Holding the History of the City: Re-dedication service to take place at Undercliffe Cemetery on Sunday

The area of Undercliffe Cemetery where remains formerly held at Bradford Cathedral are interred.

Bradford Cathedral and the Friends of Undercliffe Cemetery are holding a short re-dedication service on Sunday 25th August at 2pm. This follows a restoration project to clear away overgrown foliage around a mass grave containing the remains of those who used to be in the cathedral graveyard until Church Bank was created at the end of the 19th century. The grave, containing the remains of 1,688 people, was dedicated in 1897 by the then Bishop of Ripon.

Earlier this year Bradford Cathedral was approached by Allan Hillary, Chair of the Friends of Undercliffe Cemetery, to support the project to tidy up the area of the cemetery and re-set the grave, with the cathedral raising £750 towards this project.

The Very Revd Jerry Lepine, Dean of Bradford, says:

“It has been a pleasure to work with the Friends of Undercliffe Cemetery on this most important of projects. Since the grave was moved over 100 years ago it’s been difficult to hold back the forces of nature but now, thanks to the kind donations from those in the congregation and the Bradford Family History Society, we are able to restore the area to its former glory.

“It is important to ensure that these 19th century cemeteries are maintained as they hold the history of our cities. This has been a heritage project, involving the hard work of an excellent team of volunteers. It will enable all those who visit this magnificent graveyard to view this piece of Bradford’s history more easily.

“The service will be a chance to thank all those involved in the work and to celebrate the fruitful partnership between the cathedral and the Friends of Undercliffe Cemetery.”

The plaque marking the burial area. It reads: “In this burying place have been re-interred the remains of those originally buried in the churchyard of the Bradford Parish Church which were removed under order of Faculties given by the Chancellor of the Diocese – November 4th 1897 and June 6th 1898.”

Allan Hillary, Chair of the Friends of Undercliffe Cemetery:

“Through this joint effort with the cathedral our volunteers had a four-day programme with machinery to correct the area, which was in total wilderness. We knew it was there from the records but making it visible felt most appropriate in this centenary year for the cathedral.”

There are also opportunities to help support the upkeep of the area, as well as volunteering opportunities across the whole 26-acre site, which includes 124,000 graves.

“We have good equipment and a training scheme and people would be most welcome. Support in looking after the soldier’s graves and looking after, initially, the Cathedral plot would be great.”

The re-dedication service will take place at 2pm on Sunday 25th August, led by Dean Jerry Lepine, at Undercliffe Cemetery, followed by refreshments afterwards. Everyone is welcome to join the Cathedral and Friends of Undercliffe Cemetery for the short service.

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