Photo: Simon Warner
I went to a workshop at the Stanley and Audrey Burton Gallery on Saturday February 19th. We made landscapes on a dinner plate, following a walk around the cemetery of St Georges Field at the University of Leeds. The above is my contribution and I would like to dedicate it to Pablo Fanque, and Christine Bairstow and her twin sister.
Christine Bairstow wrote to the Yorkshire Evening Post in 2008 to protest about the fact she cannot locate her twin sister who died in 1946. The gravestones were separated from the bodies in the ground during the landscaping of the space in the 1960s. Pablo Fanque, the first black circus owner in Britain, is buried in the cemetery along with his wife. The Beatles sang about Pablo Fanque on their Sergeant Peppers album in the song Being for the Benefit of Mr Kite (he is apparently also mentioned in a Cockney Rebel song - interesting).
Photo: CC Phill Harding
The above image shows the cemetery as it appears in 'real' space, as opposed to artistic/ideological/political space, which my plate represents. Below is a timeline of the cemetery that I put together from a number of sources, which are included in the bibliography below.
Formation of Leeds General Cemetery Company (purchased the site for £11,000) (BBC 2006).
On July 23rd the new cemetery was officially opened by architect John Clark (BBC 2006).
Suggested acquisition of cemetery (Beresford 1975:144).
Graveyard nearly full, some graves neglected (Beresford 1975:144).
University bursor re-opens question of cemetery acquisition (Beresford 1975:172).
Date unsure (1958-1963)
Cemetery closed and landscaped and original name was reverted: St George's Field (Beresford 1975:172).
Local opposition to University of Leeds Bill, re: cemetery development (Beresford 1975:145).
St Georges Field completed (Leodis 2010).
Founding date of friends of the cemetery group (Dunk and Rugg 1994:80).
On 24th April Dr Julie Rugg, of the Cemetery Research Group, unveiled the new blue plaque at the gatehouse. (Leeds Civic Trust 2006)
Dunk, Julie and Julie Rugg. 1994. The Management of Old Cemetery Land: Now and the Future (London: Shaw and Sons).
Beresford, M. W. 1975. ''Red brick and Portland Stone: A Building History', Studies in the History of a University 1987-1974, ed. by P.H.J.H Gosden and A.J. Taylor (Leeds: E.J. Arnold). pp. 133-180.
BBC, ‘Leeds’, Life and Death in Leeds, (2006),
Leeds Civic Trust, ‘Annual Report 2005/06’, Heritage and Conservation – Blue Plaques 1, (2006),
Leodis, ‘Woodhouse Cemetery’, (2010),
St George's Field (BBC)
Simon Warner (artist)
Stanley and Audrey Burton Gallery
University of Leeds