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Park and Garden
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

Bradford (Metropolitan Authority)
Non Civil Parish
National Grid Reference:
SE 13456 32554


A public cemetery designed by the Borough Surveyor, Charles Gott, opened in 1860 and extended in the early-C20 with a crematorium designed by the Borough Architect, F E P Edwards.


On 2 February 1857 Bradford Town Council was appointed as Burial Board for the district (Bentley 1926) and on 20 February 1857 a sub-committee of the Board was set up to inspect possible sites for burial grounds (Minute Book). In September 1857 approval was given by the Home Secretary for the purchase and appropriation of land at Scholemoor for a cemetery (ibid).

Two alternative designs for the cemetery, both dated December 1857, were prepared by the Borough Surveyor, C Gott, and a further design, dated 1858, was prepared by Joshua Major and Son. All three designs included a central north/south division between consecrated ground to the west and unconsecrated ground to the east and included two mortuary chapels, sited symmetrically towards the south of the site. The Majors' design proposed separate but adjoining Anglican and Nonconformist entrances at the south-east of the site and serpentine drives in an irregular pattern to east and west of a central stepped path dividing the site from north to south (Plan, 1858). Both of Gott's schemes show an entrance at the centre of the south boundary from where a main dividing drive leads north, with formal, symmetrical path arrangements to east and west (Plan, 1857).

On 30 December 1858 approval was given by Whitehall for the proposed division between consecrated and unconsecrated land, as indicated on a drawing by the Borough Surveyor. On the same date approval was also given to the designs for two similar, Gothic-style chapels designed by Bradford architect Eli Milnes (1830-99). On 25 May 1859 approval was given by the Sanitary and Burial Committee, with drawings signed by the Chairman, to both Milnes' chapel designs and to one of the schemes for laying out the cemetery prepared by Gott (Plan, 1859).

The cemetery was opened in 1860 with the western, Anglican section consecrated on 4 August of that year. By 1893 the central main drive had been extended beyond the burial area to a second entrance to the north-east and a small Jewish burial area, with chapel, had been added in the south-east of the cemetery (OS 1893). In 1905 a crematorium was constructed on a northern extension of the cemetery. The costs comprised £4575 for the building, £792 for the furnace, and £59 for the columbarium (Bentley 1926). In 1926 the cemetery lands encompassed c 11ha allocated for burials, including a second Jewish burial area to the north-east for the Orthodox Hebrew Congregation, and a further c 15ha of unappropriated land (outside the area here registered) let out for other purposes (ibid).

The Anglican and Nonconformist chapels were demolished in the late-C20. In the mid to late C20 the cemetery was further extended to the north and east, the latter including a Muslim burial area, with mortuary chapel, and a garden of remembrance (outside the area here registered).

Scholemoor Cemetery remains (2001) in use and in the ownership of the City of Bradford Metropolitan District Council.


LOCATION, AREA, BOUNDARIES, LANDFORM, SETTING The 11ha cemetery is located c 3km west of Bradford city centre. To the south the cemetery is bounded by Necropolis Road, with a low stone wall with stone piers, and at the south-west corner by Walker Avenue with the boundary marked by a c 2m high wall. The boundary wall to Necropolis Road is topped with railings between piers for a length of c 20m. The western boundary adjoins early-C20 housing to the south-west and open land to the north-west, with the whole marked by a c 2m high stone wall built on the boundary line indicated on Gott's plan approved in 1859. To the north the cemetery adjoins a mid-C20 extension of the burial grounds (outside the area here registered), with the boundary marked by a path and section of the main drive, both running at the head of a low embankment. To the east the cemetery adjoins, from the north, an Orthodox Hebrew burial ground, a late-C20 extension to the cemetery, and a late-C20 memorial garden (all outside the area here registered); there is also an area of unappropriated land. This eastern boundary is marked in part by a stone wall c 2m high running 270m north from the south-east corner of the cemetery and is open elsewhere. Walls to the east and south boundaries are indicated on Gott's plan approved in 1859. The boundaries to the east, south, and west are lined with mature trees.

