Meeting Report April 2019
In April we welcomed Ann Lightman from the Friends of Lawnswood Cemetery who brought us an illustrated talk "Behind the Chapels" Ann was a founder member of Adel History Group and this led to her interest in Lawnswood Cemetery. During her working life she spent many years as a lecturer at Park Lane College, making her the ideal person to deliver this talk.
She began by giving us a brief history of the development of Lawnswood which opened in 1875 to accommodate the expanding needs of Headingley residents when the burial ground of St Michael's Church became overcrowded. The two original chapels , for Church of England and Dissenters were designed by George Corson, well known for designing the ornate Grand Theatre. The site comprises 53 acres and is made up of beautiful parkland with tree lined walkways and is known as one of the most romantic cemeteries in Britain. It is listed by Historic England.
Ann explained that the crematorium was added in 1905 and said that the building features a plaque stating that it was "The first of its Kind in Britain" but coyly did not say what it was the first of. Presumably the powers that be felt that to explain that it was a gas fired furnace, would offend the public's sensibilities.
Accompanied by photographs Ann described the columbarium
which opened in 1933 and was designed by Colonel Edward Albert Kirk OBE,
reflecting the design of a dovecote . This is not now in use and sadly
the building is showing signs of disrepair.
On a local note, she went on to show a memorial to Emmie Keyworth, a casualty of the 1916 Barnbow Shell Factory explosion. This memorial is shared with her soldier brother who also sadly died during WW1. Ann also described many other ornate memorials including the one for Victor Hugo Watson who turned the failing John Waddington business into a successful nationally famous games company and introduced Monopoly to the UK.
The audience were impressed by Ann's enthusiasm and obvious love of Lawnswood and pleased to see how the Friends of Lawnswood Cemetery are involved in many activities to promote and preserve this beautiful place
The evening was rounded off by our annual pie and pea supper, a social occasion much enjoyed by all.
Our next meeting on Monday 24th May 2019 will be an
illustrated talk by Oliver Cooper "Fifteen Years of Archaeological
Investigation at Thorpe Park".