Veronic de Freitas 2020

Department of Archaeology, University of Durham

From spaces for the dead to dead spaces? The afterlife of two of Newcastle’s Victorian Cemeteries

Westgate Hill and St John’s cemeteries in Newcastle-upon-Tyne may possess listed status and therefore be deemed worthy of preservation by Historic England, but these Victorian cemeteries are currently undervalued by their host communities and – to various degrees – disengaged from their lives. Since, in an age of public funding cuts, local communities play increasingly important roles in the conservation of historic cemeteries, these neglected cemeteries are now in a state of disrepair, having been added to Historic England’s list of ‘heritage at risk’.This paper will endeavour to critically expose why St John’s and Westgate Hill cemeteries are failing to engage with their host communities and other potential communities of interest. It shall thus seek to understand what local communities and other important communities of interest (for instance, the Jewish communities, which has significant funerary heritage in one of these cemeteries) perceive as cultural, physical and perceptual barriers to or motivations for engagement with these cemeteries.


The Cemetery Research Group runs two events a year: in May and in November. Follow the links and send in an abstract