13th May 1879 Parks and Cemeteries committee met at the cemetery for the purpose of planting memorial trees by Alderman Murray (Chairman of Committee), Worthington and Warburton, Councillors Harwood (Chairman of the Southern Cemetery Sub-committee), Asquith, Brierley, Payne, Peel, Reade and Stewart. Mr Batty and Mr Wrigley (Committee Clerk) took part in the Ceremony. These likely coming from the gardening nursery set up in Oct 1878 that was established for Southern Cemetery.
Southern Cemetery, Barlow Moor Road officially opened 27 September 1879 by the Mayor Alderman Grundy of Manchester. Only 46 acres of the Cemetery were laid out for the opening ceremony, the beautiful grounds were superintendence of head gardener Mr Wilson with the Main Entrance on Barlow Moor Road completed.
Oct 1873 a competition was held for designs for the Cemetery, plans were submitted by Mr H. J. Paull, Architect M.S.A. of St. Peter’s Square, Manchester (chosen for its Chapels, gates and railings, and houses)
Dec 1875, 98 acres of land (purchased for £37,000) to provide 54,600 internments, 26,000 for Church of England, 14,700 for Dissenters and 13,900 for Roman Catholics, but was soon found to have an excess of water in the subsoil. In Dec 1876 it was announced it would be another month before the outfall sewer would be completed for the construction of the sewer to the River Mersey, it took three years in total to drain the soil. Advertisements started appearing for tenders for work and supplies for the Cemetery. In 1876 for a surrounding wall with wrought iron railings roughly one mile also gates and piers for two entrances and the supply of 8,000 cubic feet of millstone grit curbing. May 1877 Tenders for the erection of three stand alone chapels, Church of England, Non Conformists and Roman Catholic and two houses for sexton and gardener (buildings did not start construction until spring 1878 due to the length of time for drainage of grounds) and in June 1877 tenders for hay grass for 48 acres of land.
The works were executed under the direction of City Surveyor Mr, J. G. Lynde and later Mr J. Allison who succeeded in office of City Surveyor.
In July 1879 Mr Albert Jarrett, previously registrar of Philips Park Cemetery was appointed Registrar of the Cemetery, after serving 35 years he passed away in 1916 and was buried in Southern Cemetery.
Friday 26th September 1879 at 3.30pm The Church of England
portion of the Cemetery was consecrated by the Lord Bishop
of Manchester. The Parks and Cemeteries committee received
the Bishop and Clergy at the entrance to the cemetery,
the Ceremony took place in the Chapel due to rain, after an address,
the consecration service was read, the Bishop signed the sentence
of consecration and the service concluded with a benediction.
Monday 29th September 1879 at 11am the Solemn Blessing of Roman Catholic Section was given by the Very Reverend Canon Wrennall. The officiating priests were met at the entrance by members of the Parks and Cemeteries committee. The ceremony commenced in the Chapel. The priests walked around the burial ground boundary and sprinkled it with holy water afterwards returning to the chapel, the ceremony was concluded.
The Cemetery opened to internments Monday 13th October 1879
In 1926 more land was purchased to extend the vastly growing cemetery. The new section on Nell Lane was 96 acres and did not come into use until the 1940’s it continued the layout of the original cemetery.
WW1 War Memorial
16th Oct 1914 Manchester City Council received a letter from Surgeon Lieut. Colonel Smith., in regards to a lasting War Memorial at the Cemetery.
Submitting ‘it was most desirable that the graves of Soldiers dying in Manchester of wounds received on the battlefield should be together.' "As they fought together so should they lie together" and that it would also be acceptable to friends and public feeling. A memorial stone could be erected at the end of the war, facilitating the names on a permanent stone on a small plot. This suggestion was approved by the Committee. A plot of land was set aside for British Soldiers in service. It was intimated that relatives could make an application and would be given a permit for a free burial. Altogether 352 bodies were buried in 50 graves.
June 1921 the Imperial War Graves Commission brought forward a plan to erect a large memorial cross in the centre with a memorial wall bearing the inscription “Their Name Liveth Evermore” and beneath it the names of the soldiers.
WW2 War Memorial
20th June 1954, The Imperial War Graves Commission erected ‘A Cross Of Sacrifice’ dedicating it to the memory of over 600 members of the forces who died during the war. The Lord Mayor of Manchester Alderman R. S. Harper and members of Manchester City Council attended. The Dean of Manchester Very Rev. H. A. Jones conducted the service. Men and Women of the services who were buried in the cemetery or committal at the Crematorium were commemorated by the unveiling of the Cross by Lieutenant-General Sir Lashmer G. Whistler, G.O.C.-in-C, Western Command.
Over the years more memorial stones have been added in Remembrance Memorial to Civilian Dead 1939-1945, Polish Memorial 1939-1945 Katyna
There are Memorial stones for WW1, WW2, Road Peace for those killed in road traffic accidents, Babies born at St Mary's Hospital and The Tenerife Air Disaster.
As Manchester expanded and land became very desirable and expensive, due to redevelopment, Churches with Graveyards have closed and been demolished. The removal of remains has had to be re-interred. Southern Cemetery has re-interred remains from Chorlton Workhouse, Platt Lane Chapel, Angel Meadow, Roby Street Chapel/Grosvenor St, St George's Hulme, St Matthew's Campfield, St James's M/C, Walkers Croft Cemetery and Cross St. (See our pages on Churchyards)
With Grateful Thanks
for these photo's