Calderstones Hospital Cemetery

Earliest Plan of the Cemetery 1916

Mr Littlers plan - David Fitzpatrick collection

Copy of original plan - taken from George Hardman's -Whalley and District War Memorials 1914-18 and 1939-45

Whalley map showing the Military War Memorial, the two cemeteries and the railway track into Calderstones- George Hardman

Copy of the Cemetery Map

This is a 100 x 40 centimetre copy of the Hospital's cemetery map from 1967. It is taken from the original map which is currently in the Lancashire Archives at Preston. Each of the graves included in the burial records 1920-1967 can be identified from this map which unfortunately does not show later burials or the Garden of Remembrance with its 211 known interments, all of which, according to the available records, took place between 1977 and 1989.

We know that the Head Gardener, who was responsible for digging and maintaining the graves, had a separate and later map identifying the location of all the graves and interments, but this map has not yet been discovered.

Apart from the Head Gardener's map it is believed that there should have been at  least one other location map covering the post 1967 period 

The basic layout and plans

The layout

The Cemetery was aligned and developed east to west. At the top of this map, Mitton Road forms the western boundary, with the circular path around the stone cross in the Queen Mary's Military Hospital cemetery at the eastern end. Between Mitton Road and the graves is an area of woodland, in which the trees are represented by black dots.  

All graves to the left of the central pathway, are on the south side, those on the right on the north. Each of the red and green rectangles is intended to represent a known grave, the red being occupied, the green being unoccupied according to the currently available burial records.

The graves on the south side are in what is known as the Church of England or C of E section, those on the northern side are in the Roman Catholic or RC section.Towards the top of the graveyard, the distinct graves of the Booth Hall babies, highlighted in red, can be seen close to the two chapels and the Lych gate, which are represented by one square and two rectangles, where the woodland joins the graveyard. The single grave in the top left hand corner, is that of John Newton, a former member of staff.

Superimposed on the graves, it is possible to make out the proposed crematorium on the northern boundary and the planned car park area around the chapels. Also in the south eastern quadrant, the four corner stones of the proposed 2002 Garden of Remembrance, which Colin Arkwright had intended to establish, can be seen.

The original Garden of Remembrance with its 211 occupants is not shown on this map, but has been included in a later attachment.

The significance of the early plan

In the early plans for development of a crematorium, the proposed car park was sited outside the cemetery, in the wooded area between the chapels and Mitton Road. It is understood that this proposal was rejected by the Planning Authority on the grounds that the existing trees should be protected. That decision was to have a profound influence on all subsequent proposals and variations of plans, with Ribble Valley Borough Council being consistent in its insistence on protecting the fauna and flora of the site. This protection was  considered to be a material consideration, while in the opinion of Ribble Valley Borough Council, the presence of 1172 bodies is not.

Note the relatively smaller and square design of the proposed crematorium, and in particular the inclusion of a new Garden of Remembrance in the north west quadrant of the cemetery, seemingly ignoring, or being unaware of the original Garden of Remembrance in the south west section, or that provided by Colin Arkwright, in the south east quadrant of the cemetery, which was to cause so much confusion later. 

The impact of the change of plan

This comparative representation shows both the original plan and that which replaced it. The Cemetery now looks much more cluttered and the proposed crematorium has changed shape and is moved further east into the RC section of graves in order to accommodate the car park which has now been moved out of the protected woodland area into the cemetery, covering much of the original Garden of Remembrance, with its known 211 burials.

The 2017 plan

Another variation of the developer's plan, is this 2017 representation which shows the proposed crematorium in a different position, this time further west.

Notice the blue rectangle marked Storm Cell Modular SW Storage. It has not been possible to establish if this unit has been installed in the ground.

It is believed that the original Garden of Remembrance,  with its 211 urns containing human remains, is in the immediate vicinity of this unit and the three shaded parking places closest to it - see later attachments

The developers latest map

This latest map shows a revised roadway and parking area skirting around a yellow square which it is assumed was intended to represent the Garden of Remembrance, but no supportive evidence or acknowledgement was provided to confirm that view..  

The Garden of Remembrance is certainly in that general area, but as will be seen later, it is believed to extend further south than has been shown here.

In providing this location for the Garden of Remembrance, the developer must have known that the substantial gravel roadway which he installed in early 2018 went straight through the more western section of this representation of the  Garden of Remembrance

It seems impossible that this construction work could have been achieved without the damage or destruction of urns containing human remains which surely would have been evident during excavation. The Owners and Developer have never clarified this position. A response to the photos of what are believed to be the remnants of broken urns, which were found in this area is still awaited from both the Developer and the Diocese.

The Friends suggested location of the Garden of Remembrance

This assessment  of the location is based on witness statements from people who were involved with interments and the 3 surviving photographs of the original Garden of Remembrance.

Gordon Hartley's GOR location

Gordon Hartley worked at the Hospital for many years and was involved with interments into the Garden of Remembrance. His map is perhaps the most accurate guide we have from somebody directly involved with interments.

The 200 yard rule

Under the terms of the Cremation Act, 1902,  the construction of a crematorium requires the consent (rather than the absence of opposition) from any householder or tenant living within 200 yards of the proposed development.

This map was produced as a guide to identifying those properties which might be considered to be within the 200 yard zone.

Owners of properties within the precluded development area, have confirmed to both the Developer and the Ribble Valley Borough Council, that they oppose the proposed development and have been neither asked, nor given their consent to the proposed development - as of November 2019

Berntwood Crematorium letter

Provided by the NFCF

This copy of a letter from the Ministry of Justice to Gill Furness MP was provided by Colin Fenn from the NFCF. It relates to the proposed Burntwood Crematorium which is apparently much closer to the public highway than that which had  been proposed for the Calderstones Cemetery. 

Paragraph 4 makes it explicitly clear that "the MOJ cannot endorse any proposals which would involve the crematorium operating while in breach of section 5 (Cremation Act 1902) requirement. Any such operation would constitute a criminal offence. The appointment of a medical referee will not be made in relation to the crematorium which is in breach of the section 5 requirement."

As the occupants of properties living within 200 yards of the proposed Calderstones Crematorium have not consented to the proposal, then that development would appear to be in a similar breach.

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