HISTORY OF PEEL GREEN CEMETERY.
Peel Green Cemetery was opened in 1879 and covers 32 acres of land.
Over 42,000 interments have been carried out there.
"The New Cemetery for Eccles" read the headline in the Salford Weekly News of 7th June 1879.
The article ran:
"The opening of the new cemetery, which is now nearly completed is fixed for the middle of the current month.
The Roman Catholic portion will be consecrated by the Bishop of Salford on the 14th, the Church of England portion by the Bishop of Manchester on the 16th and the non-conformists will hold an opening ceremony on the 21st.
The site was purchased in the autumn of 1877 from the Bridgewater Trustees for a yearly rental of £300.
The ground is laid out to give 1,000 graves per acre and the apportionment is Church of England 12,000, Dissenters 10,000, Roman Catholics 6,000 and the remaining 10,000 being at present "unappropriated".
The site of the cemetery is on the verge of Chat Moss and is nearly two miles west of the Eccles Market place".
Roman Catholic Ceremonial at the New Cemetery.
This was the headline in the Eccles and Patricroft Journal of 21st June 1879.
"An event of importance to members of the Roman Catholic persuasion took place on Saturday (14th June) afternoon on the occasion of the opening of the mortuary chapel and burial ground belonging to the Roman Catholics of the district.
The ceremony of blessing the chapel was performed by the Very Reverend Cannon Kershaw, Rural Dean of the Salford Cathedral Districts, assisted by Rev Father Sharrock as Deacon".
The ceremony was attended by a very large congregation, members of the Burial Board, the school children in processional attire and officiating Priests. Afterwards, tea was taken at the Co-operative Hall in Eccles and Cannon Kershaw took the opportunity to thank the Burial Board for providing such beautiful and commodious grounds for the interment of the departed.
Consecration of the Church of England Portion.
Very large numbers of people congregated in the cemetery on Monday 16th June to witness the consecration service conducted by the Bishop of Manchester and assisted by the Rev Cannon Pitcairn, Rural Dean of Eccles.
All the local Vicars and Curates and members of the Burial Board were in attendance.
The choir of St Mary's Church, Eccles was accompanied by Mr W. H. Hall at the harmonium.
After the Bishop had delivered his religious address, he thanked the Burial Board for providing an admirable burial ground, but regretted it was so far away from where most people lived, who could ill-afford to convey their departed friends so far for interment.
He also commented that it was such a pity that the different religions had different potions and chapels and it was a painful reminder of the unhappy differences that separated those who believed in one common Lord.
After the ceremony, the officials adjourned to the Bird-in-hand Hotel for a celebration dinner.
The "Designation" of the Non-conformist ground.
This took place on Saturday 21st June in the presence of three hundred spectators.
The service was held in the mortuary chapel (which is now the Crematorium).
A procession was formed at the Registrar's house consisting of officers of the Board, headed by Mr Henry Leigh JP and the various church Ministers.
They proceeded to the mortuary chapel where the Rev.William.Place (Congregational Minister of Patricroft) led the hymn "Before Jehovah's awful throne" which was sung in a most hearty manner.
Then he read a few verses from the Psalms 90 and 103.
Rev.R.Middleton (Wesleyan, Barton), led the next hymn "There is a land of pure delight" and Rev. Ireland (Baptist, Eccles) read from the Bible. Prayers were offered by Rev. James Harwood (Unitarian, Monton), and Rev.W.Ford (Wesleyan, Eccles), delivered the address.
He referred to the allocation of 10,000 graves, which was an awful number to contemplate.
However, these new sanitary conditions were a far cry from the over-crowded chapel yards.
The service closed with a prayer offered by Rev. J.Rendell (United Methodist Free Church, Patricroft).
At the close of proceedings the clergy and the Board members adjourned to the Registrar's house for a celebratory luncheon.
The first burial at Peel Green Cemetery.
Amelia Mills was the first person to be interred in the new cemetery. She died on 14th July 1879 aged 70 years and was buried in the Church of England portion on 19th July. She had lived at 518, Peel Green.
Strangely, the Eccles and Patricroft Journal did not report this event, but on the 16th July 1886, the newspaper made reference to her interment, saying that since the burial of Amelia Mills, 1,200 bodies had been interred at Peel Green. The Journal went on "a stroll through these well laid-out grounds will well repay the visitor.
