Summary

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Brief description of site

Undercliffe is a mid-19th-century cemetery established by the Bradford Cemetery Company. The landscape was designed by William Gay and is one of the best examples of his work. The site contains many grand 19th-century monuments and is distinguished by a promenade affording views over the city.

Brief history of site

Representatives of the Bradford Cemetery Company, who included prominent Non-conformist businessmen Henry Brown, Titus Salt, Edward Ripley, and first Mayor of Bradford Robert Milligan, bought the land at Undercliffe in 1851 at a cost of £3400. William Gay, who was appointed the first Registrar, laid out the site at a cost of £12,000.

Location information:

Address: Undercliffe Cemetery, Otley Road, Bradford, BD3 0LN

Locality: Bradford

Local Authorities:

West Yorkshire; Bradford

Historical County: West Riding of Yorkshire

OS Landranger Map Sheet Number: 104 Grid Ref: SE173342
Latitude: 53.8038 Longitude: -1.7388

Visitor facilities

Opening contact details:

This is a municipal cemetery for general public use.

Key information:

Form of site: cemetery

Purpose of site: cemetery

Context or principal building: cemetery

Site first created: 1851 to 1854

Main period of development: Mid 19th century

Survival: Extant

Site Size (Hectares): 10

Description

The following is from the Register of Parks and Gardens of Special Historic Interest. For the most up-to-date Register entry, please visit the The National Heritage List for England (NHLE):

www.historicengland.org.uk/listing/the-list

Cemetery opened in 1854 which was designed by William Gay, and considered to be his finest work. The core of the site contains many grand C19 monuments, and has been described as 'one of the most striking achievements of Victorian funerary design' (Brooks 1989).

DESCRIPTION

LOCATION, AREA, BOUNDARIES, LANDFORM, SETTING

The Cemetery is situated on the north-east side of Bradford, c 3km from the city centre. The c 10ha site is on the crest of Undercliffe Hill, c 210m above sea level. The land slopes down to the north and west, commanding long-distance views of the city and the Pennines beyond. The boundaries are walled and are formed by Undercliffe Lane on the south side, Undercliffe Old Road on the east side, Otley Road on the north side, and by gardens of houses on Airedale Crescent and Airedale College Road on the west side. An area at the north-east corner of the site between Undercliffe Old Road and Otley Road is the site of a school, which replaced a stonemason's yard shown on the 1876 map, and is outside the registered area.

ENTRANCES AND APPROACHES

There are two main entrances, one on the south side of the site, on Undercliffe Lane, where there are rebuilt stone walls and gate piers. A lodge and a Registrar's Office in this position were demolished during the 1970s. They have been replaced by a C19 stone lodge brought from another site and re-erected in the late C20. The other entrance is on the north side of the site, on Otley Road. A lodge which stood at this entrance was also demolished in the 1970s, but the stone walls and gate piers survive.

PRINCIPAL BUILDING

The principal buildings of the Cemetery were two chapels which were situated slightly to the east of the centre of the site, overlooking a promenade. These replaced chapels of 1854, and were designed in 1878 by Lockwood & Mawson. They were demolished during the 1980s and the foundations are visible c 80m north of the Undercliffe Lane entrance.

OTHER LAND

The main axis of the Cemetery is a broad promenade which runs east/west along a spine of high ground for almost the whole length of the site, dividing it into two parts, the southern of which is slightly narrower than the northern. The promenade, which is lined with striking C19 monuments, is connected with the entrances by a system of straight and curving paths which conform with the layout shown on the 1876 map. The map also shows a line of planting dividing the more expensive plots along the south side of the promenade from cheaper ones further to the south. This has disappeared and the area is all in use as burial plots. A similar line of planting separated the plots along the north side of the promenade from plots to the north, and elements of this survive. Views to the north are obtained from the whole of the promenade; at its west end the ground drops away steeply and there are long-distance views to the south-west, west and north. This is the site of an obelisk (listed grade II), c 10m in height, which forms the termination of the vista, and is a memorial to Joseph Smith (d 1858) who was land agent to the Cemetery Company and reserved this plot for himself. Some 100m north-east of this is a roughly circular area, with a late C20, circular, open-work cast-iron structure at the centre, which was landscaped in the late C20 for use as a memorial garden, though the landscaping was not completed.

