Book Shaped Headstones

Book shaped headstones are a popular choice of memorial for those who may want something that differs from the conventional rectangular design.   

The book can signify a number of things. It may be a document of the deceased’s life, listing their date of birth and death, family and vocation. Alternatively it may indicate that a chapter is over. If the memorial has a torn cover, then this means that the deceased’s life was cut short too soon.

.Blue pearl granite open book

In some cases, the book may be closed due to the deceased having moved from this life to the next. There are also religious meanings, the book signifying the Bible and this may be emphasised by a religious citation. Book shaped headstones are not restricted to Christian burials and in Muslim graves for example could signify the Koran.

Book shaped headstones are traditionally black granite but they can be made from marble or other types of granite. Both these materials can be cut into the book shape easily and the lettering can be carved into the stone or laser etched.

One thing to consider when it comes to book shaped headstones is that if the book is open then this reduces the width, meaning there is less space for lettering. As such you should take this into account when thinking of a book shaped headstone, as the length of your intended inscription or epitaph may need to be shortened. This reduction though can be offset by having a riser base, which allows more room for an inscription there.

Sarsfield Memorials have a range of headstones that are book shaped and some examples can be seen here. If you are considering a book shaped headstone for your loved one’s grave please contact us. We will be happy to discuss your requirements and provide a free no obligation quote

The Founder of Ogdens Tobacco

The site of the former Ogdens tobacco factory in Everton is currently being converted into over one hundred homes. Only the listed clock tower, which will be converted into apartments, survives of a factory that employed over two thousand at its peak.

Ogdens Tobacco

Ogdens was founded in 1860 when Thomas Ogden opened a shop in Park Lane in the south end of Liverpool. More shops opened across the town during the next decade, as well as a factory in St James Street. After Ogden died in 1890, the running of the company was taken over by two of his sons. The factory and offices at Boundary Lane in Everton were built in 1899, merging the operations of six others that were spread across the city into one site.

In 1901 Ogdens was sold to the American Tobacco Company for £818,000, equivalent to £92 millthomas ogden grave toxteth cemeery (1)ion today. A year later it was back in British hands when the Imperial Tobacco Company was formed out of a merger between several companies. The Ogdens named didn’t disappear though and cigarettes were made the for sixty years.

From 1962 the site concentrated on pipe and had rolled tobacco, with the factory being redeveloped and modernised in the late 1970s.  As attitudes to smoking changed the factory went into decline and in 2006 the Imperial Tobacco Company announced it was ceasing production at Boundary Lane.  The last tobacco was produced there in March 2007 and the site put up for sale. English Heritage immediately moved to secure Grade II listed status for the office block and clock tower, citing its high quality of craftsmanship both internally and externally.

thomas ogden grave toxteth cemeery (2)

To reflect their various business interests, Bristol based Imperial Tobacco renamed itself Imperial Brands in 2016, the same year their last UK factory in Nottingham closed.

After having lain empty for nine years, Liverpool Mutual Homes completed the purchase of the Ogdens Tobacco site in 2016. The office block and clock tower remain but the factory buildings have been demolished to make way for affordable new homes. Thomas Ogden, whose opening of a tobaccos shop back in 1860 began the chain of events that led to this, is buried in Toxteth Park Cemetery. His grave is one of the closest to the chapel but sadly the lettering is badly weathered and largely illegible.


Family Grave Ownership is Not Automatic

Over the Christmas period a story appeared in the national newspapers concerning Liverpool born actress Kim Cattrall’s name appearing on a family headstone in a churchyard in the city. Other family members were not happy about it and the situation demonstrates how grave ownership and right of burial should not assumed to be an automatic right.

Before a grave is opened for burial of a body or interment of cremated remains, written permission must be sought from the owner unless it is the owner who has died. The same applies to repair work on the headstone and adding of inscriptions, but the rules do differ between council run cemeteries, private cemeteries and churchyards.

When the owner of a grave dies, then a new owner must be registered before any more burials can take place there or work done on the headstone.  This is known as a transfer of ownership and for council run cemeteries the rules differ between local authorities. For example in Liverpool the deed will transfer automatically to the person who arranges the burial of the owner, even if they are not a relative.

Some other local authorities however will not transfer grave ownership unless it is stated in a will, or if there is family agreement. In these situations  for example, if a grave owner dies leaving four children, the one who applies for transfer of ownership must have the written consent of the others. If a dispute arises within the family, then this can only be resolved by the members themselves otherwise they will need to seek the help of a solicitor.

Your local cemetery office can advise on whether you have a right to claim grave ownership in line with their regulations and assist with the transfer of ownership, for which some cemeteries will charge a fee. If you are looking to erect a new headstone or repair a damaged one on a family grave, then at Sarsfield Memorials we will be happy to assist you in establishing your rights.

Please contact us and we will be happy to discuss the situation, but please be aware that we will NEVER carry out work on any grave without the written permission of the legally registered owner.