Grange Cemetery was established in 1847 by the Southern Cemetery Company Ltd. on land acquired from the Dick Lauder family of the Grange Estate. Designed by David Bryce the architect, the site occupied an open space of more than 12 acres and was built on a rectangular pattern around central vaulted catacombs which are built into the crest of the hill. Bryce also designed the lodge, modified by J.G. Adams in 1890, and a mortuary chapel which was never built.
The cemetery lies on Beaufort Road and was extended westward to Kilgraston Road in the 1920s. It contains about 6,250 burial plots and is still in use today Five cemeteries were opened from 1843 to 1846, and the largest, the Southern or Grange Cemetery, owned by the Edinburgh Southern Cemetery Company, was able to receive its first interment, that of Dr Thomas Chalmers, in June 1847.
The Cemetery was planned to provide for ordinary burials and for lodgements in vaults. However, fashions changed quickly. The vaults rapidly became unpopular, as monuments, easily seen, and for some so readily exhibiting a conspicuous connection to substantial wealth, became voguish. The cemetery was extended westwards in the 1920s.
It is, maybe, interesting to note that cremation became available in Edinburgh in 1929. Nevertheless, the Grange Cemetery remains open for all who wish to pay respects to forebears and for the use of families possessing lairs. In 1976 the Grange Cemetery was taken over by the City of Edinburgh District Council.
Gerald H. France – 1999