Warriston Cemetery lies in Warriston, one of the northern suburbs of Edinburgh, Scotland. It was built by the then newly formed Edinburgh Cemetery Company, and occupies around 14 acres (5.7 ha) of land on a slightly sloping site. It contains many tens of thousands of graves, including notable Victorian and Edwardian figures, the most eminent being the physician Sir James Young Simpson.
It is located on the north side of the Water of Leith, and has an impressive landscape; partly planned, partly unplanned due to recent neglect. Of note are two purple-leaved elms, one of the rarest of pre-Dutch Elm Disease cultivars, and three mature Guernsey Elms. It lies in the Inverleith Conservation Area and is also a designated Local Nature Conservation Site. The cemetery is protected as a Category A listed building.
In July 2013 the Friends of Warriston Cemetery was inaugurated to reveal the heritage and to encourage appropriate biodiversity.
Designed in 1842 by Edinburgh architect David Cousin, the cemetery opened in 1843 (the first in Edinburgh), and provided a model for several other Scottish cemeteries. In its own right it was broadly based on ideas first introduced at Kensal Green Cemetery in London. Designed elements include a neo-Tudor line of catacombs. Their length was doubled in 1862 by architect John Dick Peddie. The chapel that once stood on top of the catacombs was removed in the 1980s.
Soon after instigation (in 1845) the cemetery was divided by the Edinburgh Leith and Newhaven Railway which was built east to west through its southern half. A tunnel was added, with Gothic archways at its mouths, to link the north and south sections, but the south being smaller, was the inferior area from this date onwards. The embankments of the railway have been partly removed following its closure in the 1950s, and the line is now a public walkway.
In 1929 the Edinburgh Cemetery Company expanded their business into the new field of cremation, building Warriston Crematorium on an adjacent site to the east. The cemetery lodge to the north-west dates from 1931 and was designed by architect J.R.McKay. The cemetery was in private ownership until 1994, when it was compulsorily purchased by the City of Edinburgh Council. The long task of restoring the heavily overgrown and vandalised cemetery has begun, but still has far to go. Currently only the upper (westmost) section is maintained. Many sections are now so densely overgrown that the stones are no longer visible and are simply bumps in the green undergrowth.
Monuments of architectural note
The Robertson mortuary chapel was erected in 1865 for Mary Ann Robertson (1826–58), daughter of Brigadier-General Manson of the Bombay Artillery. The white marble shrine contained a sculpture of a reclining female figure, and was topped by a red glass roof, leading to the local nickname, the Tomb of the Red Lady. The monument was heavily vandalised and had to be demolished in the late 1980s. A sizeable arched pedestal to the Rev. James Peddie (d.1845) by John Dick Peddie is also of note.
Sir James Young Simpson's grave remains visible but the lower section has been infilled with earth to provide space for further burial. It is compromised in all senses, and despite having an advantage of being "closer to home" for visiting family members, the missing of his opportunity to have been buried in Westminster Abbey rather than here now seems to have been unwise.
Notable persons interred and cremated
- Adam Black (1784-1874), publisher, Lord Provost and Member of Parliament for Edinburgh
- Hippolyte Blanc (1844–1917), architect
- Sir John James Burnet (1857–1938), architect
- Sir Thomas Clark (1823-1900), Lord Provost of Edinburgh (1865-1888)
- Sir David Deas (1807–1876), naval physician
- Robert Gibb (1845–1932), artist, most remembered for the painting The Thin Red Line
- Sir George Harrison (1812-1885), Lord Provost of Edinburgh 1882-5
- Sir George Harvey (1805-1876) artist.
