'THE FRIENDS OF ANFIELD CEMETERY'


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For more than 4 years the Projects section of the Scottie Press website has featured a web page given over to hopes that a group could be formed that would help secure the protection of and future for Anfield Cemetery. We have recently updated this webpage - but we have still kept articles relating to efforts (circa 2002-2006) made by Tony Baker who sadly died in 2006.

There is a growing trend to highlight the history of many cities and towns that is buried in cemetery graves. It is well recognised that the importance of a city or town can often be appreciated by making public the records that list the burial site of famous people who have left their mark on the history of that city or town and very often a country. Liverpool tourist chiefs are hoping to attract tourists by promoting the city's graveyards. Cemeteries around the world attract thousands of visitors. It's felt that Liverpool's cemeteries are an untapped resource that would offer tourists a different aspect of the city's history. There are so many fascinating figures from history buried the city's cemeteries.

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Scottie Press met with Bob Halliday and Martin Doherty (September 2006) at Anfield Cemetery to talk about Bob's efforts to catalogue the graves in Anfield Cemetery and to hear Martin's hopes to form a group 'Friends of Anfield Cemetery & Crematoria' with accompanying legal status that can bid for funding from various organisations which will hopefully enable the restoration of some of the cemetery's historic monuments perhaps even the catacombs.

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It is a sad fact of life that cemeteries across Britain are subject to acts of vandalism and Anfield Cemetery has suffered from such acts of anti-social for many years. Regular visitors to the cemetery are often appalled when seeing headstones purposefully made unsafe and as such forcing the local council to lay them flat.

Martin would like a group to lobby for better security of the cemetery which will in turn help to encourage more visitors and more involvement with City Council Rangers Tours etc. Getting better security for the cemetery would also help in another long-term goal, which would be for the cemetery to attain Green Flag status. The Crematorium is applying this year and part of the criteria for a successful Green Flag application is having an active Friends Group. The hope is that a Friends Group will help to raise public awareness and appreciation of and for the cemetery. Any one who has been on one of the Rangers Tours will realise the great historical importance of Anfield Cemetery to the city of Liverpool. By re-taking 'possession' of this cemetery site it can be made a no-go zone for those who desecrate our heritage with vandalism and other unsociable activities. If you are interested in joining this group or know anyone that is then contact - martin.doherty@liverpool.gov.uk


MICHAEL JAMES WHITTY GRAVE RESTORATION NOW COMPLETED

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We are very pleased to report that on Friday 27th June 2003 (Local Author) Mike Kelly made a visit to Anfield Cemetery to view the completed restoration work on the grave of Michael James Whitty. Scottie Press Community Newspaper and Website readers will be aware that for more than 12 months Mike Kelly has highlighted the need for restoration work to be carried out on this grave. The completed restoration work was funded from a joint project between Merseyside Police and the Liverpool Daily Post to recognise the importance of Michael James Whitty's legacy to Liverpool.

Michael James Whitty was born in County Wexford in 1795 and he came to Liverpool in 1828 to start work as editor of the Liverpool Journal. In February 1836 Michael James Whitty became the founder and first Head Constable of Liverpool Police and Fire Brigade, a position he held until he retired 1844.

Following his retirement Michael James Whitty founded the Liverpool Daily Post, which in1855 was published as Britain's first penny paper. Current Daily Post editor, Jane Wolstenholme said; "It is entirely fitting that we should remember the immense contribution made by Michael James Whitty. It's hard to imagine someone being able to start the police force, the fire brigade and a daily newspaper".

A chapter on the life of Michael James Whitty is featured in a new book about Liverpool Irish people written by Mike Kelly. You can find out more details of this book by contacting Mike Kelly email mikekelly@talktalk.net


Not many days or nights go by when the Liverpool Daily Post or Echo does not feature an article or reader's letters condemning the mindless acts of vandalism to Liverpool's cemeteries.

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A recent reader's letter expressed the viewpoint that "sadly vandalism is normal - it is part of modern life - and a form of recreation for today's youth". The letter was written to the Echo regarding yet more vandalism and anti-social behaviour centre on Anfield Cemetery by groups of young boys and girls.

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In an effort to try to mount a concerted effort to stop vandalism and to support efforts being made to maintain and improve Anfield Cemetery, Tony Baker and Brian Edwards hope to establish 'THE FRIENDS OF ANFIELD CEMETERY'.

Tony Baker and Mike Kelly are photographed in Anfield Cemetery alongside the grave of Michael James Whitty who was the 'First Head Constable of Liverpool Police and who later became the founder and editor of the Liverpool Daily Post'.

