Where can you find an African prince, a veteran of the Charge of the Light Brigade, Salford's first MP, the founder of the Hallé orchestra or a victim of the Munich air disaster? Answer: in Salford's cemeteries of course!
Just one-and-a-half miles from Salford Quays, Weaste Cemetery is a peaceful place for visitors, schoolchildren and their teachers to learn about Salford's history and some of the fascinating individuals who lived in Salford in the past.
It is primarily a place to respect and commemorate the loved ones we have lost. People also visit cemeteries for exercise and relaxation, and to study nature and local history. It is our aim to offer a fitting environment for the bereaved and also to enhance the life of the community.
Weaste Cemetery was Salford's first municipal cemetery. Before the cemetery opened in 1857 most burials took place in churchyards. Salford Corporation was one of the first municipal authorities to recognise that churchyards could no longer provide sufficient burial space and so the plans for Weaste were made.
In the Victorian age cemeteries were considered to be amenities like parks and gardens and were usually designed in a similar way. Weaste Cemetery was no exception and its beautiful design made it the most desirable resting-place for well to do Salfordians and Mancunians.
Since 1857 over 300,000 interments have taken place at the cemetery, including:
Joseph Brotherton - became MP for Salford in 1832. In 1849 he was instrumental in making Salford the first municipal authority in Britain to establish a library, a museum and an art gallery, and later with William Ewart persuaded Parliament to pass the Public Libraries Act. Joseph Brotherton's belief in clean living and a clean environment for working people made him a prime motivator in the establishment of Peel Park in Salford. He also helped set up the vegetarian movement.
Sir Charles Hallé - Britain's longest-established professional symphony orchestra, the The Hallé, was founded in Manchester by the pianist and conductor Charles Hallé, and gave its first concert in the city's Free Trade Hall in 1858.
Mark Addy - a renowned local figure who worked in a factory near the river Irwell, and during his life saved around 53 people from drowning after leaping in to save them. There is a memorial in the cemetery dedicated to him, and paid for by grateful local people.
Eddie Colman - one of the Busby Babes who tragically died in the Munich air disaster in 1958.
Ferdinand Stanley - was immortalised in Alfred Lord Tennyson's epic poem Charge of the Light Brigade, after surviving the battle in 1854.
At Agecroft Cemetery you can also find the final resting place of Prince Lobengula who came to Salford from Africa at the end of the 19th century with a travelling circus-type show, sent here because his father wanted him to see the world. Prince Lobengula met a Salford girl called Catherine, who died young, and he then settled with an Irish woman called Kitty. He ended up in a public grave in the cemetery.
You can find out more about these extraordinary individuals on the heritage trail opened by the Salford City Council & Friends of the Cemeteries.