Did you know that there is a British Cemetery in Valencia? Then read this:
The British Cemetery of Valencia is one of the city’s best kept secrets and one that demonstrates that Valencia has always had a large population of foreigners dedicated to all kinds of commercial activity, particularly the development of Valencia’s railways and port.
Since the mid 19th century, some kind of British cemetery has been known to exist in Valencia from municipal records, although it wasn’t until 1870 that the present site began shaping up to be the cemetery that stands today and contains not only the remains of British citizens, but of other north European nations also, some 350 in all.
Among those to be found there are members of the International Brigades of the Spanish Civil War, Turkish jews on the run from the Holocaust, merchants, engineers, ex-Consuls and even the founder of Valencia Tennis Club.
Municipal records from 1851 refer to the inadequacy of the site being used to bury British citizens in Valencia, who before the Royal Decree of 13th November 1831, along with non-catholic nationals of all countries, were dumped into the sea at low tide. Nevertheless, nine years after the assignment of a site, Valencia Councillor Cristóbal Pascual y Genis (who has a central street named after him now) was still calling for the resolution of the problem, while noting that trade with the UK was increasing substantially.
It was largely the intervention of British Consul Enrique Dart y Anglin that made the present day cemetery a reality.
The cemetery today is usually locked, although a nearby florist and a maker of headstones, both situated next door to the cemetery, have keys.
The entrance was designed by architect Antonio Martorell Trilles and bears the date 2nd April 1879 and the shield of the United Kingdom, albeit without the crown as a token of Spanish sovereignty.
As you enter through an arch that leads to the peaceful but not too well conserved interior, there is an inscription dedicated to Dart that reads:
“Erected by the British residents and other friends in Valencia as a token of esteem for his sterling worth and many invaluable services as British Vice Consul and personal friend during his thirty years residence.”
If you want to find out more information about Valencia from a “British point of view”, here you are a link to a blog run by a British living in the area and promoting our city.