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ANNOUNCEMENTS & RECENT NEWS
THE OFFICIAL WEBSITE OF THE FRIENDS OF HOUGHTON HILLSIDE CEMETERY
THE GROUP APOLOGISE FOR AN INCONVIENCE IF YOU HAVE BEEN UNABLE TO ACCESS OUR WEBSITE RECENTLY. HOPEFULLY THE PROBLEM HAS NOW BEEN RECTIFIED.
*****CANT FIND WHAT YOU WANT - PLEASE CONTACT US TO SEE IF WE CAN HELP firstname.lastname@example.org
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********WE DO OFFER ASSISTANCE WITH FAMILY HISTORY RESEARCH. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION PLEASE SEE OUR PAGE HEADED FORTHCOMING EVENTS ETC
For details relating our publications please see our page headed: Forthcoming Events, Publications etc
For details relating to Family History research and enquiries please see our page headed: Forthcoming Events, Publciations etc. The group have already assisted several people with their research and have received very positive feedback in relation to this.
WELCOME TO OUR SITE
Welcome to the official website for The Friends of Houghton Hillside Cemetery. The group are a non religious non profit earning group. Any funds which are raised are for the benefit of the cemetery and are used to assist in its restoration or events hosted by the group. The group has two patrons namely Sir Frank Nicholson & Lucinda Lambton.
Hillside is a cemetery located on the outskirts of Houghton Le Spring and the recently restored Lych Gate can be seen when driving along Houghton Cut on the A690 towards Sunderland. It is in actual fact not a cemetery but a detached burial ground for St Michaels and All Angels Church www.stmichaels-hls.org.uk however it is more often than not referred to as 'the old cemetery'.
It was consecrated in 1854 by Rector John Grey after a lot of controversy as the site was initially a quarry.
There had been an outbreak of Cholera in Houghton Le Spring and as the churchyard surrounding St Michael & All Angels Church was full another site had to be found. Eventually after a lot of debating the Hillside site was consecrated.
Initially the main entrance to the site was through Hillside Farm next door but in 1873 the Lych Gate was built and this became the entrance. The Lych Gate was damaged due to a road traffic accident in the 1960's. Due to the site being used less and less the Lych Gate soon became overgrown with ivy and other climbing plants. However the Lych Gate and surrounding railings were restored in 2006/7 by the group with the assistance of LHI funding.
Although the site was a split level site, Hillside soon started to fill up and it was found necessary to have an extension which was opened in 1894. This also coincided with the opening of the Municipal Cemetery on Durham Road in Houghton Le Spring but as the municipal did not at the time have a consecrated area the authorities were forced to extend Hillside. There were about 7000 burials in total took place at Hillside.
The last burial took place at Hillside in the 1970’s. Also when the A690 was built through Houghton Cut in the 1960’s the cemetery was forgotten about. Sunderland Street where the cemetery is located became a dead end due to the recently built dual carriageway. Hillside quickly became overgrown and a haven for wildlife. During the building of the A690 the headstones on the plateau area of the site were bulldozed and plateau levelled. The stones are supposedly buried in the top left hand corner of the site. There are over 7000 people buried at Hillside including Rector Grey and Thomas Usherwood Robinson. Thomas Usherwood Robinson being the main objector in the controversy! Ironic to think that even though he was one of the main objectors he ended up at Hillside in the end.
In December 2003 following a public meeting the Friends of Houghton Hillside Cemetery were formed and since the formation of the group the site is starting to return to its former glory.
So far the group have carried out substantial conservation works within the site and also secured funds which saw the restoration of the Lych Gate and Railings at the entrance. They have also held their own fund raising events such as their annual open days, a sponsored graveyard gallop and more recently in 2008 a sponsored 10 mile walk. The walk was undertaken in atrocious weather conditions as it rained from beginning to end but this did not deter the Friends who took part.
Tours of the site are undertaken several times each year and each time are attended by new visitors to the site together with many visitors who support the group year after year.
Pictured above is a view of the Plateau area of the site. It is one of the most serene, peaceful places around Houghton Le Spring area. Throughout the year it is a haven for wildlife and in the summer is the home to some rare flowers and other vegitation.
Pictured above is how the entrance to Hillside looked around 1907.
Pictured above is the pathway leading to the site at the top of Sunderland Street. This was once the main throughfare to Sunderland however once the A690 opened Sunderland Street became a dead end.
Sadly, the site has been plagued with vandalism. At the beginning of 2009 the Standish Vault was once again broken into and more recently the steel plate securing the front of the Elliott Vault has been pulled off. Numerous times the group have visited the site and discovered lots of rubbish strewn around including beer cans and wine bottles and also the remenents of fires. One one occassion a tent had been erected on the bottom level!!!! However, this has not detered the members and they continue with their endeavors to restore the site.
Within this site we do hope you will enjoy reading about the history of Hillside and also the works carried out by the Friends and also the intended work to be carried out.
Pictured above is Sunderland Street, Houghton Le Spring, how it used to look. Hillside Cemetery is situated at the top of Sunderland Street. Sunderland Street is now a dead end.
Pictured below are some pictures of the vandalised Lych Gate & Cliff Faces
The Lych Gate cost in the region of £33,000 to restore therefore all of the graffiti has been reported to the police.
Over the weekend of the 13th June 2010 some of the group attended at the site and it was discovered that some of the newly discovered headstones had been damaged and there was a lot of litter lying around in the form of beer cans and bottles. To add to this when the site was visited 2 days later it was discovered that both the Elliott Vault and Standish Vault had been subjected to vandalism. Pictures of this are below.
Once again the damage and graffiti has been reported to the police.
Since the above pictures were taken the site has been revisited and the names have been sprayed over
in an attempt to hide the names.
Following the damage that the cross on top of the Lych Gate suffered it has now been repaired and has been put back in its rightful place.
This Site Copyrighted © 2011 by The Friends of Houghton Hillside Cemetery
Disclaimer: This website is the property of The Friends of Houghton Hillside Cemetery who are solely responsible for it's content. Every effort is made to ensure the accuracy of the information on this website. However, The Friends of Houghton Hillside Cemetery cannot be held liable for errors, omissions or the consequences thereof.