Glasgow Crematorium

(Maryhill Crematorium, Lambhill Crematorium, Western Necropolis Crematorium)

Established by the Scottish Burial Reform and Cremation Society in 1895, Glasgow Crematorium (also known as Maryhill Crematorium, Lambhill Crematorium or the Western Necropolis Crematorium) is Scotland's oldest, and the third oldest in UK after Woking and Manchester. It comprises a Neo-Gothic building, located on Tresta Road between the Western Necropolis and St. Kentigern's Roman Catholic Cemetery, 3 miles (5 km) north northwest of the city centre. The architect was Glasgow-based James Chalmers (1858 - 1927) and only the finest materials were used in the chapel, including red sandstone and rare marble with fine carvings, dog-tooth ornament and a descending catafalque, reassuring mourners by appearing to lower the coffin into the ground like a traditional earth burial. There is also fine stained glass by Harrington Mann and Gordon Webster. The external appearance is now a little spoiled by an industrial chimney which rises behind the large but unfinished tower to the left of the entrance.

The facility was opened by Sir Charles Cameron (1841 - 1924), a Member of Parliament for Glasgow and Member of Council of the Cremation Society of Great Britain, who had campaigned for the introduction of cremation as a hygenic and space-saving means of disposing of the dead at a time when the urban population was rising rapidly. The Scottish Burial Reform and Cremation Society was founded in Glasgow in 1891 and initially spent its time trying to influence a skeptical public through the press. Cremation continued to be unpopular and, after ten years of operation, only 191 had actually been carried out here. However, the chapel was extended in the 1930s and the columbarium heightened ten years later. A second chapel was opened in 1954. The chapel suffered extensive damage by fire in 1995 and this initiated a major refurbishment of the buildings over the next two years. The Old Chapel was refurbished in 2007. Glasgow Crematorium performed 1514 cremations in 2009.

Memorial plaques decorate the walls of the chapel, but by 1953 there was no more space and a Book of Remembrance was instituted as an alternative. A memorial in the grounds commemorates the 74 members of the armed forces who died during the Second World War and were cremated here.

The crematorium is still run by the Scottish Cremation Society, a private charitable company, and is now B-listed.

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