- Professor Robert Jameson (1774–1854), naturalist and mineralogist
- Feliks Janiewicz (1762-1848), Polish composer and violinist in exile
- Alexander Keiller (1811-1892), physician and obstetrician; introduced gynaecological teaching into the Edinburgh Medical School
- Philip Kelland (1808-1879), English mathematician
- Count Walerian Krasiński (1795-1855), Polish Calvinist politician, nationalist and historian
- Robert Scott Lauder (1803–1869), artist (monument by John Hutchison)
- Professor David Low (1786–1859), agriculturalist
- Horatio McCulloch (1806–1867), artist (monument by John Rhind)
- Duncan McNeill, 1st Baron Colonsay and Oronsay (1793-1874), advocate and Tory politician; Lord Justice General and Lord President of the Court of Session (1852-1867)
- John Menzies (1808–1879), founder of the national newsagent chain bearing his name
- William Nicol (1770–1851), physicist and geologist
- Sir William Peck (1862–1925), astronomer
- Alexander Peddie (1810-1907), physician and author
- John Dick Peddie (1824-1891), architect (see above)
- Alexander Henry (1818-1894), gunsmith, First Edinburgh Rifle Volunteer, JP and Edinburgh Town Councillor
- James Pringle (1822-1886), businessman and Provost of Leith (1881-6)
- Alexander Ramsay (1777–1847), architect
- Harold Raeburn (1865–1926), mountaineer
- John Rhind (1828–1892), sculptor
- William Robertson (1818-1882), physician and statistician
- John Siveright (1779–1856), of the Hudson's Bay Company
- Sir James Young Simpson (1811–1870), pioneer of anaesthetics
- Alexander Smith (1829–1867), Scottish poet,
- Sir John Struthers (1823-1899), surgeon and anatomist
- Captain Francis Stupart (Scots Greys), Cavalry Officer who fought in the Battle of Waterloo
- Thomas Jameson Torrie (d. 1858), advocate, geologist, mineralogist and botanist
- William Williams (1832-1900), Welsh veterinary surgeon
- Alfred Adler (1870-1937), Austrian psychotherapist and founder of the school of individual psychology. Moved 2011-04 to Austria
- Sapper Adam Archibald (1879-1957), VC recipient World War I
- Captain Charles George Bonner (1884-1951), Royal Navy Victoria Cross recipient World War I.
- Anthony Chenevix-Trench (1919-1979), Headmaster of Eton and Fettes Colleges
- Brigadier Arthur Edward Cumming (1896-1971), VC recipient, Malaya, World War II
- Lieutenant David Lowe MacIntyre (1895-1967), Army VC recipient, World War I
- Captain Henry Peel Ritchie (1879-1958), Royal Navy VC recipient, East Africa, World War I
- Drum-Major Walter Potter Ritchie (1892-1965), VC recipient, Battle of the Somme, World War I
- Sir Charles Laing Warr (1892-1969), Minister of The High Church of St Giles, Edinburgh, and Dean of the Thistle and Chapel Royal Scotland (1926–1969)
- Don Revie, English footballer and manager (1927-1989)
Warriston Cemetery contains 100 graves of Commonwealth service personnel, 72 from World War I and 27 from World War II, besides a grave of a Belgian soldier. The cemetery also contains a CWGC memorial, at the end of the columbarium, in the form of panels listing 142 Commonwealth service personnel of World War II who were cremated here.
- Edinburgh City Local Plan, Jan 2010
- "Warriston cemetery, with all monuments, catacombs, bridge, boundary walls, gates and gatepiers: Listed Building Report". Historic Scotland. Retrieved 2020-07-24.
- Buildings of Scotland: Edinburgh by Colin McWilliam
- Peter McGowan Associates (2007). - 49k - 2007-09-01 "Warriston Cemetery". Edinburgh Survey of Gardens and Designed Landscapes. City of Edinburgh Council. Retrieved 2010-07-24.
- Alfred Adlers Asche nach 74 Jahren entdeckt orf.at, 2011-04-10
- Asche von Adler kommt nach 74 Jahren zurück, wien.orf.at, 2011-04-11
-  Burial Locations Victoria Cross Holders.
-  Burial Location VC holders Staffordshire (headstone in St Mary's Churchyard, Aldridge). At time of writing he is not entered on the page for Edinburgh.
-  CWGC Cemetery Report.
-  CWGC Cemetery Report.