Tree replacement!!

If you read my article about the beautiful tree that the Friends of Holbeck Cemetery were given by Park Fisheries, you may also have heard that it had an accident with a grass -cutting tractor.

 Well the good news is that it has been replaced and we can now show you it’s successor, which we hope will survive a bit longer( many, many years we hope)

Perhaps there is a message that the grass cutting should be by hand-mowers only as the Cemetery lost 105 tree-saplings in the same type of ‘accident’ last year, thankfully LCC Parks have kindly replaced these in the wildflower area.

Please be careful with our trees

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Fancy a walk in the Park?

Often people think of going for a ‘nice walk in the park’- but what kind of  ‘park’? 

Have you ever thought of a cemetery as a kind of park or do you never even consider that it could be ?


Well the layout of Holbeck Cemetery was planned on 21st October 1857 by a famous Victorian landscape gardener  called, Joshua Major.

Joshua  was born  in 1786 at Owston. near Doncaster. He was the most important landscape gardeners resident in Yorkshire in the 19th century.  Joshua wrote books on gardening and contributed to the Gardeners Magazine .He founded a nursery garden at Knowsthorpe in Leeds and won awards at various flower shows in the area. His son, Henry, became a partner in the firm and they were involved in landscape design and the firm was commissioned to landscape Hanover Square  in Leeds in 1824.

Joshua entered competitions to design some of the earliest public parks . He won the commission to design Peel Park in Salford, Queens Park and Philips Park in Manchester .These parks were in densely populated areas and financed by public subscription and included areas for sport , recreation and walking.

He also designed a ‘paisley shawl’ bedding design in the garden of Shibden Hall  near Halifax.


Today as you walk through Holbeck Cemetery you can still appreciate some of Joshua’s planting 157 years later. If you follow the winding path from the small gate on Beeston Road  to the main entrance gates on Fairfax Road you will walk through the magnificent cherry trees . Just near the central grass oval you can marvel at the beautiful willow tree ( you can even hide among its bright green leaves that reach the ground). Other winding pathways that he designed are harder to spot as they are grass covered but they are there if you look hard  enough, some have daffodils planted there to give you a clue!. They take you past monuments that commemorate the  people of Holbeck . Spend some time to look hard at the designs  and see what you can spot;check out song birds carved there, just like the ones who nest in the cemetery today. Check all those different occupations of the people of Holbeck. Can you find the organ builder or the artist with its palette?


Try a walk in this kind of  ‘park’ in the morning or evening -it may  surprise you .


Holbeck Cemetery is at its most beautiful at the moment with its trees in full blossom


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Fish and Chips and trees

We have a beautiful new tree planted in the cemetery. It is in the corner of Noster Terrace and Beeston Road. It is in that position for a very special reason.
It was donated by our friends at Park Fisheries just over the road. They have a beautiful prize-winning garden where you can enjoy the best fish and chips in Leeds while sitting under their parasols. They had grown the tree but it had become too big for their small street-garden and so they have had it planted in the corner of the cemetery where they can watch it grow bigger each year.
A BIG THANK YOU to them for this generous offer, it was a lovely gesture and helps to make the cemetery more colourful. The Friends of Holbeck Cemetery can’t thank them enough.

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Viewing platform & vandals: Sad goodbyes

Sadly this week saw the final demise of our original, beautiful viewing platform which was built in 2006 when we secured funding from various sources. It offered ever-changing views of the city of Leeds & Bradford. It was always a stopping off point for our walks/tours of the cemetery and people loved to spot the various landmarks that could be seen from there.
This photo was taken before the platform was built and so many changes in the buildings have happened since then

It has suffered over the recent years . firstly from the theft of the plaques designed by children of Ingram Road school in Holbeck, then local youths have been gathering for drinking sessions . This meant that some of the structure had to be removed and the pictorial railings displayed near the main gates.




Now the only thing left of the original structure is a line of railings behind ‘prickly’ shrubs, this fence will then be extended along the boundary/ridge and also planted with ‘prickly’ shrubs.

The bottom corner of cemetery will be allowed to grow wild by only cutting the grass there about a couple of times a year , which should add to the biodiversity of the area and adjoin the present wild-flower meadow .

It was quite a emotional meeting when 6 members of FOHC met to see what was taking progress, as a lot of hard work had been put into applying for funding for the original viewing platform and many happy hours had been spent there with the many visitors on our walks/tours.
Even the local church has used it for their Easter Dawn Service over the past few years.
It does seem a shame that the only answer to anti-social behaviour is to destroy a beautiful structure like the viewing platform and we are disappointed that another solution could not have been found.

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2013 in review

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 3,500 times in 2013. If it were a cable car, it would take about 58 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

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We Remembered Them

Commonwealth War grave

Commonwealth War grave

On Sunday 17th November 14 adults, young people and children met in Holbeck Cemetery to remember some of the people who died in conflicts in WW1 and WW2.
We heard about their family backgrounds and the regiments that they had served in, we even remembered someone whose grave we could not find. One of the children, Grace , laid a bunch of flowers and a small wooden cross on each of the graves that we visited. Finally we all stood at the Cross of Remembrance and took it in turns to read all the names of those who are remembered in Holbeck Cemetery. This year we had a new name to add to the list as one of our party told us of her relative who is buried here.
We heard about a young flier who had originally joined the KOYLI and then transferred to the Royal Flying Corps, perhaps as it seems more exciting, even though fliers were known as “the 17 minuters” for obvious reasons.
There were young men from rich business families who had been training to take over the business before it was interrupted by WW1. George Wilson , who owned Wilson and Sons, Victoria Screw Works in Leeds, lost two sons , Wilfred in 1917 and his younger brother, John Bell Wilson after the war in 1919, probably from his wounds.
FOHC Rem2013Longley
We looked at a stone that commemorates Joseph Hargrave, aged just 20 years who died as a POW in 1918.
The other people we remembered were from various backgrounds but we thought about their families and the great loss that they had suffered. Most of the people we talked about came from Leeds and some were remembered on the distinctive white Commonwealth War Graves, others on family memorials.
FOHC feel that it is important to have an annual Remembrance Walk as, “Remembrance is important, because, by looking back and remembering , we can learn from the past and shape a peaceful future”*
* quote from The Royal; British Legion.
FOHC Rem2013

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We Will Remember Them 2013

We will remember them festival-photo-poppies
The Friends of Holbeck Cemetery, which formed in May 2001, is once again holding a Remembrance Sunday Walk around the site on Sunday 17th November 2013 at 2pm. This annual walk commemorates the lives of all those killed as a result of war.
Holbeck cemetery has 87 Commonwealth War Graves Commission memorials plus many other private memorials with inscriptions to loved ones lost as a result of hostilities. The Commission memorials are maintained by them but many of the private graves have suffered neglect and decay over the years.
The Friends of Holbeck Cemetery aim to halt the decay and decline of the site and make it once again a place where people are able to visit graves in safety as well as create a place of peace and quiet amidst inner city turmoil.
John Leckenby, chair of Friends of Holbeck, said,” This historic place offers the opportunity to reflect on issues of life and death. In a time when war and conflict are in the news more than ever we should remember those who have died in such tragic circumstances. Each grave has a story to tell of the lives of ordinary people like you and me. Some of whom lost their lives in wartime conflict”.
So come along and join us on Sunday 17th November at 2pm meeting at the main gates on Fairfax Road, Leeds 11 and help us remember.. We would welcome any local stories that you have to tell of how wartime affected Holbeck and Beeston.
CWGC headstone

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