Carleton Cemetery and Crematorium was opened on 18 July 1935.
The main building was designed by legendary Borough Architect J.C. Robinson who was also responsible for designing the Derby Baths, Bus Station, Stanley Park Cafe, the Technical College, and Collegiate School.
Carleton Crematorium and pond, photo Denys Barber
Robinson based it on his own interpretation of the Mausoleum of Mausolus, and there’s a chapel at the north door which displays books of remembrance of those buried or cremated there.
Considering only 5% of funerals in the 1930s involved cremation, the building is way ahead of its time in terms of size, design, and setting.
It was only when the Royal Family and famous personalities showed an interest in cremation that the practice became less stigmatised.
Beatrix Potter was one of the first famous people to be cremated at Carleton.
Beatrix Potter died on 22 December 1943 from pneumonia at her home in Near Sawrey in the Lake District. Unusually for the time, she’d decided her mortal remains were to be cremated following her death.
Beatrix Potter was born in London in 1866. Her family took their holidays in Scotland and the English Lake District – which stimulated an interest in natural science, countryside life and conservation. Combining with this her abilities as a writer and illustrator, she began to write books with beautiful paintings and sketches of the flora and fauna which she observed.
Turning her interest to children’s books, Beatrix Potter published her famous “Tale of Peter Rabbit” which appeared in 1902. It was an immediate success and followed by 30 more books, making her a household name.
Always at the forefront of modernity and conservation, Beatrix Potter saw the countryside as something worth preserving for future generations and she can be considered one of the pioneers of today’s Lake District National Park.
Other Famous Cremations
Charlie Cairoli, Jimmy Clitheroe, Violet Carson, Bernie Nolan, Lennie Bennett, Stanley Mortensen Reginald Dixon, Tony Melody and John Comer are some of the other famous people who have been cremated at Carleton.
Today, cremation accounts for more than 70% of funerals in this country.
Rose garden at Carleton Crematorium, photo Denys Barber
With many thanks to Denys Barber for the information and photos in this article.
Carleton Crematorium is managed by Blackpool Council although the main gates are in Poulton-le-Fylde.
If you are interested in local history, take a look at the Facebook group ‘Blackpool’s Past – the original’ where you’ll find lots of interesting information like this.
Carleton Crematorium, photo Denys Barber