Photographs by the author. Formatting and perspective correction by Jacqueline Banerjee. You may use these images without prior permission for any scholarly or educational purpose as long as you (1) credit the photographer and (2) link your document to this URL in a web document or cite the Victorian Web in a print one. [Click on images to enlarge them.]

Left: Snowdrops flourishing in early spring. Right: Bird and bat boxes on trees.

Eventually as the Cemetery filled and could not be further extended, other burial grounds became available. The end of the commercial opportunity, and financial difficulties, came with the introduction of cremation as an acceptable alternative. This had been discussed from at least 1874 when the Cremation Society of England was founded; York Crematorium at Bishopthorpe opened in 1962 (Murray 78-9). The York Cemetery Company, as it was now known, was liquidated in 1979 (Murray 127).

Left: Headstone of Thomas Wilkinson, who died in 1887. He had been awarded the Victoria Cross, Legion of Honour, Crimean and Turkish medals "for his/ conspicuous bravery during/ the Crimean War." Right: A place for contemplation.

After a period of neglect, the York Cemetery is now run as a Trust, a nature reserve, an educational centre and a business that continues to find room for a few burials. Some of the pre-liquidation trees survive, including false acacia and tulip trees, adding to its appeal for visitors and wild life alike. On the left, the recently honoured grave of a brave Crimean War veteran, who had been buried with full military honours, shows that it is, of course, still a place of remembrance. The Chapel has been well restored after the collapse of half its roof in 1984, and at the time of writing is in good shape. The Friends are active in a programme of tours, working in the grounds and in making a database of burials.

Links to related material


Murray, Hugh. This Garden of Death: The History of York Cemetery 1837-2007. York: Friends of York Cemetery, 2008.

Pevsner, Nikolaus, and David Neave. Yorkshire: York and the East Riding. New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2002.

Created 15 March 2022

Last modified 31 March 2022