Weaste Cemetery

Biographies of people buried between 1890 & 99

Chow Kalen (1870 - 1895)

Chow Kalen was a native of Canton, China, and a Seaman. He died on Sunday 8th September 1895 on board the SS Moyune, which was berthed at Salford Docks. He was interred in a common grave at Weaste Cemetery on 11th September 1895.

The SS Moyune was a Chines cargo steamer of 4,646 tons, built in 1895 by D and W Henderson of Glasgow, for the Chinese Mutual Steam Navigation Company. The Manchester Courier of 31st August reported that the SS Moyune was "fixed to load in No.8 dock for China and Japan on 6th September," and on 23rd September it reported "the SS Moyune took large general cargo." A further report of 28th September reported "the SS Moyune was the largest of the China Mutual Steamers to come up the canal."

The Manchester Evening News of 12th September 1895 reported, "A Chinese Seaman's Funeral in Salford. Yesterday afternoon, the remains of Chow Kalen a native of Canton, China, were interred at the Salford Cemetery. The deceased died somewhat suddenly of natural causes on Sunday morning (8th September) on board the Moyune, now loading at No.8 dock, Salford for China and Japan. The body was placed in the mortuary behind the Custom House, Trafford Road, and it was here that yesterday's proceedings commenced. A large crowd of people, doubtless prompted by idle curiosity, thronged around the building. The coffin was carried from the mortuary to the hearse by six Chinese, all firemen on the Moyune, and they walked immediately behind the hearse until Eccles New Road was reached, when they proceeded to Cemetery Road by tram.

Hundreds of people had assembled at the cemetery. The body was taken into the Church of England Chapel where the first portion of the burial service was read. The Chinese mourners were totally indifferent as to what ground the interment should take place in, and it was decided by the Master of the ship that as the deceased was a subject under British rule, he should be buried according to the rites of the Established Church. The Chinese carried the remains of their late companion from the chapel to the grave, and before the coffin was lowered they uncovered their heads and let loose their pigtails. After prayers, a gravedigger was about to fill up the grave, when Mr Poulson, the chief steward on the Moyune, who directed arrangements, informed him that the Chinese men present would not be satisfied unless they covered the coffin with earth themselves. Accordingly two of them were provided with spades and they prosecuted their task in a remarkably energetic manner. This was the strangest part of the whole proceedings, and occasioned much interest. It is generally the custom of the Chinese to place a small coin in the mouth of the corpse, as toll money when he reaches Josh, and sometimes on the coffin bread and water are placed to sustain the departed on the journey to the "Happy Valley." Nothing of the kind occurred yesterday, however. The Rev. Mr Carter, incumbent of St Luke's Church, Weaste, officiated. In conversation subsequent to the ceremony, the Chinese expressed their great satisfaction at the respect shown at the graveside by the English."