Burial Grounds – Calton


photo of Calton Burial Ground - memorial to weavers
Calton Burial Ground – memorial to weavers [with kind permission of MyParkScotland]

Located in Abercromby Street, Glasgow, this ‘B’ Listed burial ground was established by the Calton Incorporation of Weavers in 1787. It is also known as the Calton Weavers’ Cemetery though there are folk of many trades buried there. That year the weavers had gone on strike against the undercutting of their wages by cheap imported textiles. The troops were brought in and six of the strikers were shot dead. This was the earliest major industrial dispute in Scottish history and the Calton Weavers became Scotland’s first working-class martyrs.  Over 6,000 attended the funeral.

You can read more about this incident in the Calton Heritage Trail published by Glagow City Council.

The original burial ground was expanded in 1822, approximately doubling in size. In 2010, it was restored by Glasgow City Council and the back wall rebuilt. Some of the stones formerly incorporated into the wall were dislodged, and these have been replaced with information plaques.

photograph of Calton Burial Ground
Calton Burial Ground – view

The burial ground has a south and a north section. It was previously mentioned in the book: Lair Holders of Certain Burying Grounds of Glasgow in which all the lairs extant in 1870 are listed, although most are identified only by name.

The book also contains the burial records of those in St Mary’s Catholic Burying Ground, Abercromby Street. That graveyard has gone but the lovely church still remains and is only 5 minutes walk up Abercromby Street.

Another book published by the GWSFHS is: The Calton Weavers – The second society of weavers in Calton. This gives lists of members, the majority with addresses.

One of the memorial stones in Calton Burying Ground is a magnificent obelisk dedicated to the Reverend James Smith D.D., the son of Peter and Margaret Smith, born in Glasgow on 11th May 1798. He spent 40 years of his life in America and was appointed pastor to President Abraham Lincoln and his family. The Reverend Smith returned to Glasgow just before the end of the Civil War and, such was the high regard in which Lincoln held him, he appointed James Smith United States Consul in Dundee. He died 1871 and was brought to the Calton Burial Ground for interment.

John McCreadie (Project Coordinator)

Members can search the full list of over 37,000 burials here.

Sources:

https://portal.historicenvironment.scot/designation/LB33811

https://www.lostglasgow.scot/posts/working-class-martyrs-329/

https://www.mypark.scot/parks/abercromby-st-calton-burial-ground/

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