In 1901 Darlington became the fifth crematorium to operate in the Country. Manual records are held from the first cremation to the present day.
The existing crematorium opened in the early 1960’s and is situated within the grounds of West cemetery on Carmel Road North - incorporating two gardens of remembrance. The old garden directly to the rear of the building was used for strewing remains until the end of 1990 when the new garden of remembrance located opposite the car park was first used in January 1991 and is still in use today.
The crematorium building contains a chapel, which can be used for both religious and non-religious services. It seats up to 58 people comfortably and there is a screened annex to the chapel which allows a standing area for a further 40 attendees.
The chapel pews are light oak with the catafalque situated to the front of the chapel on a raised platform, with curtains to be drawn on committal if required.
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Cremations are conducted:
Monday – Thursday: 9:15 – 11:45am and 1:15 – 3:45pm
Friday: 9:15 – 11:45am and 1:15 – 2:45pm
Cremation bookings can be made by an appointed funeral director/organiser and are taken every 30 minutes, which allows for a 20-minute service, although extended times are available by request.
Arranging a cremation
Following the death of a relative or friend, most people call on the assistance of a funeral director who will carry out all funeral arrangements on their behalf.
Local funeral directors will be familiar with all the services offered at the crematorium and will advise accordingly.
It is possible to make your own funeral arrangements and we will be happy to receive any requests for information and can assist in providing further advice in this respect.
The funeral service
Funeral cars assemble at the front of the crematorium building and it is usual for the coffin to be carried ahead of the mourners and placed on the catafalque at the front of the chapel, whilst mourners are directed to their seats. There is a facility available to download your chosen music and requests should be given to your funeral director or arranger. There is an organ located in the chapel available for use and an organist can be arranged to play.
Following the committal service, the curtains close, obscuring the coffin from view, as mourners leave the chapel by the rear exit. It is important to note however, that this does not have to happen and the curtains can remain open in order for families to view the coffin as they leave the chapel.
Floral tributes are displayed at the rear of the building for family and friends to view before leaving.
After the service has taken place and everyone has left the chapel, the coffin is removed from the catafalque.
It is then placed into the cremator chamber shortly after the service exactly as it was received in the chapel.
Each coffin is cremated separately on the day of the service and the cremated remains are kept separate and properly identified throughout the whole process.
Flowers from each day’s funeral are displayed for at least one week on the paved area at the side of the crematorium.
Arrangements can be made for them to be removed to go to hospitals or nursing homes or placed on a family gravesite.
All toilets at the crematorium are accessible for all users. There is a passenger lift to the rear of the building to exit the chapel. A loop system is also installed in the chapel and Braille service books are available on request.
Gardens of remembrance
Generally cremated remains are scattered in the new garden of remembrance. If you let us know in advance, it is possible for family to be present, but it is normal practice for the staff to carry out this procedure a few days following the cremation.
If a cremation took place elsewhere, remains can be scattered at Darlington. An appointment is required and the office should be contacted for advice.
The old garden of remembrance can still accept cremated remains, which people often request if they wish to ensure the remains are scattered with other family members who died a number of years ago.
Removed from the crematorium
Cremated remains can be removed from the crematorium. All remains, which leave, are signed for by either a funeral director or family member and a cremation certificate is produced to accompany them.
It is normal practice to place remains in a cardboard ash box, however stocks of baby, postal, metal and wooden urns are held at the crematorium.
If families require remains to be interred at Darlington, the only option currently available to them is to have them buried in either a new or existing grave site in one of Darlington’s cemeteries. There is no facility to inter remains within the gardens of remembrance.
Information on crematorium memorial schemes are automatically sent to the applicant of a cremation provided they have given permission, the week following the service. This pack includes all relevant information leaflets, application forms and price lists. Assistance in completion of forms or further advices is available at the crematorium office.
From 1990 to 2000, memorial kerb vases were sold to families to provide an inscribed memorial to remember their loved one. These white marble vases can be found in both the old and new gardens of remembrance, but are no longer available for sale.
It is possible to replace existing plaques on vases to incorporate different or a number of names. Information and costs are available from the crematorium office.
Other memorial schemes
Over the years we have offered families the opportunity of donating memorial seats, shrubs and trees.
There is no longer space for seats or trees, but we continue to accept donations such as shrubs and rose bushes.
New schemes are introduced where appropriate and if you have requests for new memorial schemes, we are very happy to discuss them.