Marble Statues For Headstones

Marble statues are an ideal complement to your loved one’s memorial. They can add peace and tranquility, yet still reflect their character in ways photoplaque images may be unable to.

marble statues

Made out of strong material that doesn’t succumb to inclement weather so easily, marble statues enhance a memorial for a long time. They are usually, but not always, religious in theme. Jesus Christ, the Virgin Mary and angels are common, as are cherubs for children’s graves. Statues that are praying reflect the deceased being looked after in the next life, while wings signify the onward journey to Heaven.

Sometimes marble statues may be of a religious character but actually have a different meaning. Doves for example can reflect the Holy Spirit but also affection and devotion. The Virgin Mary may just reflect a mother mourning her son or daughter. Statues of saints could actually indicate a profession, such as with John the Baptist who is the patron saint of builders. Secular examples of marble statues included animals and teddy bears.

White marble statues can be added to darker coloured memorials and provide an excellent contrast between sorrow and hope. They may be affixed permanently to the top or base of the memorial, or instead free standing or as part of a kerbset. They come in all sizes, with some being just four or five inches high and weighing less than a kilo. This means they needn’t be beyond your budget. You must take into account local authority regulations for cemeteries and also bare in mind that they are unlikely to be allowed in churchyards.

Sarsfield Memorials, Merseyside’s longest running family owned monumental mason business, have a range of marble statues available. If you are interested in having one as part of a new memorial, or adding on to an existing grave, please contact us and we will be happy to discuss your requirements and give guidance with no obligation.

 

When Memorial Renovation Isn’t Worth It

Sarsfield Memorials pride ourselves on being Liverpool’s oldest family run monumental mason business. We pride ourselves on providing quality products and an excellent service. However when memorial renovation isn’t worth it, we will tell you so even though we lose business as a result.

A couple of months ago we had a query regarding the restoration of an old family monument that is well over one hundred years old. The memorial, which was much taller than average, was situated in  a churchyard under some trees, leading to staining in addition to general erosion due to weather.

graveyard on summers day

When we discussed the possibility of the memorial renovation with the church concerned, we had to be realistic with the circumstances. The Diocese does not have the funds to maintain churchyards to the standards of years gone by. This meant that due to its location in the churchyard the memorial remained prone to both weathering and staining.

Another factor that had to be taken into consideration, one that is a sad reflection of today’s times, was the fact the memorial was also situated next to the churchyard wall. Being much taller than the wall, which could be scaled even if the gates were locked, made it a potential target for vandals.

Taking all circumstances into account, we advised the family concerned that they were probably best leaving the memorial as it was. We did not want a situation whereby their memorial became stained quicker than would normally be expected, or even worse suffer some vandalism.

After giving our advice we received a lovely letter from a member of the family, thanking us for our impartiality. It appreciated our “sound and invaluable advice despite the fact that you were talking yourself out of business. I am really impressed with your excellent service and if I ever need a stonemason in the future I will not hesitate to contact or Sarsfield or recommend your company to others”.

Receiving feedback like this makes us proud to represent Sarsfield Memorials.  For us, just being Liverpool’s oldest family run monumental business isn’t enough. We also want to leave a positive impression with anybody who contacts us, irrespective of whether we go on to provide a service.

George Patterson Liverpool Manager

Earlier this month Sarsfield Memorials have erected a headstone at the previously unmarked grave of George Patterson, who managed Liverpool FC before the Second World War.

Image may contain: grass, tree, outdoor and nature

Patterson was born in Liverpool in 1887 and played semi professionally for Marine. In 1908 he joined Liverpool as an assistant secretary-manager to Tom Watson. When Watson who died suddenly in 1915 Patterson took charge of the team for the regionalised wartime competitions. On the resumption of the Football League in 1919, David Ashworth took charge of team affairs with Patterson remaining with the club as secretary.

In 1928 Matt McQueen, who succeeded Ashworth in 1923, resigned due to ill health.  Patterson replaced him as manager whilst also remaining secretary.  The eight years Patterson was in charge at Liverpool were not notable for success. The highest finish he could lead the Reds to was fourth in his first full season in charge. Most of the time was spent in mid table and after finishing nineteenth in 1936 he stepped down from the manager role, to be replaced by George Kay.

george patterson liverpool

Patterson reverted back to a sole secretarial role. After the outbreak war in September 1939 he left the club, but a connection remained as his son made some appearances for them in war competitions. Kay led Liverpool to the league title in 1946-47, with two players that had been handed their debuts by Patterson playing key roles. They were joint leading scorer Jack Balmer and midfielder Phil Taylor, who would himself go on to manage the club.

