A History of Allerton Cemetery

Allerton Cemetery EntranceAllerton Cemetery is the newest of the six cemeteries administered by Liverpool City Council and one of two in the city which have been listed by English Heritage.

At the beginning of the 20th Century it was clear that more cemetery space in the south of the city was needed. There had already been over 100,000 internments at Toxteth Cemetery since it opened in 1856 and the city’s suburbs were expanding southwards. With this in mind the city council purchased a large part of the Allerton Hall estate from the Clarke family in 1906 for £50,000, equivalent to over £5 million today.

The following year members of the Burials Committee visited the International Congress of Hygiene and Demography in Berlin. They noted that cemeteries there had a wide central avenue and graves were set back from the walks. They also observed that to please the eye and give the impression of a park, there were planted borders and a large proportion of the trees were evergreen.

City Engineer John A. Brodie was then instructed to submit plans for a new cemetery taking the committee’s report from Berlin into account. Four options were submitted in 1908 and after approval was given for one of them work began with the cemetery being consecrated in September 1909 by the Bishop of Liverpool. The first burial, that of Thomas Walsh, took place on 29th December that year.

Notable internmVc Ratcliffe grave Allerton cemeteryents in the cemetery include two recipients of the Victoria Cross, George Edward Nurse and William Ratcliffe, for bravery in the Boer War and 1st World War respectively. They both survived the campaigns in which they were involved, but the cemetery contains the remains of 399 servicemen from the two world wars who were killed performing their duty.

The cemetery has been extended three times over the years and covers a total sixty hectares. Either side of the main entrance on Woolton Road are two lodges, one of which is now a private residence while the other contains the city council’s cemetery offices. There are three chapels, one Church of England, one Roman Catholic and one Non-Conformist.

A humbling memorial in section CH2G is a stark reminder of the horrors and tragedies of war. This marks the grave of 21 year old Joseph Quinn, who died in April 1917 from an illness contracted whilst on duty with the Royal Naval Reserve. Underneath his name is that of his brother, 20 year old John, who was killed in action in France less than three months later and was interred there.

Grave of George Strong Lord Mayor of Liverpool 1933-34

A number of civic dignitaries are buried at Allerton, including George Alfred Strong, who was Lord Mayor of Liverpool 1933-34 and whose headstone is pictured. Whilst in office he welcomed King George V to Liverpool for the opening of the Queensway Tunnel connecting the city with Birkenhead.

John Lennon’s mothjulia Lennon graveer Julia was buried in Section CH38 after she was tragically knocked down by a car in Menlove Avenue in 1957. For decades the exact location of her grave was unknown and after it was discovered it was then marked by a wooden cross. In 2010 the unusually shaped gravestone pictured was added, simply containing the names of her four children and the word ‘Mummy’.

In 2002 Allerton and Toxteth Cemeteries were given Grade II listed status by English Heritage. It was recorded that Allerton was a good example of an Edwardian cemetery due to its original features remaining largely intact. Unlike in Liverpool’s other cemeteries, there are hardly any gravestones that have been damaged and had to be laid flat for public safety.

There are now over 80,000 people buried in Allerton Cemetery and on 20th August 2015 singer and television personality Cilla Black will be laid to rest there alongside her parents. Cilla’s real name is Priscilla Maria Veronica Willis (nee White) but her headstone will simply say ‘Here Lies Cilla the Singer’ in accordance with her wishes.




Arranging a Headstone in Liverpool

The main factors when considering a memorial are material, size, shape and inscription. Monumental masons are able to talk you through the advantages and disadvantages of natural materials, the size and suitability of gravestones depending whether they are to go on a cremation grave or burial grave. Each burial ground whether it be owned by a local authority or the Diocese have their own set of rules which masons will explain to you.

Liverpool City Council operates six cemeteries – Allerton, Anfield, Everton, Kirkdale, Toxteth and West Derby.  They only allow memorial masons, one of which is Sarsfield Memorials, who have signed up to their Rules and Regulations and have the relevant insurance in place to erect headstones in their cemeteries. At Sarsfield Memorials we are also members of BRAMM (British Register of Accredited Memorial Masons) this is your guarantee that you are working with an experienced and knowledgeable mason.

Once you have chosen the memorial and inscription, the Mason will require a form to be completed by the owner of the grave or deed owner. This form is then submitted by the mason to the local authority or Diocese for approval and they authorities check that the completed paperwork match their records. They then approve the cemetery form and a permit is given to the mason, allowing them to carry out the work.

To ensure that cemeteries remain safe for the future, all new and re-fixed gravestones now have to be anchored into the ground to prevent them from being pushed or falling over, all headstones are secured with a ground fixing anchor to grade A302 as approved by NAMM (National Association of Memorial Masons).

The maximum size dimensions for gravestones on a non permanent foundation in Liverpool City Council’s cemeteries is 48 inches high by 42 wide by 18 depth. You can go larger than these sizes, meaning the headstone is then classed as a monument and will require a permanent foundation and an additional fee will be charged of £295.00*

Cremated remains can also be interred in existing burial plots in all cemeteries, with the headstones then updated accordingly. Alternatively you can buy a cremated remains grave and bury between four to eight cremated remains and mark the grave with a headstone maximum size allowed 42 inches high by 30 wide by 12” deep. Liverpool City Council do allow kerbsets and they charge a cemetery fee of £90.00*

Churchyard fee’s and sizes of memorials allowed do vary so always be guided by an experienced mason.

Sarsfield Memorials is Liverpool’s longest established family run monumental masons in Liverpool and can accommodate all requests for headstones of any size from a small tablet to a large monument.

* Prices quoted are for fees in the Liverpool local authority area from April 2015 – March 2016, all fees are increased annually in April.