8th April, 2019 History of Hull Cemeteries 11.

Above picture shows part of the columbarium (s.p.b.) at Hedon Road Cemetery, Hull.

Burial Committee minutes show that in October 1892 there were negotiations with the North Eastern Railway Company to buy their land then between the Cemetery and the rail line (still exists) to increase the capacity of the Cemetery. At the same meeting the Borough Engineer was asked to prepare plans for a crematorium building. At the corresponding meeting the following month the Borough Engineer suggested that a crematorium could be incorporated into plans for a new chapel of rest at the Western Cemetery (Chanterlands Avenue) so that the two buildings could be linked ‘as in the Manchester Crematorium’. The following April the Assistant Borough Engineer visited Manchester Crematorium and later presented to the Committee his report and statement of accounts.

Internet research shows that Manchester Crematorium had been opened in 1892 ‘only the second in the country’ having been promoted by the Manchester Crematorium Society founded in 1888 with the (understandable) principle ‘Save the Land for the Living’ (s.p.b.s). This would appear to challenge the information presented on the plaque just inside the main gates of Hedon Road Cemetery (s.p.b.), however it is possible that Hedon Road Crematorium was the first ‘municipal’ crematorium, this point needs further research.

Unfortunately there is a gap in my ongoing research of Committee Minutes from 1894 to 1904 so details of subsequent decisions and the building programme etc I have yet to discover. However, evidence from the Minutes post 1904 show that the crematorium was used by only a fraction of the families opting for burial, but gradually the proportion began to increase. A Minute of January 1907 claimed that the balance was 1 percent cremations 99 percent interments and that cremations at Hedon Road were averaging 6-10p.a. A Minute of November 1904 states that of the 12 people cremated in or before 1903 the remains of the six who died of the ‘plague’ were all to be placed in one urn(?) and it placed in a niche in the columbarium. Here evidencing the idea that certain bodies should be cremated for public health reasons over and above any relative’s choice.