Newington Necropolis

(Newington Cemetery, Echo Bank Cemetery)

Newington Cemetery
©2022 Gazetteer for Scotland

Newington Cemetery

A cemetery of S Edinburgh, the Echo Bank Cemetery was developed between Dalkeith Road and the Pow Burn by the Metropolitan Cemetery Association in 1846. Laid out by architect David Cousin (1809-78), the design includes a line of catacombs lie within a terrace in the middle of the cemetery and a Gothic lodge. A small chapel once stood within the grounds.

Later known as the Newington Necropolis (or Newington Cemetery), the Southern Suburban Railway was built immediately to the west in the 1880s. When the old Jewish Cemetery in Sciennes House Place was full, a section of Newington Cemetery was purchased and used for Jewish burials until 1945.

Notable burials include industrialist James Finlayson (1772 - 1852), artist William McTaggart (1835 - 1910), missionary Rev. Dr. John Ross (1842 - 1915), mathematician Prof. Cargill Knott (1856 - 1922), Jean Thomson Harris (1881 - 1963), wife of Rotary Club founder Paul Harris, and General Sir Gordon MacMillan (1897 - 1986). There is also a war memorial and 156 individual war graves, maintained by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.

A youth was killed and two others injured when a headstone fell on them in 1982. Having become overgrown and decaying, the cemetery was subject to a compulsory purchase order by Edinburgh City Council in 1994. Subsequently many of the memorials have been laid flat for safety and much vegetation has been cleared, which while tidying the ground has reduced the value of the area as a wildlife refuge.

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