Glasgow Necropolis

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The Glasgow Necropolis is a Victorian cemetery set on a low hill east of Glasgow Cathedral. Fifty thousand individuals have been buried here but as typical for the period only a small percentage have been named on monuments. It has been described as “literally a city of the dead”.

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Following the creation of Père Lachaise Cemetery in Paris a wave of pressure began for cemeteries in Britain. This required a change in the law to allow burial for profit.

Previously the parish church held responsibility for burying the dead but there was a growing need for an alternative solution. In 1831 the planning of the cemetery began formally by the Merchants’ House of Glasgow in anticipation of the change in the law.

In 1832 the Cemeteries Act was passed and in April 1833 the Glasgow Necropolis was officially opened.

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Like most Victorian cemeteries the Necropolis is laid out like an informal park. This layout is further enhanced by the complex topography with the cemetery’s paths meandering upwards towards the summit where many of the larger monuments stand.

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In the words of Billy Connolly: “Glasgow’s a bit like Nashville, Tennessee: it doesn’t care much for the living, but it really looks after the dead.”

If you want to find out more about the Glasgow Necropolis you can check out the website here: glasgownecropolis.com

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