Rochdale Cemetery Sandstone entrance arch & walls

Lyons was chosen by contractor NAB of Oldham to work on the Grade II-listed principal entrance and West lodge.

In the 1850s, new legislation allowed local councils to create municipal cemeteries. Rochdale, whose existing 14 burial grounds were ‘loathsome’ or nearly filled (according to the Pilot & Rochdale Report) was quick to act. With a site already secured, a competition was held for the design of a cemetery — with a princely first prize of £20 for the winner. Interestingly, 15 of the original Rochdale Pioneers (who started the now global co-operative movement) are buried here.

Rochdale Cemetery opened to a fanfare in 1855, and today the land is registered under Historic Buildings and Ancient Monuments Act 1953 within the Register of Historic Parks and Gardens by English Heritage. A series of pillars, each of different stone and engraved as such, mark the boundary between consecrated and unconsecrated ground.

As part of a 10-month architectural restoration project by Rochdale Council, Lyons was chosen by contractor NAB of Oldham to work on the Grade II-listed principal entrance and West lodge. The central carriage entrance, with large stone arch below a stepped parapet, sits between octagonal buttresses flanked by arched pedestrian gateways. East and west of the entrance and its original cast iron gates are stone lodges.

Details of Work Included:

  • Over a four-week period, we cleaned and repointed the stone, repaired the cracked finials of the sandstone entrance, and repointed the West Lodge.

  • The structure was cleaned using DOFF, a low pressure, super heated, non-chemical water method, before being repointed with lime mortars.

  • Finials atop the archway had split, so were repaired by crack-stitching with stainless steel reinforced remedial bars. 

  • To keep the entrance open for funerals and public accessibility, all work was carried out from an access DOFF Cleaning of the arches and adjacent walling.
  • Raking out of pointing and replacement with lime mortar to arches, adjacent walling and West Lodge.

  • Various indents to damaged masonry.

  • Removal of iron work.

  • Structural repairs and ties to damaged finials.