IT’S remarkable what can be found for sale on internet auction sites. John Taylor, from Kidderminster, was born and raised in Stourbridge and collects all kinds of memorabilia connected with his birthplace. He regularly acquires items via the internet and he recently came to us with some of his latest finds.
Among them was this grant register for a grave plot, printed on heavygauge paper, and issued by Stourbridge Cemetery 102 years ago.
The three-person burial space was bought by Alice Little of 8 Short Street, Stourbridge, for 13 shillings on 28th December, 1910.
We visited Stourbridge Cemetery but it appears that the headstone has been removed. However, the staff at the cemetery were very helpful and were able to tell us that there were two burials in the grave – George Frederick Little, 17th February, 1884, and Eliza Little, 23rd October, 1910.
We would hazard a guess that they were Alice Little’s parents.
The burials were before Alice purchased the plot, which suggests that she did so in order to raise a headstone. At that time it was not necessary to purchase a grave in order to be buried at the cemetery but gravestones could only be raised once the plot was bought.
Perhaps Alice, listed as a spinster on the grant register, intended to be buried with her parents but the third space in the plot remains unfilled. We discovered that there was an Alice Little buried at Lye and Wollescote Cemetery in December 1926 but she may be someone entirely different. Perhaps Alice left Stourbridge altogether and that is why she does not lie in the grave that she bought.
Stourbridge Cemetery in South Road was built at a cost of £8,500 and was consecrated on 31st March, 1879. Typical of the time was the cemetery chapel, with one wing devoted to Anglicans and the other to Nonconformists; Catholics in the borough had their own cemetery in Norton Road.
The chapel originally had a spire atop the tower but this has been removed, when is not certain but quite possibly it was when the cemetery chapel was converted to a crematorium in 1960.
How this document that once must have been important to Alice Little came to be for sale in an internet auction some 100 years later is anyone’s guess; it has been on a remarkable journey and serves both as a memento mori and as a reminder that we are soon forgotten.