Major upgrade works at Rochdale Cemetery have been revealed as a new memorial hall opens alongside expansion works to improve the site’s crematorium facilities.
West Lodge, situated at the entrance to the cemetery, is a Grade II-listed building officially re-opened to the public on Friday, 15 September 2023 as a new memorial hall.
The lodge had stood empty for a number of years due to its poor internal condition.
The lodge, originally the registrar’s office accommodation when the cemetery was created in 1855, had stood empty for a number of years due to its poor internal condition.
Major restoration works carried out by the council have seen the lodge sympathetically transformed into a new memorial hall with a book of remembrance room where anyone can visit to pay respects and discuss options for storing ashes and memorials for lost loved ones.
A former toilet block outside the lodge has made way for a peaceful new garden carefully planned around the focal point of a symbolic memorial tree with glass leaves engraved with messages in remembrance of lives past.
A peaceful new garden has been carefully planned around the focal point of a symbolic memorial tree with glass leaves engraved with messages in remembrance of lives past.
Councillor Liam O’Rourke, cabinet member for climate change and environment, said:
“West Lodge Memorial Hall now offers the perfect retreat for visitors to pay respects, or discuss ideas for lasting memorials, or simply a quiet place to sit and reflect in the new gardens – providing visitors with a place to think, reflect and remember, year after year.”
Artist's impression of the extension to the crematorium.
Across the cemetery, the old book of remembrance site will become a new waiting room for 40 people, and an extension to the crematorium will house the latest energy-efficient cremation system, a fully refurbished chapel and public toilets, with works due to be completed in late 2024.