Much progress has been made and on every side are manifest symptoms of industry.
The place looks fresh and pretty, and the hay having just been carted, the green award makes an effective background to the shrubbery borders which line the principal walks leading from the entrance gates".
The report went on to list and describe all the flowers and plants, "making a most brilliant display.
The aim of the Burial Board is not only to provide a fit resting place for the dead, but also a pleasant resort for the people".
The cemetery cannot claim to be the last resting place of any famous people, but its precincts contain a cross section of the local population from industry, commerce, local government, education and sport.
George Trenbath (1841 – 1902), first Town Clerk of Eccles.
George was born in 1841, the second son of Thomas Trenbath of Winton and received his early education at Worsley Parish Church Schools.
His first job was at Salford Union (the workhouse) where he trained and gained experience in clerical and administration work. In 1866 he was appointed Chief Clerk to the Barton, Eccles, Winton and Monton Local Board, a position he occupied for 25 years, until the formation of Eccles Town Council.
During this time he took on the additional duties of Registrar of births and deaths for the district of Barton, (which included Eccles and extended to Cadishead); Assistant Agent of the Trafford Park estate; and Clerk to the Barton Burial Board in 1877.
For nearly 30 years he was a member of the London Society of Accountants and he occupied the position of secretary to the Association of Local Boards.
George Trenbath was the architect and driving force in the Eccles area that produced the drainage system, a gas supply, an electricity distribution scheme, the tramway system, the public baths at Patricroft, the cemetery at Peel Green and the sewage works at Peel Green.
When Eccles Council was formed in 1892, George was appointed its first Town Clerk, but he retired the following year on an annual pension of £255 6s 0d.
He moved to Blackpool where he died on 8th February 1902 aged 60.
His body was brought back to Peel Green Cemetery for interment on 11th February.
John Walmsley (1839 – 1921), founder of Eccles Grammar School.
John Walmsley was born on 24th May 1839 in Bradford, Yorkshire.
He graduated at London University and trained to be a Teacher in Bradford and at the Normal College, Cheltenham. His first appointment was Master of Mathematics at Dr. Bridgman's Army School, Woolwich.
He came to Eccles in 1869 to take a similar position at Clarendon Road School, which was a preparatory school to the public schools.
However in 1872 a number of Eccles residents prevailed on him to found a school to prepare boys for business life.
Thus Eccles Grammar School was established in January 1873 on Wellington Road and John Walmsley was to be its Head Master for 48 years.
In 1892, he acquired Clarendon Road School and the Grammar School moved into these premises.
John was a member of several mathematical and teaching associations and was the author of books on trigonometry, geometry, algebra and mechanics.
He was interested in the public life of Eccles and became a member of the Eccles Local Board.
He gave much attention to such issues of public health as sanitation, sewage disposal and smoke abatement.
He was co-opted onto the Eccles Education Committee at its formation in 1903. He was also a church warden at Patricroft Parish Church.
John Walmsley died on 9th July 1921 at his residence, Clarendon House, Eccles. He was 82 years old and left a widow Marian, five sons and four daughters.
He was buried at Peel Green Cemetery on Tuesday 12th July.
The service was conducted by Rev.H.N.Ross, Vicar of Eccles and Wing Commander the Rev.S.L.Clarke, MA BSc, an old boy of Eccles Grammar who came from Hulton, Bucks, especially for the occasion.
Edwin Mather JP (1843 – 1923), elected Mayor of Salford in 1918.
Edwin was born in York Street, Hulme on 14th May 1843 and educated at St. George's School, Chester Road, Hulme.
He started work at the age of nine and as a teenager he was employed as a stoker at a local cotton mill.
This meant "firing up" at 4am in order to be in-steam for 6am when the mill started.
His wages were reported to have been fifteen shillings (75 pence) per week.
He attended night school and was a pupil of Mr (later Sir) Isaac Pitman where he studied shorthand and bookkeeping.
His qualification enabled him to obtain a position of Bookkeeper at a mineral water company at the age of 25.
Five years later he became a partner in the firm and later set up on his own. In 1891, he sold his business and became a member of Salford Board of Guardians, a position he held for six years "with honour and great usefulness".
Edwin Mather's political career took off in 1897, when he won Ordsall Ward for the Conservatives.
He was never called on to contest another election and was appointed Alderman in 1917.
