Scarborough cemeteries

Last year I went for a holiday in Filey, while my mum was still living up there. Scarborough is the next town along the coast, and it’s a really beautiful place. The town was a very popular holiday destination in the Victorian period, so it has a lot of lovely features, including a pier, funicular railways (the South Cliff one was recently listed) and a rather lovely museum. It also boasts two 19th century cemeteries.

Dean Road and Manor Road cemeteries were opened in 1856 and 1872 respectively, on neighbouring sites, as can be seen from this map (thanks google!)

dean road and manor road cemeteries

I really enjoyed a wander around both, despite the weather, which was disappointingly drizzly for July. The cemeteries are both well tended and have lovely planting courtesy of the friends. They have also created a secret garden according to the website, but it’s living up to it’s name because I didn’t find it on my short visit! I hope it’s like the one in the story book – the use of robin markers to find it is certainly a promising feature!

I came upon Dean Road cemetery first, because I walked from the train station. I didn’t get too many good photos because they are from my phone, but I really loved some of the carvings on the memorials.

In Dean Road Cemetery walking towards the chapel

In Dean Road Cemetery walking towards the chapel

Doves carving on the headstone of Jane Daniel (d.1916) and Robert Daniel (d. 1921).

Dove and ivy carving on the headstone of Jane Daniel (d.1916) and Robert Daniel (d. 1921).

Clasped Hands on the memorial of Sarah Tucker (d. 1892) and Mary Ann Tucker (d. 1908).

Clasped Hands on the memorial of Sarah Tucker (d. 1892) and Mary Ann Tucker (d. 1908).

There are lots of photos taken by the friends here too, showing loads more designs, including plenty of nautical themes – not too surprising in a seaside town.

I was glad to see the chapel was still standing, and well protected from vandalism, I hope that it can be restored fully one day, but I know finding new functions for disused chapels is a perennial problem.

Dean Road Cemetery chapel

Dean Road Cemetery chapel

The most interesting feature of the cemetery for me, is this building. At first I thought it was a mausoleum, but there was no family name or inscription of any kind. So it was a mystery to me at the time.

dean road cemetery 5

I found an answer on the friends website here, it was the town Mortuary! Built in 1856 and recently restored with heritage lottery funding. I’m so glad it survived, what an amazing building!

Next I walked over to Manor Road to find the other cemetery. When I found Manor Road cemetery I was really surprised to find it somehow more ornate, despite being the later addition. That’s slightly counter to the national trend, but then Scarborough was a wealthy and popular town in that era so there would have been no shortage of funds, or demand, for another fashionable cemetery.

The chapel in Manor Road cemetery

The chapel in Manor Road cemetery

I think maybe the reason Manor Road feels more like an early garden cemetery, than a later municipal one though, is really the terrain and the way it has been utilized. The Dean Road site is relatively flat and rigidly laid out, but the Manor road cemetery is partly build over a gorge, valley or quarry of some kind (my geology tutors would be kicking me for not being sure on this one, it’s described as a glen on the map…) There is an bridge running between the higher points of the site, and graves arranged in arcs on the plain below.

Railings on Bridge in Manor Road cemetery

Railings on Bridge in Manor Road cemetery

manor road cemetery 3

And that’s when it reeaaallly started to rain. Cue quick dash back to town to find shelter in a cafe and cursing my lack of umbrella. Also lots of wishing that I’d brought my actual camera with me, because, you know, it’s waterproof and all…specifically for fieldwork… something my phone cannot boast.

Now my mum’s back in Birmingham, I don’t know when I’ll find a good excuse to return to Scarborough, but I would like to one day and really explore both cemeteries – especially the secret garden!

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