Portsmouth cemetery was concreted over to make car park

A tram passes Mile End cemetery, Portsmouth, between the wars.
A tram passes Mile End cemetery, Portsmouth, between the wars.
Two clerks on duty in James Taylors offices in Old Portsmouth. 			 (Robert James collection)

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My question recently about what happened to those interred at Mile End cemetery, Portsmouth, when it was demolished and turned into part of the ferry port, prompted a flurry of replies.

They included one from John Cass, the council foreman who was in charge of the demolition team.

He says the front of the site, as seen in the photo were the vaults. These were excavated and the remains reburied in Kingston cemetery.

John adds: ‘The back part was turned into a park and some of the gravestones were then put against the building which is now occupied by the multi-storey car park.

‘The last interment was of someone who died in the 1950s and was right in the middle of the park.

‘After inquiries, relatives were traced and asked that his remains be reinterred in Waterlooville cemetery.’

The city council had to obtain special permission from the government to turn the cemetery into a car park, recalls John.

He says: ‘There were too many people buried in the rest of the cemetery to have been exhumed and reinterred so they have been concreted and Tarmaced over which is why the special dispensation was granted from the government.

‘This was not the end of the saga because I received a call at a later date when workmen uncovered human bones when they were digging out for the car park’s floodlight pylons.

‘They were spooked and stopped work so another clean-up job had to take place and the remains were reinterred in Kingston cemetery.’