Faced with heavy upkeep costs, declining income and increasing vandalism, the Municipal Services Committee decided in 1984 to close the Cemetery, clear away most of the memorials, and grass the site over. A campaign was started, led by Sylvia Barnard, and joined by local residents, relatives of the dead, ecologists and historians who united to oppose this plan, and in 1985 it was scrapped. It was agreed that the Friends of Beckett Street Cemetery, formed by Sylvia that year, would help and advise the officers of Leeds City Council in establishing a Management Plan which would ease maintenance and benefit wildlife in this heavily populated area.
The latest Friends of Beckett Street Cemetery Newsletter (Summer 2015) has been posted out to our members. Packed with updates and articles including:
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Heritage Open Days 2015 runs from Thursday 10th to Sunday 13th September. Alun Pugh will be leading two tours, each about an hour long on Thurs at 10am and Sat at 2pm – no need to book, just turn up and meet by the notice board beyond the temporary gates. Do spread the word!
Also open in the area, will be St Agnes United Church, Stoney Rock Lane, almost behind the Cemetery (Fri and Sat 11am –2pm). There are significant links here to the Burmantofts Pottery business, plus some beautiful stained glass windows and a font full of fossils.
For many more local events, look out for the leaflet with a proud Leeds Owl on the front, or see the full list of events in Leeds and beyond at www.heritageopendays.org.uk
On Saturday, 13th June 2015 the FoBSC hosted the National Federation of Cemetery Friends Annual General Meeting at the Thackray Museum, over the road from Beckett Street Cemetery.
Since the Cemetery has been constantly under one threat or other since clearance was first proposed, we welcome new members to the Friends of Beckett Street Cemetery.