The focus of the site is slightly east of the centre, where the two chapels were situated on the south side of the promenade. The ground is terraced down on the north side of the promenade, and a set of stone steps, aligned midway between the two chapel sites, leads down the slope to a broad terrace on which an elliptical area, with quartering paths, is delineated by a perimeter path. A second set of stone steps, aligned with the first, leads down from the north side of this area and connects with winding paths from the Otley Road entrance. Plots in this central area, like those on each side of the promenade, were the most expensive, and they have a concentration of the largest and most ornate of the C19 monuments. Those listed grade II are the Mawson Monument and the Behrens Mausoleum on the north side of the promenade, the Swithin Anderton Monument and the Illingworth Mausoleum within the central elliptical area, and the Miles Moulson Monument c 80m to the north-east of this.

On the east side of the site, which was reserved for Nonconformist burials, there is an area of Quaker burials which is situated c 110m north-east of the Undercliffe Lane entrance and is distinguished by the modest rectangular memorial stones, all of identical design and laid flat, which contrast with the ornate monuments of other parts of the site.

There are the remains of C19 and later ornamental planting around the site perimeter, from which it has encroached as scrub.

The design for Undercliffe was probably inspired by Joseph Paxton's Coventry Cemetery of 1847 which incorporated an architectural terrace, and Gay's development of this idea may have influenced Edward Kemp, whose layout of Anfield Cemetery in Liverpool (qv), incorporates features such as a sunken elliptical area overlooked by a promenade and a system of curving paths.

The Cemetery Directors were conscious of the recreational possibilities of the site. In the 1850s they wrote: 'The situation of the Cemetery is one of great beauty, and the views of the surrounding country ... are not to be surpassed in the neighbourhood of Bradford. Whilst it will be the endeavour of the Directors, to preserve the greatest possible decency and decorum, in the conduct of the interments, they also desire to throw the Cemetery open to the public as much as possible ... and so long as propriety of behaviour is observed, none will be excluded from the grounds, who desire to avail themselves thereof, either as a place of relaxation or for contemplative retirement.' (quoted in Beesley and James 1991). The site became a 'favourite promenade of the inhabitants of Bradford' (ibid) and an engraving of c 1854 shows fashionably dressed crowds walking in the Cemetery and pointing at the views of the city below.

REFERENCES

N Pevsner, The Buildings of England: West Yorkshire (2nd edn 1967)

C Brooks, Mortal Remains (1989), pp 58-9, 64, 68, 89, 105, 127-28, 140, 142

I Beesley and D James, Undercliffe, Bradford's Historic Victorian Cemetery (1991)

C Brooks, English Historic Cemeteries, (theme study for English Heritage 1994), p 55

C Chapple, Undercliffe Cemetery (c 1994)

Maps

Map of the Borough of Bradford, 1834 (reproduced in Undercliffe Cemetery Information Pack)

Sale Map, 1851 (reproduced in Undercliffe Cemetery Information Pack)

W Gay, Bradford Cemetery Undercliffe, Plan Shewing Proposed Extension, 1876

Post Office Bradford Directory Map, 1887-8 (reproduced in Undercliffe Cemetery Information Pack)

OS 6" to 1 mile: 2nd edition published 1912; 1938 edition

Illustrations

Engraving showing crowds promenading in Undercliffe Cemetery, nd (c 1854) (reproduced in Beesley and James 1991, p 31)

REASONS FOR DESIGNATION

Undercliffe Cemetery is designated at Grade II* for the following principal 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 (formerly flanked and dominated by the chapels), which is lined with striking 19th century monuments.

* 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

 

Description written: January 1998

Amended: September 1998

Edited: June 2000

Upgraded: November 2009

Owner: Bradford Metropolitan District Council

City Hall, Centenary Square, Bradford

Occupier: The Undercliffe Cemetery Charity

Site designation(s)

Conservation Area Reference Undercliffe Cemetery Conservation Area

The National Heritage List for England: Scheduled Monument Grade II Reference Swithin Anderton Monument

The National Heritage List for England: Scheduled Monument Grade II Reference Moulson Monument

The National Heritage List for England: Register of Parks and Gardens Grade II* Reference GD4045

Principal building:

chapel Created 1854 to 1989

There were two chapels overlooking a promenade. These replaced chapels of 1854, and were designed in 1878 by Lockwood & Mawson. They were demolished during the 1980s.

Environment

Terrain: The land slopes down to the north and west, commanding long-distance views of the city and the Pennines beyond.

