Glasgow Necropolis, view from the bottom

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Glasgow Necropolis is a Victorian cemetery in Glasgow. It is located on the hill over the city, east of the Glasgow Cathedral. There are fifty thousand individuals buried here in approximately 3,500 tombs.

The land where Necropolis stands was purchased by the Merchants’ House in 1650. It was planned with fir trees and became known as the Fir Park. Later the fir trees started to die and were replaced by elm and willow trees. It became a Victorian park and arboretum and in 1825 the foundation stone of the John Knox monument was laid here.

The cemetery was established by the Merchants’ House of Glasgow in 1831. George Mylne was chosen as the Superintendent and head gardener and work began. Many of the tombs were designed by Alexander Thomson. John Bryce and David Hamilton designed other architecture.

At the entrance to the cemetery is a bridge originally over the stream Molendinar Burn. It was the place where the route of funeral processions began and therefore it is known as the Bridge of Sighs (also an allusion to the Venetian bridge of the same name). The bridge was designed By David Hamilton in 1833. The route then continued uphill towards the summit.

Uphill, there is the abovementioned statue of John Knox. Besides this there are other notable monuments and statues. Monuments here were designed by major architects and sculptors of the time, including (besides the three already mentioned) Charles Rennie Macintosh and JT Rochead, in every architectural style, created for the prominent and wealthy entrepreneurs of Glasgow.

The first burial took place in 1832 and it was of a Jew, Joseph Levi, a jeweler. In 1833 the first Christian burial was of Elizabeth Miles, stepmother of the Superintendent, George Mylne. After 1860, the first extensions east and south were to take up the Ladywell quarry and in 1877 and 1892/3, the final extensions to the north and south-east were constructed, doubling the size of the cemetery. The Necropolis is now 37 acres.

In 1966, the Merchants' House gave the Necropolis to the Glasgow City Council which now administers and maintains it.

To one of the trivia belong for example the fact that the Necropolis was one of the few cemeteries to keep records of the dead, including profession, ages, sex and cause of death.
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