Welcome to the Website of the Friends of Darwen Cemetery.

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Look for the Friends of Darwen Cemetery and request to become a member of the Facebook Group.

Click on the Facebook Logo

Our 4th Find a Grave Day

 Will be taking place at the Cross of Sacrifice in the Western Cemetery between 10.30am and 12.30pm on the 25th June 2022

This event is to help relatives find their long lost graves within the Cemetery.

Just bring along details of your family’s grave / plot and we will do our best to find its location (within the old Western Cemetery only) for you. Graves can become lost with the passage of time and hopefully this event is the answer to re-unite you with your family’s history.

If you don’t have the details?

 Then contact Blackburn with Darwen Borough Cemeteries Office and they will help find out the plot details for you.

Then bring along these details to our “Find a Grave” event and we will do our best to find that lost plot.

Any questions please do not hesitate to contact us at contact@darwencemetery.org.uk

We look forward to seeing you!

For the Find a Grave Poster click on the below link.


FODC May 2022

Our Next General (Open to all) Meeting an AGM 

Our next General meeting and our AGM will take place on Wednesday 29th June 2022.

It takes place at Darwen Heritage Centre , Holker House, Railway Road, Darwen BB3 2RG with a 7pm start.

This meeting is open to anybody who wishes to find out what we have managed to achieve over the last 12 months and look forward to our thoughts and plans for the future. 

Come and meet the Trustees of the FODC

Everybody is Welcome !!

FODC May 2022



The Friends of Darwen Cemetery hope to start work on repairing headstone shortly. We would like to identify people who still tend a grave here and would be grateful if you could let us have your current contact details.

Please telephone the Cemetery Office on  01254 202021 and give them your details.

Headstones were repaired on Section C in 2011, Section B in 2012 and Section D1 in 2014 with funds raised by the Friends of Darwen Cemetery. Funds are now available to work on Section G

If you are interested in becoming a volunteer or supporter of the Friends of Darwen Cemetery, visit our website at


Or you can email


FODC May 2022


Commonwealth War Grave Dedication Service

On Saturday 26th February the Friends of Darwen Cemetery held a dedication service for the for the placement of the new Commonwealth War Graves Commission headstones for Private John Farnhill and Private Squire Haworth.

Between 30 and 40 attended the service on a clear and fine Saturday morning in the Western Cemetery, the service started with the laments played by Gordon Smith starting his walk from on top of the former Non Conformist Chapel site.

Thank you to Revd Terence Young for conducted the service, John East for his reading and Liz Marsland from the CWGC for the reading of the poem “can you remember”.

We then moved to each of the graves to read the testaments, for the grave of Private John Farnhill which is in section 5 in the Cemetery, was read by Albert Gavagan (John’s great nephew) 

and for the testament for Private Squire Haworth which is in section B in the Cemetery, was read by Liz Rutherford from Central URC.

The two headstones were placed in the Cemetery by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission during December 2021. 

Thanks also to the members of the Darwen Branch of the British Legion, FODC members for their help for hosting the service and Tony Foster for his research.

FODC January 2022

Commonwealth War Grave Dedication Service

For Squire Haworth & John Farnhill on Saturday 26th February 2022 at 10.15am

A special Dedication Ceremony, arranged by the Friends will take place on Saturday 26th February 2022 for the War Graves of Squire Haworth and John Farnhill which are the latest graves to be erected by the Commonwealth War Commission during December last year

The service will start at the World War One Memorial Wall in the Western Cemetery at 10.15 am for a 10.30 am start

Squire Haworth Grave in Section B
John Farnhill Grave in Section 5

Everybody welcome!

FODC January 2022


Grave Maintenance Scheme (Western Cemetery)

The Friends of Darwen Cemetery started the Grave Maintenance Scheme (GMS) back in 2013 and have refurbished nearly 50 graves over the years in the Western Cemetery.

If you would like to see more information click on the link below.

