Philips Park Cemetery

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Philips Park Cemetery was Manchester’s first public cemetery for Manchester City Council opening August 1866 and is situated on Riverpark Road, Miles Platting. The Cemetery is adjacent to Phillips Park, which was named after local businessman and MP, Mark Philips.  It is elongated in shape, winding stream nearly severing three distinct portions. The surface slopes towards the river, the design and layout of the cemetery makes it appear as if it is part of the Park. Three chapels of which each almost stands in the centre of each section.  Each denominal section has its own entrance. The main entrance has a building on either side a house for the Registrar, office (registration of burials) or boardroom for the committee; it also has a tower with a clock and bell.

Fourteen sets of plans for the layout of the Cemetery were received and these were narrowed down to three, 23rd January 1864 the chosen design received £100 designed by Messrs. Paull & Ayliffe, Architects, of India Buildings Cross Street Manchester & Mr William Gay, of Bradford Yorkshire, Landscape Gardener, with their plans and design in an octagon design called "Trefoll." 

Forty acres of land was purchased for the cemetery and was divided into four sections to accommodate different denominations: 20 acres for Church of England, 12 acres Dissenters/Non Conformists, 8 acres Roman Catholics, each had its own mortuary chapel, all built in the gothic revival style but to different designs.  Of the three chapels, only the Anglican Chapel now remains.  Later a portion of land was set aside for a Jewish Chapel and grave plots.  The cemetery contains more than 300,000 burials.  It was closed for new graves in 1987 although burials in existing private graves are still allowed.

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Above: Philips Park Cemetery

Left: Cemetery

showing the three Chapels and Entrances

Right:

Mark Philips

(1800-1873)

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Church of England Chapel

2 Aug 1867 Church of England Section was consecrated,

opened for interments on the 8th August 1867

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1994

Roman Catholic Chapel

21 Oct 1866 Roman Catholic Section consecrated by Provost Croskell V.G. after a walk around the cemetery repeating the 51st palsm, the Provost blessed the ground by sprinkling holy water. 
Roman Catholic ground opened to interments on 24 Oct. 1866.

The Chapel was demolished and a Crucifix stands in place of it.

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Right:
Plaque Inscription:

This Crucifix and plaque was
unveiled on the former site of
the Roman Catholic Chapel
on Tuesday 11th June 2013
by the Bishop of Salford
The Right Reverend Terence John Brain
and the Rev Canon Alan Denneny
of Christ the King of Newton Heath

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Non Conformist Chapel


Non Conformist/Dissenters ground consecrated 1st May 1867.

The Chapel was demolished in 1972 and a Memorial Garden

is now on the site

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War Memorial

17th April 1926 C.W.G.C. applied for a plot and was granted one, for the erection of a War Memorial.

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During the First World War, Manchester contained between thirty and forty war hospitals, including the 2nd Western General Hospital and the Nell Lane Military Hospital for prisoners of war. Many of those buried in the cemeteries and churchyards of the city died in these hospitals. During the Second World War, there was a Royal Air Force Station at Heaton Park, Manchester. Philips Park Cemetery contains 274 First World War burials and 174 from the Second World War. The burials are scattered throughout the cemetery, a Screen Wall near the main entrance bears the names of those casualties of both wars whose graves could not be individually marked. There is also one non-war service burial in the cemetery. A Cross of Sacrifice stands beside the Screen Wall.

Philips Park Cemetery is the final resting place for two Victoria Cross recipients: William Jones VC (1839-1913) and George Stringer VC (1889-1957). William Jones received his award from Queen Victoria in 1880 for courage and bravery during the Battle of Rorke’s Drift, South Africa during the Anglo-Zulu War. George Stringer was a First World War Victoria Cross recipient which he received for his actions as a private in the 1st Battalion Manchester Regiment  in March 1916 at Kut-el-Amara in Mesopotamia (present day Iraq).

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The Great Flood

The River Medlock which runs adjacent to Philips Park Cemetery was prone to bursting its banks. On  13th July 1872 the river rose after two days of torrential rain with disastrous consequences as this report from the Manchester Courier dated 15th July 1872 describes:-

"It was about half past twelve when the floods came ... the banks of the Medlock were overflowed to such an alarming extent and the first intimation of the flood was the sweeping away of a footbridge near to Philips Park ... It must have been very strongly fixed, for it not only bore the rush of the flood for a considerable time, but it resisted it to such an extent that the water backed up for a considerable distance. The flood increased in depth and power, and at a length swept in a fierce torrent over a large portion of ground apportioned to the Roman Catholics at the Bradford Cemetery carrying away not only tombstones but actually washing out of their graves, a large number of dead bodies. Indeed from the first indication of danger, so far as works on the banks of the Medlock were concerned, dead bodies were observed floating down the river, and those watching could easily see that the bodies had been disinterred out of the Bradford cemetery. It is impossible to calculate how many had been swept out of their final resting place but the number is not short of fifty."

In the aftermath, it was rumoured that some 500 bodies had been swept away but Manchester’s Town Clerk at a Government enquiry stated that 76 bodies had been disinterred and all had been recovered. However, the Roman Catholic ministers strongly refuted this claim.

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A Balaclava Hero Remembered ….

A notable burial at Philips Park Cemetery is John Richardson (1827-1897) who was “one of the six hundred” in the famous charge of the light brigade at Balaclava.

He died in Manchester Workhouse, aged 70 years, where he had been an inmate. The master of the workhouse decided that he should have a military funeral. He was buried in a public grave F Roman Catholic 228 on 24th July 1897 and the Manchester Guardian reported on his funeral.

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A Fireman’s Funeral ….

Samuel Dawson, died 1st March 1883, a fireman at Pollard Street station

was buried at Philips Park Cemetery in a public grave K Cons 1570 

on 5th March 1883.

Despite being only 31 years old when he died he had a varied and

eventful military career before serving with the fire brigade as

the Manchester Guardian described when reporting on his funeral.

"February 1868 he joined the Royal Navy serving as an Able Seaman on several ships. Sailing around the world with Admiral Hornby's flying squadron, he was on board H.M.S. Glasglow when the Lord Mayo's body was brought on board after his assassination at the Andaman Isles.  Samuel took part in the suppression of the slave trade at Zanzibar. He was on board H.M.S. Thunderer when the boiler exploded killing many men.  He served on board Her Majesty's ship 'Shah' as she engaged 'Husscar' the Peruvian ship.   He formed one of the Naval Brigade's in the Zulu War to relief of Col. Pearson after the disaster of the 24th Regt.. Near Ekowe he took part in the fight with the Zulu's. He spent four months on shore, three of those having no tents, staying in the open air.
April 1880 Samuel returned to England and was paid off from the Navy in April 1880. "  With several of his shipmates he joined the Fire Brigade.

His body was carried to his grave by four firemen who were his shipmates in the Navy.  Fire Brigade men and their engines were present as was the Police Band.

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Commemoration Stone

to Firefighters who lost their lives

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