All old postings from the 'news' page are kept here, for posterity and historical interest (hopefully!!).


As part of the 175th anniversary celebration of Joe Wilson's birth, the following lovely plans are in place:

The Mayor of Newcastle is supporting the efforts of Joe's Canadian great-grandchildren, Kasandra Keith and George Wilson, to celebrate the Tyneside Bard, with a 'blue plaque' being unveiled at Joe's birthplace in Stowell Street later this year.


Ed Waugh, the Tyneside playwright, has organised a celebration of the 175th anniversary of Joe's birth at the Irish Centre, Gallowgate, Newcastle, just across the street from Joe birthplace, on 29 November 2016. The last few tickets remain on sale from the Irish Centre.

Dave Harker has just completed a full-length and lavishly-illustrated book, The Gallowgate Lad. Joe Wilson's Life & Times. Dave has published several articles and books on North East songwriters and songs, including Gannin' to Blaydon Races! The Life and Times of George Ridley (Newcastle: Tyne Bridge Publishing, 2012), Songs and Verse of the North East Pitmen, c.1780-1844 (Durham: Surtees Society, 1999) and Songs from the Manuscript Collection of John Bell (Durham: Surtees Society, 1985).

The Gallowgate Lad is under serious consideration by a Tyneside publisher and there have been 50 pre-orders already, including 6 from the dramatist Lee Hall, but it would greatly help if you could indicate an interest in buying a copy by emailing Dave on

Dave will be available for giving talks once the book is published.


The Friends of Jesmond Old Cemetery were once again collecting The Chronicle WISH tokens earlier this year - all monies raised will go towards funding a new bench to be situated near to the 'still born' baby area of Jesmond Old Cemetery.

We managed to collect over 6,500 tokens, raising £86.87 in the process, so thank you to everyone who contributed.
Ta. X
In the annual Historic England 'Heritage Angel' awards, sponsored by Andrew Lloyd-Webber, the Friends of Jesmond Old Cemetery were 'longlisted' from over 160 applications nationwide, just missing out on being one of the 6 finalists. However, the Friends were are awarded a prestigious 'Certificate of Commendation' for their valued work in 'saving Jesmond Old Cemetery'. We are very proud of this award, particularly as Cemeteries are not particularly fashionable in terms of heritage kudos but, hopefully, our work in Jesmond Old Cemetery will help raise awareness of their importance to society on lots of levels.

The efforts of the Friends of Jesmond Old Cemetery have been recognised in a report by Historic England, entitled 'Heritage Counts'. Read an account of this in The Journal. For a more in-depth insight into the report, click here.


Check out the Jesmond Old Cemetery FACEBOOK page; it's run by one of the Friends, Malcolm, and is updated on a regular basis with images and history of the many interesting individuals buried within Jesmond Old Cemetery.

Just search FACEBOOK for Jesmond Old Cemetery and then send a request to join the group - you won't be disappointed.


Follow this link to read our latest contribution to an article in the Evening Chronicle:


The 13th of April 2014 was a very special day in the history of the Friends of Jesmond Old Cemetery as we celebrated the rededication of the Thomas Burt Memorial in some style. In restoring the Burt Memorial, the Friends of Jesmond Old Cemetery raised nearly £1,700, with the Northumberland area of the National Union of Mineworkers donating £1,000, the City Council's Bereavement Services Department donating £200, Waitrose at Jesmond 'Community Matters' scheme raising £140.66, the Evening Chronicle's 'WISH' campaign donating just over £74.00, with the Friends contributing £278.04.

Local firm, Classic Masonry, restored the Burt Memorial on our behalf and they made a great job of it.

The rededication service was carried out by Reverend Rob Hawkins from the local
Jesmond Methodist Church, with the Backworth Colliery Band and the Heaton Voices Community Choir providing a range of stirring, thoughtful local tunes and songs - a fitting tribute from the local community .

In attendance was
Ian Lavery M.P., who praised the Friends of Jesmond Old Cemetery for their hard work and dedication in helping to restore not only the Burt Memorial, but the Cemetery in general. Denis Murphy, Secretary of the Northumberland area of the National Union of Mineworkers was also present, as were local Councillors and residents of Jesmond.

Our campaign to restore the Burt Memorial began in October 2011, when we were contacted by Denis Murphy who asked for our help in locating and restoring the Memorial to such a fine local man. After receiving a generous donation from the Northumberland area of the NUM, we set about raising the rest of the money. One of our first initiatives was to enrol with the
Evening Chronicles' 'WISH' campaign and then we contacted the local Waitrose in Jesmond for financial help via their 'Community Matters' scheme. A kind donation from the City Council and some additional fund raising by the Friends of Jesmond Old Cemetery helped us to reach our target. A long 'funding' journey but worth it and testament to the generocity that still exists in these difficult times.

Check out the fantastic video of the event, filmed by Ian Ground,

Check out The Journal's report on our rededication service


18.10.12. - The November edition of 'Living North' magazine highlights Jesmond Old Cemetery in a 'Beyond the Grave' article.

The article in 'Living North' explores six 'haunting' cemeteries in the North East; as well as featuring Jesmond Old Cemetery, they also include St Andrew's in Newcastle, West Cemetery in Darlington, Ettleton Cemetery in Newcastleton, St Cuthbert in Beltingham and Lanercost Priory, Cumbria.

