Calderstones Hospital Cemetery Records
The registers of burials in the Calderstones Cemetery
These are the records of people known to have been buried or interred in the Cemetery between 1920 and 1989. All the records were taken from the Hospital's original burial books, and have been cross-referenced against separate grave and Garden of Remembrance documents and maps. It is believed that there may have been additional burials and interments into the Cemetery, particularly between 1967 and 1977 and post 1989, but for accuracy, only the records which can be corroborated against the original Hospital registers, have been included at this time. It is possible that further research may identify other burials and interments which might have been recorded elsewhere. Some of the burials which took place between 1934 and 1939 were from Brockhall Hospital, which did not have its own cemetery until September 1939. Further work on identifying who these people were, is ongoing. The records have recently bee updated and made more accessible, but readers who are uncertain about the content, or wish to raise specific questions about details, are encouraged to use the website contact address to contact us.
The Alphabetic Register is the first record and contains the names of all the people known to have been buried within the Cemetery between 1921 and 1989. It provides easily accessible information to establish the names of people, who are buried there. Grave numbers, names, dates of death and where appropriate, location within the Garden of Remembrance are shown.
The Grave Register records the graves in sequential order, beginning with the first recorded grave, number 2, (there is no record of a number 1) in November 1921 to the last recorded interment, identified as 2210 in 1989. Graves numbered 2 - 984 are the original numbers, as are 1777 - 1940, which are the Booth Hall babies, and staff. The numbers 2000 -2210, were allocated for recording purposes, to those people whose remains were buried in the Garden of Remembrance. These entries, also have an official record, of a single letter and number such as D 8, which would indicate the 8th interment on row, D, within the Garden of Remembrance. Most graves are single, but there are others containing 2, 3, 4 and in one case 5 bodies. The dates of death of those sharing a grave are sometimes but not always, reasonably close together. Unfortunately, there is no surviving information which might show what relationship if any, existed between people, now buried in the same grave. All of the known burials, had an individual religious service of committal provided by a member of the clergy, from the appropriate faith, prior to the interment.
The Garden of Remembrance register Although the Alphabetic and Grave Registers include details of people buried in the Garden of Remembrance, there is a further register, listing only the people buried there, which gives much more detail, including date of birth, age, date of burial, status, name of minister providing committal service and the initials of the record clerk.
Scattered ashes register. A list of people from the Hospital, who are recorded as having had their ashes scattered in the Cemetery. There is no surviving record of any specific location within the Cemetery which might have been used,
The Lancashire Family history and heraldry registers 1992. A comprehensive research project, identifying and recording the inscriptions on all the headstones within the Cemetery was completed in 1992. The information is provided in both an alphabetic list and a grave record which can be used to confirm details in the main registers. The lists are provided in their original form, with pencil additions, questions and corrections left in place. We understand that the headstones were erected in 1966/7 so at the time this research was taking place the headstones would have been in a very well maintained and easily readable condition.
The Alphabetic Register
The Garden of Remembrance
1979 to 1989
The Garden of Remembrance was established in the South-West quadrant of the Cemetery, close to the site of the Booth Hall babies graves in 1979. The earliest burial was, Edwin Lymm, a popular former member of staff, who was still living at the Hospital after his retirement. Subsequently, another 210 former residents and staff are known to have been buried in the Garden. Their records are listed below, but it is believed that additional people may have been buried in the Garden after 1989, but no records have so far been discovered to confirm that view. For the people listed below, details of dates of birth, death and burial, are included. The name of the religious minister who performed the individual committal service for each burial is listed, and the initials of the official responsible for completing each record.
A list containing the names of Calderstones people whose ashes were scattered in the Graveyard, between 1981 and 1989 is below. The list is probably incomplete but no record of any earlier or later scatterings has yet been found.
The Lancashire Family History and Heraldry Society record from April 1992
The Ribble Valley Branch of the Society transcribed, typed and indexed all the monumental inscriptions within the Caldertones Hospital Private Cemetery. The approach is similar to the 2018 records but there are important differences which provide another wealth of evidence against which other records can be checked. Attached are copies of the original papers with all the corrections, questions and in some cases rejections left as they were, which at times are inconclusive. At the time these records were taken, we believe that the majority of the gravestones and their inscriptions would have been less than 25 years old
Surname Index with grave number
The members of the Ribble Valley Branch who completed this research are believed to include at least two people who were also members of staff of the hospital at the time.
Most of the graves in the Cemetery have just one person buried in them, but many have 2, 3 or exceptionally 4 and 5 people buried together. This list confirms the names of the individuals buried in each grave, as recorded from the headstone which stood at the time of the research. There are several notes and comments which were added to the list after it was produced and these have been left unaltered, and highlight the few uncertain and unexplained entries on the list, which have confused researchers.
The missing records
During the course of this research it became apparent that some Hospital records, for the period 1967 until 1977 and from 1989 to 1992, were either incomplete or unfortunately missing. The Hospital burial records from 1920 to 1967 were in excellent condition and easily corroborated against the Grave Register. Apart from the Garden of Remembrance register, other records from 1977 to 1989 are missing. The limited records from 1989 to 1992 which were available were incomplete and of very poor quality compared with those from earlier periods.
Based on what limited records were still available and making a conservative calculation of the Hospital's death rates during the relevant years, an estimate of 550 deaths between 1967 and 1977 seemed reasonable. For the latter period of 1989 to 1992 we know of 62 deaths during that time but the records are poor and incomplete.
The most likely explanation of the lack of records during these two periods is that the registers and files have simply been lost, or for whatever reason, were not completed. Checks with the Lancashire Archives and the Merseycare NHS Trust (Calderstones successor) have failed to locate any other register and official record. The quality, consistency and attention to detail in the records 1920 - 1967 and 1977-1989, would suggest that it is unlikely that the Hospital's administration and record-keeping standards would inexplicably change.
A complicating factor which the research revealed was that during the relevant "missing" period, there were fundamental changes in responsibility in both the Health Service and Local Government, with entirely new authorities created and many areas merged, while others simply disappeared under re-organisation or restructuring arrangements. So for many people who had been admitted from a single Local Authority within an established Health Authority, when the time came for them to be resettled or in this case buried or interred, they would be the responsibility of a new Local Authority and Health Authority who had probably little awareness of their presence or history.
As Calderstones was a North West Regional Health Authority provision, it was believed that with few exceptions, admissions to the Hospital came from the north-west. However, evidence seen during the course of this research questions that assumption. At times, Calderstones was also seen as a national and specialist provision. We are aware of people from Carlisle, Southampton, Devon, Lincolnshire, Buckinghamshire, Nottinghamshire and North Yorkshire who died at Calderstones.
We are left to consider what might have happened to the approximately 612 people who died at Calderstones in the relevant periods. Some would have returned to their families or home areas to make burial arrangements, but as in the periods for which we have good records, it is likely that for at least some, the Hospital would have had to make the necessary burial or interment arrangements. We have a good idea of who some of these people were, but where they were buried or interred remains unknown. It is possible that they were all dealt with "off-site" and none are buried or interred in the Hospital cemetery, but that seems extremely unlikely especially for 1967 to 1977 given the detailed history of normal practice which preceded. and again succeeded it. The recent evidence from a relative that his aunt who died in the Hospital in 1969, was cremated and had her ashes interred in the Church of England section of the Cemetery, might be a guide to what happened to some of the people whose records are missing.
We still hope that if they do exist, the missing registers, will be discovered in the future.
If you have any further questions, about the people who are buried in the Cemetery, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org