Manchester

Crematorium

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Manchester Crematorium Old Chapel

Manchester Crematorium, (also referred locally as Southern Crematorium) is situated on Barlow Moor Road opened in 1892, it is a private Company and not Manchester Council owned as many believe.
It was the Second Crematorium to open in the country, the first being in Woking. The very first legal cremation in the UK was that of Jeanette Caroline Pickersgill of Regents Park, London 26th March 1885.
It was 1888 when it was first mentioned about a Crematorium in Manchester due to the Cemeteries and Church graveyards quickly filling up and a shortage of land and health conditions that an alternative was needed. 
The Manchester Cremation Society formed July 1888 and put forward proposals for a crematorium.  January 1890 the Society held a meeting and a representative from the Manchester City Council attended and it was asked if they would grant a piece of land in Southern Cemetery for the erection of a Crematorium and Offices. 
The Society announced that pledges to purchase shares in the Crematorium would enable them to form a Company.
Early March 1890 it was announced that Manchester City Council had refused the Society a piece of land due to the legal wording of the Act of Parliament who acted as the burial board. 
The Society decided to enter into negotiations for three acres of land with Lord Egerton of Tatton and executors of the late Mr Roberts who owned the land adjacent to Southern Cemetery.
In April 1890 at a Society’s meeting it was announced the Company would be named “Manchester Crematorium Ltd,”
Directors of the Company would be “The Duke of Westminster, Chancellor of Christie, Mr H. T. Gaddum, Dr. Emrys-Jones, Professor Munro, Mr J. B. Shaw, Mr Henry Simon and Councillor Smallman.”

March 1891 plans were submitted to the Highways for the Crematorium and were approved. By October 1891 substantial work had been made with the building of the Crematorium under the control of the Society, and the work of promoting the ‘theory’ of cremation was for the Council to popularise and the response was quite encouraging.  By Dec 1891 the cost had risen from the initial £5000 to £7750, due to unforeseen expenses – water being meet at 10ft affecting cost of foundations, furnace and flues connected with the chimney, lodge, ornamental layout of grounds, and an organ.

Messrs Salomons and Steinthal, Architects designed the buildings which will have a chapel, furnace, with ‘calumbaria’ for the reception, urns and tablets.

Above:

Englands first Crematorium 

Woking Crematorium

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Left Above: Architects Stone

Left Below: Memorial Stone

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On the 22nd October 1892 the Annual Meeting took place at the Crematorium, the first held there, presumably due to the Crematorium now being open, (two cremations having already taken place) it was attended by many of the investors and guests.  The Duke of Westminster presided, Sir Henry Thompson, Mr Ernest Hart, and the Venerable Archdeacon Wilson were among other speakers.  Resolutions were made and adopted.  At the close of the meeting those present had the opportunity to inspect the buildings and furnace.
 (It has been mentioned this was the opening ceremony but no record or articles in the newspapers confirm this)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

February 1893 Angel Meadow Healthy Homes Society strongly advised the use of the Crematorium to prevent injury or death to the living especially in cases of infectious diseases.

It was announced that in December 1893 two cremations took place simultaneously on the same day for the first time.

From February 1893 to help promote cremation and the Crematorium, on Sunday afternoons the Crematorium was opened to the public, they paid admission to the building, the superintendent and sometimes a member of the Society answered questions and explained the process.  April 1893 Good Friday, Easter Sunday & Bank Holiday weekend that 1200 visitors visited the Crematorium. 28th Dec 1893 it was mentioned that 450 persons visited the Crematorium over the Christmas Bank Holiday.

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Jan 1894 the first ‘cinerarium’ in the Country was erected in the grounds of the Crematorium , it takes the form of an octagonal tower, in a delicate pink colour terracotta, standing on a plinth of blue stone, surmounted with a canopy, the terminal which represents a rising flame’ a free renaissance style in architectural designs by Mr J. Hall.  (Contractors for the work are Messrs. Howarth Bros., of Stretford Road, Manchester. Terracotta supplied by Mr J. C. Edwards of Ruabon.)   The main body richly ornamented and with mouldings and a centre chamber for urns. On the pedestal a frieze surrounds with the words “This Cinerarium was erected by Arthur Edwin Piggott in loving memory of his wife Margaret Elizabeth” below this are white marble panels recording deaths and cremations.

