First burial on May 8th 1846 - John Peake aged 5 in plot E 28 1.
Number of burials to March 2nd 2009 116, 811
For information about the cemetery buildings, click this link
For information about individual graves and memorials, click on a letter below:
The photo shows the entrance gate, built in mock tudor style,
and the superintendent’s lodge, now a private dwelling.
Both were originally built in 1845, and the lodge was extended in the 1880s
History of the Old Southampton Cemetery
The cemetery has had various titles including The Cemetery by the Common, Hill Lane Cemetery and it is currently known as Southampton Old Cemetery.
An Act of Parliament was passed in 1843 which gave control of 15 acres of Southampton Common to the Corporation. By 1846, 10 of the 15 acres had been laid out and formed the new Cemetery, the remaining 5 acres becoming used for burial purposes from 1863 It now covers an area of 27 acres and the total number of burials is estimated at 116,800. Currently there are 6 to 8 burials a year to existing family plots.
Decisions about the new cemetery were made by the Southampton Borough Cemetery Committee, while overall co-ordination of the work was done by John D Doswell, the borough surveyor.
The town council approached John Claudius Loudon, a well known landscaper, designer of arboreta and cemeteries including Histon at Cambridge and Bath Abbey. Loudon normally based in London had been staying on the Isle of Wight whilst his wife was writing a book. The damp sea air had a debilitating affect on his health and he moved to take temporary lodgings in Southampton. Southampton Town council had no previous experience of laying out a cemetery and was pleased that Loudon was conveniently available. They paid him £37 for his services but decided not to use his proposed layout, and in fact, Loudon died at the end of 1843, long before the Cemetery was laid out. The Bishop of Winchester was not willing to concede that the proposed Anglican chapel would adjoin a non conformist chapel, which was another objection to the Loudon design.
After Loudon’s death , the council held a competition and asked for alternative layouts. Two designs were received, and that of William Rogers a local nurseryman and councillor was accepted and he was awarded the contract. The runner up, Mr Page, received £5 compensation.
The cemetery, one of the earliest to be owned by a local council, opened in May 1846 as a 10 acre site. In the 1860's it was expanded by 5 acres and in the 1880's a third phase with an avenue of yew trees the main feature, was added.
The Cemetery was originally to be provided with two chapels - Church of England and Nonconformist, and a Lodge for the curator. Later a Jewish chapel was added, to adjoin the Lodge. These all still exist, with the difference that the C of E chapel is now used by an artwork design studio, the Nonconformist chapel for a charity's storage area, and the Lodge together with the Jewish Chapel is now a privately owned house.
The council advertised in February 1844 for designs for the set of three buildings, to be built in Gothic, Norman and Elizabethan styles, to cost under £2000, and by June they had received 25 tenders. The winner was by the London architect Frederick John Francis of Bruton Street, who thereafter supervised the actual construction, the contract for which went to local builder John Foot with a tender of £1943.
A vital first step was to ensure adequate drainage of the cemetery, and the contract for this work in accordance with Loudon’s original plan, was awarded to Arthur Few and William Capon.
Responsibility for building the walls surrounding the cemetery was given to Arthur Few
J Silvester Davies, in his "History of Southampton" published in 1883, said "The cemetery is kept in beautiful order under the supervision of the Corporation." He might have a different opinion nowadays.
The records of the Cemetery are held by the Southampton City Council Bereavement Services department who have recorded all the burials in a computerised data base. A copy of this database is also held by The Hawthorns on Southampton Common.