Sheffield's First Cremation - Eliza Hawley 24th April 1905

Quite a few years ago I posted an article to the site regarding the opening of Sheffield's City Road Cemetery in May 1881 and made a reference to the opening, twenty four years later, of Sheffield's first purpose-built crematorium on the same site.

Sheffield Bereavement Services states that the first cremation was that of ELIZA HAWLEY - this is the burial record from the excellent Sheffield Indexers site

HAWLEY, Eliza (Cremation Index Record, age 46). Died at ~; Buried on April 4, 1905 in ~ ground; cremated. Grave Number ~, Section ~ of City Road Cemetery, Sheffield. Parent or Next of Kin if Available: ~. Remarks: Cremation number is 1. Plot Owner: ~ ~ of ~. Page No ~ 

(Note a transcription error - Eliza was cremated on 24th April not 4th April 1905. She died on 20th April 1905 according to the probate record

1891 Census

ELIZA married a 25 year old blacksmith WALTER HAWLEY in the March quarter of 1879 but by 1891 they were living at 112 - 116 The Wicker Sheffield. He was listed as an "Eating House Keeper." They were at the same address ten years later but their circumstances had changed. It was ELIZA who was now the Eating House Keeper and her husband WALTER was now in paid employment as a Railway Wagon Fitter.   

1901 Census

At the time of ELIZA's death in April 1905 they had left the property and the business in The Wicker and were living at 14 Birkendale in the Upperthorpe area of Sheffield. This move may be related to Eliza's health but that is only supposition on my part. She was only 46 when she died and was perhaps unable to continue working at the Eating House due to illness and/or infirmity.

This is a copy of Eliza's probate record


1911 Census

Walter passed away in July 1929 and he was also cremated at City Road. This is his record 

HAWLEY, Walter (Cremation Index Record, age 74).
Died at ~; Buried on July 9, 1929 in ~ ground; cremated. Grave Number ~, Section ~ of City Road Cemetery, Sheffield. Parent or Next of Kin if Available: ~. Remarks: Cremation number is 702. Plot Owner: ~ ~ of ~. Page No 

 His Cremation number is 702 which raises an interesting point. In the 24 years between Eliza and Walter dying, there were 700 cremations at City Road which averages out at 29 a year or one every two weeks. I would have expected more but perhaps this is an indication of the conservatism of Sheffield people. Cremation was still a relatively new method of body disposal and one that did not readily catch-on with families. And the other point to note is that between 1914 - 1918, the British government alongside other European governments had devised other ways of disposing of bodies. Perhaps if there had not been a global conflict, the number of cremations would have been greater.

And the other point I cannot fathom is why ELIZA HAWLEY nee FOWLER was the first cremation? If anyone can supply me with any further information on this point please contact me


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This page was last updated on 07/02/18 09:26