An important part of Paisley’s heritage has been tastefully restored and is set to celebrate its 85th anniversary on October 15th 2023.
With the funeral industry rapidly evolving post Covid pandemic, part of Paisley’s heritage at Paisley Woodside cemetery and crematorium has seen an impressive makeover of both the site, chapel, and general facilities. Memoria, who own several memorial parks across the country, have taken this famous old site under their wing and undertaken a large-scale internal makeover. The work has left the baroque elegance exterior whilst improving the interior and adding modern options, to ensure that this 85-year-old facility continues to be a preferred destination when saying goodbye to loved ones.
The need for a modern, large cemetery in Paisley was first mooted in 1845 and, following several meetings and consultations, Stewart Murray, curator of the Glasgow Botanic Gardens, was appointed to oversee the project. Situated on a low-hilltop position between Woodside House and Ferguslie House, the “garden cemetery” extended to just over 20 acres.
Murray’s design was inspired by the earlier garden cemetery at the Glasgow Necropolis of 1832, which took its inspiration from Père Lachaise, the hilltop garden cemetery in Paris.
By 1938, cremation was becoming much more common and the creation and addition of a new crematorium designed by the renowned Paisley architect James Steel Maitland was opened on October 28.
The very first cremation was the late George Jephson and took place on November 9, 1938. The total cost of the Memoria Paisley Woodside development was £9603 16s and 4d.
By 1996, all 20 acres of the memorial park were already utilised and the site was now seeing over 1700 burials and cremation services annually.
In 2019, local funeral directors Fosters took over the site and, by 2023, what is now known as Memoria Paisley Woodside Memorial Park & Crematorium was the go-to facility in the Paisley area. The makeover was completed on September 4, 2023, and on October 15 it will hold its 85th anniversary event, where local people are invited along to see the improvements for themselves.
Alexander Stoddart, who is the King’s Sculptor in Ordinary in Scotland, will provide tours of the cemetery and share his engaging stories and vast knowledge of the cemetery.
There will also be an exhibition of the site’s history and an afternoon tea for everyone attending.
In December, Memoria Paisley Woodside are holding a service of remembrance. The names of lost loved ones will be displayed on the newly installed plasma screens whilst candles are lit in loving memory.