Piershill Cemetery

Piershill Cemetery is approx, 18 acres and was opened in 1887.

Click to view mapWhen the Cemetery was laid out it was originally in fairly open countryside as the ground was purchased from the Duke of Abercorn, whose Georgian town house is still adjacent to the west of the Piershill Cemetery gates, beyond the Victorian Stone build Lodge which was built in 1900.

The First & Second World War Memorials are within 20 yards of the entrance and easily visible from the gate.

There are around 100 graves in the Cemetery marked and maintained by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.


There are two graves in Piershill containing soldiers who were awarded the Victoria Cross. Private George Wilson from the First World War and Samuel Evans from the Crimean War.


The most famous burial in Piershill to date is that of "The Great Lafayette" who died on 11th May 1911. He was a Magician and Illusionist of some repute who was in Edinburgh to perform at a Command Performance for the Prince of Wales at the Empire Theatre, now known as the Edinburgh Festival Theatre in the South Bridge, Edinburgh. The previous week his beloved dog "Beauty" had died and a grief stricken Lafayette convinced the Cemetery Company that if they would bury her in their relatively new cemetery that he would also be returned from wherever he was in the world he was when he died, to be buried with Beauty. No one could have foretold that less than one week later the theatre would catch fire and that would cause the demise of The Great Lafayette. Such was his fame, it was reported that, 100,000 people lined the route of his funeral procession from Lothian Road to Piershill.

The grave has an imposing 12ft White Marble Memorial easily visible from the gate.

The Cemetery Company marked the 100th anniversary of his death with a rededication ceremony attended by Clergy, City Dignitaries, Members of the Edinburgh Magic Circle and reporters from Scotsman Publications and STV.


Facing the entrance there is a 3ft 6 high light Grey Granite Memorial dedicated to the memory of the many babies buried within the Cemetery in communal unmarked graves. Fortunately this unacceptable practice was terminated in the 1980's and now the Edinburgh Council provides small individual graves or cremation for pre and neonatal deaths at Mortonhall Cemetery and now most recently Craigmillar Castle Cemetery. This has been done in consultation with SANDS Lothians, a Charity set up to comfort and counsel bereaved parents in their loss. The memorial is set in a flower bed and several parents have placed vases and flowers in memory.

Within the Piershill Cemetery are a dedicated Jewish Cemetery and Tahorah House which contain the religious scrolls required for the burials carried out in that area. It is easily found by following the road to the left from the entrance and is clearly designated by the memorials which usually are marked with a Star of David and/or Hebrew inscriptions.


Taking the roadway bearing right there is a small but much loved and visited Pet Cemetery, known as Pets Corner. This was laid out in 1965 after the Cemetery Company was given a donation by the owner of an "Alsatian" German Shepherd dog who had no suitable garden space and could not bear to have his dog taken from a loving home for incineration by the "Corporation" or going to landfill to the Braid Quarry.


Unfortunately as this area is "full" it has not been used for burial of pets since 2002, although it can be very moving to visit Pets Corner and read the messages of unconditional love given by the dogs, cats, rabbits, tortoises, parrots, budgies and even a monkey commemorated by their owners.


Garden of Remembrance
It is more important than ever before, to remember those who have gone before.

Although Cremated remains can be interred in any family grave the Piershill Cemetery has a dedicated area laid out for the interment of cremation caskets. Each Lair (grave) will hold four caskets. Having ashes buried can give a "point of contact" with the deceased person and many families find it a great comfort to have a place to visit after a bereavement.

More and more people have come to recognise the importance of retaining fond memories of those departed and changes in personal attitudes in recent years reflect the preference that now exists for burial after cremation.

So why add to the trauma of bereavement by scattering the ashes of loved ones when you can keep them close... by providing a permanent place of rest in our Garden of Remembrance?


Set in an exclusive location within the cemetery, the garden offers peace and tranquillity in beautiful surroundings enabling you to pay your respects in the knowledge that some essential part of those departed stays with you always.

To complete the tribute, you may wish to personalise the location with a memorial selected from our extensive range of quality stones, specifically made for this purpose and which can be designed and inscribed in accordance with your exact wishes. In doing so, you can commemorate the lives of your loved ones and provide a place of contact and remembrance for generations to come.