Left: 

Cinerarium First in the Country

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Right:

Cinerarium

Blue plinth and pedestal frieze and wording no longer remains.

Original stone panels have been replaced.

 

Above:

New Piggott family name panels

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12 Jan 1894 for the first time in it's history four cremations were held on the same day that of Mr Willox’s infant child, Mrs Southern, Miss Nunn and Mrs Harris.

In December 1895 The Chairman of Manchester Crematorium applied to the Home Secretary to receive his consent for the remains of a gentleman cremated at the Manchester Crematorium to be interred in a vault within the walls of a parish church.  The Chairman having stated and proving his case that there was no danger to health from the remains of cremation, the Home Secretary gave his consent clearing the way for other Vault owners to again use their Vaults for internments of cremation as the Burials Act of 1853 had previously prevented this.
                                                                         The Manchester Crematorium Ltd., also confirmed it had in its                                                                            possession 152 written letters of request for Cremation, the                                                                             Company stating that written letters stating ones requests                                                                                for cremation were the best way to lets families know their                                                                              wishes especially when it came to cremation.
                                                                          At a meeting in December 1895 of the company it was stated                                                                            the Chairman had received a letter from the Shanghai                                                                                       Municipal Council had applied for full information in regards to                                                                           cremation and to supply them with plans, materials and                                                                                       apparatus for erection of modern cremation similar to the                                                                                 Manchester Crematorium.

 

In December 1897 it was mentioned at an annual meeting the need for a second furnace,  it would also entail an alteration to the building to accommodate a second furnace. Whilst the current one had recently been repaired it was showing wear and would last for quite a while.
Early 1898 work started on an inner doorway in the porch to add comfort for those attending funeral services.

19th December 1899 it was announced the 300th Cremation took place and the Company reporting that 4545 persons had visited the Crematorium that year.

                                         21st December 1899 an ordinary meeting reported that £600 was held in reserve                                             for the 2nd furnace and alteration to the building that was now ordered. The only                                             Furnace having been in use for 300 cremations now and could suddenly need                                                       extensive repairs leaving the company for a short time unable to execute                                                           cremations.  Parliament had recently withdrawn compulsory vaccination and there                                             was concern of an epidemic, this, making the Company feel it was their ‘public duty’                                           to have a second furnace to be ready. 

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Henry Simon 1835 - 1899 

Gustav Henry Victor Herman Amandus Simon known as  Henry Simon, Civil Engineer,  actively associated with numerous and various institutions, died Saturday 22nd July 1899 at Didsbury.  The late Chairman of the Manchester Crematorium whose personnel efforts were a result of building the Manchester Crematorium and was one of the founding members of the company,   gave many lectures on the act of Cremation. 
Mr Simon was a very charitable man and gave to many charities’ and events in the city. 

The funeral took place at the Manchester Crematorium as per his request on Tuesday 25th July, at 3.30pm.
Rev. S. A. Steinthal conducted a service at Lawnhurst, Mr Simon’s home after which the Cortege  proceeded to the Crematorium. The coffin of oak was placed in an open hearse, covered with a purple cloth, flowers tributes and wreaths completely concealing the coffin.  Many friends and deputations from various institutions followed. The chapel had been adorned with flowers and ferns, mourners entered the Chapel listening to the ‘Dead March’ in ‘Saul.’ A ladies choir sung a German hymn and a brief eulogy was given by Rev. S. A. Steinthal. At the close, the intermezzo from Chopin’s Funeral March played on the organ, and his remains were removed from sight. A second hymn was sung by a male choir and a Largo by Chopin concluded the service. Mr Simon’s family had his remains interred in the Crematoriums Grounds and a memorial stone stands.

His Widow and family made a welcome offer to provide and erect a new Organ in his Memory in the Crematoriums Chapel. 
 