The cemetery is sited on sloping ground which falls from the southern boundary to the north-west. The surrounding area is residential to the south-west, south, and east, with open land to the north-west and an industrial area to the north-east. Throughout the cemetery there are views out over lower-lying ground to the north and north-west.

ENTRANCES AND APPROACHES The principal entrance lies at the centre of the southern boundary, set back from a southern bend in Necropolis Road. It is marked by a carriage entrance flanked by two pedestrian entrances, all with C19 iron gates set between buttressed stone piers. A niche in the west flanking wall marks the position of a former drinking fountain. Immediately south-west of the entrance stands a stone two-storey lodge incorporating the cemetery office. The entrance and adjoining lodge building are sited as indicated on Gott's plan approved in 1859.

A second entrance lies at the north-east corner of the cemetery, at the western end of Birks Fold. It is marked by a carriage entrance flanked by two pedestrian entrances, all with C19 iron gates set between stone piers. A two-storey stone lodge is sited to the south-east of this entrance. Both entrance and lodge are indicated on the 1893 OS map and were probably constructed in anticipation of the first extension to the cemetery in the early-C20.

Some 80m east of the principal entrance, on the south boundary with Necropolis Road, an entrance to the later C19 Jewish chapel and burial ground is marked by a pair of C19 iron gates set between stone piers.

PRINCIPAL BUILDINGS The main features of the 1859 Gott design were the Nonconformist and Anglican mortuary chapels, both now (2001) demolished. The two chapels were sited on axial paths, on high, embanked ground in the south of the cemetery, with the Nonconformist chapel to the east and the Anglican to the west of the main axial drive which divided the unconsecrated and consecrated burial areas.

The crematorium is sited 370m north-north-west of the principal entrance and is on an axis with the site of the former Anglican chapel. The 1905 stone building with its steeply pitched roof of blue slate and square tower to the north-east, was built to a design by the City Architect, F E P Edwards, with late-C20 flat-roofed additions to the east. The crematorium, although situated on lower ground, dominates the cemetery.

OTHER LAND The cemetery is divided by the main tree-lined axial drive. This 6m wide drive leads northwards from the principal entrance down the sloping site, with a symmetrical, formal layout to east and west. Some 360m north of the principal entrance the main drive, from this point embanked, curves north-east to the northern cemetery entrance. This northern section of the drive, indicated on the 1893 OS map, is a late-C19 extension.

From the principal entrance paths lead east and west to follow the boundaries of the cemetery and form a perimeter walk, joined by cross-axial paths leading off the main drive. Some 60m east of the principal entrance the perimeter walk is diverted to the north around a small, later-C19 Jewish burial area. Within the burial area, defined by a metal rail set between low stone pillars, is sited a small, single-storey stone mortuary chapel.

For c 300m north of the principal entrance the main axial drive is flanked by two parallel side paths set 6m to east and west. North of this point the western path continues to the Columbarium and the eastern path is offset to the east and follows the line of the main drive, curving north-eastwards.

Partially tree-lined drives lead east and west for 40m from a point 130m north of the principal entrance. These 11m wide cross-axial paths then divide to encircle large central planting beds before rejoining and meeting the perimeter walk. The planting beds mark the sites of the former mortuary chapels. Axial paths lead north and south from both chapel sites, parallel to the main axial drive. To north and south of the chapel sites these paths each link with two segmental paths forming two oval arrangements (with diameters of 50m and 76m) around the former chapel sites. To the north both inner paths are lined with trees. Each of the outer segmental paths curves back to meet the main axial drive at a right-angle c 100m and c 160m north of the principal entrance. The northern segmental path adjoining the Nonconformist chapel site lies at the top of a semicircular embankment which extends east and west to return northwards adjacent to the main axial drive and eastern perimeter walk. The matching path adjoining the Anglican chapel site is similar but with an embankment only to the north-east. From both chapel sites there are views over the lower cemetery ground to the north and beyond and each has a flight of stone steps leading down the embankment to the axial path leading northwards.

