History buffs take guided tour around Burnley Cemetery in first of a series of walks

History buffs gathered yesterday for the first in a series of guided walks around cemeteries in Burnley and Padiham.

Monday, 15th July 2019, 3:54 pm
The Plane Tree Inn, where 'Big Bill' Atkinson died, which stood on the site where the Usha restaurant is now in Rossendale Road, Burnley.

The first walk was around Burnley Cemetery and was led by author Julie Kayley who has written two books inspired by her many visits to the cemetery to visit the grave of her son Philip who died eight years ago at the age of 25.

Organised by the Friends of Burnley Cemetery the theme of the walks is Tragedy Trail and graves of interest.

Around 15 people gathered for the walk yesterday and one of the graves Julie took them to see was that of William Atkinson who was also known as 'Big Bill.'

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Walkers gather for the guided tour around Burnley Cemetery yesterday.

He lived at The Plane Tree Inn which was in Back Lane which was on the site of the New Albion Pub and now the Usha restaurant in Burnley's Rossendale Road..

William, who was a maltsman, had worked for Massey’s Brewery for 26 years, and he and his wife Ann Atkinson were also tenants of the Plane Tree Beer House, which had been in the family since 1844 .

Mourners gathered with much interest to see the coffin, the dimensions of which were 6’ 8” x 2’ 6” as William, who died on April 1st, 1869, was so tall. As the coffin was so big it would not fit through the door and a window had to be removed.

Julie has written two books based on her cemetery visits after she conducted her own research into stories behind many of the names she saw on the gravestones.

Other walks in the programme, which will be led by Susan Barker, include: Friday, July 19th, 2pm, Padiham St John's. Tuesday, July 30th, 2pm, Blackburn Road cemetery, Padiham.

The cemetery walks are also part of the Heritage Open Days summer programme and there will be another walk around Burnley Cemetery on Saturday, September 14th with Padiham St John's featuring on Thursday, September 19th and Blackburn Road again on Saturday, September 21st.