Respect the dead

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Alan McKinney (Letters, 17 ­October) has a curious lack of understanding about the impact of the devastation visited upon Morningside cemetery, at least.

He says that “responsibility for the maintenance of a headstone lies with the descendants of the person who purchased the lair”.

That is all good and well, but some of the gravestones are broken and all are not readily legible. The most significant point must be that many people are not aware of the location of their grandparents’ or great-grandparents’ graves. If they do not know their location, how can they maintain them?

This is precisely why this precipitate action was so foolish. The council bought over a private burial ground and now there are headstones lying like confetti, higgledy-piggledy, all over the site.

Unbelievably, in the case of my father’s headstone, I am expected to believe that the laws of gravity would have been ­overcome for his L-shaped headstone to have lifted up and fallen forward of its own accord, thereby justifying it being pushed over.

As Scotty in Star Trek would say, “ye cannae break the laws o’ physics”, except, it seems, in ­Edinburgh cemeteries.

Perhaps a germane question would be to ask Mr McKinney, who seems to be so comfortable with this, how many of his 
family are in Morningside cemetery. If he does not know, why not? Are we all to expect that our headstones, commemorating our very existence on this earth, are to be scattered like leaves because of some “jobsworth”, or is a more sensitive and, indeed, sensible approach going to be taken to sort out this shameful desecration?

Andrew HN Gray

Craiglea Drive


With reference to William W Groves’s letter (16 October) and his horror at a family member visiting a family lair at Liberton cemetery and discovering the headstone had been flattened on the orders of the council, I also have attended the same cemetery and to my shock the same has happened to my grandparents’ headstone without any consultation with any family member.

With all the sad events of the baby ashes at the nearby Mortonhall crematorium could it be that it was the same council officials who instructed the headstones to be flattened, bringing distress to many more families?

Douglas Wood



ALAN McKinney has again ­written about the stones in council-run cemeteries with the emphasis entirely on the council side and relatives always being wrong.

His point that the council checks the headstones every five years is incorrect. My sister and I paid to have our family headstone re-erected at Morningside.

I was assured it would be checked every six years. I contacted the council at this anniversary and was told this was not being done.

I am still waiting to hear from them after ten years. There are many relatives who do care for the plots and the removal and laying flat of stones is very distressing. Mr McKinney’s bullish stance is unhelpful.

Doris Duff

Belmont Gardens