Heritage Open Day 2016

Join us on Thursday 8th September at 11 am to begin the new Holbeck Heritage Trail.  It is a whole day walk  which will begin in Holbeck Cemetery where we will look at some of the memorials of those innovators and inventors  who made Holbeck the great centre of Industry in the early 18th and 19th century. We will hear about their connections with Mathew Murray, John Marshall , the Round Foundry and others, as well as the   Fairs that took place on Holbeck Moor.

You will hear about the Holbeck inventor of probably the world’s first sewing machine in 1851       ( and it was not Isaac Singer !!)

FoHolcem1cemarsdenHenry Marsden

Learn about the showmen and women who attended the Feasts and Fairs that took place throughout England  and what they did when they came to Holbeck Feast.One of them was known as #a caterer of amusement’ and another as ‘The oldest showman in England’,who often told of how he brought  the first cinematograph show to Leeds.His wife recalled being at Holbeck Feast when they used to hold a race meetings there .

Bailey detail.jpg

Then after a walk from the cemetery down Beeston Road you can eat your  lunch  at The Holbeck club, which opened in 1877, where they will be an exhibition and a chance to chat ,Domestic St 1914

Then the main part of the Holbeck History  Trail continues along Holbeck Moor, St Matthews church and taking in Mathew Murray monument and other noteworthy old buildings in Holbeck and concluding near Templeworks at about 4pm.

Cars can be parked at the cemetery and number 1 Beeston bus could bring you back from the city centre ( they run every 10 minutes) Parking is also available at the club which has toilets and there will tea, coffee etc.available

If you want to just join us for part of the walk just let us know &  bring your packed lunch, walking shoes . . More details/booking contact Ian on  07830665016


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Remembering the Somme

cross of sacrifice Join us for a Sunset Vigil  July 1st at 7:30 pm

Remembering The Somme Vigil will take place around the Cross of Sacrifice ( near Beeston Road) Please join the Friends of Holbeck Cemetery  for about an hour as they focus on some of the soldiers who are remembered in our cemetery. Please help us commemorate this historic event

On the first day of the Somme there were 57,000 British army casualties including 19,000 dead.

Some soldiers  are listed as  ‘dying at home’which usually means  that they had died in a British hospital.In Leeds the hospitals used were 2nd Northern General Hospital, the former Leeds Training College at Becketts Park or East Leeds Hospital which is now the Thackray Museum.

Richard Bunkall was one of the soldiers to die from his injuries in a Leeds hospital on 9th November 1916. He served with The Royal Garrison Artillery and his father was the foreman of the Leeds Sewerage works at Knostrop. Another soldier, Harry Stead, was  the youngest son of Ezra and Emily Stead  and was only twenty -one  when he died in hospital He was in the West Yorkshire Regiment ( Prince of Wale’s Own)and  he came from a family of stone-cutters and plumbers living at 5 Camden Place ,Leeds.

Two married brothers from Holbeck joined the Leeds Pals in early 1915. Tom Pilkington had only recently married and was working as a butcher, his brother, Arthur was a commercial clerk in the local V, he inegar brewery. While Tom was injured at the Battle of the Somme , Arthur survived after been transferred to the Royal Engineers and was discharged on 23rd February 1919.

Some soldiers enlisted when they were underage and they fought in the Somme . At that time many underage boys were being returned from France but many  remained there  anyway, we will never know whether they realised  that they had this option  or not.

Thomas Paul was the eldest of six children and had left school when war broke out but waited until early 1915 to volunteer. A tall well built lad of sixteen years of age when asked how old he was he had told the recruiting officer that he was eighteen and he had been accepted into the Leeds Pals, where he served alongside his cousin, Alfred.Thomas was wounded in battle and sent to the 2/2nd London Casualty clearing station behind the lines where he died on 22nd September 1916. Cousin Alfred, aged twenty-three, was wounded on the first day of the Somme and returned to a Leeds hospital where he died of wounds on 24th July 1916.

Fred Mortimer , son of Henry and Mary Mortimer of Nineveh Avenue, Holbeck was twenty-one years old when he died of wounds on 19th September 1916 in the same Casualty Clearing Station as Thomas Paul.

One seventeen  year old, Tom Clarkson, died of wounds  in St. Bartholomew’s Hospital , London but was buried in Holbeck Cemetery with full military honours on 17th July 1916

In the same week on the 12th July , Frederick Richard Lewis was also buried in the cemetery . Frederick had been severely wounded on 1st July and a couple of days later had found himself on a hospital ship bound for  Britain but  sadly he had died of his wounds before been able to reach the shore .Frederick was the first Leeds Pal, who had died in the theatre of war,  to be buried in Leeds.

