Unfortunately, we have only a very few photographs from the very early days of the crematorium. Maybe these will revive a few memories of the way we were.
Monmouthshire county council first mooted the idea of a crematorium in 1946, but was unable to obtain grant funding. However, the ministry said that a grant would be available to the local authorities within the county. So it was that in 1954, the 24 local authorities (one County Borough, two Boroughs, 16 Urban District Councils and 5 Rural District Councils) met and formed the Monmouthshire and Newport Joint Cremation Committee.
The original estimate for the works involved was £68,699, but, as ever, the costs escalated to a total of £85,946 by the time the crematorium opened on its 5.5 acre site in Croesyceiliog. This included the purchase of an old cottage on the site and the land itself.
The building was designed by Mr F Buckley of the architectural practise of Sir Percy Thomas & Son, Cardiff. It was the first crematorium design that the company had done. The building itself is most attractive - "a simple and dignified style", but contained numerous elements of poor design, which have subsequently been costly or impossible to put right. The Institute of Burial and Cremation Administration noted in their Journal that it was a pity that a cremation consultant had not been called in to point out the obvious architectural errors.
Originally the crematory housed two Gibbons Askam cremators, and in January 1964, a further Dowson & Mason cremator was installed, to keep up with increasing demand. This was the start of a long association with the company, which became part of Evans Universal and then subsequently Facultatieve Technologies, which has continued until the present day.
The original fees charged are a matter of interest, offering an eye-opening reminder of how much money has lost its value over the years.
The cost of an adult's cremation in 1960 was £5 5s 0d, with an extra fee of 3s 6d for a certificate of cremation. How things have changed!
To mark the 50th anniversary year, we had a major re-planting of the trees in the Garden of Remembrance, including unusual and endangered species. We hope that these will grow to form an interesting and environmentally sound arboretum.
As well as this very practical venture, we have endeavoured to demonstrate our on-going commitment to customer care by means of our successful application for Charter for the Bereaved accreditation.