A History of Everton Cemetery

Everton cemetery is actually situated in Fazakerley, more than three miles from the historic centre of Everton. The reason for this is that in 1876 the overseers of Everton parish determined to buy a sufficient quantity of land so that they had an exclusive area for burials, rather than rely on Liverpool’s Anfield cemetery. After an extensive search, they settled on 54 acres of farmland that were purchased from Mr Woodward for £12,000.

Preparation of the land began in August 1877 but a severe frost in the winter of 1878-9 delayed work and it was not until 16th July 1880, some months behind schedule, that the Church of England section was consecrated by the Bishop of Liverpool, the Roman Catholic consecration following five days later.

A man who was on the vestry board that oversaw the development of the cemetery and then played an important part in the history of both Everton and Liverpool football clubs is buried there. Brewer John Houlding lived in a house overlooking Stanley Park, which led him to develop an12210976464_45e80373bd_o interest in Everton who played there from 1878 to 1883. After spending one season at a field off Priory Road, Houlding arranged the lease of a piece of land that became the Anfield football ground and Everton’s home from 1884 to 1892. A dispute then arose over rent and the board members voted to move to a new ground at Mere Green which was renamed Goodison Park. Left with a ground that he now owned but no team Houlding formed Liverpool Football Club. Houlding died in 1902, a year after Liverpool had won the first of their eighteen league titles, and by then relations had thawed after the acrimonious split and players from both clubs carried his coffin at his funeral. Houlding was then interred in a family plot at Everton Cemetery.

In August 1914 a man looking for an escaped canary stumbled upon a tragedy at Everton cemetery when he found the bodies of two lovers. They were identified as William Holden and Ethel Frost, both of whom were deaf and had been intending to marry. However Ethel became friendly with another man and in a fit of jealousy William cut her throat with a razor blade before taking his own life. Anther murder victim buried in the cemetery is George Walker, an 82 year old who was battered to death in Warbreck Moor in 1953 in what became known as the Old Curiosity Shop Murder. His killer, twenty year old John Todd, was hanged for the crime.

In the 1st World War nearly 700 American servicemen who died whilst in Liverpool hospitals were buried at Everton cemetery. However after hostilities ended their remains were exhumed and either reburied in Brookwood American cemetery in Surrey or repatriated to the United States. Compared to some other cemeteries in Liverpool there are not so many war graves, with 55 from the 1st World War and fifteen from the 2nd World War.

In 1997 an unusual exhumation took place at Everton cemetery when the head of Yagan, an Aboriginal warrior was exhumed. A bounty had been placed on him after he killed several white settlers near Perth in Western Australia and after he was shot dead in 1833, his head was sent to London and eventually found its way to the Liverpool Museum. After being held in storage for a century it was buried in an unmarked grave in 1964 along with a Peruvian mummy and a Maori’s head. Aboriginal elders lobbied for its repatriation but this was complicated by the fact that twenty stillborn babies and two who had died soon after birth had been buried above it. With it being impossible to get permission from all 22 next of kin to disturb the remains, a six feet pit was dug alongside the grave and then Everton Cemetery Chinese memorialYagan’s head was exhumed horizontally. Even then the ordeal wasn’t over, as arguments over the most appropriate place form his burial in Australia meant this did not take place until 2010.

There are three distinct sections at Everton Cemetery- Church of England, Roman Catholic and General. Within the General Section is a dedicated area for Chinese graves and there is a memorial there to all Chinese people who have died in the United Kingdom. Every Spring and Autumn group visits are arranged to the cemetery by the Liverpool based See Yep Association, which represents the interests of those community members originating from the South West of China, to pay their respects.

There are not too many notable burials at Everton Cemetery but one significant grave is that of Brian Epstein, the manager of The Beatles who died in 1967 at the tragically young age of 32.

Everton Cemetery remains open to burials today. The main gates and stone piers at the Higher Lane and Long Lane entrances to Everton cemetery are now Grade II listed, being inscribed 1879. Also listed are the three lodges and one surviving chapel of the three that were originally built.

A History of Anfield Cemetery

Situated in the shadow of Liverpool and Everton football grounds, themselves there since the later Victorian period, Anfield cemetery is even older having been taking in burials for over 150 years.