The Friends of Jesmond Old Cemetery get a mention in the article.... the only Friends group identified. How cool is that??? 

The magazine retails at £2:95 and is a canny read for anyone interested in what's happening in the North East. Oh, and Jesmond Old Cemetery!!


09.10.12. - Friends of Jesmond Old Cemetery join the world of social networking!!!

As part of our aim to raise the profile of our work within Jesmond Old Cemetery, we now have a Facebook page to help spread the word and keep people up to date with what we do. Check it out


18.09.12. - World famous fly fisherman, Dr William Baigent, is buried in Jesmond Old Cemetery.

After another fruitless day during a fishing holiday in South Uist, some members of the Friends of Jesmond Old Cemetery took to reading old fly fishing magazines for inspiration. One article highlighted the usefulness of the Baigent's Brown fly, invented by Northallerton Doctor, William Baigent. The name sounded familiar and, on returning from holiday, a quick scan of old JOC related e-mails revealed a request for help in locating a Willam Baigent's grave way back in 2010. We managed to confirm that there was, indeed, a William Baigent buried in JOC but did not take it any further, the significance of his name not being obvious at the time; however, having researched his life, both as a Doctor and a fly fisherman, we are over the moon to have our own version of J.R. Hartley in Jesmond Old Cemetery!!

Read more about Dr William Baigent here.


19.08.12. - Our website adds a new area to provide details of the 'not so famous' but still important people buried in Jesmond Old Cemetery.

As well as the more famous North Eastern 'names' buried in Jesmond Old Cemetery, we also have many less well known people who, outside of their immediate family and descendants, would not attract much attention. However, as we know, we all have a story to tell and this new addition to our website provides an opportunity for us to tell some of those stories.

By their very nature, the details provided are dependent upon memory and incomplete documentation; as such, from a historical perspective, the level of accuracy will not necessarily match that of the more prominent people buried within Jesmond Old Cemetery. Never the less, from a personal perspective, the details provided are just as important and meaningful to those providing them and, therefore, are worth sharing.

Our first addition to this page is the
Haslam family.

If you would like to contribute your family history to this page, please do get in touch on the e-mail address above and we'll sort it.


08.01.2012. - Condition Survey begins on Archibald Reed monument.

Preliminary work has begun on ascertaining the condition of the Archibald Reed monument. A joint financial agreement between the City Council's Bereavement Services Department and Archeology Department, and the Friends of Jesmond Old Cemetery, has paid for contractors St Astier to carry out the Condition Survey. This has involved the erection of scaffolding, the removal of the ivy that covered most of the monument and a detailed structural assessment of the monument. Once this process is complete, we hope to be in a position to change the Listed Status of the monument, with a view to then submitting applications for funding to enable the complete restoration of one of John Dobson's finest pieces of Gothic architecture.  

The Reed Monument in its suit of scaffolding!! 


24.12.2011. - Newcastle Youth Offender Team contribute to the Friends of Jesmond Old Cemetery's work.

Following a suggestion from a member of the public, the Friends of Jesmond Old Cemetery are pleased to announce that the Newcastle Youth Offender Team have agreed to support our work within Jesmond Old Cemetery. With the agreement and support of Newcastle City Council, the young people involved will contribute up to two days per week to our cause, helping with the removal of saplings, brambles etc.

This is a great opportunity for all concerned and we hope to reap the rewards of our partnership with such an important community orientated organisation.


21.12.2011. - Newcastle City Council's Bereavement Service Announcement.

A small memorial has been erected in memory of the many babies and children buried in Jesmond Old Cemetery. The City Council has arranged this memorial to ensure that people who have babies and children buried in the cemetery have somewhere where they can come and remember them.The memorial is located behind the South Lodge, towards the South East corner of the cemetery.

A non denominational dedication ceremony took place on Wednesday 4th January 2012 at 14:00.


14.06.2011. - Blue Plaque honour for Wimbledon winner Muriel Robb.

Women's Singles winner in 1902, Muriel Robb has been honoured with the unveiling of a Blue Plaque in her honour at Jesmond Lawn Tennis Club.  In winning her title, Muriel played 53 games over two days, making it the longest game in Wimbledon Ladies history. She is also credited with being the first woman to serve overhand.

Miss Robb is buried in Jesmond Old Cemetery and it was reported that two lorries were needed to transport the wreaths and flowers to her funeral.
Read more about Muriel Robb here.  


09.06.2011. - Website success continues for Friends of Jesmond Old Cemetery.

Well, who would have thought it?? 6,000 hits on our website!! Today saw the 6,000th visitor to the Friends of Jesmond Old Cemetery website. No prize awarded for the person who did so, unfortunately, but the Friends are very pleased (and somewhat surprised) by the continued level of interest in our work via the www. We must be doing something right; long may it continue. 


02.06.2011. - New pages added to Friends of Jesmond Old Cemetery website.

As the Friends of Jesmond Old Cemetery gradually uncover monuments and memorials, we add pictures and historical information to our web site. Check out these new pages in relation to
Dr William Rea, William Halton Lindon-Travers, James Annand MP and Dr George Yeoman Heath    


10.05.2011. - Various descendents of Archibald Reed meet up at Jesmond Old Cemetery.

