A History of Toxteth Park Cemetery

Toxteth Park Cemetery which is situated off Smithdown Road is one of six administered by Liverpool City Council.

The cemetery was opened in 1856 by the Toxteth Burial Board, who had bought the land for £15,000 and spent a further £11,000 preparing it. In today’s money, that is a total of £2.5 million. The ground was consecrated by the Bishop of Chester on 9th June that year, with the first interment being that of Elizabeth Watling, the widow of a surgeon who lived in Wavertree High Street.

Toxteth Park Cemetery Patience Simpson Grave

The cemetery contains consecrated Church of England sections and non consecrated sections, but there are no specific Roman Catholic areas. There were two chapels when the cemetery opened but only one is still standing, while both lodges are now private property.

In the second half of the 19th Century Toxteth Park was a very desirable place to live and that is reflected in the grandeur of some of the memorials there, some of which have been Grade II listed. Examples of those with listed status include the grave of Thomas Pennington, a doctor who died in 1887 and Patience Simpson, the wife of a lawyer who died in 1872 (photograph left).

In addition to the grand monuments, there are plenty of other headstones that tell tragic tales of working class lives lost too early. One of these is that of Thomas Williams, a 24 year old supervisor in the docks who drowned in 1905 when he was deliberately pushed into the River Mersey a worker who he had fired. There is also that of James Thomas, a boilermaker who was killed when a gas cylinder exploded on board the Cunard liner Mauretania in 1914.

There are 274 war graves in the cemetery, with 227 of those being from the 1st World War. There are also many other gravestones whereby people killed in conflict that were buried elsewhere are mentioned. One of those is Albert Curphey, who was killed on the first day of the Battle of the Somme in 1916 and is remembered on his parent’s headstone.

Toxteth Park Cemetery Chapel

The chapel at Toxteth Park Cemetery is sadly in a dilapidated condition, having been out of use since the 1990s and used only by vandals and pigeons. The Friends of Toxteth Cemetery though are hoping to raise the funds to bring it back into use, perhaps as a community hub or an office for cemetery security.

Today Toxteth Park Cemetery remains open for new burials, but there are no plots specifically for cremated remains, which can only be buried in existing graves.  If you are considering placing a headstone there or replacing/restoring an existing one please contact us at Sarsfield Memorials and we will be happy to provide a free no obligation quote.