THE CEMETERY PHOTOS
One of the earliest photos of the cemetery. Looking west, the 14 gravestones of the Booth Hall babies are clearly visible in front of the two chapels. The C of E Chapel is on the left hand side, the RC chapel is on the right.
Looking north, this early photo shows the gravestones of the Booth Hall babies. Note the solitary stone of James McClennan on the second row. The entrance into the RC chapel is clearly visible.
This is an early photo of the cross and gravestones in the Queen Mary's Military Hospital cemetery. It was taken looking east from a position between the two cemeteries.
The rows of gravestones in the C of E section
Looking west through the 19 orderly rows of graves in the Church of England section to the chapels. The distinct graves of the Booth Hall babies in front of the chapels are particularly prominent.
The 1977/8 photos
The entrance to the Cemetery.
Lych Gate and chapels
Looking through the Lych Gate, both chapels and two of the prominent graves of the Booth Hall babies are clearly visible, and behind them, in the mid distance the rows of gravestones in both the C of E and RC sections. Also visible is this unique record of the grave of John Newton a former member of staff who was buried in 1925. Immediately to the left of the large tree on the extreme right of the photo John's grave is visible. The gravestone, like so many others had been taken in 2002 and in 2017/8 the grave was apparently destroyed in ignorance by the contractors, while establishing a gravel roadway. A small wall was subsequently installed around the area.
The Lych Gate with the C of E chapel to the right and RC chapel to the left. The graves of some of the Booth Hall babies are visible behind the chapels.
From the Lych Gate looking east towards the Queen Mary's Military Hospital (QMMH) cemetery in the far distance which is behind the 19 rows of C of E graves to the right and 7 rows of RC graves to the left, all of which are occupied by former patients and staff of Calderstones Hospital.
The solitary grave 984 in the south west quadrant of the cemetery is occupied by George W Eastwood who died in 1923, we have found no recorded explanation for his isolation. It is possible that his own or his family's religious beliefs led to him being buried in a separate plot.
The QMMH Cemetery
The QMMH cemetery and cross at the eastern end of the site. This photo was taken at the gate leading into the military cemetery from the Calderstones Hospital Cemetery.
The QMMH Cross
Looking west from behind the QMMH cross towards the chapels in the far distance. The graves to the right among the trees are the 7 rows of RC burials, those to the left, the 19 rows of C of E burials. This photograph was taken before the boundary hedge around the QMMH section was planted and developed, giving the impression of a single rather than separate cemeteries, which had been the original intention
Graves in the RC section
The RC graves looking north- west from the QMMH cemetery.
Graves in the C of E section
The mass of C of E graves looking south west. Note the number of gravestones and the different design of some. From contact with a former gardener at the Hospital, it is believed that the majority of these gravestones were cut, inscribed and erected by Hospital staff sometime in the late 1960's. At the time of their removal in 2001/2 the Portland Stone gravestones would have been approximately 35 years old.
Looking towards the Chapels
Looking west towards the chapels and the Booth Hall babies gravestones. We know for certain that this photo was taken sometime around the winter of 1977.
On careful examination, there appears to be a small raised area of soil which the snow has not covered. We now believe this to be perhaps the earliest photo of the Garden of Remembrance which was established in September 1977. From records, we know that there were 8 interments of urns containing human remains between September 1977 and February 1978, and the location of this raised area matches the witness statements and photos we have elsewhere.
The Colin Arkwright years
Little is known of the business arrangements between Tony Walsh who was named as the purchaser of the cemetery and his brother-in-law, Colin Arkwright, who is believed to have had many years experience in the funeral business prior to the sale. However, the two men appeared to have jointly managed the cemetery up until 2002/3 when Colin seems to have taken over responsibility and ownership. During the early part of their ownership, all the gravestones belonging to the former patients and staff of the hospital had been removed, supposedly for health and safety reasons and apparently without consultation with relatives.
It seems that Colin's initial intention was to establish and operate a private cemetery and to that end he tidied up the whole site, maintained the chapels and developed a clearly defined area in the South East quadrant on top of existing graves which he designated as a garden of remembrance. Unfortunately, we have been unable to discover any records confirming details of the human remains which might have been scattered or interred in this area. Colin's proposed private cemetery received publicity in the local press and we believe that the then Mayor of Ribble Valley Borough Council, Joyce Holgate, formally opened the "new" cemetery on 2nd August 2002
Significant investment in time and money went into the project and as the photos below show, Colin was focusing on the appearance and maintenance of the site. Contrary to claims by subsequent owners, the neglect of the cemetery appears to have begun after 2004/5 when the cemetery was no longer in Colin's ownership.
