Carlisle Cemetery and Crematorium
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Carlisle Cemetery has always stood out as being among the finest in England, and indeed the UK. Many other examples of cemeteries are overcrowded, poorly maintained, littered and display a general lack of attention. Carlisle is one of only a few cemeteries in the country that displays genuine beauty.
Left: A woodland walk in the old cemetery, close to the very oldest of the graves.
Right: Looking towards the babies' burial area.
Running through the centre of the main cemetery is a small brook, locally known as the Fairies' Stream. Its name probably originates from its close proximity to the babies' burial area. Surrounding the brook on both sides are gentle slopes on which the cemetery lies. The slopes are graced with a beautiful selection of trees, most of which are evergreen, allowing the cemetery to remain colourful and bright during the winter. There are three bridges over the brook, two pedestrian and one that carries traffic into the cemetery.
Left: The main bridge over the brook.
Right: The stream flows through the centre of the cemetery, the banks left unspoiled.
The old cemetery, to the north of the stream, carries a true sense of history. Graves are not laid out in uniformal lines with plot numbers. The majority of them can be found, dotted around, in particularly pleasant locations, such as beside a clump of colourful shrubbery. The new cemetery, mostly to the south of the brook, is more typical of modern cemeteries. Graves can be found in long lines with systematic pathways surrounding them. The best has been done to blend this with the old cemetery, with new trees being planted on a yearly basis. Along the west of the new cemetery are the relatively new cremation graves, which are always surrounded by fine selections of flowers.
Left: Graves in the old cemetery, which is conserved to be kept in its historical condition.
Right: The new cemetery which is on a hillside overlooking eastern Carlisle.
There are two chapels in the cemetery. Both are gothic in their design, and one is slightly bigger than the other. The smaller one is rarely used, but the larger one conducts the services for many of the burials taking place in the cemetery.
Left: The larger of the two chapels, used for most burial services.
Right: A sign-post to the chapel and the crematorium near a flower bed.
The Woodland Burial section lies at the east of the cemetery. It was the first of its kind in the UK, and after nearly 10 years little has changed there. The original intention was that it was for those who wanted a more natural alternative to their interment. Only cardboard and bio-degradable coffins are buried here and usually a tree is planted above the grave. There are no gravestones in this area, only environmentally friendly memorials - bird tables and windchimes and such. Eventually there area will grow into a section of woodland. Also in this section is the Circle of Remembrance, a walled area with central seating and memorial plaques around the outsides. There is also a wall of remembrance for the placement of plaques dedicated to those who were cremated.
Left: A grave in the woodland burial area.
Right: The woodland burial section viewed from the circle of remembrance.
Adjacent to the cemetery is Carlisle Crematorium, recognised as being one of the most helpful and generally pleasant in the UK. The building itself, a rather bland design, c.1957, is surrounded by finely maintained gardens. There is a more natural area of woodland within the ground for those who oppose high maintenance regimes. There is a wall of remembrance, which is covered with plaques serving as permanent memorials to those who were cremated here. There are twelve miniature gardens, one for each month of the year, where ashes are strewn or buried.
Left: The crematorium itself, a rather uninviting building, surrounded by the gardens.
Right: Cremation graves in the Heather Garden.
The interior of the crematorium is much more comfortable and fitting than the outside. There are rooms for the placement of flowers and another room which houses the Book of Remembrance. There is one page in the book for each day of the year, and it is turned to the correct page each day. It contains inscriptions and sometimes small pictures, such as flowers or crosses. The chapel is open at all times to visitors, and is very well appointed for funeral services. There is seating (which is free to be rearranged) for 102 with plenty of standing space. The catafalque is made of wood and at the moment of committal it is enclosed first by a veil, then a velvet curtain.
Left: The catafalque. To the right of the picture is the minister's stand and to the left the main seating area.
Right: The front of the chapel with the altar and the organ visible.
Bottom: The chapel seating area. Although the walls are plain, they can be used to display photographs of the deceased at funerals
This page was last updated: 5th September 2002