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

Manchester (Metropolitan Authority)
National Grid Reference:
SJ 82847 92536


A public cemetery opened in 1879, designed by the City Surveyor, J G Lynde, with buildings by H J Paull, and extended in the C20.


In 1872 Manchester Corporation purchased c 40ha of land at a cost of £38,340 for the purpose of a cemetery (Illustrated Handbook, 1915), in open country to the south of the city. The architect for the cemetery was H J Paull (Brooks 1989) who is named as such on an engraved marble plaque in the registrar's office. Paull, then in partnership with Ayliffe, was also the designer of buildings at Phillips Park Cemetery (qv) in Manchester, opened in 1866. The plaque records that Manchester Southern Cemetery was opened on 9 October 1879 by the Mayor, Alderman Charles Sydney Grundy and lists the names of the Parks and Cemeteries Committee together with the Town Clerk, Joseph Heron. The design for the layout of the cemetery has been attributed to James Gascoigne Lynde, the City Surveyor from 1857 to 1879 (Axon 1886).

A plan by the City Surveyor, dated 1880, shows the 'Occupied Portion' of the cemetery, an area at the centre of the site extending from the south-west boundary to the north-east boundary. The area indicated includes the Church of England, Nonconformist, and Roman Catholic chapels linked by an elliptical drive centred on a main axis leading north-north-east from the principal entrance to the Church of England chapel and beyond to the north-east boundary. A symmetrical, radial path layout within the elliptical drive overlies a rectilinear pattern parallel to and on cross axes with the main axis, which extends beyond the drive. To the north-west of the Nonconformist chapel and to the south-east of the Roman Catholic chapel the rectilinear path layout, beyond the 'Occupied Portion', is indicated by dotted lines. A Jewish chapel at the west corner of the site is shown but no path layout indicated in the Jewish burial area. The 'Occupied Portion' shown on the plan was colour-washed to identify Church of England, Nonconformist, and Roman Catholic burial areas together with lawns and planting areas shown in green; the areas and layout are as indicated on the 1907 OS map.

In 1926 a further c 36ha of land was purchased to the north-east of Nell Lane for future expansion of the cemetery (outside the area here registered). The first section of the extension was opened in 1943 and the layout in this area continued the principal axis, running north-east from the principal entrance, and the rectilinear layout of the 1879 cemetery. Some 17ha of the land purchased in 1926, to the north and north-west, has since been developed with late-C20 housing. In 2001 the north-east section of the extension land remains unused for burials and is partly in use as allotment gardens.

Manchester Southern Cemetery remains (2001) in use and in the ownership of Manchester City Council.


LOCATION, AREA, BOUNDARIES, LANDFORM, SETTING The cemetery is situated c 5.5km south of Manchester city centre and is c 40ha in area. The site is bounded by Manchester Crematorium (listed grade II), adjoining Barlow Moor Road and early-C21 housing to the north-west, Barlow Moor Road to the south-west, and Princess Road to the south-east. The north-west boundary is partially marked by a single-storey brick former stable building within the cemetery. The remainder of the north-west boundary is marked by early-C21 timber fencing to the recent housing development, single-storey brick buildings adjoining the crematorium, and for c 60m adjoining Barlow Moor Road, a stone wall. The boundary to Barlow Moor Road is marked by low sandstone walls topped with C19 wrought-iron railings set between stone piers. The south-east and north-west boundaries are marked by c 1.2m high simple metal railings enclosing low hedges. All boundaries of the cemetery are also marked by lines of mature trees.

The site is generally level. To the east, ground adjoining the north-east boundary with Nell Lane is slightly raised on a low, grassed embankment. To the north, west, and south the surrounding area is predominantly residential with, to the east, offices and the Withington Hospital facing the cemetery across Princess Road.

