Warriston Cemetery

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Warriston Cemetery
Central vaults, Warriston Cemetery
Warriston Cemetery looking down the south-west path to the war memorial

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.[1] The cemetery is protected as a Category A listed building.[2]

In July 2013 the Friends of Warriston Cemetery was inaugurated to reveal the heritage and to encourage appropriate biodiversity.

History[edit]

The 8m high granite cross to Robertson McLean (1822-1871) by McGlashan (1807-1873), Warriston Cemetery
The large monument to Revs. William and James Peddie, Warriston Cemetery
Group of Celtic crosses by McGlashen, Warriston Cemetery

Designed in 1842 by Edinburgh architect David Cousin, the cemetery opened in 1843: the first interment was towards the east, Margaret Barker, who was buried on 3rd June 1843. It was the first garden cemetery 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.[3] 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, converting East Warriston House (1818) into Warriston Crematorium on an adjacent site to the east. The architect was Sir Robert Lorimer, hence the title Lorimer Chapel for the main chapel. The crematorium was extended to the west in 1967 by the architect Esme Gordon.[4] 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.[5] 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[edit]

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.

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.

Several eminent sculptors work is found in the cemetery, including a fine portrait of William Young, horticulturist (1816-1896) by William Birnie Rhind, a monument to Robert Bryson by Thomas Stuart Burnett[6], and a wealth of fine ornate Celtic crosses by the McGlashens. A sizeable arched pedestal to the Rev. James Peddie (d.1845) by John Dick Peddie is also of note.

Notable persons interred and cremated[edit]

Interred[edit]

  • George Aikman (1830-1905) artist and engraver
  • Adam Black (1784-1874), publisher, Lord Provost and Member of Parliament for Edinburgh
19th Century tomb of a diplomat and his wife

Cremated[edit]

Warriston Crematorium, Edinburgh

The crematorium is on a separate site, east of the main cemetery. It has several areas of remembrance, the oldest being the oak panelled rooms in the basement. To the north there is both a Rose Garden and Water Garden holding memorials. The Book of Remembrance is opened to the date each day, for thise marking the anniversary of a death. A computerised version of the Book of Remembrance is also available, enabling other dates to be viewed.

War graves[edit]

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.[11] 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.[12]

External links[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Edinburgh City Local Plan, Jan 2010
  2. ^ "Warriston cemetery, with all monuments, catacombs, bridge, boundary walls, gates and gatepiers: Listed Building Report". Historic Scotland. Retrieved 2014-12-03. 
  3. ^ Buildings of Scotland: Edinburgh by Colin McWilliam
  4. ^ Buildings of Scotland:Edinburgh, by Gifford McWilliam and Walker
  5. ^ "Overview of Warriston Cemetery". Retrieved 1 October 2014. 
  6. ^ http://sites.scran.ac.uk/scottmon/pages/hisnovels/statues/david_dean.htm
  7. ^ Alfred Adlers Asche nach 74 Jahren entdeckt orf.at, 2011-04-10
  8. ^ Asche von Adler kommt nach 74 Jahren zurück, wien.orf.at, 2011-04-11
  9. ^ a b c d e [1] Burial Locations Victoria Cross Holders.
  10. ^ [2] 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.
  11. ^ [3] CWGC Cemetery Report.
  12. ^ [4] CWGC Cemetery Report.

Coordinates: 55°58′08″N 3°11′53″W / 55.969°N 3.198°W / 55.969; -3.198