We are 150 years old!
This month marks the first interment at Layton Cemetery, Talbot Rd, Blackpool.
On the 14th February 1873 John Slater, a gardener at Bailey’s Hotel on the promenade (later to become the Metropole Hotel) was laid to rest in the grounds surrounding Blackpool’s first sanatorium, as the graveyard situated at Blackpool Parish Church was replete with burials.
The Blackpool Sanatorium had been established for the treatment of infectious diseases and was ably governed by Superintendent Dr. E. W. Rees-Jones, aided by Miss Whitaker the matron. When the cemetery began to take shape on the council land surrounding the infirmary and tentatively started to expand those housed within the institution became all too aware of their mortality!
The requisite plans for the cemetery were designed and laid out by Messrs. Garlick, Park and Sykes, architects of Preston.
The cemetery office, situated to the right of the main gates on Talbot Road is currently occupied by the friends group, although originally it is where John Wray, the Superintendent & registrar, resided with his wife and their brood of children. Records show that by 1891 eleven people dwelled within the bijou cottage! He recorded burials, exhumations and unusual incidents in copper-plate handwriting from within his office which was also situated inside the lodge.
Mr Wray also made a remarkable and significant discovery when tending the land one day, he came across a stone hammer which at first glance appeared to be part of the cobbled track.
Interestingly, this artifact could date the original roadway through the cemetery as being from the Iron Age!
You are all most welcome come along on one of our tours and discover the rich and varied history on offer here at Blackpool’s Victorian cemetery.