By the middle of the 19th Century Liverpool’s graveyards were reaching saturation point and in 1854 the Corporation prohibited any more burials in the centre of the town. The new cemetery at Anfield was designed by Edward Kemp and building work began in 1861 with the first burial taking place two years later. The total cost of the project, including purchase of the land, was £150,000, equivalent to £16 million today.

The cemetery is laid out in a diamond shape with four entrances and axial paths that run north-south and east-west. Liverpool architects Lucy and Littler designed the lodges, chapels and entrance gates.Only one chapel, originally for Nonconformists, remains and this is now unused and on the Heritage at Risk Register. The crematorium was opened in 1896 and was the first in Liverpool and only the fourth in the United Kingdom.

Four recipients of the Victoria Cross are buried in Anfield Cemetery, including John Kirk who was awarded one for gallantry in the Indian Mutiny of 1857. He died aged 38 in 1865, having fallen into poverty following a discharge from the army due to having contracted rheumatism which in the opinion of the Inspecting Medical Officer was ‘the result of, or aggravated by, the use of intoxicating liquors, or indulgence in other habits or vices.’ Kirk had been punished twelve times for being drunk on duty, going AWOL and escaping from barracks cells.

The cemetery contains a mass grave containing the remains of over 500 residents of Liverpool who were killed during the May Blitz of 1941. There are over 900 British servicemen from the two world wars buried in the cemetery as well as 67 from other nations, mAnfield Cemetery Alfred Lewis Jones Graveainly Dutch and Norwegian seamen.

Notable local people buried in Anfield Cemetery include Thomas J Hughes, founder of the T J Hughes chain of shops in 1925; Michael J Whitty, former Chief Constable of Liverpool and founder of the Daily Post newspaper in 1855; shipowner Sir Alfred Lewis Jones, who opened the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine in 1898 and whose grave is pictured left. Also buried here are Victorian boxing champion Jem Mace and singer Michael Holliday, whose song ‘Starry Eyed’ was the first number one of the 1960s.

Near to the Cherry Lane entrance is a grave containing the remains of husband and wife William and Julia Wallace, who were at the centre of a classic ‘whodunnit’ in 1931. On 20th January that year Julia was found battered to death at her home in Wolverton Street by William, an insurance agent. He was later charged with murder after police concluded he still had time to carry out the killing and then create his alibi, that he was in Allerton looking for an address that did not exist. After being found guilty by a jury he waWallace Murder Grave Anfield Cemeterys sentenced to death but the conviction was overturned by the High Court as the verdict had been reached against the weight of evidence. Just two years later William died of renal cancer and was buried alongside his wife.

Being so close to Anfield and Goodison Park football stadiums, it is not surprising that a number of notable people connected to the early years of the Liverpool and Everton clubs are buried there.

William E Barclay holds a unique place in Merseyside football history as the only man to manage both clubs. He combined these roles with that of headmaster at an industrial school in Everton Terrace, off Netherfield Road South. He later drifted into obscurity and was found dead in tragic circumstances in 1917, an inquest returning a verdict of suicide during temporary inEverton George Mahon Grave Anfield Cemeterysanity. His final resting place in Anfield cemetery remained unmarked over ninety years but due to the sterling work of local football historians a stone was placed on it in 2013.

Barclay had remained loyal to Liverpool FC founder John Houlding after the acrimonious split within the Everton membership in 1892. However local solicitor George Mahon was instrumental in Everton’s move away from Anfield and arranged the purchase of the land that became Goodison Park, after which he became the club chairman. He lived at 86 Anfield Road and was buried in Anfield cemetery after his death in 1908.

Liverpool FC’s longest serving manager was Tom Watson, who tooTom Watson grave Anfield cemeteryk over from William E Barclay in 1896 and guided then club to two league titles and their first FA Cup final. He died in May 1915 and his funeral at Anfield cemetery was attended by many leading figures from the game in which he was held in high regard, having also won honours with Sunderland. In May 2015 a headstone was re-erected on his grave after family members were traced.

Anfield cemetery remains open to burials today. A charity, the Friends of Anfield Cemetery, has been founded with the aim of removing it from the Heritage at Risk Register by 2025, as well as building a heritage and visitor centre whilst remaining mindful of the fact it is a working cemetery.