About Us


Hi everyone!

The Friends of Hartwood Paupers Group is a community group, whose interests are in removing the shame surrounding mental health and the anonymity of our 1255 once lost souls who are buried in the hallow ground within Hartwood.  Our aim is to create a place you can walk your dog, escape for some peace and quiet, explore the history or enjoy the woodlands and nature.  We believe the cemetery is an important local asset and want to see it improved for all to enjoy.


Over the COVID19  pandemic, we have worked together to ‘remember’ the once hidden 1255 giving them their name and dignity back.

We would love if you could join us in any capacity by volunteering, sharing any photos, research, or information you have related to Hartwood Cemetery, as everyday is a school day and sharing is caring.


The only rules we have is that everyone is made to feel welcome, you do what you can and when, and to let us know if you’re going up to ensure your safety due to the isolated location.


Please note :

  • There is Japanese knot-weed and *could* be giant hog weed on the perimeter of the grounds, so please always exercise appropriate caution.
  • There is a lot of wildlife so please be careful not to disturb them and remember to pick up your dog poo 🦡 🦊 🐿 🐦


Hartwood Paupers Cemetery is within the old hospital in Hartwood, Lanarkshire, Scotland, which was opened in 1875 and received its last soul in 1952.


The site is about the size of a football field and divided into 2 sections, a small section for the 'Private Lunatic' and the larger area for the 'Pauper Lunatic'.  We have several service personnel from both  World War 1 & 2 within the graveyard, but they are not recognised by the Commonwealth Commission due to them dying outwith the time limits or not having their cause of death officially recorded as related to the war, PTSD was not officially recognised until 1980, so many of our service personnel deaths were recorded as dementia or softening of the brain.

Hartwood Paupers Cemetery is now a peaceful garden cemetery designed to be visited and enjoyed.  For many, mental health was and still is not spoken about openly, many individuals were placed into Hartwood Asylum for reasons that we would now find outrageous, such as being a single mum, being different, having a disability or simply because they were poor.  Unlike many of the other Victorian cemeteries in the area where death was not something that was hidden away with finely carved gravestones and a prime location, Hartwood cemetery was hidden in the furthest away corner and many graves were marked with just a simple cast iron number.


There are officially 634 graves, where 3 graves have 3 souls interred, 3 which have only 1 soul and the rest have 2 and through research we have found that the graves with 2 have a child within.

As in life, they were buried with someone from their own gender, females with females and males with males and this also applies to the infant babies.


The Cemetery is a deep library of local knowledge and social history – every grave tells its own stories.  There is a Polish Princess who died a pauper, over 10 service personnel, many family members, a local legend called Jock O'Law, a nurse and the first Superintendent of Hartwood, Archibald Campbell Clark.


All the names listed in our records have come from the bona fide records which the hospital kept. Our 1255 souls are written in black ink held, contained in 2 leather bound books held within the heritage centre.