The Friends of Jesmond Old Cemetery were very pleased to be able to meet up with John Hindmarsh, Gavin Reed and Peter Gray who are all descendants of Archibald Reed, six times Lord Mayor of Newcastle. All three gentlemen had various tales to tell about their famous ancestor, sharing anecdotes and important information about his time as Sheriff and Lord Mayor.

As well as meeting up for a chat, they were also interested in seeing the Reed Monument and hearing about our plans for its restoration. Obviously, all present are very keen to be kept informed of developments.

For pictures of the visit, click


27.04.2011. - Friends of Jesmond Old Cemetery plant flowers to help the bees.

Rachel Flannery, the City Council's newly appointed Biodiversity Officer, delivered two trays of nectar producing wildflowers to help sustain and encourage the masonry bee population within Jesmond Old Cemetery. The Friends of Jesmond Old Cemetery planted the flowers in the newly established border around the South Lodge, which is within bumbling bee distance of the 5 star bee accommodation recently attached to the Sandyford Road perimeter wall. Hopefully, our bee population will be chuffed with our efforts, particulary the masonry bees who are known to be living in the recently renovated wall.

For pictures of our efforts, click here.  


04.04.2011. - Friends of Jesmond Old Cemetery take part in their first Jesmond Community Festival.

The Friends of Jesmond Old Cemetery recently joined the Jesmond Community Forum and took part in their first Jesmond Festival, held during March and April. As part of our contribution to the Festival, we took part in the opening day fair, hosted a 'bramble clearing' event and held two guided tours of Jesmond Old Cemetery.

From our point of view, we had a really successful Festival, attracting a number of new volunteers, gaining an extra 250 'hits' on our website and being invited to talk to a number of other community groups about our work within Jesmond Old Cemetery.

For more information, click


08.03.11. - Friends of Jesmond Old Cemetery take part in the Jesmond Community Festival.

The Friends of Jesmond Old Cemetery are contributing to this years Jesmond Community Festival, which runs from 19th March until the 3rd April. As well as having an information stall at the Grand Festival Fair, being held at West Jesmond Primary School, Tankerville Terrace, on Saturday 19th March from 12:30 to 16:00, the Friends are hosting a 'Bramble Clearance' event on Sunday 20th March, from 10:00 to 13:00. If you wish to join in, you must book in advance by e-mailing us at

Additionally, we will be holding two Heritage Tours of Jesmond Old Cemetery on Sunday 3rd April, one from 10:00 to 12:00 and the other from 13:00 to 15:00. Again, if you wish to attend, please e-mail us at to book a place. The tours are free but we do ask for donations to go towards our activities within the Cemetery.

Further details of the Jesmond Community Festival can be found at and an interesting article on the Friends group can be seen at 


02.03.11. - First steps on the way to restoring the Reed Monument.

Representatives from the Friends of Jesmond Old Cemetery met with Mr Robin Dower, from Spence and Dower (Chartered Architects and Historic Building Consultants) and Mr Jim Croft (St Astier Contractors) in order to discuss the first important steps in restoring the Reed Monument. The major challenge at this stage is the safe and appropriate removal of the rather large growth of ivy that now covers most of the monument - the difficulty being that the ivy has infiltrated much of the stonework, which increases the chances of disturbing the structure and causing further damage, which is something that we definately don't want to happen!! 

We are currently awaiting further advice and information from our new colleagues on how best to proceed with the removal of the ivy. Once we have received this, we expect to be able to move on quite quickly. Further updates will be provided as we receive them.  


10.01.11. - Friends of Jesmond Old Cemetery website reaches 5,000 'hits'.

In little over two years since introducing our website, we have celebrated our 5,000th hit. Not bad for a niche area of interest!!

Some of our 'guests' have included famous names such as the well known actress Virgina McKenna, whose Father in Law, Mr William Travers is buried in Jesmond Old Cemetery. Additionally, the descendants of John Dobson, John and Benjamin Green and Thomas Miles Richardson have contacted us to congratulate us on our work.

We have had requests for help and information from all over the world and it is always gratifying to know that our work within Jesmond Old Cemetery has an impact far beyond it's perimeter walls.  


25.11.10. - Friends of Jesmond Old Cemetery establish local link to the author of Lord of the Rings.

Following a request for help to find a monument to a William Charles Mountain, the Friends of Jesmond Old Cemetery discovered that Mountain's wife, Grace, was the Aunt of J.R.R. Tolkein, the famous author of Lord of the Rings. Tolkein visited them regularly when he was writing his epic fantasy tale and his chats with his Uncle,a mining engineer, apparently influenced his descriptions of the 'Mines of Moria' and 'Isengard'. Additionally, the character and personality of his Uncle is said to have heavily influenced his characterisation of Saruman. 

Read the article on our discovery in the Evening Chronicle


17.11.10. - The Community Foundation's Grassroots Fund help Friends of Jesmond Old Cemetery.

Once again, the Friends of Jesmond Old Cemetery have successfully applied for funding from the Community Foundation's 'Grassroots Fund'. The vital financial support from this wonderful local organisation has meant that we are able to purchase over £850 worth of additional specialist equipment to help in our 'battle' against the curse of the bramble and weed!!! 

