921)
- George Paul Chalmers (1838-1878) artist
- Henry Martyn Clark (1887-1916) missionary
- Thomas Clouston (1840-1915) psychiatrist
- Henry Cockburn, Lord Cockburn (1779–1854)
- George Combe (1788-1858), lawyer and phrenologist
- Robert Cox MP (1845-1899)
- John Crabbie, founder of Crabbie's Green Ginger Wine
- Patrick Fraser, Lord Fraser (1817-1889) jurist
- Major General William John Gairdner, CB, (1789–1861) a very fine sculpture of his hat under a canopy, with his sword at the base
- James Young Gibson (1826-1886) author/translator (bronze by Francis John Williamson)
- Robert Anstruther Goodsir (1823-1899) doctor and Arctic explorer
- David Octavius Hill (1802–1870), artist and photography pioneer, Hill & Adamson. The monument is by his second wife, Amelia Robertson Hill (née Paton) (1820–1904) who is buried with him
- Andrew Inglis (d. 1875), Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh, and Professor of Midwifery at Aberdeen University
- Alexander Taylor Innes (1833-1912) lawyer and historian
- Lt John Irving of HMS Terror (1822–1848 or 49) who died in King William Island as part of the Franklin Expedition searching for the Northwest Passage and whose body was found some 30 years later and brought back to Edinburgh for burial (re-interred 7 November 1881)
- Rev Cameron Lees (1835-1913)
- Lord Francis Jeffrey (1773–1850)
- John Lessels (1808-1883) City architect
- Sir Hector MacDonald, (d.1903), Major General, "The Fighting Mac"
- John Lisle Hall MacFarlane (1851–1874), Scotland rugby international
- Donald Mackenzie (1818–1875), Scottish judge, styled Lord Mackenzie
- Robert Matheson (architect) (1808-1877)
- Sir James Wellwood Moncrieff, Lord Moncrieff (1776-1851)
- William Muir (1819-1905) Scottish Orientalist
- Sir John Murray KCB (d.1914) leader of the Challenger Expedition to discover creatures of the deepest abysses of the sea (the inspiration for Jules Verne's "Twenty Thousand Leagues Under The Sea")
- James Nasmyth (1808–1890), inventor of the steam hammer, an impressive monument by John Rhind
- Joseph Noel Paton (1821-1901) artist
- Arthur Perigal RSA (1784-1847) artist
- William Henry Playfair (1790–1857), architect
- Alexander Ignatius Roche (1861-1921) artist
- A huge red granite obelisk to Andrew Russel, editor of The Scotsman (1814–1870)
- Andrew Rutherfurd, Lord Rutherfurd (1791-1852) a huge red granite pyramid on "Lord's Row", designed by the adjacent Playfair
- John Sinclair, 1st Baron Pentland (1860-1925)
- Robert Hepburn Swinton of that Ilk (d.1852)
- Thomas Thomson (advocate) (1768-1852)
- Edward Arthur Walton (1860-1922) artist
- Sir Henry Wellwood-Moncreiff, 10th Baronet (1809-1883)
20th Century Extension
- Herrick Bunney CVO (1915-1997) organist
- Andrew Constable, Lord Constable (1865-1928)
- William Skeoch Cumming (1864-1929) artist
- Arthur Dewar, Lord Dewar (1860-1917)
- Charles Scott Dickson, Lord Dickson (1850-1922)
- John Ritchie Findlay (1824-1898) newspaper magnate and philanthropist
- Herbert John Clifford Grierson (1866-1960)
- Lady Caroline and Lord Walter James Hore, Baron Ruthven of Gowrie (1838-1921)
- Sir Alexander McPherson Johnston, Lord Dunpark (1915-1991)
- Stewart Kaye (1886-1952) architect
- Sir Alexander MacPherson Fletcher MP (1929-1989)
- Alexander Munro MacRobert (1873-1930) MP and Lord Advocate
- Sir Colin George MacRae (1844-1925)
- Joseph Shield Nicholson (1850-1927) economist
- Edward Theodore Salvesen, Lord Salvesen (1857-1942) (bronze by Henry Snell Gamley)
- Sir David William Scott-Barrett (1922-2003)
- Sydney Goodsir Smith (1915-1975) poet and artist
- Douglas Strachan HRSA (1875-1950) stained glass window designer
- Sir James Howard Warrack (d.1926)
Other monuments of interest
- Monument to John George Bartholomew, map-maker (buried in Portugal) on the north wall of the 20th century cemetery extension (sculpted by Pilkington Jackson)
- Monument to the 79th Cameron Highlanders marking their role in the Crimean War at Alma and Sevastapol. The rear of the monument commemorates their part in the Indian Mutiny at Lucknow
- Monument to the Edinburgh-born Confederate Colonel Robert A. Smith who died in 1862 at Munfordsville, Kentucky in the American Civil War
- Monument to historian John Hill Burton, who is buried at Dalmeny
- The Cemetery contains the war graves of 39 Commonwealth service personnel, 29 from World War I and 10 from World War II, registered and maintained by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission. The oldest of those buried is Major-General Sir John Munro Sym (died 3 October 1919) aged 80. Most of the war graves lie in the independently accessed 20th century section to the north of the main cemetery.
- The Dean Cemetery, Edinburgh edited by A. S. Cowper and Euan S. McIver, Edinburgh, 1992. ISBN 0-901061-54-9.