You may often notice in cemeteries that there are areas of plain grass on which small plaques are sporadically situated. These are the parts of the cemetery where the public graves are situated, in which people have been buried at the local authority’s expense with no headstone.
It is possible at later date however for memorials to be placed over a public grave, although there are restrictions. They must be flat and a maximum of eighteen by eighteen inches, and no more than three inches high.
Up until a few years ago Liverpool city council only allowed these memorial bases to be of Yorkstone material and ordered through their cemeteries department. Nowadays they realise it is more economical to allow private masons to do the work and deal with the public. As such, there are now no restrictions on what material is used, with masons adding the £90 cemetery fee to their final invoice when work is completed. Other local authorities charge roughly the same fees in their cemeteries.
The memorial plaques are affixed to a flagstone which is cemented to the ground to form a foundation. Permission needs to be granted for a public grave to be marked, but not necessarily from a relative. As long as the cemeteries grant permission and the fee is paid then the grave can be marked. In Liverpool’s cemeteries there could be as many as fifteen buried in each public grave, but other families do not need to be contacted to get permission for a marker. They normally only allow four stones on each grave so it is on a first come first served basis.
There are some exceptions to mass burials in public graves. Stillborn babies for example, are buried in a ‘private public grave’ at the expense of a hospital or charity, allowing parents to add a memorial plaque later.
Some public graves of notable figures in the history of Liverpool and Everton football clubs have been marked in recent years. William E Barclay, who managed both clubs in the Victorian era and Ned Doig, Liverpool’s goalkeeper when they were promoted in 1904-05, are marked with base plaques in Anfield cemetery.
Sarsfield Memorials can provide commemorative plaques in a range of materials and liase with the cemeteries, having the permit granted and arranging payment of cemetery fees and lettering and fixing. Please contact us here for information and a free no obligation quote.