150 Years Ago

Engraving of the Cemetery Chapels
Engraving of the Cemetery Chapels

Story: Christine Steers, with information courtesy of Albert Jackson

150 Years ago, most people were buried in church yards. In Sheffield and other big cities. This became a problem because too many bodies were polluting the ground water and the air smelled foul. Many of the diseases, cholera, dysentery etc, became rampant. An 1855 by-law decreed that no one should be buried in churchyards (except already purchased family graves) but only in cemeteries.

The Brightside Bierlow Burial Board commissioned the making of a cemetery in Burngreave, which at that time, was a semi rural area. The building, composing of two chapels joined by a carriage arch and clock tower, was designed by William Flockert and set in 27 acres of ground purchased from the Duke of Norfolk. Both the consecrated and un-consecrated (Dissenters) areas were opened in 1861 and the first burial was that of a five year old boy named Oscar Brooks.

All religions and faiths used the cemetery to bury their loved ones, including people from other countries who settled in Sheffield, mainly from the European and Asian Continents. Sultan Mohamad. One such person was Sultan Mohamad. He was a colliery worker whose wife and two sons lived at home in India. He supported them from his wages but sadly was killed in an accident while at work. His employers, who said that he was a willing and hardworking man, purchased his grave and erected a stone to his memory.

Hubert Sugg. A solicitor during his lifetime, Hubert Sugg died at the early age of 38, leaving his wife Ellen and son Walter to cope alone. Walter grew up to be a talented sports man, playing cricket and football at first class level. Gradually, his business interests took over his sporting activities and he founded the sporting outfitters called H.B.B Sugg. It was a well known store in Sheffield but over the years it became unsustainable as a business and finally the name disappeared in December 2001.

Elizabeth Kreeft
Elizabeth Kreeft

Elizabeth Kreeft. Although the name Kreeft is thought to be Dutch, Elizabeth’s family can be traced back in the late 1700s to Berlin in Germany, which in those days was a series of states with fluid boundaries. She was born in Barton 0n Humber, her father having arrived from London and marrying a local lady Christiana Ingram, who was of Scottish descent. Elizabeth married Albert Bottom, was widowed and married again.

Frank Wilson. Frank died at the young age of 25 in 1933. He was a member of the Young Communist League, the Spartacus Rambling Club and the Esperanto Club. Over four hundred people attended the funeral. Comrade George H. Fletcher, founder and owner of Fletcher’s bakery and a lifelong member of the Communist Party, gave the speech at the graveside.

WW1 Soldiers. Many soldiers and civilians, casualties of the first and second World Wars are interred here. There is an official memorial (designed by Sir Ronald Blomfield) and a mass grave of soldiers who were injured on duty and sent to hospitals in Sheffield. Many are remembered on family headstones although they died and were buried in foreign lands.

Burnt Chapel Door
Burnt Chapel Door

In the late 1970s the cemetery became run down and had a neglected air. An improvement programme was carried out in 1980 and many of the headstones were removed or laid down as being unsafe. Funerals in the chapel building ceased in the 1990’s and the grounds again became neglected, but in the last decade there have been many positive improvements. In 2003, Bereavement Services employed a gate warden and they have recently carried out some extra work on the memorials and generally tidied up the grounds. The Friends group, formed in 2002, were allowed to meet in one of the chapels which is now open to the public where they have various exhibitions, guided walks and events.

Website: http://friendsofburngreavecemetery@btck.co.uk

Join the Friends of Burngreave Cemetery and Chapel for their 150th Anniversary Event on 17th April

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The content on this page was added to the website by Saleema Imam on 2011-03-31 17:26:38.
The content of the page was last modified by Lisa Swift on 2011-04-04 15:39:55.

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