Around 1200 individuals who lived in Calderstones were buried in the cemetery.
When the long-stay institution was largely demolished around 2000, the graveyard was sold by the NHS to a private buyer. By the early summer of 2017, the site was in a state of disarray and neglect – reflecting a number changes in private ownership, an apparent lack of a committed planning strategy as well as acts of vandalism.
The woeful appearance of the hospital cemetery is thrown into sharp relief by being next to a war graves cemetery, which is looked after by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission. This cemetery is for military personnel who died at Calderstones when it was a military hospital during the two world wars. It is a well-looked after graveyard in pristine condition. To get to it, there is a drive which takes you through what appears to be an overgrown field, but is in fact the former hospital cemetery. The contrast between the two graveyards could hardly be more marked.
In more recent years local Whalley residents – especially Mel Diack and George Hardman – as well as families whose relatives are buried there raised concerns about the state of cemetery. In late 2015 a Friends of Calderstones Cemetery Group was started to ensure that the bodies of those buried there – whether they remained or had to removed – were afforded the dignity they deserved.
(This short account is based largely upon newspaper reports from the Lancashire Evening Telegraph and Clitheroe Advertiser between 2000 and 2015.)
What is happening in 2018?
However, during 2017, and into 2018, there have been very active moves by the private owners to build a crematorium, with car park on the site. This is stirring up genuine concerns about what will happen to those interred in the cemetery. Please go to News for more information.