He continued to attend games as a supporter until the early 1950s when his health made it impossible. He died on 8th May 1955 aged 68 at his home in Skerries Road, which was just a goal kick away from the Anfield ground.

For many years Patterson’s grave was unmarked. After being located by the Liverpool FC Graves Association and Friends of Anfield Cemetery, funds were raised to have a new headstone made and this was put in place by Sarsfield Memorials in early July.

Huyton Cemetery

Huyton Parish Church Cemetery, to give it its full title, is the cemetery of Huyton Parish Church, also known as St Michael’s. It is situated in the Metropolitan Borough of Knowsley in Merseyside.

There has been a place of worship on the site as far back as Norman times. Although the current church building is mainly from the early 19th Century, some parts of the chancel and south arcade are up to 700 years old.

 

There are a number of older graves in the churchyard, with what is commonly known as Huyton Cemetery, entranced via Derby Road, opening in the early 1880s.

Huyton Cemetery

The most famous person interred at Huyton Cemetery is Stuart Sutcliffe, known by many as the ‘Fifth Beatle’. Sutcliffe was a bass guitarist in the group but left in 1961 to pursue an art career in Hamburg. He died there of a brain hemorrhage in April 1962 and the repatriation of his body was arranged by the group’s manager Brian Epstein. Sutcliffe’s father Charles, who died four years after his son, is also buried in the grave. He had not even been aware of the tragic death as he had been away at sea at the time.

A notable person from local business and civic life buried in Huyton Cemetery is John Stone, whose grave is just on the right as you enter. He died aged 92 in 1936 and was head of J & R Stone who operated Park Colliery in Garswood, which was in existence 1887 to 1960. He had continued working until just a few weeks before his death. Stone was a member of the Liverpool Cathedral Building Committee and donated £5000 to the fund in 1933. He served as a magistrate for forty years and was High Sheriff of Lancashire 1912-13.

Huyton Cemetery contains sixteen Commonwealth War Graves Commission headstones from both world wars. One of those is of John Simmons, a merchant seaman who spent twenty days adrift in the Atlantic Ocean after his vessel was torpedoed in 1941. After being rescued John, who lived in Knowsley Lane, died of exposure at Broadgreen Hospital.

Knowsley Council is responsible for the upkeep of Huyton Cemetery, which is very well maintained. However new grave plots are no longer available and interments are only allowed in exiting ones. All new burials within the borough now take place in Fox Lane Cemetery, Whiston.

Sarsfield Memorials is Having a Brief Break

For the first time in five years, Sarsfield Memorials has been closed for business recently. The reason for this is that Ursula Sarsfield has been taking a well earned holiday.

Ursula is the managing director of Liverpool’s oldest family run memorial business. She is the third generation to run the company, following on from her father and grandfather. While other staff craft the memorials, it is Ursula who takes the initial enquiries, visits customers at times to suit them, raises orders, processes payments, does the quality checks and completes the tax returns.

Delivering a high quality personal service is what Ursula sees as the key to ensuring the business’s survival. So much of Sarsfield’s custom comes from recommendations from people who have used the company for generations and Ursula ensures the high standards set by her father and grandfather are maintained. This means making herself available for home visits seven days a week, mornings, evenings and weekends to suit the customers needs. She aims to answer all emails within 24 hours and give quotes for work within two days.

Ursula’s ability to communicate with clarity and empathy with bereaved families at extremely difficult times in their lives is one of her best qualities. She understands their needs and can guide them as to what type of memorials work best in their circumstances. The number of thankyou cards and kind comments left on our website and social media pages is a testimony to that.

However, everybody needs a break at some point. After a hectic twelve months that has seen Ursula move home and continue working through illness, she finally took a holiday in the middle of May, leaving the phone unanswered for the first time in five years. On Tuesday 28th May though, she’ll be back and ready to ready to answer the backlog of queries and take new orders.

 

John McKenna Grave Restored

Sarsfield Memorials have recently been honoured to undertake the memorial renovation of John, McKenna, the founding fathers of Liverpool Football Club.

The world famous club was formed in 1892 by John Houlding, when he was left with a football ground but no team to play there. The previous tenants, Everton FC had left for Goodison Park after a dispute over rent levels and Ulsterman John McKenna was one of the board members who remained loyal to Houlding.

McKenna became the new club’s first secretary-manager, sharing duties with William Barclay, a former Everton manager. He used his Scottish connections to bring in a number of players from north of the border. Known as the ‘Team of Macs’, Liverpool won the Lancashire League in their first season.

