Faced with heavy upkeep costs, declining income and increasing vandalism, the Municipal Services Committee decided in 1984 to close the Cemetery, clear away most of the memorials, and grass the site over. A campaign was started, led by Sylvia Barnard, and joined by local residents, relatives of the dead, ecologists and historians who united to oppose this plan, and in 1985 it was scrapped. It was agreed that the Friends of Beckett Street Cemetery, formed by Sylvia that year, would help and advise the officers of Leeds City Council in establishing a Management Plan which would ease maintenance and benefit wildlife in this heavily populated area.
Tour Take a one hour tour around the second oldest public cemetery in the country. Its graves tell a fascinating story of life in Victorian Leeds.
Access Some tarmac flat access but due to variable terrain and cobbles much of this tour is not very suitable for wheelchair users, or people with mobility problems. We also venture off the paths. Parking is available free in the cemetery or opposite at the Medical Museum but that would incur a charge. There are toilets in the Medical Museum and a cafe.
Additional Information Max 100 people per tour/session. There will be advice given to anyone who has relatives buried in the cemetery. Plans will be available to locate plots, should time allow or can be arranged at a later date.
Our project has been shortlisted for a public vote in Tesco’s Bags of Help initiative, - help us to win a top prize! Please tell your friends, family, neighbours, work colleagues, members of organisations that you belong to that we need their vote.
We’re raising money for the restoration of Anglican Walk, one of the main, historic pathways through the Cemetery. The stone setts have buckled over time and need re-laying, and we’re aiming for a £5000 award from Tesco’s charity towards the cost. BUT, - we need you to vote by dropping a counter into the box at the following stores, - a purchase of any amount will entitle you to a counter, and of course, you can shop there as often as you wish!
Since the Cemetery has been constantly under one threat or other since clearance was first proposed, we welcome new members to the Friends of Beckett Street Cemetery.