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Tyne and Wear HER(6021): Blaydon, Shibdon Road, Blaydon Cemetery - Details

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Blaydon, Shibdon Road, Blaydon Cemetery



Religious Ritual and Funerary

Funerary Site


Early Modern



Shown on Ordnance Survey second edition with its mortuary chapels (Early English style) divided by an archway, and also housing a curator. First edition map shows a coal drift within the site (HER 3444). Opened in March 1873. Covers an area of 3.25 acres. Cost £2,600. The cemetery has been much enlarged. Contains two listed monuments - memorial to Thomas Ramsay (d. 1873) and a war memorial. In the cemetery there is also a granite vault marking the resting place of the last of a long line of Claverings - "SIR HENRY AUGUSTUS CLAVERING, of Axwell Park, Tenth and last Baronet, Born 30th August 1824, died 9th November 1893; aged 69 years". STATEMENT OF SIGNIFICANCE Blaydon Cemetery was established in 1873 in response to the growing demand for burial space outside town centres, as there was great concern over the health risks involving proximity to areas of dense population. The site chosen was to the east of the town,at Shibdon, called The Close or Blunt’s Close, bought from Colonel Towneley, who owned a great deal of land in the area. It was an ideal site for a cemetery – on sloping land, from which good views could be gained across the river valley and which also enabled the sometimes elaborate memorials to be shown off to the best advantage. The committee minutes record that the land was surveyed, the cemetery laid out, and the buildings designed by Matthew Thompson, but as yet no plans have been found showing his original design concept. The executed design only covered a relatively small area, with a main entrance to the northwest corner, with the buildings (a lodge and chapel) placed along serpentine paths that were becoming a rare feature by this period. The consecrated section was to the east, and the unconsecrated to the west, with separate plots for Roman Catholics and other non-conformists (most likely to be Methodists). Visually striking, the grave markers in the upper part of the cemetery are set out in clear rows, which strangely mirror the streets in the area, ascending the hill on a north-south axis. To the lower, earlier section of the land, however, the monuments are more informally arranged, harmonising with the different path systems from each time period. The entrance was clearly designed to make an impression, with monumental gate piers topped by simple pyramid caps set on an arc, thus allowing for gathering space. The railings are simple in iron, with double rows of uprights at the base (adding to security) and arced decorative elements towards the top. This enclosure method of low plinth walls with ‘palisading’ was employed for part of the cemetery (to allow for views), but the remainder was enclosed by high stone boundary walls, mainly rubble in character, with chamfered copings. The lodge included office space for the management of the cemetery and the burial board meetings. The composite chapel with a central porte-cochere (covered carriage entrance) was a typical solution to the requirements for both Church of England and Non-Conformist worship space. This example is particularly fine, and offers an appropriately stately entrance point to the main cemetery (see Information Sheet X20/LL/228), and now forms a wonderful linear set piece with the war memorial to the north of it, and the monument to Thomas Ramsay situated along the winding path ascending the hill to the south. The war memorial can be seen through the arch from the opposite side as an attractive framed view. The layout of cemeteries was often strongly influenced by the views of J C Loudon, with weeping and fastigiate (erect and tapering) trees, as well as the traditional yews and dark foliaged evergreens planted along paths, providing a framework (although this was usually on a grid pattern not favoured here). In this cemetery, the tree cover within the cemetery is scattered fairy randomly. In general it is more densely covered to the south and east of the chapel, with the dominant mature species being sycamore. Other species present in les




2nd edition Ordnance Survey map; W. Bourn, 1896, History of the Parish of Ryton, pp 108-109; Gateshead Local List X20/LLG/20; TWAS T214/169

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