Our grateful thanks go to the Community Foundation.


15.11.10. - Carmelite Order friars and lay associates buried in single grave in Jesmond Old Cemetery.

The remains of more than twenty medieval friars and lay associates of the Carmelite Order in Newcastle and Northallerton were reburied in Jesmond Old Cemetery on 14th October 2010 following excavations carried out at sites of old Carmelite Friary's in Newcastle and Northallerton by Durham University's Archeology Department.

The Carmelites were established in the Holy Land around the year 1200, arrived in England in 1242, and quickly developed into an international religious order of the Roman Catholic Church. Suppressed at the Reformation, the Order returned to Britain in the early twentieth century. The Carmelites now, as in the Middle Ages, are devoted to prayer and preaching, as well as to service of the local community.

The remains of each Carmelite are individually boxed and buried in a single grave. A special Memorial Mass and short service at the grave side took place today.

Read more here.


05.11.10. - Friends of Jesmond Old Cemetery and Sir James Knott Trust combine to help with preliminary assessment of Reed monument.

With regard to our ongoing quest to restore the Archibald Reed monument, the Friends of Jesmond Old Cemetery successfully applied to the Sir James Knott Trust fund for £3,200; this amount is a considerable contribution to the overall cost of carrying out a Condition Survey on the monument. The remainder of the final bill for this important piece of work will be provided by descendants of the Reed and the Friends of Jesmond Old Cemetery. 

Once the Condition Survey has been completed, we will be in a better position to estimate the cost of restoring the monument. Additionally, part of the process is to apply for the monument's listed status to be changed to a Grade 2 *; this will enhace our chances of successfully applying to the likes of English Heritage and the Lottery Fund for funding towards the restoration of Archie's fine monument, designed by his great friend, John Dobson. Watch this space for further developments.  


13.07.10. - Jesmond Old Cemetery and the Kerrygold Community Awards Scheme.

In order to help boost our funds, the Friends of Jesmond Old Cemetery have registered with the Kerrygold Community Awards scheme and would ask that anyone visiting our website and appreciates the work we are doing, helps us by supporting our bid to win a £1,000.

It's quite simple and involves, obviously, buying Kerrygold butter, which is yummy!! Every time someone buys one of Kerrygold's promotional packs and registers their unique code on their website, the fund grows by 10p. Once people register their pack, they then vote for the project they think deserves to win a share of the fund - and they have a chance to instantly win £2,000 themselves. The project with the most votes in their region will win a share of the vote, which is guarenteed to be at least £1,000, but could be substantially more, depending on how many people get involved to grow the fund.

Our project is called 'Keeping Jesmond Old Cemetery Alive' and our unique code to vote for is KGA9130.

The Kerrygold website can be found here. 

We are currently lying third out of 24 projects in the North East, so do please help us win. 

It goes without saying that we are very grateful to the Community Foundation for their help and support with our application and their financial contribution to our cause.  


14.06.10. - The Friends of Jesmond Old Cemetery are featured in the Evening Chronicle.

Following on from our successful renovation of the South Lodge, the Friends of Jesmond Old Cemetery were contacted by Jean Hopewell who, along with five other members of her family, used to live in the Lodge during the 50's and 60's. We arranged for Jean, her sister and two brothers to have a look around their former home and share some of their childhood tales with us. Read about their visit to the South Lodge here


15.05.10. - The Friends of Jesmond Old Cemetery are successful in their application for funding from the Community Foundation.

The Friends of Jesmond Old Cemetery are very pleased to announce that we were successful in our application to the Community Foundations' 'Grassroots' fund, as reported on the 09.04.10. below. The money will be used to purchase tables, chairs, kitchenware and display equipment - all of which will help us in maintaining and building upon our success so far, both within Jesmond Old Cemetery, and out and about in Newcastle, helping to spread the word about our work. 


10.05.10. - Tyne Bridge Publishing send out an invite to celebrate the launch of 'Jesmond - from mines to mansions' by Alan Morgan.

Alan Morgan, 'Friend of Jesmond Old Cemetery', local historian and author, has a new book being published - Jesmond: from mines to mansions - and the book launch is taking place on Wednesday 26th May, from 13:00, in Bewick Hall, Newcastle City Library. Get yourself along and support local people. Refreshments available so RSVP to Anna Flowers via 


09.04.10. - The Friends of Jesmond Old Cemetery apply for funding from the Community Foundation.

Now that the renovation and refurbishment of the South Lodge has been completed, the next phase involves purchasing furniture, fixtures and fittings to help us finish off the job within the South Lodge. To this end, the Friends of Jesmond Old Cemetery have submitted an application for over £2,500 to the Community Foundations' 'Grassroots' fund. If successful in our application, the South Lodge will really be a smashing asset to not only the Friends of Jesmond Old Cemetery, but also the local community. Watch this space for further developments.


26.03.10. - The Friends of Jesmond Old Cemetery spread the word at Newcastle's Lit and Phil Society.

