Go to the Labyrinth of East London Lore

Lock Street

Keith Tankard
Updated: 14 October 2009
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The Old Anglican cemetery behind the Lock Street gaol predates the prison by some years. Indeed, it was connected to Reverend Rodolph von Hube's Grace Chapel which was opened on the corner of Fleet and Station Streets in 1858.

The ground for the cemetery was officially granted to the Bishop of Grahamstown in 1864. Many of the earliest graves, however, were unmarked.

Those gravestones which still stand are dated between 1875 and 1882. They are associated with the Lutheran Church (1872) and St John's Anglican Church (1880).

With the construction of the gaol immediately in front of the graveyard in 1880, however, the site was no longer desirable and the municipality created a new cemetery further from the town: the East Bank Cemetery near the Buffalo Park cricket grounds. In 1909 the old graveyard was officially handed over to the municipality.

With the closure of the gaol in 1980, the graveyard quickly became overgrown. When the Small Business Development Corporation took over the prison buildings in 1985, it was proposed to flatten the graveyard to make way for a parking lot.

The East London Historical Society objected, however, with the result that part of the graveyard was preserved while the other graves were exhumed.

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