By the lay-out plans for Northern Cemetery (s.p.b.) walks and drives were to be at right angles ‘to avoid waste of space’. Initially three chapels were proposed but only one was built (see above), this giving the same accommodation as the chapel in Western Cemetery. The photo. above shows the original chapel (surviving, but I have not seen inside), a fine building of alternating brick and freestone walling with chapel clerestorey and statue niche immediately below the billet moulding at the eaves of the gable end wall. This chapel stands at the end of the tree-lined carriageway leading from the original entrance gates and cemetery-man’s lodge in the north-east quarter of the site.
As with all municipal cemetery sites the initial work on site was to install an effective drainage system to avoid the flooding of grave diggings (this especially so as all Hull’s municipal cemeteries were, like the rest of the town, on floodplain land). Deep drains were to be dug 27 feet apart with branch drains of agricultural pipes covered by clinker feeding into these, all draining into Cottingham Road sewer.
In February 1908 the Town Clerk and the Local Government Board were negotiating re the cost of using unskilled unemployed labour for the ground works at Northern Cemetery by the terms of the Unemployment Workmen Act, 1905. Such negotiations were relatively common at the time seasonal and long-term unemployment being common in the unskilled workers section of the Town’s workforce. If the L.G.B. agreed with a proposed scheme such employment would be organised by the local authority and the cost of worker’s wages refunded by central government.
Initially just 16 acres of the site, in the north-east sector, was to be used for burials, the remaining 56 acres, for the time being, to be laid to playing fields and rented-out for allotments and for grazing. Applications to rent playing fields for firm’s sports teams soon were made.