The vandalism which occurred in 2008 happened long after Colin had, for whatever reason, abandoned the idea of his private cemetery business. The record of ownership at that time and thereafter shows a list of property and investment companies. It has not been possible to give exact dates for the transfer of ownership to the first of these companies, but we believe that Colin Arkwright and Tony Walsh had no involvement after 2006/7 and possibly much earlier than that.
During 2007, it would appear that attempts were made by unnamed owners to promote the development of a pet cemetery. While there were suggestions that such burials did take place, after three years of research there is no documentary evidence of any such burials and good reason to believe that the site was already in the process of being sold between property developers at the time this proposal was receiving publicity.
Photos taken by Gordon Hartley 21.4.2003
This second of Gordon's photos looking west to east is part of a pair with the preceding picture giving a comprehensive view of the cemetery around 2003, during what would become known as its pristine period of maintenance.
All the gravestones belonging to the former patients and staff had been removed, but the cemetery is level and managed. In the distance, the central cross of the QMMH cemetery is clearly visible, as is the entrance gate and the gravestones of service personnel buried there.
On the right hand side, in the C of E section, four corner stones and stone tracery with central cross are visible. These structures had been knowingly or unknowingly placed directly on top of existing graves within the C of E section.
This is the "new" Garden of Remembrance which Colin Arkwright had intended to offer as part of his business venture. Unfortunately, no record of any interments or scatterings which Colin may have organised have so far been discovered, but it is believed that records of such interments and scatterings did exist.
From this photograph, and the drawings which were based on it, the subsequent confusion about the location of the original Garden of Remembrance is evident. However, as Owner, Colin Arkwright, should have had access to the sale documents, hospital records, location maps and former staff, in order to clarify the exact location of the original Garden of Remembrance, but for whatever reason he appears to have either been unaware of the true location, or chose to ignore it preferring instead, a new location for his development.
The C of E and R C Chapels
These are the two chapels, which were used for the committal and internment services of the 1172 known burials and interments which took place between 1920 and 1989. The building on the left is the Church of England chapel, that on the right the Roman Catholic Chapel. We believe that the photo was taken sometime after the maintenance of the cemetery began to be neglected. The locations of the Booth Hall babies graves immediately in front of these chapels are completely obscured by vegetation.
The developers move in
The Developers suddenly and unexpectedly moved onto the cemetery in late November 2017 to arrange what was described as "landscaping" in the woodland area outside the cemetery. Despite commitments to the contrary, during December the Contractor began work inside the cemetery, which was still described as landscaping. In early January 2018 the Contractor began installing the substantial gravel road/path way. One of the heavy construction vehicles and containers can be seen in this picture.
This development coincided with the confirmation on 11th January 2018 that the cemetery was consecrated ground, which should have been known to the Owners - see Sale Documents and as such, no building could be erected without the prior permission of the Bishop of Blackburn. On the same day, an unnamed director of Buildings of Remembrance International Ltd, instructed Angela Dunn, their operations manager, to have no further contact with the Friends of Calderstones Cemetery.
What the Developer did
The Mary O'Toole drone photo June 2018
This photograph commissioned by Mary O'Toole reveals what the Contractor did. The new and substantial V -shaped roadway avoiding the Lych Gate, and the container and caravan are apparent.
1 The two taped-off square areas in which the Booth Hall babies are buried in front of the Chapels
2 The white area in the top left of the photo, where the new roadway has been constructed directly over the grave of John Newton, which the Contractor should have been aware of.
3 The area of grey material between John Newton's grave and the C of E chapel. We believe that drainage equipment may have been installed below ground in this area. possibly linking to -
4 The relatively smaller taped-off area by the crossroads of pathways. We believe this to be part of the original Garden of Remembrance. Of particular concern, is the proportion of brown spoil to grass, approximately 50% of the area. We believe that this area, including the urns containing human remains which were buried there. was disturbed and possibly destroyed by the Contractor during the construction of the gravel roadway. Requests to the Contractor, the Owners and the Archdeacon for clarification of this matter, unfortunately remain unanswered.
5 The area of spoil immediately in front of the container and the caravan, in which Michelle Simmonds and separately one year later, Douglas Aspen found the many fragments, which we believe are remnants of the urns. Again, despite requests for an explanation from the same parties, we have had no reply,