THERE are many famous occupants of graves in Glasgow’s mighty Necropolis.

Within the boundaries of this cemetery, however, lie around 21,000 less well-known people in common or unmarked graves, when families or friends could not afford the price of a headstone or lair.

A beautiful project by Aproxima Arts and The Friends of Glasgow Necropolis plans to create a wildflower memorial to those ‘forgotten’ residents by planting 15,000 bulbs on a small triangle of grass within the site.

Glasgow Times: Glasgow NecropolisGlasgow Necropolis (Image: Newsquest)

Angus Farquhar, director of Aproxima Arts, explains: “Glasgow was built on the lives of thousands of folks who lived, worked and died here, often in terrible conditions. It feels right to make a simple, permanent flower memorial, so we can begin to remember them.”

Building on extensive research carried out by the Friends of Glasgow Necropolis, the flower memorial is part of Aproxima Arts’s new three-year programme Glasgow Requiem, which spans community archaeology, public horticulture, sound works and live performance.

Glasgow Times: An impression of how the memorial may lookAn impression of how the memorial may look (Image: Gordon Terris/Newsquest)

As part of an occasional series in Times Past, we will share some of the stories discovered by the Friends of Glasgow Necropolis, which reveal some insight into the lives and deaths of Glasgow’s people through the centuries.

What brought William Everette Allenby, a 56-year-old artist from England, to Glasgow? Buried in 1847, after dying of typhus fever, it is believed he came from a Lincolnshire family originally.

His widow Susan and three children can be found in the 1851 census living at 16 Havannah Street, off High Street. Susan was supporting herself and her children by working as a straw bonnet maker.

Ann, the elder daughter, is found in the 1891 and 1901 censuses settled at Findlay Street. She died in Stobhill Hospital in 1923.

Josiah Flecknoe came to Glasgow from Northamptonshire. Born in 1825, Josiah was one of three known sons of Henry and Elizabeth Flecknoe of Braunston, Northamptonshire.

At his death in 1847, aged 21, he was working as a draper. John Gilchrist, who buried him, may have been his employer or possibly his landlord, or maybe just a friend.  He was buried in common ground after dying of fever.

Another man who died far away from home is known only as James. He was a 20-year-old seaman on the American barque Brutus, which was lying in Glasgow Harbour, when he died.

A short report in our sister newspaper, the then Glasgow Herald, on July 21, 1848, gives the basic details.

“On Monday night, while a seaman belonging to the ship Brutus, of New York, at present lying in the harbour, was out on the bow of the vessel, he missed his footing and fell into the water,” says the report.

“Being at the time considerably the worse of liquor he was drowned. His body was recovered in the course of the same night, and has been interred at the expense of the captain of the Brutus. The deceased was an American.”

Also buried in common ground at the Necropolis is James Park.

A report in the Glasgow Free Press from August 13, 1853, says: “On Thursday night, about seven o’clock, a man was found lying asleep in the High Street, in a state of intoxication.

“He was wakened by the constable on the station, and taken to the police office, where he gave his name as James Park. At half-past ten he took unwell, and expired in about fifteen minutes afterwards. Deceased, whose death appears to have been occasioned by intemperance, is about thirty-five years of age.”

Glasgow Times: The memorial to Wee Willie Winkie creator William MillerThe memorial to Wee Willie Winkie creator William Miller (Image: Newsquest)

Visitors to the Necropolis will be familiar with the memorial to William Miller, “The Laureate of the Nursery”, who composed the nursery rhyme Wee Willie Winkie.

There is no William Winkie buried in the Necropolis but on October 10, 1862, John Winkie, a 72-year-old carpet weaver of 60 Surrey Place, Glasgow was buried in a common grave in the Necropolis. He left a 36-year-old widow and a three-year-old daughter.

Can you shed any light of the forgotten thousands buried in the Necropolis? Get in touch with Times Past by emailing or write to Ann Fotheringham, Glasgow Times, 125 Fullerton Drive, Glasgow G32 8FG.

To donate to the flower memorial, check out the group’s JustGiving page.