Work on one of the tombs in Malaga’s historic English Cemetery. SUR
Historic burial ground in Malaga restores tombs and improves gardens to attract more visitors

Historic burial ground in Malaga restores tombs and improves gardens to attract more visitors

The English Cemetery in the city was created in 1831 as a place to bury Protestants who couldn't be put with Catholics at the time

Anthony Piovesan


Friday, 24 May 2024, 13:21

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Work is under way at Malaga city's historic English Cemetery to restore graves of some of the great names from the foreign resident community etched into the province's history.

The first phase of the project involves restoring 12 iconic tombs out of the 2,000 graves in the burial ground, including those of Joseph William Noble, whose family were behind the city's old Hospital Noble, and British Consul William Mark, who created the cemetery in 1831 as a place to bury Protestants who couldn't be put with Catholics at the time.

The work done so far to restore graves has involved strengthening tomb structures, cleaning them and eliminating dirt and fungi. The first phase of the project has a cost of 12,000 euros.

Coordinator of conservation and restoration work Carmen Aumente López said the main objective is to restore "visual integrity" to the graves.

"We have also been working to repair the damage caused by the growth of roots in the structure of the tombs, as well as deterioration caused by the passage of time, in a comprehensive preservation, living up to the impressive legacy of this historic cemetery," she said.

David Tweed, head of fundraising, said the grave restoration project, as well as a plan to improve the gardens, is part of a wider mission to attract more tourists to the English Cemetery.

"I have always described this site as emblematic and we've got such a great opportunity, we're in the middle of the fastest-growing city in Spain, 400 metres away from the bullring. We can consolidate this site as one of the major tourist sites in Malaga," Tweed said.

June gala dinner to raise funds for sustainable garden project

The grave restoration project comes amid plans to make the cemetery’s gardens drought resistant. With water scarcity being felt in gardens throughout Malaga province, David Tweed, fundraising head at the English Cemetery, said the aim was to enact a plan to stop the grounds of the city’s well-known site from drying up. The project will be unveiled at a gala dinner on 6 June on cemetery grounds where funds raised will help to pay for submissions for funding from the European Union and Spanish authorities. “People don’t currently come to the cemetery for the gardens, they come because it’s a historic site and its history as a cemetery,” he explained. More information on the event, which includes opera singers, actors and an English-inspired menu, is available on the cemetery website or on 680 13 26 34.

Since 2006, the cemetery has been run by a charitable foundation and cannot rely solely on funding from Malaga city, regional or provincial institutions.

The grave of British consul William Mark, who died in 1849, is a certain stop during guided tours, as well as the tomb of Joseph William Noble, who died in 1861. Joseph Noble was an English doctor and politician, becoming mayor of Leicester, and died from a cholera infection in Malaga. After his death, his daughters Ellen Ann and Margaret built the Hospital Noble in Malaga, to serve residents and also the sailors of different nationalities who arrived at the Port of Malaga.

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