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Eastern Necropolis

By Liz Smith, Dundee, Scotland

 

Eastern Necropolis, now more commonly called Eastern Cemetery, was opened in 1863. The main entrance gateway, which was designed by Dundee architects W Scott and D McKenzie, leads to a gentle slope.

The entryway consists of three
arches and curved screen walls
and is of painted stonework.

DUNDEE
COAT OF ARMS


Above the main entrance is the
coat of arms
of the (then) town of Dundee

 

Above the main entrance is the coat of arms of the (then) town of Dundee

The front wall is a low stone one surmounted by iron railings. The wall is still there but the railings were removed as part of the war effort. The other surrounding walls are higher. The cemetery has had to be extended but the extension merges very well with the original area.

 

Symbols on the entry-way gate.

 

Eastern Necropolis gated entry-way.

 

 

The cemetery could have been a large featureless rectangle but, because of the way it was laid out, with winding paths, tress and shrubs, it is attractive and peaceful and, although it lies to the north of the busy Arbroath Road, you are not aware of the noise of the traffic.

 

The cemetery is maintained by the City of Dundee council. Unfortunately it has been the target of vandalism and some headstones have been damaged. These are the responsibility of the owners of the lairs but it is difficult to contact these owners, particularly in the case of older graves.

In 1863 there was a price scale for the sale of lairs. The cheapest class lairs (Class 1) cost 1 2s 6d for one lair measuring 1 yard by 2.5 yards. It was cheaper to buy 2 lairs, 2, and cheaper still to buy 3, 2 2s 6d. The dearest class was Class 10. In this class two lairs cost 8 5s and three lairs 11 5s.

These lairs were laid out in rows but throughout the cemetery, and incidentally making the layout more interesting, are choice plots. These took little account of measuring and cost from 15 upwards.

If wished a burial could take place in a ‘temporary’ plot. This cost 10s for a child and 15s for an adult. This covered the cost of digging and then filling the grave. At the end of 10 years the ownership of the ground reverted to the town. It does not say what happened to the contents of the grave.

 

An area of ground was set aside for burials of poor people. It is at the top of the slope. There are no headstones but this only helps to make the area look more like a park than a cemetery. It is grassed over and has shrubs and trees scattered through it. Burials in this area cost 3s for a child and 6s for an adult. Where the money for these internments came from I don’t know but I would imagine it was paid by the Parish. Interestingly other people who were not on Parish relief could also be buried in this area. This cost 4s for a child and 8s for an adult.

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