The Friends of Beckett Street Cemetery came together in 1984 to prevent its threatened clearance. The campaign was successful, and since then the Friends have continued to campaign to safeguard its future and to get it satisfactorily maintained. The Friends liaise with the Local City Council and other organisations to represent the interests of the cemetery.
With the population of Leeds expanding threefold in the period 1801-1851, disposal of the dead was putting overwhelming demands on existing churchyards within the City. Established in 1845, Beckett Street Cemetery was one of the earliest publicly funded cemeteries in England and was founded by the City of Leeds to provide a burial ground for all religions and classes.
Originally known as The Leeds Township Cemetery, and later Beckett Street Cemetery, it comprised of some 16 acres of land that was divided into two sections, one for Anglicans and one for Dissenters, each with its own entrance, lodge and mortuary chapel. The chapels were demolished by the Council in the 1960's.
As a Friendly Society our membership is open to all, so feel free to contact us if you would like to join or just find out how you can get involved with the cemetery. A regular newsletter is produced and sent out to all members, as well as being available in some public buildings near the cemetery. The Friends organise events throughout the year and have an Annual General Meeting where elections are held for a committee to help with the day to day running of the society and there is a presentation from a guest speaker.
Beckett Street Cemetery is a unique piece of green space and history in the inner city, but the more members we have, the better we can speak up for it and make sure it is truly safe from destruction. Please consider joining and getting involved to help preserve the future of the cemetery.
If you would like to join, you can download a membership form to print off and fill in. Its in Adobe PDF format and available here.