Grave Maintenance Scheme

Sections in the Cemetery we are currently working on

The Friends of Darwen Cemetery over the last few years have worked on various sections in the cemetery to improve the look of the graves and the surrounding areas.
The current sections we are working on are:-
Section 2, Section A, Section K and Section 5A

Sections of the Cemetery the Friends of Darwen Cemetery are working on.

If you would like more information on the work we are carrying out in these sections please email us at contact@darwencemetery.org.uk

FODC June 2021

We have some exciting news

After years of searching by Alan Walton we finally now have a photograph of the chapel that stood on the mound at the top of the cemetery.

We now have photos of all three chapels. it’s taken quite some time but we knew it had to be out their somewhere. photo taken in July of 1959. And found in the CWGC archives.

Non Conformist Chapel
Non Conformist Chapel (zoomed in)

We thank The Commonwealth War Graves Commission for allowing us to use this photo.

Well done Alan !!!

FODC April 2021

Brief History of the Cemetery

The Local Board of Health formed a Burial Board in 1858 to provide a public burial ground. Up to then the only burial grounds were the graveyards of the various places of worship. The long use of these graveyards, their limited area, and the growth of the town made it difficult to find space for new graves.

The Burial Board acquired land at Whitehall on the west of the Bolton road. The area was drained, fenced, and laid out into sections for Church of England, Nonconformist and Roman Catholic burials. 

Mortuary Chapels were erected and the cemetery opened in June 1861. In 1876 further land was obtained, the combined area being about 20 acres. The western cemetery is really two cemeteries – the Old to the south and the New to the north.  

Towards the end of the Second World War it was becoming obvious that a further burial ground was necessary and land was acquired on the opposite side of the main road. This became known, rather confusingly, as the New Cemetery and then as the Eastern Cemetery. Work was under way by 1945 and the land was consecrated within a year or so. The area was extended in the late 1970s.

Photograph of the two lodges at the entrance to the Western Cemetery.
 Note the large Iron Gates which stood between the two Lodges, in between the two Lodges you can see the Church of England Chapel

A closer photograph of the Church of England Chapel that once stood in the Cemetery

This photograph shows the Roman Catholic Chapel that once stood in the Cemetery.

If you would like to see more history on the Cemetery click on the Research tab.

If you would like to see history of the Friends of Darwen Cemetery click on the FODC Timeline tab.

FODC Working Party Dates

The working parties will be held with social distancing measures in place as our main responsibility is the health and safety of all that attends.

Our Next Working Party for 2022 will be held on :-

Saturday 9th July 2022

Between 10am and 1pm in the Western Cemetery

Then on

Saturday 23rd July 2022

Saturday 6th August 2022

Saturday 20th August 2022

Saturday 3rd September 2022

Saturday 17th September 2022

Saturday 1st October 2022

Saturday 15th October 2022

Saturday 29th October 2022

Saturday 12th November 2022

Saturday 26th November 2022

Saturday 10th December 2022

Contact Us

We have a new catch all email address



Chairman: Tony Foster

Secretary: Glenda Brindle

Treasurer: Diane Walsh

Post: Friends of Darwen CemeteryC/O Unit 2A, Hall Moss Business ParkBolton Road, Bull Hill, Darwen, 
Lancashire BB3 2TT 

To report any Anti Social Behavior in the Cemetery please contact Blackburn with Darwen Council
 Tel: 01254 585083


Contact the Lancashire Police control room if you see anything actually occurring. (01254 51212) 
If it is to report something that has already happened contact the Local Neighborhood Police Officer.

Stray Dogs in the Cemetery Contact Blackburn with Darwen Dog Warden on 01254 585397 Monday – Friday 9am – 5pm Saturday 9am -12noon. Take picture if possible – or description of animal and where it was last seen and at what time.  Description – wearing a Collar – rough age – breed – distinctive marks. Emergency number ring local police station 01254 701777 or 0845 1253545 not 999,  and leave details. (especially Sat pm and Sunday).