Wednesday 18th October 2017
SITE TOUR: FLAYBRICK CEMETERY (MEMORIAL GARDENS)
The Congress programme includes a site visit to Birkenhead’s historic Flaybrick Cemetery.
Flaybrick Cemetery Memorial Gardens
On 18th October there will be a tour of Birkenhead’s historic Flaybrick Cemetery (now officially Flaybrick Memorial Gardens) as part of the Kemp Symposium element of the Congress. The cemetery is grade II* listed and a conservation area. The tour will consider design and historical features, as well as the various challenges facing the site and future aspirations to conserve, restore and enhance key aspects.
The cemetery was designed by Edward Kemp and is also his final resting place. It is also the final resting place of Lewis Hornblower who was responsible for the major structures in Birkenhead Park such as the Grand Entrance, as well as in other parks including Sefton Park in Liverpool. Numerous members of the Laird family - the shipbuilders who in effect created Birkenhead - are buried in the cemetery. Overall it is estimated that over 100,000 people are buried in Flaybrick and that there are over 10,000 graves and monuments.
In a similar process to the creation of Birkenhead Park, the Birkenhead Improvement Commissioners were granted powers to establish a cemetery by order of Parliament. This occurred in 1843. Joseph Paxton had been approached for a design but a recession resulted in no action being taken. It was therefore not until the 1860s that the proposal was revived with a competition for its design at a site on Flaybrick Hill. This competition was won by Edward Kemp (1817-91). The architects for the buildings (including three chapels) were Lucy & Littler of Liverpool. Work on the site began in 1862 and it was the first municipal public cemetery on the Wirral.