Ray Hayes, Secretary of the Friends of Jesmond Old Cemetery, gave a presentation on the history of the Cemetery and some of its famous (and not so famous!!) inhabitants to a 100 strong audience at the Lit and Phil on Newcastle's Westgate Road last night. If we say so ourselves, a great night was had by all. If you would like the Friends of Jesmond Old Cemetery to give a talk to your club, group or society, please
contact us for further details.


20.02.10. - The South Lodge is now completed - well, almost!!

The South Lodge has now been completely renovated to, more or less, its original state, as designed by John Dobson. All amenities have been restored, so the Friends can now enjoy all the home comforts of hot water, chilled water (and beer) and a toilet!! The building looks fantastic and is a credit to those involved in the project i.e. Dave Heslop, English Heritage, the City Council and Hastie Burton. Many thanks to you all.


22.10.09. - Friends of Jesmond Old Cemetery help fund repairs to John Dobson's memorial.

Following on from our earlier news on the 10.06.09. and the 21.08.09, where we announced news about the descendants of John Dobson, Friends of Jesmond Old Cemetery are pleased to announce that John Dobson's memorial has been restored, specifically in relation to the metal surround and the sandstone kerbing. Dobson's family have been keen to contribute to our work and agreed to finance the bulk of the repair work, which was carried out by local firm, Ostell & Co. See the pictures of the completed work here.


08.09.09. - Friends of Jesmond Old Cemetery are successful in their application for funding from O2's 'It's Your Community' award.

The O2 'It's Your Community' awards were created to inspire us all to make positive changes to our to our lives. Every month, small grants of up to £1000 are given to projects that encourage people to come together and make a real difference to the places they live in. The Friends of Jesmond Old Cemetery submitted an application for funding to O2 in order to help with the purchase of tools and various equipment for the South Lodge when it is completed. We are delighted to announce that we were awarded £800 and we are very grateful to O2 for their generous support.


21.08.09. - Friends of Jesmond Old Cemetery feature in the Evening Chronicle.

Today's Evening Chronicle contains a smashing article about John Dobson's relatives, their story about contacting Friends of Jesmond Old Cemetery and their planned trip to Newcastle to visit John Dobson's monument. Click here to view the e-version of the article.


27.07.09. - Extensive renovation of the South Lodge commences.

As reported here on the 28.02.09., the Grade 2 listed
South Lodge building, designed by John Dobson, has attracted major funding from English Heritage and the City Council in order to renovate and restore it to it's original state. Contractors Hastie Burton Ltd are now 'on site' and have commenced this fantastic project, which is important both in terms of its unique contribution to the architectural interest of Jesmond Old Cemetery and also as a permanent base for the 'Friends' group. 

Those of you with a keen eye for observation will note the presence of a chimney stack, which has not been previously visible for some time. The original building did have this structure but it 'disappeared' some time ago, probably in the 1950's; however, as part of the conditions for receiving funding, the chimneys had to be replaced in line with John Dobson's design. Interestingly, they are not just their for aesthetic purposes - as part of the refurbishment, there will be a fireplace and stove to help heat the building. Lovely!!!

Images of the progress made can be found


18.07.09. - Friends of Jesmond Old Cemetery take part in a butterfly safari.

As regular readers know, Friends of Jesmond Old Cemetery are keen to ensure the biodiversity of the Cemetery is enhanced and, to this end, invited Dave Stebbings from the
Butterfly Conservation Trust to conduct a butterfly audit and advise us on how to maximise our efforts in ensuring that the local habitat supports and encourages their continued presence. For further details of Dave's visit and what we found, please follow this link to our conservation area.


14.07.09 - Great, great, great Grandson of John Green contacts Friends of Jesmond Old Cemetery.

The Great, great, great Grandson of John Green who, alongside his son Benjamin, was a successful architect-builder in the North East, has contacted Friends of Jesmond Old Cemetery. As part of researching his family history, Mr Tredinnick came across our web site and asked for help in locating his famous ancestor's grave. We were able to oblige and even tidied up the area around the monument in preparation for his visit to Jesmond Old Cemetery, having travelled from Kent to see the architectural legacy left behind in Newcastle.  


20.06.09. - Dramatic improvement to perimeter wall.

Friends of Jesmond Old Cemetery are very pleased to report on the amazing progress made on the renovation of the Sandyford Road perimeter wall. The work carried out by local firm, Classic Masonry, is quite clearly of the highest standard and the improvements made so far have made such an impact, both inside and outside of the Cemetery, and contribute to enhancing a very important part of Jesmond for the benefit of all.  


10.06.09. - Great, great, great Grandson of John Dobson contacts Friends of Jesmond Old Cemetery.

The Great, great, great Grandson of
John Dobson, the architect of Jesmond Old Cemetery and many of the North East's finest buildings, contacted Friends of Jesmond Old Cemetery having been searching the web in relation to his family history. Mr Michael Hurst, who resides in Portsmouth, has provided us with a number of photographs of John Dobson's grave in its original pristine condition and also some interesting snippets in relation to the Dobson family. Interestingly, Mr Hurst's Mother, Mrs Margaret Dobson, is an accomplished musician, much like her Great Grandmother, John Dobson's daughter, who is also buried in Jesmond Old Cemetery. 