External web site link: https://www.bradford.gov.uk/environment/registered-parks-and-battlefields/registered-parks-and-battlefields/

External web site link: https://www.historicengland.org.uk/listing/the-list/list-entry/1001387

History

The following is from the Register of Parks and Gardens of Special Historic Interest. For the most up-to-date Register entry, please visit the The National Heritage List for England (NHLE):

www.historicengland.org.uk/listing/the-list

HISTORIC DEVELOPMENT

The Cemetery was established by the Bradford Cemetery Company, which was provisionally registered in 1849. Representatives of the company, who included prominent Non-conformist businessmen Henry Brown, Titus Salt, Edward Ripley, and first Mayor of Bradford Robert Milligan, bought the land at Undercliffe in 1851 at a cost of £3400. William Gay (1814-93), who was appointed the first Registrar, laid out the site at a cost of £12,000. He subsequently designed a number of cemeteries, chiefly in the north of England, of which this is considered the most distinguished (Brooks 1994).

Plans were drawn up for the extension of the site to the west in 1876. These were never carried out but the proposal map includes the whole of the existing site and shows Gay's executed design. The Cemetery, which contains more than 23,000 graves and approximately 124,000 interments, including those of many notable figures of C19 Bradford, remains open for burials (1998).

The site was sold to a private owner during the 1970s and was bought by Bradford City Council in 1984; it is currently (1998) leased to The Undercliffe Cemetery Charity as custodian of the site on behalf of the Local Authority.

Site timeline

1977: The cemetery goes into liquidation and is sold to a property developer.

1984: Bradford City Council buys the cemetery and restores it with the help of the Undercliffe Cemetery Charity.

People associated with this site

Designer: William Gay (born 1814 died 1893)

Features

mausoleum

Feature created: 1889

A tabernacle-style tomb with carvings dating back to about 1889.

Designation status: The National Heritage List for England: Register of Parks and Gardens Designation Grade II Designation Reference Behrens Mausoleum

religious, ritual and funerary features

An area of Quaker burials is distinguished by the modest rectangular memorial stones, all of identical design and laid flat.

ironwork

There is a roughly circular area, with a late-20th century, circular, open-work cast-iron structure at the centre.

terrace

The ground is terraced down on the north side of the promenade.

steps

There are two sets of stone steps.

tomb

There are several large and ornate 19th-century tombs. These include the Mawson Monument and the Behrens Mausoleum on the north side of the promenade, the Swithin Anderton Monument and the Illingworth Mausoleum within the central elliptical area, and the Miles Moulson Monument.

Designation status: The National Heritage List for England: Listed Building Designation Grade II

entrance

There are two main entrances. That on the south side has rebuilt stone walls and gate piers.

gate lodge

Two gate lodges at the two entrances were demolished in the 1970s.

entrance

There are two main entrances. The other entrance is on the north side of the site and the stone walls and gate piers survive.

gate lodge

The lodges have been replaced by a 19th-century stone lodge brought from another site and re-erected in the late-20th century.

promenade

The main axis of the Cemetery is a broad promenade which runs east/west along a spine of high ground for almost the whole length of the site. The promenade is lined with striking 19th-century monuments.

mausoleum

Feature created: 1860

Egyptian-style tomb dating back to about 1860.

Designation status: The National Heritage List for England: Register of Parks and Gardens Designation Grade II Designation Reference Illingworth Mausoleum

obelisk

There is an obelisk, some 10m in height, which is a memorial to Joseph Smith (d 1858) who was land agent to the Cemetery Company and reserved this plot for himself.

Designation status: The National Heritage List for England: Listed Building Designation Grade II

References

Organisations associated with this site

Yorkshire Gardens Trust

Historic England Role: Designating Authority

Lockwood & Mawson Role: Architects

Undercliffe Cemetery Charity Role: Manager/s

Sources of information

Historic England Register of Parks and Gardens of Special Historic Interest

English Heritage Register of Parks and Gardens of Special Historic Interest, (Swindon: English Heritage, 2008) [on CD-ROM]

Mortal Remains: the history and present state of the Victorian and Edwardian cemetery

Brooks, C. Mortal Remains (Exeter: Wheaton, 1989), pp. 58-9, 64, 68, 89, 105, 127-8, 140 and 142

The Buildings of England: Yorkshire The West Riding

Pevsner, N., The Buildings of England: Yorkshire The West Riding (Harmondsworth: Penguin Books, 2nd edition 1967)

Images

There are no images associated with this site