In the summer of 1893 McKenna made the brave decision to apply for Football League membership and the club were elected to the Second Division. In their first season Liverpool won promotion after a play off victory over Newton Heath, later to become their fierce rivals Manchester United.

Liverpool’s first top flight season ended in relegation, but they bounced back at the first attempt. Determined not to go down again, McKenna and Barclay (the headmaster of an industrial school) stepped aside and the club appointed Tom Watson, who had won the League Championship with Sunderland. The appointment was vindicated with Liverpool winning the title in 1901 and 1906.

McKenna remained at the club in aImage result for john mckenna wikin operational capacity, becoming chairman in 1906. In 1917 he was elected as president of the Football League, a position he held until he died aged 81 in 1936. Although physically ailing by then, his brain remained razor sharp and he never forgot a name and had an amazing memory for facts. Known as ‘Honest John’ he was a very humble man and always looking to help out those in the game who had fallen on hard times.

By the time McKenna died he was a widower and he was buried with his wife Charlotte at Toxteth Park Cemetery. Over the last few decades his grave, situated in a prominent spot next to a path near the chapel, has fallen into disrepair. However, at the request of Liverpool FC, it has now been restored by Sarsfield Memorials.

The decorative urn on top of the grave had either fallen off or been vandalised and on consulting with family members it was decided not to put this back. It has instead been kept by his great grandson for safekeeping. The rest of the memorial has been restored by giving it a through clean and re-gilding the lettering. The ground around it has been levelled and re-turfed.

The restoration of the memorial has been made possible in part thanks to the work of Kieran Smith from the Liverpool FC Graves Society. He has been drawing the club’s attention to the condition of some of their former players memorials and through their museum curator Stephen Done, has been able to secure funding for the project. Photographs of the restored memorial has been widely shared on social media and been well received by Reds fans around the world.

Sarsfield Memorials Customer Feedback

In the last couple of months Sarsfield Memorials has received some really positive customer feedback in various forms. When this happens, it is a lovely feeling to know that we have helped our customers in a very difficult time of their lives.

Last month a couple sent us a lovely handwritten note after we had completed a memorial. Describing it as “absolutely perfect”  it thanked us for helping with hard decisions and concluded by saying ‘I would recommend Sarfields to anyone who needed it without doubt’. Another card received in March said “Thankyou for all you have done for me, the stone is perfect and your kindness was lovely”.

Sarsfield Memorials Customer Feedback

Just as thoughtful was a simple email from another customer which said “We are very pleased with the headstone and would highly recommend you to anyone who needs a memorial”. A lady who lives abroad emailed us to say “Even though I live in Italy you made the procedure easy for me, the final work on my parents grave is fantastic”.

As well as getting in touch directly, we also received a couple of lovely online reviews last month. On Google, one from a customer whose family headstone had been cleaned up by us said “The stone was over thirty years old and I was amazed how it looked afterwards. Ursula came to my home and organised everything. Highly recommended”. Another review, this time on Facebook, said “My daughter’s memorial is perfect. It is one of  the hardest things I have ever had to do but you made it easier. Ursula listened to all our stories and helped pick the right stone for her. I could not recommend Sarsfields enough, they are thoughtful, helpful and sympathetic”.

At Sarsfield Memorials we feel it is so kind when customers take the trouble to contact us with messages of thanks and show their appreciation for our workmanship. We pride ourselves on what we do. Although we are a business, it is most important to us to provide exemplary service to customers at a very difficult time of their lives.

Receiving messages and feedback is why Liverpool’s oldest family run monumental mason continues as we do. If you are interested in a new memorial or renovation of an existing one, please contact us. We will be happy to discuss your requirements and provide a free no obligation quote.

 

Liverpool Crimean War Memorial

Standing near the entrance to Liverpool Cathedral and St James Cemetery is a Crimea War Memorial, dedicated to seven serviceman who died in hospital there.

Liverpool Crimean War Memorial

At 1230pm on 16th January 1855 the Cunard steamer Cambria arrived at Huskisson Dock carrying 213 wounded soldiers from the battles of Alma and Inkerman. They had endured a three week journey from Constantinople and were due to be taken to the Chatham Naval Hospital in Kent.

Thirty eight of the men were too ill to travel and were instead taken to the workhouse hospital on Brownlow Hill. Three wards were st aside for them and they were well looked after, being visited by the Mayor and receiving donations of port wine, shaving utensils and clothing.