Mr Hurst is, obviously, very pleased to hear of our organisation and its volunteers, and has thanked the Friends of Jesmond Old Cemetery for caring for the Cemetery and the grave of his ancestor.


06.06.09. - Friends of Jesmond Old Cemetery enjoy their dirty weekend.

As part of the BBC's 'Breathing Places' campaign, Friends of Jesmond Old Cemetery took part in their 'Dirty Weekend' series of events. Over twenty people, young and old, turned up to help us plant over 100 flowering bushes and renovate footpaths around the 'eastern' central mound. Although the weather turned out to be a bit damp, it certainly didn't hinder our work and the results of our labour will, hopefully, contribute to the biodiversity of Jesmond Old Cemetery by helping to attract butterflies and bumble bees. Follow the 'Dirty Weekend' link to view pictures of the event.   


28.05.09. - Friends of Jesmond Old Cemetery give talk to Soroptimist International Newcastle upon Tyne Branch.

Friends of Jesmond Old Cemetery were invited to give a talk on both the history of the Cemetery and some of its famous inhabitants at an evening event hosted by the Soroptimist International Newcastle upon Tyne Branch, which was held at Newcastle Civic Centre. Soroptimist International is a worldwide organisation for women in management and the professions, working through service projects to advance human rights and the status of women. Following dinner, the audience were given a 60 minute presentation that focussed on many of Newcastle's beautiful buildings and their subsequent association with some of the famous people buried in Jesmond Old Cemetery. 

Friends of Jesmond Old Cemetery would like to thank Ms Catherine Waller, the President of the Branch, for her kind invitation and the keen interest shown in our work. If your local group or society would be interested in a talk to hear more about the famous people in Jesmond Old Cemetery, please do contact us for further details.   


13.05.09. - Friends of Jesmond Old Cemetery join the BBC's 'Breathing Places' campaign.

The BBC has invested over £9 million of lottery funding in creating new 'breathing places' within town and city centres for everyone to enjoy and Friends of Jesmond Old Cemetery are pleased to announce their registration with such an important campaign, particularly as it aligns quite nicely with our aim of promoting for public benefit, the restoration, conservation and respectful enjoyment of Jesmond Old Cemetery. As part of this campaign, we are taking part in their 'Dirty Weekend' range of events where, on Saturday 6th June 2009, we are planning to improve footpaths, plant a range of butterfly and bumble bee friendly flowers and plants, and carry out our normal work of removing brambles and ivy from a number of monuments. Further details can be found on the BBC website, which is and if you put 'Jesmond Old Cemetery' into the search box, up will pop a whole range of information.  


27.04.09. - Classic Masonry commence work on Sandyford Road perimeter wall.

At last, work has commenced on the restoration and conservation of the Sandyford Road perimeter wall. As reported on the 23.03.09. the works were held up until after a report on the presence of bats had been carriedout; following the implementation of the necessary arrangements to minimise any impact on the bat population, local firm Classic Masonry have now begun the very important task of repointing and, where necessary, replacing the brickwork. Already, the work carried out is quite noticeable and it certainly adds to the overall aesthetic improvements of Jesmond Old Cemetery and the surrounding area.    


15.04.09. - Request for information about Home Guard presence in Jesmond Old Cemetery.

Friends of Jesmond Old Cemetery have received a request from a Mr Peter Hastie, who is researching the Home Guard in Newcastle. He has discovered a document, addressed to the Chief Constable of the day, that confirms jesmond Old Cemetery had an explosives store built in its grounds during the Second World War. The area indicated in the original document no longer exists as part of the Cemetery, this being the eastern 'point', which was removed some time ago as a result of the road and pedestrian improvements at the Sandyford Road/Jesmond Road junction. Unfortunately, there are no City Council records of this explosives store being built but, in order to try and help Peter, if there are any people with long memories out there who can remember the explosives store or, even better, have any photographs of it, we are sure Peter would welcome hearing from you. He can be contacted via his excellent website at It is about the Home Guard company based in Jesmond and is well worth a look.


23.03.09. - E3 Ecology Ltd undertake bat survey on behalf of City Council.

Prior to conservation works commencing on the Sandyford Road perimeter wall and the South Lodge, the City Council commissioned a bat survey of the areas affected in order to ascertain the likely presence of bats and to identify what measures could be taken to minimise the risk of harm to individual bats. The detailed survey concluded that small numbers of pipistrelle bats were likely to use the cracks and crevices in the walls for roosting and hibernating and, as such, identified a number of proposals to ensure that the cemetery retains the potential to be used by bats in a similar manner. Obviously, in terms of the overall management of Jesmond Old Cemetery, we are extremely pleased to see such a high priority placed on ensuring that the bio-diversity of this important wildlife corridor is maintained or even enhanced during such important conservation work. Read more about our philosophy on managing Jesmond Old Cemetery on our conservation page.


12.03.09. - The War Memorial Trust ask for help in raising awareness of war memorials.

The War Memorials Trust works for the protection and conservation of war memorials across the UK and have contacted Friends of Jesmond Old Cemetery to both help raise awareness of any war memorials in Jesmond Old Cemetery and to report any concerns about the condition of the memorials, or any threats to them, to the Trust. Of course, we are only too happy to help in any way and, as part of our contribution to their campaign, we have added a war memorials page to our website. 