The following year he was voted Mayor of the Borough Council and was chairman of Salford War Memorial Committee which raised £26 thousand for a memorial ward at Salford Royal Hospital, opened by the Duke of York.
On Friday 2nd February 1923, Edwin took to his bed with a severe cold, but this developed rapidly to pneumonia and he died on Wednesday 7th.
He was 79 years old and left a widow and two sons.
The funeral was held on the following Monday. The cortege of 18 carriages and four motor cars left Edwin's residence, 'The Grove', Eccles New Road, Pendleton and proceeded to Peel Green Cemetery.
The mourners included the Mayor, Alderman Barrett, the Deputy Mayor, Alderman Barker, many council members and officers, friends and relations.
The service was conducted by Reverend R.A. Bell, Vicar of St Ignatius Church, who was Edwin's Chaplain when he was Mayor.
Thomas Thompson (1848 – 1924), elected Mayor of Eccles 1909.
The Eccles and Patricroft Journal of 14th November 1924 records the death of Alderman Thomas Thompson JP CC, who died on Saturday 8th November 1924, aged 76.
He had been one of the oldest members of Eccles Town Council and was Mayor of Eccles for 1909/10.
He was Chairman of the Highways and Drainage Committee and Vice Chairman of the Education Committee.
He took a particular interest in and was Chairman of the sub-Committee on evening classes.
Thomas was also a Governor of Monton Secondary School and an Overseer of the Poor. In 1919 he was elected to Lancashire County Council, representing Eccles and was re-elected unopposed in 1923.
There was a large congregation at St Mary's RC Church, Eccles on Tuesday morning 11th November where a Requiem Mass was said prior to interment at Peel Green Cemetery.
The mourners included the Mayor (Alderman R Evans), the Town Clerk (Mr E Parkes), the MP for Eccles (Alderman Bethel), many members of the Corporation, representatives of the Magistrates, Lancashire County Council, the Catholic Federation and St Vincent de Paul Society.
The service was conducted by Rev. Father Drescher of St Mary's and readings were given by Monsignor O'Kelly and Canon Sharrock of Salford.
The cortege proceeded to Peel Green Cemetery where Thomas was interred in the family grave in Y plot.
He joined his wife Sarah Ellen who had died in 1914, baby son Vincent who died in 1888, daughter Annie who died in 1900 aged 19 and son Cyril who was killed in action in 1918 aged 28.
John Staton Speakman MBE, (1863 – 1944), Mayor of Eccles in 1935.
"Ex-Mayor's Collapse at Party" was the surprising headline in the Eccles and Patricroft Journal of 14th January 1944.
It went on "The collapse and death of Alderman John Staton Speakman MBE at a party which was being held in his honour at the Eccles Employment Exchange on Saturday (8th January) was a great shock to his family and friends who had assemble for the event which was being held in celebration of his 21 years as Chairman of the Eccles and District Local Employment Committee.
The staff at the Exchange had made great efforts to make the event worthy of the Alderman's long service and he was greatly touched by a surprise which they produced in the form of a cake with 21 candles.
Tea was over, Ald. Speakman had blown out the candles, cut the cake and speeches had been made regarding his service.
He rose to reply, uttered a few words collapsed onto his chair and died almost immediately".
Alderman Speakman, who was 80 years of age had been a notable figure in the public life of Eccles.
He was first elected Councillor for Monton and Park Ward on 9th August 1928. He was Chairman of the Highways Committee and member of several other Committees as well as Governor of 3 schools and member of the Children's Safety Advisory Committee.
In 1935 he was elected Mayor of Eccles and in January 1936, following the death of King George V, he read the proclamation from the steps of the Town Hall announcing the accession of the Prince of Wales.
His MBE was awarded in 1937 in recognition of his public service. In business John Speakman was District Superintendent of the Royal London Mutual Insurance Society from which he had retired in 1931.
He lived at Dunster, Half Edge Lane and was church warden at St Andrew's Church, Eccles and a member of the Manchester Diocesan Conference.
The funeral service was held at St.Andrew's Church, Eccles on 12th January and attended by many of the Anglican Diocesan hierarchy; members and officers of Eccles Council; representatives of the many committees and organisations he supported, family and friends.
The cortege proceeded to Peel Green Cemetery where he was interred in plot A. The Bishop of Hulme read the committal at the graveside.