North Cemetery was previously known as the West Hartlepool Cemetery and informally as, Hart Lane, Hart Road or Jesmond Road Cemetery and less well known as “Sleepy Valley”.
The Cemetery came about as a result of, The West Hartlepool Improvement Act 2nd June 1854, which was a Parliamentary Act formalising West Hartlepool as a Town in its own right and within it, it, included the Cemeteries Clauses Act 1847 allowing the development of a Public Cemetery. Managed by a group of Improvement Commissioners-Today’s Council.
It opened 26th April 1856 with the first official burial taking place on 14th May the same year, on what was previously agricultural land purchased by the Dock Company, who had used the land to deposit waste from the digging out of the docks, then sold it on to the West Hartlepool Improvement Commissioners for £2250 for approximately 11 ¼ acres according to the consecration papers.
The West End of the Cemetery was developed first along with 2 chapels and a lodge, then expanded twice more to the size of 12.5 hectares and shape which is so familiar.
Today the upper area of the “Mound” almost resembles park land accept for the headstone and stone lined main path with the odd monument dotted about. The northern half of the site whilst still recognisable as a cemetery, is also in decline as graves have collapse or are vandalised.
We have in excess of fifty three thousand burials, which, includes Eighty-One War Graves, one French Soldier, twelve nuns of St Josephs Convent and over 70 identified as “Unknown” interred.
The site is closed for new burials except from those in purchased family plots, there is no Staff, buildings or amenities on the site as the last of the Chapels and lodge were demolished in the 1970’s.