From paupers to philanthropists – remembering at Manchester Southern Cemetery

Manchester Southern Cemetery opened in 1879 and since then it has become the largest cemetery in the UK and second largest in Europe. Many locals take a stroll through this vast space or use it simply as a shortcut between Barlow Moor Road, Princess Road and Nell Lane. There is even a guided tour.

Grave with Arabic inscription
Grave with Arabic inscription

What is fascinating about this cemetery is not only its size but also its diversity and the multitude of classes and cultures amongst the graves and memorials. You will find people from all walks of life, tapping into Manchester’s heritage, including its industrial history, arts, sport and music.

Armenian Grave
Armenian Grave

There is a war memorial commemorating Allied servicemen who died in the World Wars, memorial to the victims of the Katyn massacre (1940 massacre of Polish nationals by the NKVD), graves of migrants from Armenia who fled Turkey following the Armenian genocide, or migrants from the Middle East, Ukraine and Poland. The cemetery has Anglican, Nonconformist and Roman Catholic chapels as well as Jewish burial area with mortuary chapel.

Chapel Southern Cemetery Manchester
Chapel Southern Cemetery Manchester

Some of the finest and poorest are buried at this remarkable site. There is a monument to Sir John Alcock (1892-1919) and his first non-stop trans-Atlantic flight, a memorial commemorating John and Enriqueta Rylands who founded the John Rylands Library and L.S. Lowry is also buried at the cemetery.

Rylands memorial
Rylands memorial

From paupers to philanthropists, from refugees and migrants to rich British merchants, Manchester Southern Cemetery is certainly worth a visit.

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