ENTRANCES AND APPROACHES The principal entrance (listed grade II) lies at the centre of the south-west boundary of the main section of the cemetery. It is set back between curving sandstone walls, topped with C19 wrought-iron railings with stone piers marking the junctions between the curved sections of wall and the boundary wall. Further piers flank two pedestrian entrances and a central, larger pair of stone piers marks a carriage entrance, all with C19 wrought-iron gates. Immediately north-west of the entrance stands the registrar's office and to the south-east a lodge (both listed grade II) which, together with the entrance, date from 1879. The two-storey stone buildings are in Gothic style below steeply pitched gabled roofs, each with a tower and short spire. Both buildings are in use and each has a separate pedestrian entrance on the south-west boundary marked by a low C19 wrought-iron gate. A similar pedestrian gate 240m north-west of the principal entrance also gives access to the cemetery. Immediately south-east of the lodge a small, single-storey sandstone building adjoins the south-west boundary. This is a former public convenience now (2001) used by a cable TV company.

At the west corner, 450m north-west of the principal entrance, a further access on the south-west boundary serves the Jewish area of the cemetery. It is marked by a carriage entrance, with a pair of wrought-iron gates, set between sandstone piers similar in design to the principal entrance. Immediately to the north-west of this entrance stands a small Jewish mortuary chapel built of sandstone. A chapel is marked in this location on the City Surveyor's plan of 1880.

There are four further entrances to the cemetery: 440m north-north-east from, and on an axis with, the principal entrance lies an entrance set back from the boundary, marked by a pair of metal gates of similar design to the flanking railings. The entrances 470m north-east, 445m east-south-east, and 560m east-north-east of the principal entrance are similar. The first two of these are set on the boundary line and the latter, at the east corner of the main section, slightly inset. To the south and north-west of this latter entrance stand two mid-C20 small timber buildings with pitched roofs, octagonal and rectangular in plan respectively.

PRINCIPAL BUILDINGS There are three mortuary chapels (each listed grade II), all dating from 1879. The Anglican chapel is sited 240m north-north-east from, and on an axis with, the principal entrance. On a cross-axis, 240m north-north-west and 210m east-north-east of the principal entrance are sited the Nonconformist and Catholic chapels respectively. The chapels vary in design but all are in Gothic style and of sandstone below steep slated roofs, each with a tower below a short spire. The Nonconformist chapel is now (2001) unused.

OTHER LAND The site is laid out in a regular grid pattern overlaid with a radial design contained within an elliptical drive. This drive links the principal entrance with the Anglican chapel, on the main axis, and the Nonconformist and Roman Catholic chapels on a cross-axis. To the west is situated the Jewish burial area, with mortuary chapel, where the grid layout is discontinued.

From the principal entrance a 10m wide drive leads north-north-east on the main axis. Paths lead off to the north-north-west and south-south-east 20m from the principal entrance, each curving towards the south-west boundary before following a straight course parallel to the boundary and forming a perimeter drive. The entrance drive crosses the 10m wide elliptical drive 80m from the principal entrance, the junction marked by a central circular bed and sweeping corners, the latter grassed and with monuments backed by shrubbery. Some 130m north-north-east of the principal entrance the axial drive divides around a large grassed circle, at the centre of the elliptical drive, before continuing to a second junction with the elliptical drive, 230m from the principal entrance, adjoining the Anglican chapel. The axial drive divides around this chapel before continuing, on the main axis, to the north-east boundary with Nell Lane. The grass circle is laid out with formal beds with a number of large monuments set around, and facing, the encircling drive. One of these, 140m north-north-east of the principal entrance, is the Alcock monument (listed grade II), a white marble Celtic cross of c 1920, commemorating Sir John Alcock (1892-1919), pilot of the first non-stop trans-Atlantic flight. From the drive around the grass circle two paths lead off on a cross-axis to meet the elliptical drive adjoining the Nonconformist and Roman Catholic chapels, each set outside the line of the drive within carriage turns. Within the elliptical drive each of these cross-axis paths meets, at its centre, a path running parallel to the main axis with junctions marked by circular beds planted with shrubbery. A further four paths, forming a symmetrical radial pattern, lead out from the grass circle to the elliptical drive, dividing around triangular planting beds at their outer junctions to curve and meet the drive.

