Site Specifics: The Glasgow Necropolis

  • The List
  • 2 April 2009
Glasgow Necropolis

What is it?
A Victorian Gothic fantasy of what a cemetery should look like. At least 50,000 Glaswegians have been buried there, in 3,500 tombs and mausoleums.

You want us to go to a graveyard?
It’s not just a graveyard. It’s a fascinating look at the lives – and deaths – of the very rich at a time when Glasgow was the second city of the British Empire. It’s also one of the most beautiful burial grounds in the country, spanning a hillside overlooking the city centre, full of stunning, otherworldly architecture and sculpture. And you access it by the Bridge of Sighs. The Bridge of Sighs!

Okay, you’re moving me. Any famous, er, inmates?
The Glaswegian equivalent of Jim Morrison’s grave is a monument to the man who wrote ‘Wee Willie Winkie’. It has plenty of famous fans, though: Belle and Sebastian have mentioned it several times in interviews, lyrics and publicity shots (so there are usually a fair few scarf-wearing tweepoppers visiting), and it plays a major part in the climax of Alasdair Gray’s Lanark.

How will I find my way around, if it’s that big?
If you don’t fancy just wandering through by yourself, Friends of the Glasgow Necropolis are starting organised, free, tours of the site from Sat 18 Apr. Email to book. There’s also a heritage trail starting at the Bridge of Sighs.

Is there a café?
I’m showing you art, and history, and death, and you’re thinking about your stomach? (There’s a café in the nearby St Mungo’s Museum.)

How do I get there?
It’s right beside Glasgow Cathedral to the east of the city, about ten minutes’ walk from George Square. has full access details.

Glasgow Necropolis

50 Cathedral Square, Glasgow, G4 0UZ

Literally a city of the dead, this vast burial ground behind Glasgow Cathedral pays tribute to Glasgow's wealthier nineteenth-century inhabitants. Established with a view to being a kind of Scottish equivalent of Père Lachaise in Paris, it may not have…

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