Blackley Cemetery, Victoria Ave, Blackley, Manchester opened in December 1953 at a cost of £171,000 and is the youngest of Manchester City Council owned Cemeteries.
It was as early as 1901 when it was mentioned that a Cemetery was needed in North Manchester, but the Council not being able to find suitable land the plan was shelved. Again in 1914 the prospect of acquiring land near Woodlands Road, Cheetham Hill fell through due to the land being ear marked for a housing development. Other mentioned sites were Blackley - Middleton borders and two parts of New Moston boarding Failsworth were picked by the Parks Committee but having difficulties again the idea was shelved as being impracticable.
March 1948 a Compulsory Purchase Order for 98 acres Land, dwelling houses, premises and gardens were submitted to the Minister of Health for the use of a Cemetery, Public Walks and Gardens. 40 acres were to be used as ‘Blackley Cemetery’ and to ultimately build a Crematorium.
The remaining 58 acres are to be known as ‘Blackley Forest.’ Public walks and gardens were to be laid out on the hilly side, South of the River Irk. 1953 the public and local schools were invited by the Parks Committee to come and plant a variety of trees for ‘Arbor Week’. The new forest began in April 1953 when the first oak tree was planted by the Lord Mayor of Manchester.
There are three entrances to the Cemetery, Victoria Ave, Longhurst Road and Chapel Lane. Victoria Ave being the main entrance, the road is a steady incline to the hilly Cemetery.
It is the first Manchester Council owned Cemetery to have a Woodland Meadow Area for those who are wishing for the environmentally friendly option and the only Manchester Cemetery to have a Crematorium on its grounds.
Blackley Burials Registers are available for Free via the Manchester Burials Website.
In the Cemetery grounds is Blackley Crematorium which opened in 1959 at a cost of £132, 110 it is the only Manchester City Council owned Crematorium, (many mistaking Southern Crematorium as Council owned - this being a private company.)
1964 a report was being put together by the Parks Director and City Treasurer of the City Council with a plan of offering free cremation, so as to help free up land from burials in Cemeteries for the housing shortage. The cost of Cremation at Blackley Crematorium was £5 5s. Plus extra costs of a minister and a note in the book of remembrance, this could cost a total of £10. As the Council did not own Southern Crematorium it was stated this was not possible to impose this and would make the population in the North of Manchester free where the population in the South would pay, also informing that it would affect other local crematoriums in nearby towns etc.,
June 1960 the City Architect Mr L. C. Howitt was presented with a Bronze Medal for his work on the Cemetery Chapels, Registrars Block and Crematorium. A Certificate was presented to the Contractors Messrs. G and J Seddon Ltd., Mr Howitt also praised the Staff for their diligent work on the Cemetery, and commentating dryly "it was one job where the customers never complained"
7th May 1967 the Council decided to hold an open day for people to see first hand the mechanics of cremation. The day proved very popular with visitors having conducted tours by guides with organ music playing in the background.
Blackley Cremation Registers are available for Free on the Manchester Burials Website.
15th September 1959