Most of the soldiers made a full recovery but seven of those died of fever and dysentery. They were interred at St James Cemetery with full military honours, with large crowds lining the funeral route to pay their respects. Back at the warehouse, members of the Military were provided with ale, bread and butter in the dining hall. A recruiting sergeant thanked the people of Liverpool for their help, saying that the arrangements for the soldiers comfort could not be surpassed.

In 1856 a memorial was unveiled at the cemetery containing the names of the seven men lost and with the inscription “Erected  by public subscription to record the courage and endurance displayed by the privates of the British Army who at the call of duty devoted their lives to maintain the honour of their country and the fidelity of England and her allies”.

It was not such an unusual occurrence for servicemen to die away from combat situations. Of the 20,000 British soldiers who died in the Crimean war, around three quarters of those did so of illness rather than as a result of battle. However it must have been awful for their relatives to realise their loved ones had survived the conditions there and a sea voyage, only to die on English soil.

Cremation Plots

Over the last few decades there has been an increasing shift towards cremation rather than burials, the figure being around 75%. As such, sections reserved solely for cremation plots are becoming a commons sight in cemeteries.

Unlike with burials, cremation allows families more time to consider what to do with their loved ones remains. Many will prefer to see the ashes scattered in a favourites place, but others may wish for a memorial where they can visit and remember their loved one.

Cremation plots

In the longer term, cremation plots can be cheaper than colonnade niches at crematoriums. These niches, where urns can be stored with a memorial plaque, are for a limited number of years and can be more costly than plots once you have renewed two or three times.

Cremation plots allow for a small to medium sized headstone and flower container to be placed there. This also allows you to add a personal touch to your loved one, such as laser etched images and photo plaques. The memorial needn’t be in a traditional upright or ogee style either, with heart and book shapes being possible. Although available, religious symbols are not so commonly see at cremation plots as cremation tends to be favoured by those who are more secular.

In the Liverpool city council area, Allerton, Anfield and Kirkdale cemeteries allow the purchase of cremation plots on a seventy five year lease.  A height restriction of three feet six inches is placed on the memorial. In Knowsley, cremation plots are only available for purchase at Whiston Cemetery. It needs to be remembered that they are rarely available in churchyards. Churches tend to have a small memorial garden instead, although there are some in the Merseyside area that allow for them.

Sarsfield Memorials is Liverpool’s oldest family run monumental mason business. We have a wide selection of memorials for cremation plots. Please contact us and we will be happy to discuss your requirements and advise on what is feasible depending on the area you live.

 

 

 

Spring is the Time for New Headstones

Winter is almost over and if you are considering a new memorial for a grave or replacing/renovating an existing one, now is a good time to do it. At Sarsfield Memorials, the oldest independent memorial mason in Liverpool headstones are the core part of our business and Spring is always a busy time for us.

Liverpool headstones

In Spring the ground is much firmer and settled providing the perfect conditions for memorial installation. As we leave the dark winter months behind us, a newly erected headstone at your loved one’s grave for the Spring and Summer provides a fitting tribute. It is somewhere where their lives can be commemorated in a perfect way, surrounded by the newly sprouted flowers. We have a wide selection of headstones available to order and examples are here. However if you do not see what you require please contact us as we can usually tailor memorials to suit your wishes.

Erecting new headstones in the winter can be problematic due to the soil being frozen or extremely soggy, making it impossible to pour the cement for the foundation. Inclement weather and the darker nights can also mean that even if you were to install a headstone in November or December, if it is a lighter coloured material it may already be in need of a clean by the time you are visiting in the warmer months.

Spring is naturally a good time to have a headstone cleaned after the battering they can take in the winter months. Even the most durable granite memorials need a clean from time to time, while the softer and lighter materials such as marble and Portland stone can become discoloured especially if they are near falling leaves.

Relatively newer headstones can sometimes be cleaned with just warm water if the right material is used to apply it. We do not recommend cleaning your your memorial yourself though as using the wrong methods can cause lasting damage, damaging the gold leaf or causing staining or chemical corrosion to softer stones. At Sarsfield Memorials we have a range of options available for repair and renovation, from a simple clean to re-gilding of inscriptions, we are always happy to share our knowledge and expertise with you at no cost, if it is something that you can do yourself.

The images on this blog page show how memorials can be made to look as good as new after a clean. If you do not live locally we will update you with progress, providing before and after photographs. If you would like to discuss the installation of a new memorial or cleaning/restoration of an existing one, please contact us and we will be happy to discuss your requirements and provide a free no obligation quote.