Cremations in Leeds commenced at Lawnswood on the 4th January 1905
with the cremation of a 44 Year Old Wholesale Printer, John Jackson Dunbar STEEN, from Wolverhampton. The cremation was entered into a leather bound book and continued in this manner until the last person was entered in Volume 108, entry 143,300
on the 18th September 1986
, Annie SHELDON, Aged 71 a Housewife from Leeds. After this date the records were computerised. Some of the records prior to 1996 were lost in a computer system crash and no digital backups were kept. However, paper copies (computer printouts) were made. After this date all records are held on computer by the Leeds City Council Bereavement Services Department.
Each of the 108 Volumes are quite detailed. Initially only each register recorded 625 records, 5 entries per page. Over time this increased to 250 pages, with 10 entries per page (Double page per record). In total 143,300 records are recorded in this manner and include:
- Cremation Number
- Date of Cremation
- Name, Residence and Occupation of Deceased
- Age and Sex
- Whether Married or Unmarried
- Date of Death
- Name and Address of Person who applied for Cremation
- Names and Addresses of Persons Signing Certificates
- District where Death has been Registered
- How Ashes were Disposed of
- Signature of Officiating Minister
At the end of each book is a Summary of Disposal of Cremated Remains and includes:
- Cremation Numbers (First / Last)
- Numbered Scattered
- Number Removed
- Number Niches
- Number Interred Grave or Memorial Places
- Awaiting Instructions (Cremation Numbers)
- Number of Disposed of But No Entry Made in Register (including Cremation Numbers)
Several Years ago the Yorkshire Indexers (previously known as Leeds Indexers) were granted access to all the registers held by the Leeds City Council Bereavement Services Department and were allowed to photograph the registers in order that they could be transcribed / indexed. Unfortunately, until recently, the Yorkshire Indexers have been unable to access the registers due the move from Lawnswood to Farnley Hall. A large proportion of the registers have been placed in storage throughout the city and viewing can only be made my appointment. During this transitional period it would appear that some of the registers have been damaged as well as misplaced.
(Lawnswood Cremation Register showing water damage)
Throughout the registers there is reference to the books being microfilmed. However, the whereabouts of these films is unknown. There is also reference to each volume being “checked against an index”. The Leeds City Council has digitally scanned all the registers. However, access to these images, held at Farnley Hall, is limited.
The Leeds City Council Bereavement Services Department have full access to all the transcripts / indexes of their records that have been completed by the Yorkshire Indexers.
Lawnswood Cemetery / Cremation grounds covers a large space in the Leeds 16 area. The pathways throughout the grounds carry plaques of those cremated along the kerbstones. Together with dedicated areas such as the Columbarium, which houses the actual ashes. A great deal of work has been carried out by Lynn Groves who has photographed, transcribed and uploaded a large number of these to the gallery.
(The Columbarium at Lawnswood)
The Yorkshire Indexers aim to Transcribe / Index all of the 108 Registers and Photograph and record the plaques / Niche within the Cemetery Grounds. To see the status of this and other projects of this nature please visit the Online Section
of this site.