Longley 7

Ernest Longley  was a young gifted footballer , who played for Leeds Grammar School, YMCA and Leeds Yarnbury Club. On the outbreak of war he had enlisted with the Leeds Pals on 24th September 1914 and was killed in action ,on 1st July, at the Somme, where he had been a Platoon Bomber . He was twenty-six years old and came from a wealthy family who owned the Joseph Longley Bedding Manufacturer & Co . The company’s  premises had originally fronted Lands Lane . The building is still standing at the junction of Lands Lane and Albion Place and the name ‘Longley’ can be clearly seen on top of the building .( YEP 25th May 2016  mentions that this building has been sold for £3.7 million ! ) 

Leonard Clarkson( 1st/6th Battalion, Duke of Wellington’s West Riding Regiment) was another nineteen-year old who was killed in action and even though his family came from Wetherby he is remembered on a family grave in Holbeck cemetery.

John William Hainsworth( King’s Own Light Infantry) was 24 years old when he was killed and is remembered on the Thiepval Memorial  in France. This memorial is to the missing of the Somme and bears the names of more than 72,000 officers and men of the UK and South Africa forces who died in the Somme sector before March 1918 and have no known grave. Over 90% of those commemorated died between July 1st and November 1916. The memorial also serves as an Anglo- French Battle Memorial in recognition of the joint nature of the 1916 offensive. The memorial was designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens and was built between   1928 and 1932  and unveiled by the then Prince of Wales in the presence of the President of France on 31st July 1932

Private John Fell, West Yorkshire , Prince of Wales’s Own, is also remembered on this memorial

John William Milner, an Engine Pattern Maker and general engineer who had lived with his wife ,Hilda at 14 Ledbury Street, Beeston Road before enlisting in the West Yorkshire , Prince of Wales’s Own, died on the first day of the Somme  aged 36 and is remembered in Serre Road Cemetery no 3, France.



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Wandering and working in the blossom

Wednesday 11th May was a pretty busy day in Holbeck Cemetery. The cemetery was looking pretty spectacular too with its cherry trees looking their best after the sun and showers that we had had recently.If you want to come and see this beautiful place don’t delay as the blossom will soon be over.

Ken blossom cem

Blossom time

The Friends of Holbeck Cemetery  were conducting a tour for the Wednesday Wanderers . It is always nice to introduce new people on our tours . Thankfully the rain had stopped just in time and it wasn’t windy. We had a good look around and heard about the Holbeck inventors who made this area so important during the Victorian age . They were a great group with lots of interesting questions. Because of limited time we only managed one section of the  cemetery and they are hoping to return at another date. They were particularly impressed by the view from the former viewpoint. It is always interesting to see what buildings  you can spot from here and it is ever changing with new cranes indicating even more change ahead.

Other folk busy in the cemetery were volunteers from O2 helping to tidy up the centre path. They were also interested in the history of the cemetery and were excited when they  discovered some numbers on the edging stones. ( FOHC believe that this indicated that these stones had been re-used and had originally been around various graves)

It is really good to see companies putting something back into the community and they were a great enthusiastic  and hard-working  bunch of young people. A big thank you to them for all their hard work , much appreciated .


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Investigating and detecting in the cemetery

Today the 19th April 2016 dawned bright and sunny, just the day to get down to  some investigating, but this time this will be just a bit different.

Instead of helping families who are searching for family plots or hidden meanings in the symbolism of the memorials-carvings , a new person has stepped forward to help with the detecting .

Step forward DCI Banks – yes one of his famous cases will involve Holbeck Cemetery  and the Nosters!!

DCI Banks is a very popular detective series broadcast on TV and today it is being filmed in Holbeck Cemetery. DCI Banks is a British crime series produced by Left Bank Pictures . The series is based on Peter Robinson’s inspector Alan Banks novels and stars Stephen Tompkinson as Detective chief Inspector Banks . In 2013 the series won in the drama  category at the Royal Television Society Yorkshire Programme Awards.

LEFT BANK PICTURES writes ‘The fourth series , (part of which is being filmed today), will feature the usual powerful personal stories for the lead characters,both in their private lives  and in their work environment; a deeper exploration of Banks’ relationship with his parents, further complications in Annie and Banks on/off romance and a personal crisis that threatens Helen’s career.’Annie is played by Andrea Lowe and Helen is played by Caroline Catz.

