Thursday, August 10, 2017

The history of North End Cemetery

Over the years my interest in cemeteries has taken me to most of the cemeteries around town with the notable exception being the North End Cemetery.  Not because I didn't want to but rather a case of never really being in that part of town with time to go.  A week or two ago I found myself there though in search of information I needed as part of a Geocache multi cache put together by Commaille.  I was really surprised at how well maintained and neat the cemetery is plus I didn't feel unsafe at all.  My quest for the necessary information took me, among others, to the pauper section of the cemetery.  A section that stands in stark contrast to the rest of the cemetery.

I found the following about the history of the cemetery. With the exception of the individually walled and accessed Jewish and Muslim sections at North End, only interior carriageways separated the various Christian denominations.  Subsequent extensions to the North End Cemetery made provision for the members of the Dutch Reformed Church and the Chinese community in the early twentieth century, as members of the two groups migrated to the town. The arrival of the Indian community, late in the nineteenth century, necessitated comparatively little adjustment, as the majority were Hindus. A crematorium for their use was duly built at North End on the seashore. The unused Moslem section of the cemetery was then adopted as the site for scattering ashes. Indian members of the Christian and Moslem faiths joined their co-religionists in death. A special isolation cemetery was laid out at the Infectious Diseases Hospital in the 1890s and named after the bubonic plague outbreak of 1901.  These days the crematorium is no more with only foundations and a concrete slab remaining.

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