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Dean Cemetery


(Western Cemetery)

Located to the west of Dean Village in Edinburgh, next to the Dean Gallery and a mile (1.5 km) west of the city centre, Dean Cemetery was opened by the Edinburgh Western Cemetery Company in 1845 on the site of the old Mansion of Dean. The cemetery, once also known as the Western Cemetery, occupies 6.9 ha (17 acres) and represented one of a number of new garden cemeteries which opened in the city in the 1840s. It was laid out in an informal arrangement by architect David Cousin (1809-78), who is buried there along with a remarkable number of other notables, such as disgraced engineer Sir Thomas Bouch (1822-90); artist Samuel Bough (1822-78); designer Thomas Bonnar (1810-73); publisher and Lord Provost of Edinburgh, Sir Thomas Jamieson Boyd (1818 - 1902); industrialist Sir James Key Caird (1837 - 1916); artist Sir William Fettes Douglas (1822-91); architect John Dick Peddie (1853 - 1921); photographic pioneer David Octavius Hill (1802-70) and his wife the sculptress Amelia Paton (1820 - 1904); medical reformer Elsie Inglis (1864 - 1917); battle-hero Major General Sir Hector MacDonald (1853 - 1903); orientalist Sir William Muir (1819 - 1905); oceanographer Sir John Murray (1841 - 1914); Samuel Peploe (1871 - 1935); architects William Henry Playfair (1789 - 1857) and Robert Reid (1774 - 1856); jurist Andrew Rutherfurd (1791 - 1854); politician and statesman John Sinclair, Lord Pentland (1860 - 1925), inventor Robert Thomson (1822-73); and author and literary critic Professor John Wilson (1785 - 1854). Lieut. John Irving, an officer on HMS Terror which formed part of Sir John Franklin's ill-fated Arctic expedition of 1845-48, was buried here 30 years after he died. Nearby is the grave of Robert Anstruther Goodsir (1823-95) who took part in two expeditions that tried to find Franklin and his men.

The cemetery features some fine funerary architecture and sculpture. It is still operational, with around 35 burials annually, and is now owned and maintained by the Dean Cemetery Trust, a charitable company limited by guarantee. In 2000, with the assistance of the National Lottery Urban Parks Programme, the company was able to improve public access to the cemetery, including the provision of a new entrance from the grounds of the Dean Gallery.


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