Elswick / St. John's Cemetery

St. John's Cemetery was opened on the 22nd of October 1857 and was consecrated just over a year later. Just over 100,000 people have been buried here since it opened.

In the middle of the cemetery are two chapels, one for the Church of England and one for the dissenters, both of which are no longer in use.

In 1857 the Jewish community paid £500 for a section of the cemetery and this is now full with over 1000 graves.

Thanks to the excellent book Beyond the Grave: Exploring Newcastle's Burial Grounds from Tyne Bridge Publishing we know something about some of the deceased in the cemetery. See the book for a lot more information than is provided here.

24th November 2015

The twinned northern entrance lodges and ornate entrance arch are vulnerable from neglect and vandalism and are now on the Heritage at Risk Register.

10th November 2009

George Angus(1821-1890) India Rubber King

In 1836 George joined the family business of processing leather which was started up by his grandfather Joseph. The business went from strength to to strength and in George's time the business expanded to new premises on the corner of Grey Street and Market Street. The business then expanded to Liverpool and across the pond in the US.

Thomas Cooke(1835-1914)Businessman

Thomas began his working life as an auctioneer's clerk in Market Street before moving into banking and property development, eventually becoming a pawnbroker in Pink Lane. In 1891 he bought and transformed the corner of Pilgrim Street and Blackett Street into a palatial building in the classical Renaissance style which became Northern Goldsmiths. 11 years later opened a similar style building at the junction of Westgate Road and Clayton Street West. Thomas went on to serve the city as a magistrate, JP and a town councillor. He also played a role in acquiring what is now Elswick Park for the benefit of the public.

Dr Charles Fox Larkin (1800-1879) Surgeon, Orator & Political Reformer

A native of London and the son of an Irish Catholic father he was destined by his parents for the priesthood. While at Ushaw College he decided on a career change and became apprenticed to William Ingham, a Newcastle surgeon. he practiced at various addresses in Newcastle, and, but for his outspoken and radical views, would probably have reached a high office in his profession. In 1831 he addressed a crowd of 50,000 on the Town Moor concerning parliamentary reform, and later urged non-payment of taxes until the Bill became law.

Dr John Theodore Merz(1840-1922) Industrialist, Scientist & Scholar

A pioneer of the elctrical supplies industry he also had interests in chemicals and other industries. He was a founder of the Newcastle Upon Tyne Electric Supply Company, a director of the Swan Electric Light Company and Chairman of the Tyneside Tramways and Tramroads Company amongst others. His interest lay in the application of electricity for lighting, power and transport.

Monument to the Montagu View Pit Disaster 1925

This photograph shows the memorial to the 38 men and boys who lost their lives in the Montagu View Pit Disaster at Scotswood on March 30th 1925. More information on the disaster here Durham Mining Museum - Montagu View Pit Disaster Report.

Alphonse Constant Reyrolle (1864-1919)Manufacturer Of Electrical Engineering Equipment

The son of a French soldier, Alphonse emigrated to London to work in a firm of scientific instrument workers. Soon he was making his own goods for electrical firms and quickly established a reputation for excellent workmanship. He came to Tyneside in 1901 and founded A. Reyrolle & Co. By the time of his death 18 years later the firm had over 700 workers due to the early monopoly of the production of switchgear for use in coal mines, power stations and warships. Married with one son he lived for several years at Beech Grove Road near Elswick Park.

Dr John Hunter Rutherford(1826-1890) Evangelist, physician and Educationalist

Born in Jedburgh John trained for the Presbyterian Ministry but turned to evangelism. He travelled widely in England and Scotland before settling in Newcastle aged 24. At that time poverty and drunkenness was a major problem here in Newcastle. With wish to improve health care in the slums he became a physician and a surgeon at his large medical practice in Elswick where the poor were treated for free. Following the Education Act of 1870 he founded an elementary school in Corporation Street. He later went on to open a school of Science and Art nearby. In 1894 the Rutherford Memorial College was opened on Bath Lane for aboutn 650 boys and girls. His funeral closed all Newcastle schools, colleges and libraries for the day and Elswick Works halted production at noon and thousands lined the route to the cemetery from his home in Eldon Square.

William Stewart(1826-1886) Tea Merchant

Born in Belford, the son of a builder, he was educated in Northumberland Street and then apprenticed to a grocer. He opened his own tea dealership in 1851 on Grainger Street. 25 years later he became the Sheriff of Newcastle.

A Chinese Headstone

To the memory of a Chinese sailor who died of Tuberculosis on a transport ship at the Elswick Shipyard in 1881.

Sir Riley Lord(1837-1920) Fundraiser For The New RVI

Sir Riley Lord arrived in Newcastle in 1862 as a superintendant of the Prudential Assurance Company. Elected councillor for Byker in 1885 he was instrumental in raising £100,000, about a third of the cost, for the new Royal Victoria Infirmary. He received a knighthood in 1900 and was twice Mayor of Newcastle.

Sir Benjamin Chapman Browne(1839-1917) Marine Engineer & Shipbuilder

He began his career aa an apprentice mechanical engineer at Elswick works. 1885 saw the formation of Hawthorn, Leslie & Co Ltd and Browne led the company as chairman until 1915. He was largely responsible for the company's success in producing marine engines, steam turbines and destroyers for the Admiralty. Browne also worked with Charles Parsons in the generation of electricity by steam turbine.

He went on to become, amongst many other accomplishments, a member of the Instition of Civil Engineers, the Instition of Mechanical Engineers, the Instition of Naval Archtiects, a Mayor of Newcastle(twice) and received a knighthood in 1887.

23rd April 2006

More Information:
See my other photos around Elswick:


Anonymous said...

You forgot to include my parents' grave. But it's a big cemetery! Thanks for so many photos and stories - makes you realise just how much Newcastle used to be at the cutting edge of technology.

Unknown said...


Do you know if the similar looking grave beside Sir Benjamin Chapman's grave belongs to his wife Annie? Your assiatnce would be greatly appreciated.

Ross B Atkinson

Newcastle Photos said...

I'm afraid I don't know but the headstone says "Lucy Beatrice Annie Brown May 12th 1873"

Anonymous said...

How is the cemetery these days? Is it still on the at risk register due to vandalism?

Anonymous said...

Can anyone help please? Am looking for Robert Lawson Harrison aged 53yrs was buried in section O UNCON grave 316 on 23 September 1943. Are there any records showing the plan? I would have to travel from London to photograph the grave stone but if it's still there I will do it. Thanks

Anonymous said...

I used to walk around the cemetery in the early 1980s, for some peace and quiet. It seems to have deteriorated a lot since those days. Shame.

Unknown said...

Kids have no respect for nobody.
Police ignorant vandalism acts.

Unknown said...

Very sad to see the cemetery in such a mess I have got a lot of family buried in that Cemetery I live down south now about 6 years ago I took my 90-year-old Dad up there try and find some of their family grave it was so upsetting to see it in such a mess we couldn't find his Mother's grave

Unknown said...

I grew up in North Lodge +Westholme. Mam + Dad are buried in front of Westholme. I want to go visit their grave, but it depresses me the rundown state of the cemetery. Makes me want to cry. 😥

Anonymous said...

Who is in the gothic double crypt , it has metal fencing around it .

Newcastle Photos said...

Probably the Mather tomb https://sitelines.newcastle.gov.uk/SMR/9100