11.03.09. - The Royal Mail, in association with Business in the Community, spend a day with us in Jesmond Old Cemetery.

As reported on the 26.02.09. employees from the Royal Mail spent a day with Friends of Jesmond Old Cemetery, greatly contributing to the restoration of the 'eastern' central mound. In fact, so great was their commitment and effort to our cause, it will be forever known as the 'Royal Mail Mound'!! The weather was nice (again) and, along with the banter and humour, it all made for a fab day. We are very grateful  to the Royal Mail for their help and, once again, we would also like to thank Claire Taylor from Business in the Community and Ken Scott from Bereavement Services for helping us to make such a success of the day. Go to Royal Mail to view images of the work completed.  


28.02.09. - Jesmond Old Cemetery singled out in English Heritage press release.

English Heritage, in their press release entitled 'Bright Future for North East Heritage', include Jesmond Old Cemetery in their list of vulnerable historic treasures that they expect to see removed from from its Heritage at Risk register. Heritage at Risk is an annual survey of the threatened heritage in our cities, towns and countryside and includes listed buildings, historic parks, archaeological remains, battlefields and protected wrecks. This year's register will be published in the summer but already English Heritage is confident that a number of sites across the region will be removed as a result of a lot of hard work from a range of partners who are ensuring that the region's historic environment has a future. Jesmond Old Cemetery represents one of their works in progress, specifically the South Lodge, which has been on the Heritage at Risk register since 2002. Having been blocked up in the 1930's, the interior was full of rubble and stone and the roof, being infested with dry rot, collapsed late last year. A grant of £35,000 to Newcastle City Council will help see the building repaired and brought back into use, part of which will be for the Friends of Jesmond Old Cemetery.      


26.02.09. - Friends of Jesmond Old Cemetery invited to work with Business in the Community again.

Following on from our very successful partnership with Business in the Community and Ward Hadaway last November, where we made great progress with the 'eastern' central mound, the Friends of Jesmond Old Cemetery have been invited to once again play host to a major employer who wish to rise to the challenge of helping to restore Jesmond Old Cemetery. We are very pleased to announce that Royal Mail are very keen to get involved and, as such, are 'lending' us twelve of their finest employees for the day!!! Having completed a site visit, where representatives from the Royal Mail and Business in the Community were shown around the Cemetery, arrangements have been made for the Royal Mail to come and work with us on Wednesday, 11th March 2009.

Obviously, we are very grateful for their interest and contribution; additionally, it is testament to the professionalism, hospitality and credibility that the Friends of Jesmond Old Cemetery possess that we are attracting such high profile interest in our work. Watch this space for further news on Royal Mail's contribution to the cause.    


24.02.09. - Friends of Jesmond Old Cemetery give talk to Stannington Local History Society

Friends of Jesmond Old Cemetery were invited to give a talk on both the history of the Cemetery and some of its famous inhabitants to a local History Society in Stannington. The event was well attended with the audience being treated (well, I thought so!!) to a 90 minute presentation that included a variety of interesting facts and photographs of the Cemetery and many of the historical buildings in Newcastle that have a connection with some of the famous people buried in Jesmond Old Cemetery. The presentation was followed by a question and answer session which, thankfully, did not result in too much of a grilling!!

Friends of Jesmond Old Cemetery would like to thank Stannington Local History Society for their hospitality, interest and their kind donation to help support our activity. If your local group or society would be interested in a talk to hear more about the famous people in Jesmond Old Cemetery, please do contact us for further details.   


13.02.09. - Friends contacted with request for help in relation to Archibald Reed monument.

The Friends of Jesmond Old Cemetery were contacted by two members of the public who have a particular interest in the Archibald Reed monument. Having visited the Cemetery, they were impressed by the improvements being made but were somewhat concerned by the state of the listed Reed monument. As a group, we too are concerned; however, there are a number of factors that impact upon our ability to do something immediately, namely that although it is a listed monument, there are bats nesting in it and, as they are a protected species, we have to be very careful how we go about restoring it. Having said that, the City Council are supportive of our aim to restore this important monument and preliminary discussions are taking place to plan how we can best care for it.   


30.01.09. - New equipment purchased with Sir James Knott Trust funding put to use.

At our event today, the two new strimmers, aka 'brush cutters', were put to good use by Gordon Hayes and David Hyde. Both 'Friends' fought off other younger members of the Friends of Jesmond Old Cemetery and managed to monopolise the use of the strimmers for a good two hours before exhaustion set in!!! Their valuable experience of all things 'technical' meant that they were the obvious choice to test out the strimmers and, despite the challenges of starting a two stroke motor, they quickly demonstrated their expertise in the art of strimming. The Personal Protective Equipment worn by both men added to the occasion and it is quite clear that no one else will get a look in. We might need to look at a rota!!! Seriously though, our new equipment will be a big plus in our efforts to tidy up Jesmond Old Cemetery; so, once again, our sincere thanks to the Trustees of the Sir James Knott Trust for their generous donation to our cause. 


21.01.09. - Sir James Knott Trust approve application for funding.

