Originally known as the Northern Cemetery, Salford’s second public burial ground was opened in 1903. Planning started in 1896 when Salford Corporation purchased 45 acres of land outside the Borough of Salford in neighbouring Pendlebury from Robert Dauntesey of Agecroft Hall . At £600 per acre the expense was considerable but growing concern that Salford Cemetery (later renamed Weaste) would soon reach full capacity drove the initiative. However, newspaper reports of some very lively council meetings reveal that income generation from burials was also a factor in building Salford’s second civic cemetery.
As with Weaste Cemetery several sites for Salford’s second public burial ground were considered before a final decision was reached. In 1896 one of the front runners was Summerville, Lees Knowles’ estate at Irlams o’ th’ Height. However, despite its location in neighbouring Pendlebury, Agecroft was the final choice largely in part because of the necessity to comply with legislation regarding proximity of housing to burial sites.
In October 1897 the Manchester Courier and Lancashire General Advertiser carried the following report on the discussions taking place:-
A Cemetery for Salford. The Mayor moved the adoption of the following resolution from the Cemeteries’ Committee: That the Council recommend to purchase from Robert Dauntesey Esq the land between Langely road, Agecroft lane and the river Irwell, containing about 45 statute acres, upon the conditions agreed upon, at the price of £600 per acre (including the area of the farm house and outbuildings) for the formation thereon of a cemetery for the borough, subject to the approval of the Lords of Her Majesty’s Treasury and the Home Secretary being obtained thereto; and also to instruct the Town Clerk to make the necessary application for such approval, and prepare the necessary contract for purchase of such land. He said that for years the necessity for an additional cemetery for the borough had been obvious. There had been difficulty finding a proper piece of land because the Act of Parliament insisted that cemeteries should not be nearer than 100 yards to the nearest dwelling house. He might tell them that the present cemetery was rapidly filling up, and as it must be three or four years before they might get the new one into use it was time they got to work. When they visited the site he was sure they would see it was the best that they could have chosen. They would not regret spending the money, as the Cemetery Committee was a trading concern, and a paying one. It was a trading committee. Several members: Oh no. (laughter.) Alderman William Robinson: It is too grave to laugh at. (Laughter.) Mr. Hudson seconded the motion. Alderman Mandley asked if this land was not all undermined by collieries, and where they would be if a great explosion took place in the mines? The Mayor: Are you afraid of killing somebody? The Town Clerk said he had been shown the plans, which showed that mines had been got under a small portion the land, and powers were reserved to go under the rest. But it is an absolute certainty that those powers would never be put into operation, as there was a throw, or fault, of 1,000 yards’ depth before the coal could be got at. The Mayor: As it is thousand yards below, I don’t think explosion will do us much harm. Alderman B. Robinson said the matter had been sprung on the Council, and he suggested that it should be held over till next month. After some discussion this course was adopted.
Agecroft Grange Farm
The Ward family farmed at Agecroft Grange for several decades. James Ward was born in 1854 in Manchester and had been a joiner and victualler on Oldfield Road before taking on Agecroft Grange farm. In 1911 Ward was living at the farm with his wife Harriet, their eight children, James’s aunt, who at 70 is recorded as a dairy hand, and two labourers. Three of James’s sons are recorded in the census as butchers so there may have been an abbatoir in the locality. In the early twentieth century the Manchester newspapers contain many advertisements associated with the farm from which we can deduce that the Ward family were raising pigs and hens, selling milk and eggs and also dealing in livestock. The farm buildings, within the perimeter of the cemetery, appear on several maps well into the twentieth century. Click on the link for more information about the Ward family. http://madlab22.ismysite.co.uk/2017/07/11/agecroft-grange-wards-1916/