In the eastern area of the cemetery two further embankments divide the sloping ground on cross-axial lines 80m and 270m north of the southern boundary. The former is tree-lined and the latter is on the line of the former northern boundary of the cemetery, as indicated on the Gott plan approved in 1859. Some 70m north of each chapel site the junctions of axial and cross-axial paths are marked by circular grassed areas with monuments arranged around the circumference. Similar junctions 40m south of the chapel sites are marked by two grassed quadrants. The burial areas adjacent to and to the south of the chapel sites contain a profusion of monuments in a rich variety of styles. Some 14m north of the Nonconformist chapel site stands the 7.5m high cross of the Emsley memorial in granite imported from the United States. A memorial to six members of the Bradford City Fire Brigade who lost their lives in the explosion at Low Moor Munition Works in 1916 is situated 20m north-east of the Anglican chapel site; it is topped with the figure of a fireman holding a water hose.

The main drive and axial paths continue into the early-C20 northern extension of the cemetery. Immediately to the east of the crematorium is an area laid out with c 2m high walls in a series of interconnecting compartments as a columbarium for the interment of ashes. The Columbarium was first established in 1905 and extended in c 1955. A lych gate of c 1900 is sited at the junction of the perimeter walk with the main drive, 35m to the west of the north-east entrance. The structure has a stone base with a panelled timber construction below a pitched roof protecting a stone coffin table. The lych gate was provided in lieu of a separate Roman Catholic chapel (Bentley 1926).


Bentley J, Illustrated Handbook of the Bradford City Parks, Recreation Grounds and Open Spaces (1926), 101-3 Memorials of Interest at Scholemoor Cemetery Bradford, leaflet, (City of Bradford Metropolitan District Council nd)

Maps Chas Gott, Borough Surveyor, Plan of the Site of the Proposed Cemetery at Scholemoor, 7 December 1857, 60' to 1" (2 plans with alternative designs BBD 9/1/19/7; 1 plan signed as approved in 1859 BBD 9/1/19/9), (West Yorkshire Archive Service, Bradford) Joshua Major and Son, Plan for Laying Out the Proposed New Cemetery Grounds at Scholemoor, 1858 (BBD 9/1/19/8), (West Yorkshire Archive Service, Bradford)

OS 6" to 1 mile: 1934 edition OS 25" to 1 mile: 1st edition published 1893 2nd edition published 1908 3rd edition published 1921 1932 edition

Archival items Bradford Corporation Burial Board Minute Book No 1, 1857 (BBD 9/1/19), (West Yorkshire Archive Service, Bradford) E Milnes, Plans, Sections and Elevations showing approved layout and details of chapels, 30' and 10' to 1" (BBD 9/1/19/9/1-6), (West Yorkshire Archive Service, Bradford)

REASONS FOR DESIGNATION Scholemoor Cemetery is designated at Grade II for the following principal reasons: * A good example of a High Victorian (1858-60) public cemetery for a provincial town in formal grid-pattern style complimented by later C19 extensions in similar style. * The site was designed by the Borough Surveyor, Charles Gott. * The two Gothic chapels which stood on circular platforms either side of the main axis (reflecting the division of consecrated and unconsecrated ground) dominating the sloping site have been demolished but their sites remain open and read as part of the design. * An early example of a crematorium and nearby columbarium (1905), was built by the City Architect, F E P Edwards. Although situated on lower ground, the crematorium now dominates the cemetery. * Social interest is expressed in a variety of C19 monuments, most of which are relatively modest. * The cemetery layout survives intact, together with planting including an avenue of mature trees lining the long main axial drive.

Description written: October 2001 Amended: October 2001 Register Inspector: HMT Edited: December 2009


The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System number:
Legacy System:
Parks and Gardens


This garden or other land is registered under the Historic Buildings and Ancient Monuments Act 1953 within the Register of Historic Parks and Gardens by Historic England for its special historic interest.

End of official listing

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