As reported on our blog, an application for funding was submitted to the Sir James Knott Fund in order to help us purchase two petrol driven brush-cutters and associated personal safety equipment. The Friends of Jesmond Old Cemetery are very pleased to announce that our application was successful and we have been awarded £800, which will enable us to purchase every piece of equipment identified in our bid for funds. Obviously, this is a major boost to our efforts to clean up Jesmond Old Cemetery and we are very grateful for the support received from the Trustees of the Sir James Knott Trust.        


15.01.09. - Strettle restore monument.

Local monumental masons, Strettle, answered our call for help and offered their expertise and skill for free. As a result, the 'western' central mound looks even better as one of the monuments laid flat is restored to it's former glory. The Friends of Jesmond Old Cemetery are very grateful to Strettle for their invaluable contribution to our cause. Click on the link above to see photographs of the Strettle staff working at Jesmond Old Cemetery.


22.12.08. - Christmas Message.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank you all very sincerely for your time, effort and support over the last seven months. Since starting in May of this year, we have made such a difference to the Cemetery and, as a group, we have gained the respect and thanks of many individuals and local companies who have relatives in, or connections with, Jesmond Old Cemetery.

I think we have come a long way as a ‘Friends’ group in a relatively short period of time as, in addition to two articles in the Evening Chronicle and a feature on Radio Newcastle, our web site has had over 500 ‘hits’ since going live in September and this has obviously helped to spread the word about what we are doing. Our finances are in good shape, with over £1,350 received in private donations; obviously, various subscriptions, the web site and insurance have all had to be paid for, but we still have over £900 in the bank to help fund our cause.

From my point of view, what started off as a bit of a madcap notion to ‘do something’ has grown into the reality of ‘doing something’ and, during the course of the ‘doing’, I have had the pleasure of meeting some really nice people. So, once again, many thanks for your help with the ‘doing’ and the chats and the laughs and the banter and the etc. etc.

With very best wishes for a Peaceful and Merry Christmas.

Secretary, Friends of Jesmond Old Cemetery



24.11.08. - Friends of Jesmond Old Cemetery brave the cold.

Friends of Jesmond Old Cemetery braved the Arctic conditions at the weekend to plant over 2,000 bulbs in the area of the newly cleared 'western' central mound. The bulbs, including daffodils and crocus, were kindly supplied by Newcastle City Council. Hopefully, our horticultural skills will match those of our restoration skills and we can look forward to a fine display of colour in the Spring. 


20.11.08. - Reports of damage to the roof of the South Lodge received.

A number of people have contacted Friends of Jesmond Old Cemetery to report recent damage to the roof of the South Lodge. The City Council is aware of this and, having investigated, are confident that the damage is not as a result of vandalism but more likely due to a combination of the ongoing poor state of the roof and the recent bad weather taking its toll. In essence, the collapse of the roof will save money in the long run, as it would have had to be removed anyway as part of the planned renovations of the South Lodge, which are scheduled to commence in the Spring of 2009.


17.11.08. - Ward Hadaway help Friends of Jesmond Old Cemetery.

Business in the Community is a unique movement of over 800 of the UK's top companies who inspire, engage, support and challenge member companies to continually improve the impact they have on society and the environment. In pursuing these set of aims, Ward Hadaway, a local member of BITC, have kindly agreed to send a number of their employees along to the Cemetery to work alongside the Friends of Jesmond Old Cemetery in improving the area around the 'eastern' central mound.

In organising the event, which will be held on Thursday 27th November 2008 from 09:00 onwards, the Friends group have worked closely with BITC's Claire Taylor, Ken Scott (Bereavement Services) and Dave Heslop (City Monument Manager) and we are very grateful for their help and co-operation.

At the moment, the Cemetery is lacking in basic amenities, so we must also acknowledge the understanding and support of Ward Hadaway and BITC in working with us to overcome the difficulties associated with the provision of refreshments and shelter. Additionally, the Friends group would also like to thank Dave Heslop for kindly arranging access to the toilet facilities for the day.

Hopefully, the event will be a great success for all concerned. Watch this space for a report and photographs of the day.


12.10.08. - The South Lodge is set for major renovation works.

Friends of Jesmond Old Cemetery are pleased to announce that plans for major renovation of the South Lodge are well underway. The Grade 2 listed building has been derelict for a number of years but it is now to be restored to its former John Dobson designed glory; this will involve the demolition of the unsightly external lobby area and the full restoration of the fabric of the building, including the reinstatement of the original chimney design. Once the external work has been completed, the interior will include a room for the sole use of the Friends group, which will also include a toilet, water and heating.

Hopefully, work will start in early Spring, with the building being completed and ready for use by the Friends group in the Summer of 2009. Further details will be provided as the scheme progresses.


7.10.08. - Perimeter wall on Sandyford Road to be renovated.

Friends of Jesmond Old Cemetery can announce that the perimeter wall along the Sandyford Road edge of the Cemetery is to be repaired. The City Council's Bereavement Services Department have recently been granted funding to carry out the essential repairs. They are working with the Technical Services section of the Environment and Regeneration Directorate to program these works. A photogramatic survey has been carried out to determine the scope of the works involved and a tender document is currently being drawn up.


A road closure will not be required for the works to take place and it is anticipated that work will begin on site in January 2009. Watch this space for further updates on the progress of the repair work.


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