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7 May 1901 a deputation from London Corporation visited Manchester Crematorium to gain information view the process to ‘obtain information on the most effective manner of securing the object in view’
19 May 1901 it was reported that the Crematorium would possibly be open to selling the Crematorium to Manchester City Council, it was stated that ‘public opinion on cremation would progress quicker if a municipality.’
By December the Manchester City Council refused to purchase the Crematorium stating ‘the corporation possesses no power to engage in any expenditure for cremation’ Other Councils in the Country had taken over Crematoriums, the Company believed that the ‘disinclination of cremation was the reason for the refusal’

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1902 the Cemeteries Act 1847 and similar local and personal provisions Act authorising the making of a cemetery shall allow the disposition or interment of ashes of a cremated body as if it were the burial of a body.
24th December 1903 it was stated that 831 cremations had taken place since the Crematorium opened.  Again it was suggested that Manchester Corporation purchase the Crematorium, again they stated they ‘had no legal power to do so’ though the legal difficulty of Cremation Act of 1902 had taken this away.  As the Crematorium had now started to make a profit it was mentioned that the shareholders wanting to sell the Crematorium would be unlikely to want to offer to sell again.
Mar 1904 a meeting of the Manchester Board of Guardians  briefly mentioned cremations for paupers believing its cost of £5 per head. (to expensive)   A letter from the Crematorium stating it would take the cost of paupers for the Guardians into consideration and an offer of 10s. per head with the use of the Chapel, decoration of Chapel and use of the pall included. It was also pointed out that only one method was available making cremation available to either the rich or poor.

The first cremation took place Monday 22nd August 1892 of Mr Thomas Morgan Brown aged 84 years. 
The body had been placed in a coffin of unpolished spruce.  It was taken to the crematorium hall, no service was performed on the instruction of the deceased. The coffin was placed on the raised slab of about 10ft which runs inwards on wheels in front of the iron furnace doors. Once in position a spring was touched by Mr H. Simon (Chairman of the Board) the furnace doors opened, the coffin on level with the furnace ran in and the doors closed. An hour later the ashes were placed in a urn and handed to Mr Brown’s Executor.


The second cremation took place on Friday 9th September 1892 of Mr Samuel Ingham (formerly of Ingham’s Hotel Manchester) of Bredbury. A full
service took place in the Chapel with mourners. Mr Ingham’s ashes were placed in an urn and would be    placed in a memorial niche at the Crematorium.

Arthur Edwin Pigott

(1861 - 1943)
Actively associated with the

Crematorium from it's

conception in 1890

Third Cremation to take place was on the 3 Dec 1892  of a Jewish lady, Adeline Salomons, a member of one of the most influential families near Manchester.
Fourth Cremation to take place was on the 9th January 1893 Alfred Frisby B.A. from Southport.

18 May 1893 Rev. H. A. Noel, Rector of St. Clements Church Longsight cremation took place.
14 July 1894 Mr C. E. Lees, J.P. was cremated a shareholder in the Manchester Crematorium Ltd.
Thursday 2nd February a cremation took place of the remains of a person from Monsall Small-Pox Hospital.

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©Britain from above

Right:

Manchester Crematorium 

1933

Left:

Manchester Crematorium

1952

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As Cremation became more popular overtaking burials a new Chapel was built 1954.  Both Chapels are very much in use today.  Staffs are very helpful in checking their records for making an enquiry, even being as helpful to take you directly to the spot where ashes are interred or scattered.
Between 1892-1940 cremation records were destroyed in WW2 when the Offices, then in Manchester City Centre were bombed.  The only records for cremation during this time is by searching Newspapers, Niches at the Crematorium or family Memoriam Cards.

Manchester Crematorium New Chapel

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Hall of Memory

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Below & Right:

Memorial To The Fallen

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Above Left:

on this stone Commemorates those Members of his Majesty's Forces who gave their lives for  their country in the Great War 1914-1918 and whose Ashes are interred in the Garden of Rest. 

Left:

Lieut. Sydney Esmond O'Hanlon M.C.

15th Lancs Fusiliers

Feb 3rd 1918

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2020 New Offices

Manchester Crematorium's New Office opens 2020. 

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