Seafield Cemetery and Crematorium

Seafield Crematorium
©2022 Gazetteer for Scotland

Seafield Crematorium

Lying to the south of Seafield Road in NE Edinburgh, to the east of Leith Links, the Seafield Cemetery was laid out by the Leith Cemetery Company in 1887 with the first burial taking place the following year.

Located at the eastern end of the cemetery in 1939, the B-listed crematorium is built in the Art Deco style, with a pseudo-classical portico. Designed by local architects W.N. Thomson & Company, this was the second crematorium in Edinburgh, but the first to be purpose-built. Constructed in reconstituted granite, it presents a rather harsh facade, only slightly softened by an extensive Virginia creeper.

The chapel, which can seat 150 mourners, represents a distinct break with the traditional style of church architecture and has been described as "subdued cinema style". The catafalque is of Swedish dark green marble on a base of an unusual Italian marble known as Cippolino. Behind the catafalque a niche contains a mosaic panel by W. Macaulay of Edinburgh. This features a cross, with the dove of peace descending towards it, together with the inscription Jesus hominum Salvator. The lecterns and table were designed for the building and were executed in natural waxed oak by J. & T. Scott of Edinburgh. The ornamental wrought ironwork was supplied by Bayliss, Jones & Bayliss Ltd of Wolverhampton. The building is heated by an electric convector system, and the chapel is lit by specially-designed indirect wall bracket-lights, while the apse and catafalque are emphasised by concealed flood-lighting.

In 1965, Seafield was acquired by Edinburgh Crematorium Ltd., a private company founded in 1928 by the Edinburgh Cremation Society, which also operates the Warriston Crematorium, located 2 miles (3 km) to the west. Seafield performs around 800 cremations annually.

Controversy surrounded the provision of a disabled-access ramp in 2004, which hit the headlines when conservation groups objected on the basis that it would spoil the facade.

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