Woodhouse Cemetery

The Leeds General Cemetery (also known as Woodhouse Cemetery, Woodhouse Lane Cemetery and, since its closure in 1969, St George's Fields) is a former cemetery in Woodhouse, Leeds, West Yorkshire, England. It is now within the campus of the University of Leeds and has been landscaped and kept as an open space. Some original monuments and the cemetery chapel remain.

Woodhouse Cemetery
Path and gravestones
Woodhouse Cemetery
Details
Established1835
Closed1969
Location
CountryEngland
Coordinates53°48′51″N 01°33′40″W / 53.81417°N 1.56111°W / 53.81417; -1.56111Coordinates: 53°48′51″N 01°33′40″W / 53.81417°N 1.56111°W / 53.81417; -1.56111
TypePublic, Anglican, War graves, memorial
Owned byLeeds University
No. of interments93,569
Find a GraveWoodhouse Cemetery

HistoryEdit

 
Civic Society blue plaque

The Leeds General Cemetery Company Limited was set up in 1833 to create a new cemetery as that of the parish church was full.[1] The cemetery opened in 1835, and a total of 93,569 interments took place in it.

In 1956 the University of Leeds acquired a majority shareholding in the company and in 1965 the University of Leeds Act was passed which allowed the university to remove monuments and create a public open space. The company went into voluntary liquidation in 1967 and the last burial took place in October 1969. From March to November 1968 contractors removed the headstones and memorials, some of which were subsequently collected by Leeds City Museum, some retained and the rest covered with soil which was then grassed over and landscaped. There were no exhumations.[2] The space re-opened to the public in 1969 as St George's Fields (the name of the area before the cemetery was created).[2] It is valued as a quiet space within the busy campus.[3]

Monuments and burialsEdit

Notable surviving monuments include those of circus proprietor Pablo Fanque (1796-1871), who was mentioned in the Beatles song "Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite!" from the LP Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band and his wife Susannah Darby, and the 1892 Leeds Fire Brigade Memorial. Other notable people who were buried in the cemetery include Leeds artist Atkinson Grimshaw (1836-1893), Victoria Cross holder Charles Hull (1890-1953) and Ann Carr (1783-1841) who led the Female Revivalist Society.[4]

A total of 105 Commonwealth service personnel of both World Wars were buried in this cemetery. Because their graves could no longer be maintained by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, they are commemorated by name on a Screen Wall memorial in Lawnswood Cemetery in the same city.[5]

Listed buildingsEdit

 
The cemetery chapel

The cemetery chapel, built in 1835, is grade II listed along with a statue of Michael Sadler.[6] The cemetery lodge,[7] the Leeds Fire Brigade Memorial[8] and several groups of monuments[9][10][11] are also grade II listed.

Burial recordsEdit

Leeds University Library holds an archive of the Leeds General Cemetery Company and the indexed burial registers, which have been digitised and can be searched and viewed freely online.[12][2]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Life and death in Leeds". BBC Leeds. 25 April 2006. Retrieved 6 April 2011.
  2. ^ a b c "Leeds General Cemetery Company Ltd Archive". Special Collections. Leeds University Library. Retrieved 3 April 2017.
  3. ^ "Spaces for quiet contemplation on campus: St George's Field". University of Leeds: Equality Service. Archived from the original on 2 July 2013. Retrieved 5 August 2020.
  4. ^ "Carr, Ann (1783–1841), Female Revivalist Society preacher | Oxford Dictionary of National Biography". www.oxforddnb.com. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/41258. Retrieved 13 August 2019.
  5. ^ [1] CWGC Cemetery Report (under Leeds (Lawns Wood) Cemetery).
  6. ^ Historic England. "Former cemetery chapel and statue of Michael Sadler, St George's Fields (1256177)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 6 April 2011.
  7. ^ Historic England. "Former lodges to Woodhouse Cemetery, St Georges Fields (1256136)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 6 April 2011.
  8. ^ Historic England. "Leeds Fire Brigade Memorial, St Georges Fields (1256138)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 6 April 2011.
  9. ^ Historic England. "Monuments approximately 10 metres north of Woodhouse Cemetery chapel, St Georges Fields (1256141)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 6 April 2011.
  10. ^ Historic England. "Monuments approximately 3 metres east of Woodhouse Cemetery chapel, St Georges Fields (1256139)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 6 April 2011.
  11. ^ Historic England. "Monuments approximately 3 metres north of east end of Woodhouse Cemetery chapel, St Georges Fields (1256140)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 6 April 2011.
  12. ^ "Leeds General Cemetery Burial Registers Index". Special Collections. Leeds University Library. Retrieved 3 April 2017.

Further readingEdit