Undercliffe Cemetery Charity Trust is launching a new initiative "Friends of Undercliffe Cemetery" to raise awareness of the unique heritage site. Launching on 25 April, Friends of Undercliffe will meet on the last Saturday of each month at The Lodge within Undercliffe Cemetery.
Described by English Heritage as a 'site of exceptional historic interest', Undercliffe Cemetery opened in 1854 and covers 26 acres with 24,000 graves holding 124,000 burials of Bradfordians from all walks of life. The meetings will provide information on how to trace a lost family member buried in the grounds, offer guided tours and provide the opportunity to explore hidden places within the cemetery.
Registrar and Co-ordinator of Undercliffe Cemetery Charity Neil McLellan, said the site needs 'friends' and volunteers to help look after the grounds. He said: “We are hoping to expand our team of friends and supporters to help us with fundraising, horticultural work, to work on the War Graves project and even become tour guides.
"There is so much to enjoy and appreciate at Undercliffe Cemetery - we even hold exhibitions on the wildlife and special funerary art. Undercliffe is still a full working cemetery and a Grade 11* Site listed by English Heritage. We would encourage local people to take the time to visit and appreciate this place of real historical interest in Bradford and join us in preserving it for generations to come."
Undercliffe Cemetery is owned by Bradford MDC and is maintained and managed by Undercliffe Cemetery Charity through the board of trustees and two part-time staff.
The new 'Friends of Undercliffe Cemetery' will hold meetings on the last Saturday of each month: Sat 30 May, Sat 27 June, Sat 25 July, Sat 26 Sept from 10.00 - 12 noon at The Lodge, Undercliffe Cemetery, Undercliffe Lane, Bradford BD3 0DW.
For more information please telephone: 01274 642276 or look online at www.undercliffecemetery.co.uk
We were thrilled when the Bradford International Film Festival used a photograph taken at Undercliffe Cemetery as their main identity and publicity photograph for the 2011 Festival (16-27 March). This stunning photograph shows part of the "Historic Core" looking west from the Swithen Anderton, a Woolstapler, was one of Bradford's Victorian "wool barons", and a Bradford Magistrate. The memorial, designed in the Gothic style, is a scaled down version of the Scott Monument in Edinburgh. It is one of six monuments in Undercliffe listed by English Heritage as of special historic interest.
Bradford International Film Festival Identity, 2011, National Media Museum
You are invited to a Live Art Light Illumination of Undercliffe Cemetery
Thursday 26th May 8.00pm - 10.00pm
Featuring the Bradford Festival Choral Society. Come and see what Bradford has been hiding...
Come and witness Bradford’s undiscovered English Heritage Grade 11* listed site lit up in all its glory for one night only and collectively we can celebrate the rich history of our great city. Together we can be proud of our cultural history and endeavour to move forward in presenting the positive side of Bradford.
We desperately need new volunteers to help out with our grounds maintenance work over the spring and summer. Why not come and join a small but committed team and help us with strimming, mowing, maintaining paths, planting…and much more?
There is no minimum time commitment - we welcome all support. Some volunteers offer a few hours per week others come in for one or more days each week. All new volunteers will receive support and training – so no previous experience is needed.
If you are interesting in becoming a volunteer or would like to discuss becoming a volunteer in more detail please contact us.
During April and May we have had the builders in to enhance and upgrade the facilities at the Lodge. The work is now nearing completion and involves creating a new kitchen area, upgrading toilet facilities, fitting out a new toilet for people with disabilities, improved heating and lighting, new flooring to some areas, and redecoration of the main meeting room and office.
This work has been made possible through a grant from Bradford Metropolitan District Council Bolton and Undercliffe Ward Investment Fund together with match funding from Undercliffe Cemetery Charity’s own resources.
The refurbishment work ensures that all of the different and varied users of the Cemetery have good quality facilities during their visit.
Following a review during 2009 English Heritage has upgraded the heritage status of Undercliffe Cemetery from a Grade II listed site to a Grade II* listed site. The following extract from their website explains what this means:
There are currently nearly 1450 sites included on the Register divided into three grade bands to give added guidance on their significance. The majority of the sites identified through the Register as being of a sufficiently high level of interest to merit a national designation, are designated grade II. Some sites, however, are recognised as being of even higher value. Around 30% of the 1450 are considered to be of exceptional historic interest and are awarded a star giving them grade II* status. A further 10% are of international importance, and are classified as grade I.”
In addition, the entry for Undercliffe Cemetery in the Register reads:
"Undercliffe Cemetery is designated at Grade II* for the following principle reasons:
A fine example of a late private cemetery (1852-54) for a provincial city
Designed by William Gay, a noted Cemetery designer, a Picturesque informal path pattern leading from the entrances is focussed on the central formal promenade
The cemetery layout survives relatively intact despite the loss of the original two chapels and lodges
The core contains many grand 19th century monuments to Bradford's leading citizens; markers elsewhere include paupers' graves."