WHERE IS IT? In the East End of the city centre, accessed via Edington gate next to Glasgow Cathedral.
Using the Greek word for “The City of the Dead,” this 37-acre Victorian garden cemetery is managed and maintained by the Friends of Glasgow Necropolis.
Only a stone’s throw from Glasgow Cathedral, the Northern Necropolis is one of four in the city; the Southern Necropolis rests within the Gorbals district, the Eastern Necropolis is situated near Celtic Park in the Gallowgate area, while the smaller Western Necropolis adjoins St. Kentigern’s Roman Catholic Cemetery in Lambhill. Although not as big as the Southern Necropolis, it was the first to be built, and most famous due to its closeness to the Cathedral.
The park, opened in 1833, features over 3500 monuments, some designed by famous architect Alexander “Greek” Thomson. There are over 50,000 souls interned here, many of whom do not even have gravestones. Access to the garden cemetery is via the Bridge of Sighs, over what used to be Molendinar Burn, which was mostly covered over in the late 19th Century.
The bridge was designed by architect David Hamilton, who, along with his son James, also designed the main gates which grant access to the cemetery. The monuments and headstones swirl around the hill the site is built on up to the top, where a statue of famous Scots clergyman John Knox stands, predating the Necropolis by a decade.
Among the 50,000 people buried there, one of the most famous is Andrew McCall. While there is little information on McCall himself, the Celtic Cross that marks his final resting place is believed to be the first solo commission of Charles Rennie Mackintosh. Unfortunately, the cross was damaged during renovations to the Necropolis.
We recommend a morning viewing, as in the evening the smell of hops from the nearby Tennents Wellpark Brewery can be overwhelming.
While the park is free to enter, the Friends of Glasgow Necropolis run organised tours at the weekend. Please visit their website as the tour and books are a worthy investment.
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