Paths within the elliptical drive are lined with a wide variety of monuments, many from the C19 and early-C20 in polished granites and marbles, including, 40m south-east of the Nonconformist chapel, the marble tomb of John Rylands (1801-88) who is also commemorated by the John Rylands Library in Manchester. The use of soft stones was not permitted (Scale of Charges, 1891). The elliptical drive together with adjoining axial and cross-axial paths are generally lined with mature trees, including lime, beech, oak, and chestnut. A war memorial fronted by an open grassed area stands 90m east of the principal entrance. Trees lining paths in the south-east of the cemetery are less mature. Beyond the elliptical drive the cemetery is laid out in a regular grid pattern within the perimeter drive with tree-lined paths contrasting with the more open burial areas.

In the north corner lies a service yard with a range of former brick stables and offices. To the south-west of the yard a rectilinear plot is subdivided by hedging to enclose two war memorials and a memorial to the Tenerife Air Disaster of 1979. The remainder of this plot is reserved for commemorating possible future disasters.

At the west corner the Jewish burial area is laid out on either side of a path running parallel with the north-west boundary from the entrance adjoining the Jewish mortuary chapel. This area is defined and subdivided by low hedging with a 20m long C20 memorial wall to part of the south-east boundary. Gravestones in this area are generally of a low, plain design with flat stones used in an area to the north-east. To the south-east of, and adjoining the Jewish area and the south-west cemetery boundary, lies a Muslim burial area defined within the cemetery by C20 mesh fencing and hedging. Many graves within this area are planted with small conifers.

Manchester Southern Cemetery contains a number of further graves of historical interest. These include a survivor of the Charge of the Heavy Brigade, two recipients of the Victoria Cross, Sir R McDougall of the flour milling business, L S Lowry, Sir Matt Busby, and entertainer Wilfred Pickles.


Illustrated Handbook of Manchester City Parks (1915), 17, 130 Manchester Corporation Parks and Cemeteries Department Short Historical Survey (1938), 20 Brooks C, Mortal Remains (1989), 54, 60, 165 Brooks C, English Historic Cemeteries, (English Heritage Theme Study 1994), 78

Maps City Surveyor, Manchester Southern Cemetery Plan of Occupied Portion, 50' to 1", 6 July 1880 (Manchester Southern Cemetery Office) Manchester Southern Cemetery, Stable, Cart-shed and Tool House, 8' to 1", nd (Manchester Southern Cemetery Office)

OS 6" to 1 mile: 1st edition published 1848 1933-4 edition OS 25" to 1 mile: 2nd edition published 1907

Archival items Southern Cemetery Scale of Charges and Rules and Regulations, 1891 (Local Studies Library, Manchester Central Reference Library) Early-C20 photographs (Local Studies Library, Manchester Central Reference Library) MS notes by the Registrar, late-C20 (Manchester Southern Cemetery Office)

REASONS FOR DESIGNATION Manchester Southern Cemetery is designated at Grade II for the following principal reasons: * A good example of a late Victorian public cemetery (1879) for a provincial city based on a grid pattern of paths with a central elliptical drive. * Designed by the City Surveyor, J G Lynde, with buildings by H J Paull, and extended in the C20. * The site is dominated by a trio of chapels in Gothic style (all 1879), of which the Anglican is on axis with the principal entrance with the Nonconformist and Catholic chapels on a cross axis. There is also an early example of a Jewish mortuary chapel contemporary with the laying out of the site. * For its artistically notable variety of monuments including many late-C19 and early-C20 Manchester worthies. * The cemetery layout, planting and structures survive intact, largely in good condition.

Description written: September 2001 Amended: October 2001 Register Inspector: HMT Edited: September 2003 Edited: December 2009

This List entry has been amended to add sources for War Memorials Online and the War Memorials Register. These sources were not used in the compilation of this List entry but are added here as a guide for further reading, 11 July 2017.


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

Legacy System number:
Legacy System:
Parks and Gardens


War Memorials Online, accessed 11 July 2017 from
War Memorials Online, accessed 11 July 2017 from
War Memorials Online, accessed 11 July 2017 from
War Memorials Register, accessed 11 July 2017 from
War Memorials Register, accessed 11 July 2017 from
War Memorials Register, accessed 11 July 2017 from
War Memorials Register, accessed 11 July 2017 from
War Memorials Register, accessed 11 July 2017 from
War Memorials Register, accessed 11 July 2017 from


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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