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Mike Kelly has had articles about Michael James Whitty published in the Irish Post and Ireland's Own. An account of the life of Michael James Whitty will also feature in a book, which Mike is currently writing about 'Famous Irish People of Liverpool and Merseyside'.

There are many famous people buried in Anfield Cemetery and there is an incredible amount of history associated with the cemetery that must be preserved. The cemetery deserves to be at its best at all times, and does not deserve to suffer from vandalism as pictured below.

The Scottie Press is very pleased to be able to offer Tony Baker assistance with 'The Friends of Anfield Cemetery'. Readers who might like to help Tony or may be interested in finding out more can contact the Scottie Press and we will forward all such correspondence onto Tony.

All developments relating to 'The Friends of Anfield Cemetery' will feature in future issues of the Scottie Press community newspaper and also here online

The Friends of Anfield Cemetery have been contacted by BBC Northwest Tonight Television with a view to featuring news about the efforts of Friends of Anfield Cemetery to reduced acts of vandalism in the cemetery grounds. This is a very positive form of additional promotion and will hopefully secure recognition of the initiative shown by Tony Baker and Brian Edwards in staring up Friends of Anfield Cemetery.

If you would like to offer help to Tony and Brian or find out more about Friends of Anfield Cemetery you can contact c/o Scottie Press and we will forward all such forms of correspondence etc. on to them. Currently Tony and Brian are awaiting the outcome of discussions with Liverpool City Council regarding setting up an office for The Friends of Anfield Cemetery as a meeting place wherein future plans can be outlined and agreed.

Tony Baker recently called into the Scottie Press office to advise the paper that he has located the grave of Charles Wood who was the Manager of the Rotunda Theatre for approximately 26 years.

This information was subsequently passed on to Mike Kelly who has already collected some historical accounts of the Rotunda Theatre. Mike hopes to build upon his collected notes to produce an article for a future issue of the Scottie Press community newspaper and to also feature this on the Scottie Press website webpage 'Scotland Road 2003'.

The Scottie Press has received correspondence in letter and email form regarding Friends of Anfield Cemetery and many of these communications have accessing details of who is buried at Anfield Cemetery as their main request. It is quite likely that information gained by The Friends of Anfield Cemetery and subsequently made known to Scottie Press can help people with family tree search as well as forming the foundations of more in-depth research.


'news update on grave of Michael James Whitty'

Following up the article printed in last month's issue regarding 'Friends of Anfield Cemetery' we are very pleased to report that Neighbourhood Police Officer Bob Leyland (based at Stanley Road Police Station) has advised the Scottie Press that he has taken up efforts to restore the grave of Michael James Whitty

Bob has written to Chief Constable Norman Bettison to seek and source funding for the restoration work.

Bob is also hopeful that the Liverpool Daily Post and Echo will be supportive of Merseyside Police actions regarding the grave of Michael James Whitty who was the First Head Constable of Liverpool Police and subsequently became the Founder and Editor of the Liverpool Daily Post.

Mike Kelly is currently writing a book about 'Famous Irish People of Liverpool and Merseyside' and his research work on Richard Sheil revealed that he was also buried in Anfield Cemetery. Mike paid a visit to the cemetery and discovered that Richard Sheil's grave is located very close to the grave of Michael James Whitty who also features in Mike's new book.

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Many readers will know of Liverpool's Sheil Park - Sheil Road, but may not know that the park and road were named after Richard Sheil who was a Tipperary -born emigrant to Liverpool who became very wealthy but still fought for the improvement of all the poor in his adopted city.

Mike has already had an article on Richard Sheil printed in Ireland's Own and he hopes to have an article printed in the Irish Post. He hopes that this may encourage some form of funding for grave repair work on the grave which, sadly has been vandalised.

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Not many days or nights go by when the Liverpool Daily Post or Echo does not feature an article or reader's letter condemning the mindless acts of vandalism to Liverpool's cemeteries.

The Friends of Anfield Cemetery are trying to mount concerted efforts to stop the vandalism to graves and headstones in Anfield Cemetery and to support efforts being made to maintain and improve the cemetery.

Tony Baker and Brian Edwards welcome hearing from people who are supportive of their intentions and you can contact Tony and Brian c/o the Scottie Press and we will forward all such correspondence on to them.

If you are interested in finding out about Liverpool Cemeteries you might be interested in logging onto the following website http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.com/~liverpoolcem Click Here to go directly to the geanealogy roots website.


Comments and contributions to ronformby@scottiepress.org