There will be three stories in this series:- ‘What Will Survive’; ‘Home’ and ‘Ghosts’ We can only guess which one will feature Holbeck cemetery .So keep your eyes peeled for the broadcasting dates  all you fans of DCI Banks , crime stories and especially Holbeck Cemetery


tiring work filming


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Gentleman Joshua Horner Robinson

Gentleman Joshua Horner Robinson 1816-1891

The Friends of Holbeck Cemetery get a great many enquirers from relatives seeking information about their ancestors and some we can help. The other day an email arrived from Helen asking for information about her great, great, great, grandfather and his wife and sons who are buried in the cemetery. Thankfully they feature on FOHC’s limited database taken from the original grave receipt-books from 1857. We also found that the son had also purchased another plot.Another plot nearby is to his daughter Hannah Walker

This led to Helen telling us a bit more  about her ancestors history in Holbeck, with more information promised later. So here is a ‘taster’ based on Helen’s information.

Joshua Horner Robinson lived at Wellington House, Mill Green Holbeck when he purchased three grave-plots, 9433, 9434, 9435, on 23rd September 1880 at the cost of £3 per plot. He needed the three plots together because he was having a grand memorial erected for his family and his wife, Maria , who had recently died  on 16th June 1880.

Robinson obelist1

Joshua Horner Robinson was a wealthy man when he died on 1891, leaving £140,000, a huge sum of money at that time . His elder son, also named Joshua Horner, who was living in Balm Walk at the time of his father’s death in 1891, did not inherit the lump sum and was effectively disinherited . although the money was put in trust for him to have an income from,so perhaps he was feeling a bit better off and purchased a plot of his own .

Joshua senior’s funeral on 8th May 1891 was very grand affair as noted in the daily paper.

The obituary reads:-

The late Joshua Horner Robinson. The internment of the remains of this gentleman took place on Tuesday afternoon at Holbeck Cemetery. A large assembly of relatives, friends and work people were present, and there were seventeen  coaches and carriages in the funeral cortege. Mr Robinson, who resided at Mill Green nearly all his life, was a well-known man of business, though not in the ordinary sense a public man. He had entered his 75th year . He was for many years a maltster and corn-miller, and had recently become connected with the cloth mans’ business. Mr Robinson is reputed to have died a rich man, and left behind him five sons and one daughter  to mourn his loss. The Revd. O Cookson officiated at the graveside.Mr W Swales was the undertaker.

Helen notes that this report was a little inaccurate as he had more surviving children

Robinson WalkerThis plot is for his daughter Hannah Walker

***NOTE-£140,000 in  1891 would be the equivalent of about £16,8000,000 in today’s money. Joshua  was definitely a rich man when he died****

 It would be interesting to discover just how he became so rich; was it as a maltster, a corn-miller or with the cloth mans’ business?Maybe Helen will tell us more tantalising tales of her ancestors

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2015 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2015 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 3,800 times in 2015. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 3 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

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Remembrance Walk- Sunday 15th November 2015 @ 2pm

It is time once again for our annual Remembrance Walk in Holbeck Cemetery and we would like you to join us at the main gates on Fairfax Road on Sunday 15th November at 2.pm,

cross of sacrifice

This year, as it is the 70th anniversary of The Battle of Britain, we will be focusing on some of the RAF personnel whose memorials are in the cemetery .

raf flag

We will try to tell visitors some information  about the family and/or  the squadrons  that each served in and in some cases the last raids in which they saw action.

These young men , who were only aged between 19 years and 24 years old had already become pilots, wireless operators or gunners and flew in vital WW2 raids  over Hanover, Nuremberg, Berlin , were involved in the evacuation  at Dunkirk and one leading aircraftsman,  Denis Palmer, was a member of RCAF , whose  air transport flew supplies, troops and casualties from the Far East  in 1946.

raf emblem

Most of these young men were local to the area but one Flight Engineer left behind a wife who lived in Lavenham , Suffolk – such a long way from Holbeck.

We will lay a British Legion cross on their graves and then gather at the Cross of Sacrifice, near Beeston Road, to read the names of all those servicemen and women who are remembered on memorials in Holbeck cemetery and who gave their lives for their country.

Finally scattering poppy petals for all these lost lives               .festival-photo-poppies

Please join us at this free event which is usually just over  one hour long . All ages are welcome ( even  dogs on leads),

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