Hartshill Cemetery (reflecting the values of Victorian Society)
THE CEMETERY COMMITTEE
The cemetery committee met monthly usually at Stoke Town Hall, but occasionally at the cemetery registrar's lodge. At each committee meeting there was a report from the registrar of the number of burials and proposals for headstones which had to be approved by the committee. There were also decisions about fees charged, workmen employed, and the general management of the cemetery. Some of those decisions extracted from the cemetery committee minute book are given below.
4 Jan 1884: That the site selected by Mr C. M. Campbell and marked upon the cemetery plan be reserved for the burial ground of Mr Campbell's family.
14 April 1885: That grass produced in the cemetery be purchased for the Corporation horses.
11 June 1885: That memorial tablets be allowed to be placed in the chapels (subject to the approval of the committee) similar to those in the parish church.
9 May 1888: That the clerk be instructed to ascertain the scale of charges adopted by other burial boards for the burial of persons who had resided outside their respective districts.
21 Nov 1888: That the charge for non-residents be increased from 5 shillings to £1.
26 Feb 1897: That a letter be written by the borough surveyor to the Catholic schools and to the Church school masters warning boys not to throw stones.
12 Nov 1897: That the workmen engaged at the cemetery be provided with flannel jackets.
15 April 1898: That with the object of providing additional consecrated third class ground the necessary steps be taken to alter the boundaries of the several classes of ground in accordance with the plan submitted to the committee by the borough surveyor.
30 Sept 1898: The cemetery workmen having applied for an increase of wages that the application be postponed until the cemetery is put in order. Wright the foreman was called in and complaint made to him of the state of the cemetery and he was requested to put the same in order in one month.
11 Nov 1898: That the wages of the workmen be increased from £1 to £1 1 shilling weekly.
12 April 1899: That Mr Wright the sexton receive one month's notice to terminate his present engagement.
16 June 1899: That Hugh Hughes, 39 Bedford Street, Basford, be appointed sexton at the weekly wage of 17 shillings and 6 pence, with house, coal, gas and rates free. That the sexton be not allowed to take lodgers without the consent of the committee.
12 Jan 1900: Letters were read from the Revs R. F. Wray and H. Simpkinson complaining of the unpunctuality of undertakers and others with regard to funerals at the cemetery and your committee recommend that a fine of 2s 6d per 15 minutes be imposed on those responsible for funerals which are 15 minutes late.
30 Mar 1900: That a boy be engaged at the cemetery at a wage of 5s weekly.
8 Mar 1901: That the next meeting be called for 2.30 p.m. at the Cemetery and that such Committee take into consideration the question of further provision of 3rd class consecrated ground.
12 July 1901: That the clerk open up negotiations with Mr Joseph Knight (of Longfield cottage, Hartshill) for the purchase of a strip of land for the purpose of enlarging the cemetery by providing further 3rd class ground.
13 June 1902: Agreed to buy 3 acres from Messrs Knight and Udall at £250 per acre.
14 May 1903: That the Registrar be instructed to notify Monumental Masons that no advertisements on headstones will be permitted to be placed in the cemetery unless the same have been previously approved by him. That the wages of the cemetery workmen be increased from £1 is to £1 2s weekly.
10 Mar 1904: The Town Clerk has arranged with Messrs Knight and Udall for a belt of trees to be planted to hide the cemetery from their respective properties.
13 Oct 1904: The Committee considered the question of finding labour for the unemployed and recommend that they be employed as far as possible on the cemetery extension works.
6 July 1905: A letter was read from the North Staffordshire Infirmary thanking the Committee for their gifts of flowers for the hospital (grown at the cemetery).
7 Dec 1905: That the Town Clerk be instructed to send an extract from the rules made by the Council as to gravestones in the cemetery to each stone mason in the borough with a request that they will comply strictly therewith.
15 Nov 1906: That the Town Clerk take steps to recover £1 l0s from H Gifford, farmer, for the hay supplied by this committee from the cemetery.
14 Nov 1907: The Registrar reported that on the 9th of November a grave at the cemetery had been opened in error owing to a wrong entry made many years since in the cemetery records.
Resolved that 23s be paid to H.J.Robinson in recompense. That the cemetery registrar be instructed to thoroughly overhaul the books at the cemetery and report on any other discrepancies he might find.
10 June 1909: The Registrar reported that in error the body of Phyllis Cotton had been interred in a grave belonging to.Mr J.H.Smith. Tenders were also submitted for the provision of a bath at the registrar's house.
13 Aug 1909: The Town Clerk reported that a faculty had been obtained from the Home Office at a cost of £6 is to permit the removal of the body of the infant Phyllis Cotton. It was agreed that £2 2s should be paid to Mr Smith for his expenses and inconvenience.
10 February 1910: That the chairman and vice-chairman be requested to sell the haystack at the cemetery.
FEES & CHARGES
For the use of a wheeled bier 2s 6d
For a certificate of burial 2s 7d
For burial of still born child 3s 0d
For permission to erect a monument £5 5s 0d (First & Second Class)
For permission to erect a headstone £2 2s 0d (Second Class)
£1 1s 0d (Third Class)
questions/comments/contributions? email: Steve Birks