Friends of Hartwood Paupers Cemetery is a local community group who have given the names and dignity back to 1255 once forgotten pauper patients and staff from Hartwood Asylum buried between 1895 and 1952. The inspiring volunteers have rejuvenated the burial ground and spent over three years matching names with grave plots.
Over a thousand people buried in unmarked plots in a neglected cemetery are finally finding recognition and dignity, after a community came together to honour their memory. Hartwood Cemetery became the final resting place for those who died after being admitted to Hartwood Hospital, a long abandoned 19th century psychiatric hospital in North Lanarkshire. Originally known as Lanark District Asylum, it opened to patients in 1895. By the 1950s, Hartwood was the largest asylum in Europe and one of the most overcrowded in the UK.
In 2019 a local group of volunteers calling themselves the Friends of Hartwood Paupers Cemetery began work to remember the hidden souls buried within the grounds. When the old Hartwood Hospital building was cleared out, the record books detailing the names and grave markers were rescued from a skip by a local resident and ex-staff nurse. The team cleared the weeds and rubbish from the cemetery and matched names with grave plots.
Thanks to their meticulous research, and the help of National Lottery funding, they have managed to identify all 1,255 of those buried, and remarked graves, installed name plaques and improved the condition of the neglected cemetery as well as reaching family members through their website. They have returned the cemetery to a living piece of history, preserving the environment, planting trees and bulbs and introducing beehives, receiving recognition around the world for their work.
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